How To Enable Remote Access (4 Methods with Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you frequently work with a computer, there may be times when you need to enable remote access for others to share control of your device. Remote access means giving someone permission to access your device without being physically present so they can manage settings or offer assistance. Learning about remote access can help you use this feature effectively. In this article, we explain what remote access is, describe why you might want to enable remote access, outline four methods for doing this on different operating systems and provide some security considerations for enabling access safely.

What is remote access?

Remote access is a feature that computers and other devices have to allow an external individual to perform functions remotely. Often, IT professionals use this feature to provide services for personal or professional devices. For example, they can use this feature when troubleshooting issues, running diagnostics and updating software to optimize its functioning. When enabled, the remote access feature grants certain permissions to external individuals so they can perform specific functions on behalf of the device's owner.

Why enable remote access?

There are several benefits to enabling remote access. Here are some reasons why you may choose to allow others to access your device remotely:

To troubleshoot problems

The primary reason why individuals enable remote access is to allow IT professionals to troubleshoot problems with their devices. Instead of bringing the device to a computer repair shop or having a repair professional travel to the device's location, enabling remote access provides convenience and may help professionals access devices quickly. While this method may not help computer professionals address hardware concerns, it can allow them to view the computer's controls, identify software concerns and repair them remotely.

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To update software

In addition to repairing software issues, granting IT professionals remote access can also allow them to update important programs. For example, they can manually install new software that provides new tools for use in a workplace setting, or they can update existing software so it runs optimally and offers its full range of tools. This can be a great option for companies hiring a third-party software developer to build custom software for their business. It can also work for businesses that have many locations and need to do a mass software update across all locations simultaneously.

To collaborate on projects

In some cases, you may use remote access to collaborate with others on projects. For example, as a software engineer working on a code for a new application, you may enable remote access for other members of your team to access the code through your device. This allows other members of your team to make changes to the project and work toward shared goals without having to access your device physically. While many project management tools work through the cloud or other remote access features, for projects that require single-device access, using the remote feature offers a distance work option.

To grant yourself remote permissions

Another way to use the remote access feature is to grant yourself permission to access a device remotely. You may use this to access your work computer from a remote location, such as when working from home, traveling or working at an on-site location outside of your usual office setting. Granting yourself permission to access your devices remotely can offer you the freedom to work from various locations without losing access to your important accounts, files and software. For example, you might use this feature to access a file on your work computer while meeting with a client in public.

How to enable remote access

There are many methods of enabling remote access depending on what level of access you wish to grant and what operating system you use. Here are four methods of enabling remote access on various operating systems:

How to enable remote access on Windows 11

Here are the steps for enabling remote access with the Windows 11 operating system:

  1. Ensure that you have Windows 11 Pro. To make sure you have this edition, go to the settings menu, click the "System" option, then go to "About" and "Windows Specifications" to review what edition of the operating system you have.

  2. Open the "Start" menu. Once you've verified that you have the right edition of the operating system, open the "Start" menu and go to "Settings." In the "Settings" menu, open "System" and click on the "Remote Desktop" option.

  3. Set "Remote Desktop" to "On." After you've changed this setting, select "Confirm" to enable remote access. Note the name under the "PC name" section so you can use it to verify the connection to the remote device.

  4. Access the device by connecting to it with the "Remote Desktop Connection." You can use this feature by searching for it in the taskbar of the device through which you want to access the user's computer.

  5. Type the name of the PC you want to connect to. In the "Remote Desktop Connection" type the name of the PC to which you want to connect. This should be the name you found under "PC name" in step four.

How to enable remote access on Windows 10 using settings

Here are the steps for how to enable remote access for Windows 10 through the settings menu:

  1. Check which version of Windows you have. Make sure that you have the Windows 10 Pro edition of the operating system. You can check this in the "Settings" menu by going to "System," "About" and looking under "Edition."

  2. Open "Start." After confirming that you have the right version of the operating system, open the "Start" menu and go to "Settings" and "System." Select the "Remote Desktop" option and turn on "Enable Remote Desktop."

  3. Check the name of the PC. Note the name of the PC under the "How to connect to this PC" section. You need this name to connect to the device.

  4. Type "Remote Desktop Connection" into the taskbar. Once you've enabled remote access, you can connect a remote device to the user's PC by typing "Remote Desktop Connection" into the taskbar. When prompted, type the name of the PC to which you want to connect and click "Connect."

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How to enable remote access for Windows 10 using control panel

You can also grant remote access permission using the control panel instead of the settings menu. Here are the steps for giving remote access through the control panel:

  1. Open the control panel and click on "System and Security."

  2. Navigate to the "System" section and choose "Allow remote access."

  3. Locate the "System Properties" dialog box that opens automatically.

  4. Go to the "Remote" tab in the "System Properties" dialog box.

  5. Select "Allow remote connections to this computer."

  6. Click "Apply" and "OK."

How to enable remote access on macOS

Here are the steps for how to enable remote access for macOS:

  1. Open the menu and go to "System Preferences" and "Sharing."

  2. Unlock the sharing option by clicking the lock icon and entering the name and password of the user who has the computer's administrator privileges.

  3. Select the "Remote Management" checkbox to enable access, or deselect it to disable remote access.

Security considerations when enabling remote access

Since enabling remote access means others have permission to view and make changes to your personal device, it's important to take precautions when using this feature. Here are some tips and considerations for protecting your devices and digital information when granting remote access to others:

Review your company's cybersecurity policy

If you plan to enable remote access for a workplace device, make sure to review your company's cybersecurity policy. Since many company computers store important information related to the business's operations and collected data, it's important to follow all the company's technology policies to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing sensitive information. Reviewing the company's policy may help you find information about what steps to take before enabling remote access. For example, the policy manual may give you a list of contacts in the IT department to ask for more information about remote access or a list of steps for enabling.

Use the computer's built-in features or a secure application

Only use remote access applications if you know they're secure. Using the computer's built-in remote access feature may offer different security measures than using a third-party application. While third-party applications may offer more tools and features to use when allowing others to collaborate with your system remotely, it's important to research these applications thoroughly before using them. Make sure to pick a verified software with a strong reputation for security. Consider using a virtual private network that encrypts your device's stored data to protect it when accessing services over the internet or other types of public networks.

Related: How To Effectively Use a VPN in 4 Steps (Plus Benefits)

Apply encryption software

Consider installing encryption software to your device or network before allowing remote access. Encryption refers to the process of translating any data stored on a device into a code that only authorized users can decipher. It works by making the data impossible for others to understand even if they can access it. Only the user with the encryption key can revert the data back into a comprehendible form. Having an encryption software installed on your device prevents others from reading your private data when you use a public network.

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Adhere to good password management habits

Use good password management strategies for your personal passwords and make sure that those who have permission to access your device also have strong password setups. By using strong passwords, you can prevent unauthorized users from guessing your keywords and accessing your devices or accounts. If you're enabling others to access your device, they also need a strong password so that others can't access your device through theirs. Consider setting up other security protections like a two-factor verification system to further enhance your device's security. Keep your passwords private and only give trusted individuals access to your devices.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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