This article is geared towards providing instructions that will enable you to access and control any computer from anywhere in the world, running on any of the popular operating systems. Controlling your computer remotely means that you can do anything on your personal computer from another location, just as if you were physically present. Therefore you would be able to:
a. Open, edit and save any file.
b. Start or close any program.
c. Access your webcam and microphone.
d. Print a document.
e. Delete any file.
f. Affect any trouble shooting measure.
There are a whole host of third party remote desktop software available on the market. For me, one of the simplest to install, configure and use is Teamviewer. This software also comes loaded with a whole host of features including:
a. Chat room.
b. Video conferencing.
c. Dual shared screens (Each computer can view the other's desktop).
One major advantage in using this particular tool is that it can be used across different operating systems including Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. Even better, this service is free. However, there is a premium version which you can purchase in order to have access to a wider range of features. Letís go ahead.
How to setup Teamviewer?
Teamviewer is available free online. Simply:
1. Go to http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx.
Click on the green download button.
NB. If this link is not available at the time when you are reading this article, simply, do a Google search for Teamviewer download. Select the highest version that is available when you've found it. Otherwise, continue with the steps being outlined.
2. When download is complete, double click the item shown below to start the setup.
NB. If this is not displayed in your web browser, search the default download folder for your computer and open the file.
3. At the first popup window click on run.
4. At the next popup you be given the option of selecting how you would want the software to operate on the computer it's been installed to.
If it is your home computer that you are currently installing this software to, select "Installation to access this computer remotely (unattended)".
Also click on "Personal / Non-commercial use".
Click accept - finish
5. The next popup window will initiate the unattended access setup process. Click next.
6. Enter a password that you will use to access that computer from another location. Click next.
Enter remote password and click next
7. At the following popup window, create a Teamviewer account. This step will be the key to accessing this computer remotely. In addition, this account will allow you to store the list of computers that can remotely access any other computer system anywhere else.
Create an account
8. Click next then click finish to complete the setup.
9. Use these steps to also install Teamviewer on the remote computers (whether they be laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones).
How does Teamviewer work?
Again, in order to be able to use Teamviewer to interact remotely, you must install it to all the computers involved.
Connecting to a computer is as straightforward as the following steps illustrate.
1. Start up the application by clicking on the icon located on the desktop.
2. You will first be presented with the application's interface.
There are at least 2 approaches one can take to remote access using this software. The user interface appears as two adjoining windows.
i. The Left window is used when you are going to conduct a remote access on a computer for the first time.
ii. The Right window is used to log into remote computers that you have set up for continuous remote access. The window allows you unattended access.
Apart from the remote control aspect, there will be many other useful options available.
Letís look at the example below.
Some of the features of this interface as highlighted above:
Section A: This is to be selected if you intend to remotely access files or control another computer over the internet.
Section B: This is to be selected if you wish to host a web meeting (Video conferencing etc.) or if you wish to join a web meeting already in progress. This feature can be quite useful in a teaching learning environment.
Section C: This section contains your User ID and password. This information is vital. This is the information that must be given to a user who wishes to log into and control your computer. Similarly, if you wish to log into someone else's computer over the net, these are the details that should be given to you from their Teamviewer interface. Once this is obtained, it must be entered into the section labelled D.
By default the password will be automatically generated every time you start this application. You can prevent the program from doing this.
Section D: This is where the User ID of the "Client" computer is entered. After the partner ID is entered, Click on the section labelled E, then the program will search for the remote computer. If the search was successful, you will be required to present your Partner's password.
Section E: Click here to initiate the connection.
Section F: You may sign into this section using your Teamviewer account (as created at step 7 above). This section can be used to display a list of computers that you have assigned to your account. As such you will be able to log in randomly to any machine you wish, providing that they are online and the Teamviewer is running in the background. You can choose to remain signed in if you intend to do remote logins on a regular basis.
Teamviewer account login
3. Enter the Partner ID (which as mentioned before is the number labelled "Your ID" on the computer you want to access) then click on "Connect to partner".
4. You will then be prompted to enter your Partner's password.
Enter Partner ID
5. A message will be sent to the remote computer requesting an action to either accept or decline the connection. The individual on the other end should click on "Allow".
Successful remote login
Now, you have full control. The remote computer will be displayed in a smaller window on your screen. When you are through, you may click on the close button at the top left of the tool bar or you may shut down that computer if you wish.
How to enable unattended access.
Thus far, the steps above demonstrate how to remotely access a computer, but you would first need a password which automatically changes when the program is opened. You may also need a confirmation click from someone that is at the remote location. To gain access to these computers at any time, without human intervention, you will need to activate the unattended access settings.
A. If you are physically at the location of the intended remote computer and Teamviewer has already been installed, you may:
1. Click on the edit password button on the bottom left of the user interface.
2. Click next and you will then be presented with 1 of 2 popup windows.
3. Create a password that may be requested whenever you seek to access this computer. Click Next.
4. At the second popup window, check the option that states "I already have a Teamviewer account".
5. Enter the email address and password for the Teamviewer account you've already created.
6. Check the box for the option "Keep me signed in". In doing so you will have constant connection.
7. Click next
B. If you're not physically at the computer's location, you may enable unattended access at any time while you've been given entry into the client computer. To do this:
1. Access the remote computer as illustrated above.
2. Once access has been granted, click on their Teamviewer interface and click on the button to setup unattended access.
3. Follow the steps outlined in part A of this section (How to enable unattended access) illustrated above.
There are a whole host of great features that have been packed into this software. You should acquaint yourself with these during remote sessions to enrich your experience even further.