Control your Mac from your PC freely and easily

The free Splashtop Remote app lets Windows users connect to their Macs through a local Wi-Fi network or over the Internet.

Splashtop Remote is one way to control your Mac from your PC.
Splashtop Remote is one way to control your Mac from your PC. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows users who want to access and control their Macs can set up a connection using the free Splashtop Remote app.

Accessing a Mac from a PC has always been doable by setting up VNC (virtual network computing) sharing on the Mac and installing a VNC client on the PC. But many people may find it quicker and simpler using Splashtop to create the connection.

Setting up access requires installing the Splashtop Remote app on your Windows PC and the Splashtop Streamer app on your Mac. Both are free and easy to install.

First, download and install the Splashtop Remote app on your Windows PC. This app is free for noncommercial use and supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP. After installation, launch the Splashtop Remote client from its desktop shortcut. Following a few quick steps, the app will reside on your desktop waiting for your Mac to pop up.

Next, download and install the Splashtop Streamer app on your Mac. During installation, the Streamer will ask you to create a password to secure access. It will then load into memory and display as an icon in the Mac's Menu Bar.

Jumping back to your Windows PC, you should now see your Mac found and displayed in the Splashtop Remote app. Click on the Connect button and type the password you created. Your Mac's display will then appear on your Windows PC, where you can view and control it with your keyboard and mouse, the same as with any remote-control software.

Splashtop offers a variety of options you can tweak.

On your Mac, click on the Menu Bar icon for Splashtop Streamer and select Preferences. As you'll see in the Settings screen, Splashtop Streamer will automatically load each time OS X boots up and redirect sounds from your Mac to your PC, but you can disable either option. In the Security screen you can change your password. And in the Network screen you can enter your Google log-in credentials to connect to your Mac over the Internet.

On your PC, the Splashtop Remote app displays a Computer Detail button next to the name of your Mac. Clicking on this button shows you the Mac's name, IP address, port number, and resolution. One option you may want to change here is the resolution. By default, the window for your Mac displays at a lower resolution of 800 x 600 or 1,024 x 768. But you can switch that to use the Mac's native resolution, which typically will offer better quality.

Once connected to your Mac, click on a small arrow at the top of the screen to display the Splashtop toolbar. From here you can change the window between full screen and scaled size and also disconnect from the remote session.

Remote performance through the app was fairly responsive with not much lag time, even with multiple applications open.

Overall, Splashtop provides a quick, free, and easy option for Windows users who need to access their Mac remotely.

And beyond just the PC to Mac connection, Splashtop will let you go PC to PC or Mac to Mac. Splashtop also offers an iPad app that can connect to and control PCs and Macs. So it's a handy solution for virtually any type of remote access.

 

A Look at Splashtop Remote

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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