PCWorld (USA)

Chrome Remote Desktop: Free, versatile remote access for Google-ites

This browser-based app supports numerous platforms, and is the only solution we know of for Chrome OS.

- BY JON L. JACOBI

Chrome Remote Desktop is the most obvious remote desktop solution for most users, and, as far as we know, the only solution for Chromebook­s. It’s easy to use, it covers the basics including file transfers, and it offers both fixed remote control and one-off screen sharing for those don’t share your Google. It’s available on any operating system that supports Chrome, including IOS and Android.

Chrome Remote Desktop has some limitation­s that will affect pros, but none that will significan­tly impact the majority of users.

INSTALLATI­ON AND DESIGN

There are two ways to use Chrome Remote Desktop: by adding clients to your account and defining permanent PINS for anytime access, or by having helpees generate a one-time access code for a single screenshar­ing (with control) session.

The first example is Remote Access in Crd-speak and requires installing clients on any computer to be controlled—a simple task. Simply log in to your Google account using Chrome (only Chrome is supported—google isn’t crazy) on the computer you want to access remotely, head to fave.co/3nas4bg, and follow the prompts to install the viewer or client.

You’ll need to define a client PIN and in some cases alter your operating system’s security preference­s, but that’s about it. The computer will be added to your remote devices list. The obvious limitation here is that if you’re helping someone remotely, you don’t necessaril­y want them logging in to your account. That’s where screen sharing (with control), aka Remote Support, comes in.

For screen sharing, all you need to do is direct the person you’re helping to fave.co/ 3Nouxdr, have them generate a code, then follow the installati­on instructio­ns to add the extension to the browser. To reiterate, CRD requires Chrome.

They then provide you with the code, and you can use the “Connect to another computer” function to log on and control their desktop—assuming, of course, that you’ve installed the Chrome extension yourself.

One thing that might affect some users is Chrome Remote Desktop’s lack of support for multiple monitors. If you’re doing small-scale IT, trust me, this can bite you. I used to occasional­ly support an entire small office of users brandishin­g multiple displays.

Continuall­y asking them to drag the program to the main screen was simply not tenable. Thankfully, there are other solutions that support multiple displays such as Teamviewer ( fave.co/3mzwbuw), GOTOMYPC ( fave.co/3la2xsv), and so on.

PERFORMANC­E

Controllin­g a computer over the internet was a surprising­ly agile experience. Of course,

I’ve been doing this since the days of DSL and dial-up, so everything seems fast now. Google never answered my query to confirm this, but judging by the performanc­e on the local network, data was not flowing exclusivel­y through Google’s CDR portal but rather seeking the shortest path through the local switches.

The only issue I encountere­d—an exceedingl­y minor one—occurred after I was controllin­g a 5K imac from a 1080 PC. Upon arriving back at the imac, fonts and details were fuzzy. I had to reset the display scaling to recapture their former clarity.

This being a Google product, I’m also compelled to mention the company’s privacy policy—which is basically that you have none. That’s the flip side of so many “free” products, and Chrome Remote Desktop is no exception.

FAST AND FREE

Still, there’s simply no getting around Chrome Remote Desktop’s ease of setup and use, speed, basic feature set, and cross-platform availabili­ty. That’s not to mention the fact that there are no limitation­s on sessions, session length, and so forth. All in all, this is good stuff from the tech giant in Mountain View (and soon San Jose), Calif.

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 ?? ?? There are two parts to gaining one-off remote access to another’s computer: First they must generate a code, then you must enter the access code from your end to connect.
There are two parts to gaining one-off remote access to another’s computer: First they must generate a code, then you must enter the access code from your end to connect.
 ?? ?? Controllin­g a Windows 11 desktop from macos. Any OS that Chrome supports is game for Chrome Remote Desktop.
Controllin­g a Windows 11 desktop from macos. Any OS that Chrome supports is game for Chrome Remote Desktop.

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