There are many ways to remotely control a Windows computer software such as using third party software or the built-in Remote Desktop feature. However, the choices of remotely controlling another computer that is running a different operating system can be quite limited. Although Windows dominates the computer market, but you can still find a lot of people using Macs that runs on OS X.
Apple has their own remote access software called Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) which is a shareware that cost $79.99. It comes with some powerful features such as software distribution and automation to perform repetitive tasks on remote computers, but unfortunately it is meant for Mac to Mac and not cross platform. In this article, we will be sharing a few methods on how you can remotely access Apple Mac computers from another computer running Windows for free.1. TeamViewer
TeamViewer is one of the most popular remote access software that is commonly used to provide remote support because it is easy to use and comes with really powerful features such as file transfer, switch sides, conference call, VoIP, screen recording and etc. Other than that, TeamViewer also works on multiple operating systems where it allows you to control a Mac OS X system from a Windows computer.
You will need to download and install the “HOST” version of TeamViewer on the Mac computer that you want to remotely control. As for the Windows computer that will be controlling the Mac computer, simply download the TeamViewer full version, install and run it. Enter the ID followed by the password and you’re able to connect to the OS X machine. The ID will not change and always stay the same on the machine.
The TeamViewer Host options can be accessed by clicking on the TeamViewer icon at the menu bar and select Preferences. You can change your password, configure the voice, microphone and phone conferencing, access control and etc.
2. LogMeIn Free
LogMeIn Free allows you to conveniently remotely control a Mac computer running OS X from Windows through its web interface or the Firefox plugin. First you will need to create a free account, then login from the Mac computer and click the Add Computer button to download the LogMeIn Installer. After installation, you are able to access that computer from any other computer by logging in to LogMeIn. Do take note that the file transfer feature is disabled in the free version.
Although there are many versions of VNC which are mostly free, RealVNC targets the enterprise users by offering shareware version and cross platform support to Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX. Similarly to LogMeIn, the free version of RealVNC provides a very basic remote access feature without file transfer, chat, session encryption, optimized performance, printing and deployment tool. You can use other VNC viewer such as TightVNC and UltraVNC to access the RealVNC server.
4. Vine Server
Vine Server, previously known as OSXvnc, is a free VNC server for Apple computer offered by TestPlant for free. You can use other VNC viewers to connect to the Vine server but using their shareware $35 Vine Viewer enables an additional feature which is transferring files via copy and paste.
5. Remote Management
Mac OS X actually comes with a built-in remote management feature that allows other computers on the local network to access the Apple computer using the Apple Remote Desktop which we mentioned earlier. However, there is a setting where you can allow third party VNC viewers to connect and control the Apple computer. First click on the System Preferences icon at the Dock and click on Sharing. Click on the checkbox for the Remote Management to turn on the service.
Click on Computer Settings button. Tick on the “VNC viewers may control screen with password” and type in a password. Click OK to save the changes. Optionally you can click on the Options button to configure the access permissions.
Do take note that the Remote Management feature in Mac OS X uses port 5900 which would conflict with the default port used by RealVNC server or Vine server if both service are enabled at the same time. You can either fix this by enabling only one service at a time or change the port usage on RealVNC or Vine server.