We all know how frustrating it is to leave something at home or at the office that is needed right away. That could be a pair of sunglasses, a phone, or something on your computer. It’s happened to everyone I suppose. Maybe it’s a file on your computer at home that you need at the office. Or maybe you forgot to hit send on an email or upload to Dropbox. There’s a solution that only serious computer users know about. And it’s free.
If you use Google, there’s a free tool that gives you almost complete control of your computer from anywhere in the world. I’d almost forgotten about Google Remote Desktop until I needed to move a file from one folder to another at home and send it to a Dropbox, but here I was in a coffee shop across town.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a web and mobile app that will let you see, send and share anything on your desktop PC or Mac when you’re away from home. The computer just needs to be running Google Chrome and be connected to your account.
Here’s how it works: install the Chrome extension on your home computer. You’ll find it in the Google Chrome Store. If you’ve never browsed through the Chrome Web Store it’s worth the visit to find extensions to make using Chrome much easier. You’ll find the store by clicking on the “Apps” tab on the far left of your Chrome browser window. Google Remote Desktop will connect to your Google account through your email address to give you access on a mobile device or another computer.
It’s passcode protected with 6 digits you’ll need to know to log in from your other devices.
You’ll also need the Chrome Remote Desktop mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
The next time you need something on your home computer just open the mobile app, or log in to Google Chrome on another computer. It’s super simple.
From that coffee shop, I managed to control my home computer from a laptop, iPad, and smartphone just like I was sitting at my desk. Well, sort of. The interface may be simple but it’s also a bit confusing when you’re trying to swipe a phone’s screen to see what you’re looking for. You’ll need to think of your pointer finger on the screen as your mouse pointer, so to move to the right side of your home computer screen you’ll need to swipe left on the phone.
I was able to search for and move files just like I’m using a mouse on that computer. To get a file or photo from my laptop to my smartphone, I can find it on my home computer, open and create a new email, and mail it to myself. I use it to move video files to a Dropbox folder to send to someone else.
The home or work computer just needs to be turned on. You can’t do that of course. But you can do anything else. If you work remotely, it’ll save you a mad dash back home