Whether you’re a road warrior or simply own multiple PCs and want access to all your data from anywhere, here are a few easy ways to do it, and one not so easy option.
All of these options are secure, as long as you don’t leave a remote PC logged into your account, or log in from a PC that is already infected with spyware or a virus. I only log in from trusted PCs like my own laptop.
LogMeIn gives you remote access to your PC or Mac from any other computer with an Internet connection, for free. Just install LogMeIn on the computer you want to access, and then log into your account from any other computer. You’ll be able to see your desktop and use all your applications, as if you were sitting right in front of your home computer, even if you’re across town, across the country, or across the world. LogMeIn Pro², a paid upgrade, adds additional features like file transfers and remote printing.
Orb is a free program that essentially turns your PC into a server. Once you’ve downloaded and installed Orb, you can use any Internet-connected device with a streaming media player (mobile phone, PDA, laptop) to log into mycast.orb.com and access all your digital media, anywhere, anytime. Orb is also compatible with the Wii, PS3, and Xbox, so you can enjoy your media on your television screen as well! While Orb is heavily focused on delivering digital media, it works with documents as well.
If you’re a Mac guy, then you’re all about Me.com. For $99 a year, Me.com gives you easy access to your most important stuff, including email, contacts, calendars, photos, and files, from one place on the web. And since any changes you make on Me.com are stored in the cloud, you can see them on all your other devices, too.
Mocha Remote Desktop is a free application that provides complete, secure access to all the files and programs on your work PC from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, as long as your work computer is running Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.
Remote Desktop is built into the Microsoft Windows operating system. Not all versions of Windows have Remote Desktop functionality, though. Windows Professional and Ultimate editions generally include Remote Desktop by default. This is the cleanest example of real-time remote access technology, giving you the feeling that you’re sitting in front of your home PC’s desktop, from anywhere.
Setting up Remote Desktop is another story.
It’s easiest to do it from within your own internal network. If you want to use Remote Desktop from anywhere else in the world, you’ll need to configure your router and set up port forwarding, preferably with a Dynamic DNS account.
Personally, I like Remote Desktop best, but it takes serious time and effort to get it working the way you want.