By Princess Jones

As much as you’d like to take your work computer everywhere, it’s not always possible. Maybe you’ve got specialized software on your work machines but not your home laptop. Or perhaps you’re trying to help a customer navigate your website over the phone. Remote access to computers is incredibly useful for tech support, working from home, and other business tasks.

While there are a number of tools available for remote access, not all of them are free and easy to use. Chrome Remote Desktop is a Chrome browser extension that you can use to remotely access other computers.

Things to Remember

Chrome Remote Desktop is meant to give you access to a separate computer’s desktop. It doesn’t work if you don’t have Chrome web browser installed. On Macs, you need to also enable remote connections. And for Chromebooks, it only works for one-time access links. You can’t set up a regular connection like you can for Windows or Mac computers. But you should be fine accessing other computers.

Also, remember that if the screen looks funny, you may need to adjust the settings. Click the three horizontal lines on the top of your remote screen. From there, you can adjust the screen size for best viewing. In some cases, the certain keys may not correspond from machine. This is particularly likely when you’re working on a Windows machine or Chromebook and remoting into a Mac, or vice versa.

Your Computers (Repeat Connections)

To get started, download Chrome Remote Desktop to your computer and install it in your browser. Once you open the app, you’ll see a message that says you have enabled remote connections. Click it and cycle through the prompts. You’ll be asked to create an access PIN, which you’ll need every time you want to access this computer from another one.

Once you’ve enabled Chrome Remote Desktop for a computer, you can access it from other computers you own by opening the app on the remote computer. Sign in and choose the computer from the list of ones assigned to your account. Enter the access PIN when prompted.

Now you’ll see your desktop remotely. You can maximize the window and resize it for whatever works best for you. When you’re done, click the X in the corner or click “Stop Sharing” on the banner at the bottom.

Other Computers (One-Time Connections)

If you want to use Chrome Remote Desktop to access computers you don’t own, have the other person download and install the program. When they open the app, they should click on “Get Assistance” at the top of the screen. Then they should click the green Share button. An access code will appear on the screen and they should share that information with you.

From your computer, open the app. Click the assistance button. Then click “Access.” Enter the access code that appeared on the screen earlier. Click “Connect” and you’ll now have access to their desktop. When you’re done, click the X at the top of the screen or click “Stop Sharing.”