You have a friend call you to help them with something on their computer. You don’t have to drive over there. You can take control without buying an expensive, rarely used remote control app like TeamViewer. Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to occasionally help out a friend (it is not for business use though many do use it). It is an extension you add to your Chrome browser. Add it here or use the online version here. Read more about it at Google support. It works for PCs, iPhones, iPads and Android.

You cannot gain control without your friend generating a code and telling you what that code is. You’ll have full access to the remote PCs apps, files, emails, documents and history.

Connecting to a computer only takes a few clicks or taps. Open the web app on the computer you want to access remotely, and click Remote Access in the top right on the first screen. That will take you to a page that says “Set up remote access.” Click Turn on, then give your computer a name and a PIN (you’ll need that to access it).

Next, turn to the device from which you plan to access your original computer. If you’re on a different computer, launch the web app, and your original machine will appear under the My Computers listing. Click on it, enter the PIN you set earlier, and you’ll be up and running. The remote machine will open a remote access window, within which you will see your original computer’s desktop screen and be able to interact with it via the remote mouse and keyboard. You’ll also see options to perform tasks such as creating a new window, changing the size of the desktop, and sending a Print Screen command to copy the screen. You can access these options from the icon at the very top left of the remote access window: click it to open a drop-down menu.

If you’re on a phone or tablet, you’ll use a similar process to gain access to your original machine. When you fire up the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android or iOS, you’ll see a list of computers where remote access has been enabled. Tap on any of them to enter the PIN and connect. Drag down from the top of the screen to access mouse and keyboard controls.

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