3-5 Evaggelikis Scholis, 14231 Nea Ionia, Greece

How to take control of another computer using Google Chrome Remote Desktop

Originally posted on theverge.

If you’re constantly being asked for computer support from distant friends and relatives, this can make your life easier.

You bought your parents / grandparents / other relatives a new computer, set it up, and showed them all of its nifty new features. You’ve gone home, knowing that you’ve made them very happy. But deep down, you know that this isn’t the end of the story.

It’s not going to be long before that dreaded call comes in asking for support. “I can’t find the draft of the email I started!” “Why can’t I get on that Zoom conference?” “My speaker / mouse / keyboard isn’t working!” They’re going to want you to talk them through a fix, which (depending on how computer-savvy they are) is probably going to take a minimum of several hours out of your day.

But there is a solution. If both you and your troubled relative use the Chrome browser (or own a Chromebook), you can use Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop app to easily gain temporary control of their computer and either fix the issue or show them what to do. It’s available for PCs, Macs, Linux systems, and Chromebooks; there are also separate apps for iOS and Android.

Install Google Chrome Remote Desktop

If you’re helping a less technically inclined friend or relative and you have not yet downloaded the Remote Desktop app, you’ll have to install it first. (And if the person you’re helping hasn’t done it either, you’ll have to walk them through it — or feel free to send them a link to this article.)

  • Go to remotedesktop.google.com.
  • There will be two boxes on the screen: Access my computer and Share my screen. Click on Share my screen.
  • Assuming you haven’t installed the app yet, you’ll see a page with two boxes, the first of which is titled (again) Share my screen. This one will have a blue download button on it; click on the button.
  • This will take you to the Chrome Web Store. There will be a blue button that says Add to Chrome; click on it.
  • A pop-up will ask you if you want to add the extension; give it permission.
  • If you have a Windows PC or a Chromebook, you’ll then have a new extension on your Chrome browser. If you have a Mac, you’ll have to install an actual app; just follow the instructions.

Use Google Chrome Remote Desktop to control another computer

Once the app is installed both on your computer and the one that you need to control, things are a lot simpler. Let’s say that you got a call from a friend or relative asking for help and you determine that the best way to fix things is for you to take over their computer. Here’s how to proceed.

  • Go to remotedesktop.google.com (or click on the extension icon in your browser) and select Share my screen. Instruct the other person to do the same.
  • You’ll see two boxes: Share this screen and Connect to another computerShare this screen will have a button labeled Generate Code. The person whose computer is going to be shared (let’s say it’s your friend) should click on this button.
Google Chrome Remote Desktop screen with menu on left and two boxes in center: Share this screen and Connect to another computer. Each both has a graphics showing two computers on the left; the top box has a blue button labeled “Generate Code.”
The person whose computer is going to be shared should click on “Generate Code.”
  • A 12-digital number will pop up. Your friend will have five minutes to tell you (or text you) the number.
Google Chrome Remote Desktop screen with menu on left and two boxes in center: Share this screen and Connect to another computer. Each both has a graphics showing two computers on the left; the top box has a blue button labeled “Cancel” and next to it, a 12-number code.
After you’ve clicked the “Generate Code” button, you’ll get a 12-number code.
  • Within that same five minutes, you will click on the box labeled Connect to another computer and type in the number.
Page with “Connect to another computer” highlighted, with a number typed into. a field, and a blue button labeled “Connect.”
Let the other person know the number, and they can type it into “Connect to another computer.”
  • Your friend will get a pop-up notice affirming that they want to share the screen with you (again, where it will appear depends on the OS). They should click on Share.
A pop-up will let you know that somebody is about to share control of your screen.
A pop-up will let you know that somebody is about to share control of your screen.

And that’s it! You will then see their entire screen within your Chrome tab and will be able to take control. Note that the other person never loses control, but you can do anything they can from your computer, including showing them how to set up Skype or finding the email they accidentally deleted.

As long as the screen is being shared, there will be a small notification at the bottom of the screen reminding both you and the other person of that fact. And after a while, there will be a “timeout” warning on the client system, which will have to be clicked on or the connection will be lost. This is a safety feature (although it can become irritating if you’re in for a long session).

Part of a computer screen with some icons on the left, a blue flower in background, and a notification on bottom saying “Your desktop is currently being shared with barbara.krasnoff@voxmedia.com” and a button to stop sharing.
Throughout the session, you’ll be reminded that your screen is being shared.

There is a way around that — sort of.

  • On the left side of the main remote access page, you’ll see a menu; click on Remote Access.
  • You’ll be invited to Set up Remote Access; select Turn on.
  • Choose a name for your computer. (Anything you like will do.)
  • You’ll be asked to provide a six-digit PIN for security.
Box with Choose a Pin at top, a graphic of a computer at the side, and two fields for typing in a number below. The rest of the computer screen is grayed out.
Create a PIN so you can access a computer using the same Google account.

Once that’s done, you can then use Remote Desktop from another computer by simply going to Remote Access, finding the system on the list of your computers, clicking on it, and entering the PIN. There will be no timeouts. However, there is one major caveat: you must be using the same Google account on both systems.

Making it mobile

The mobile versions of Chrome Remote Desktop allow you to use the Remote Access option (it does not let you use the Remote Support option). Keep in mind that you will not be able to see the entire client screen on your phone; you will have to scroll around the display, which may make things a bit difficult.

Finally, Chrome Remote Desktop isn’t the only remote access software available. For example, Windows has its own Remote Desktop app, and Macs offer a screen-sharing feature. There are also a number of other apps out there. However, Chrome Remote Desktop makes it simple for people to share screens cross-platform with very little effort.

Source: theverge

Related Posts