RAW Computing

Access your home/work PC by remote control using Chrome

Imagine you are at work and there is a file on your computer at home that you need, how would you get it? What if you are at home and forgot that a file on your work computer should have been emailed to someone or printed out, or perhaps you needed to run a report off. How would you do it when you are at home? We use computers at home, at work and with laptops in coffee shops, hotels, train stations and airports. There are many occasions where you are on the 'wrong' computer and there is something you need on the other one.

With remote access software you can access a computer at home, work or anywhere using nothing more than Google Chrome web browser. You could even help an inexperienced friend or relative fix a problem on their computer by remotely controlling it.

There are special applications like TeamViewer and LogMeIn that provide this facility, but it is unusual to see this in a web browser. Here's how to set up Chrome to remotely control a computer.

Start Google Chrome and if you are not automatically signed in to your Google account, click the wrench icon in the top left corner and click Sign In. Go to the Chrome Web store and install Chrome Remote Desktop on the computer you want to control. Don't worry if it says it is a beta, lots of Google apps are and they run just fine.

Chrome Remote Access

The app is installed into Chrome and if you open a new tab there will be a new icon. (At the bottom of the new tab page select Apps and not Most visited.) Click the Chrome Remote Desktop icon and click Continue when it asks you to authorise the app. Click Allow access when it requests permission to access your computer. You will end up here:

Chrome Remote Access

Click Get started below My Computers - this is on the computer you want to control. You must enable remote connections and then you are prompted for a PIN number. This is a security feature and it prevents anyone else from accessing your computer. Think of a number that is at least six digits and enter it. Don't forget it because you will need it later to access this computer. That's it. Minimise Chrome, switch off the monitor and just leave the PC switched on.

On your other computer, at work, at home or your laptop, repeat the process. When you get to the screen above, you will see the remote computer listed. Mine is called WIN7-32, but yours will be called something else. Click it and then enter the same PIN number you set earlier. The remote computer's desktop will appear in the web browser window. It's like you are sitting in front of it and you can go to the taskbar, click the Start button, run applications and so on. Click Disconnect at the top of the Chrome window when you have finished.

Chrome Remote Access

Remote access tips

Don't set the remote computer to go into sleep mode when you are away! If it sleeps you won't be able to wake it. It is possible to put the monitor and the hard disk into sleep mode though and this is set in Power Options in the Control Panel.

Set the remote computer desktop to a low resolution, such as 1024 x 768. It will be more responsive because less information has to be transferred and it will fit in the Chrome browser window without you having to scroll around.

This is a beta and there are some limitations. It may not work with Windows XP or OS X 10.5 Leopard (yes, it works on the Mac and Linux too), you can't play audio files on the remote computer and hear them on this computer.

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