All you need to know about Chrome remote desktop and how to use it

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Not so long ago, connecting to other computers required a lot of expensive tech and lots of computing know-how. Today however, the story is fully changed. With Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop service, you can set up any computer running the Chrome browser to be a host computer that you can connect to at any time, whether the user is logged in or not, for full unattended access.

This service is a free remote desktop program from Google that runs as an extension paired with the Chrome web browser. This service is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers and also works from Android devices that install the app through Google Play as well as iOS users who install the mobile app from iTunes. On top of that, both spontaneous support and unattended access are supported as well as Clipboard syncing and Key mapping. It also lets you upload and download files between your computer and the remote one, as well as letting you pick between full-screen, scale to fit, and resize to fit display options when connected to the remote computer. In this article, we will further discuss and explore this service and explain how to use it.

Chrome Remote desktop; Pros & Cons


“Because Chrome Remote Desktop is run entirely from the browser, it’s great that nearly all operating systems can use it. This means you’re hardly limited to who you can provide support to. Also, given that Chrome Remote Desktop is installed in the background, the remote user can shut down Chrome and even log off their account, and you can still access the computer (given you have the user’s password). In fact, the client can reboot the remote computer and then log back in once it’s fully powered back on, all from Chrome Remote Desktop”. – Tim Fisher (Tech support specialist)

  • Quick and easy to install
  • Compatible with various Operating Systems.
  • Frequent updates
  • Still functions even if the host user is logged off
  • Supports multiple monitors

While it’s too bad that there isn’t a chat function built-in, you can always use a third-party tool to communicate while you’re connected to the other computer. Lots of mobile messaging apps can be used from computers, too. – Tim Fisher (Tech support specialist)

  • Only compatible with a particular web browser – (Google Chrome)
  • Unable to print remote files to a local printer
  • Does not include chat capability

How to Use Chrome Remote Desktop

As you may already know, all remote access programs function by a client and host being paired together; the client connects to the host to control the computer commands. Chrome Remote Desktop also functions like this.

Host set-up:

The host (the computer that the client will be connected to and controlled remotely) needs to carry out the following steps:

Step 1: Visit Chrome Remote Desktop from the Chrome web browser.

Step 2: Once there, select “Get started”, and log in to your Google account if asked to.

Step 3: Click on the “download” button to install the extension in Chrome.

Step 4: Choose “Accept and Install” on the Ready to install screen.

Step 5: Accept any installation prompts and wait for Chrome Remote Desktop Host to finish installing. You’ll know it’s done when the web page no longer shows the “CANCEL” button.

Step 6: Choose a name for that computer on the Chrome Remote Desktop page, and then select NEXT.

Step 7: Choose a PIN that’ll be used to connect to the host. It must be a numerical string and at least six digits long.

Step 8: Select “START” and confirm or allow any pop up messages. The computer will be registered to the Google account you signed in with, and you’ll know it’s completed when you see Online just below the computer name.

Note: If you wish to use Chrome Remote Desktop for unattended access to a friend’s computer, you’ll need to log in once with your credentials on their computer to set it up. You won’t need to stay logged in after the initial installation meaning that you can log out completely and the program will still run in the background as an extension.

Client set-up:

Here’s what the client should do to connect to the host to remotely control it:

Step 1: Open Chrome and visit Chrome Remote Desktop

Step 2: Open the Remote Access tab at the top of that page, and login to your Google account.

Note: This needs to be the same Google account that was used when setting up host remote access like described above.

Step 3: Select a host computer from the Remote devices section.

Note: If this section shows a device under “This device”, then do not log in to that computer since it’s your own, logging in to it would cause a lot of confusion.

Step 4: Enter the PIN created on the host computer to start the remote session.

When the client connects to the host computer, a message displays on the host saying: “Your desktop is currently shared with <email address>,” so Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t log in discreetly unlike some remote access programs.

Connecting through temporary access codes

If you need someone else to connect to your computer, even if they didn’t set up the access in the first place, this is the route you would need to follow:

Step 1: Open the Remote Support tab on Chrome Remote Desktop and choose Get Support to get a one-time access code that you can share with the person who will connect to your computer. (You’ll be asked to install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension if it’s not already on your computer.)

Step 2: The person must enter the same webpage on their computer and choose Give support.

Step 3: That’s all they need to do. Now, they can log in under any Google account to control your computer, so long as they enter the correct code.

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