Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)
Need to connect to and control a
Mac from your PC? One quick and easy solution can be found in Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop feature.
Released as a beta early last month, the Chrome Remote Desktop extension lets you connect to one computer from another directly through the browser. From there, you can control the other computer using your mouse and keyboard.
Of course, remote desktop software is nothing new. Microsoft includes its Remote Desktop Connection in Windows. It also offers a Mac version of the software, but that one only lets you connect to a PC from your Mac, not the other way around. There are certain options for going from PC to Mac, such as setting up a VNC (virtual network computing) connection in your Mac and then running a VNC client on your PC.
But Chrome Remote Desktop can connect you no matter which computers reside on both ends. And as such, it’s an effective way to control a Mac from your PC without having to configure a variety of settings and download other software.
You can set up such a connection by going through the following steps:
The initial process seems lengthy because you have to grant permission on both sides. But the process runs quicker once you get past that first hurdle.
Chrome Remote Desktop can connect any two computers over the Internet, not just on the same network. So, for example, you can use this to remotely connect to the computer of a friend or family member to help troubleshoot a problem. Of course, since it does run over the public Internet, there are always security concerns. People who may not want this accessible all the time can uninstall the extension and reinstall it when needed, but of course then you have to repeat the initial process each time.
Overall, Chrome Remote Desktop works smoothly. It doesn’t offer some of the bells and whistles and advanced options found in other remote control programs. But it’s a quick and simple solution for PC and Mac users and one I often rely on when I want to control my Mac Mini without leaving my PC.