Screen sharing apps are very useful in helping people solve computer problems no matter where you or they are. This may include helping family members solve computer problems or helping work colleagues solve problems from anywhere in the world.
Some screen sharing apps are simple cloud-based apps that let you start a video conference where you or another person can share your screen and then offer control to another participant in the conference. Other screen sharing apps are full-featured remote support apps that also allow you to access the file system of another computer that you are connected to.
Choosing a screen sharing application depends on what you need to do and what you need to access on the remote system.
There is no list of screen sharing apps that don’t have TeamViewer at the very top of the list. This is a very popular and frequently used remote support application.
The reason for its popularity is that there is a free version that anyone can use for non-commercial purposes. It is also very easy to use.
The first time you download and launch the TeamViewer installer, you will have the option to configure the full version (basic installation) or simply configure it as a service (automatic) for remote access from another computer.
Ideally, you should install a basic installation on the computer where you are trying to access the remote computer. Then ask the remote user to download and install TeamViewer on the remote computer using the “automatic” option.
If you selected “Advanced settings” on the previous setup screen, you will have the option to enable some of the advanced features that come with TeamViewer. These include a printer driver for remote printing, a VPN function, or an add-on to enable TeamViewer sessions from within Outlook.
The easiest way to connect to another computer using TeamViewer is if you are on the same network. In this case, just select the dropdown under the partner ID.
In the list, you will see the remote computers that are also logged into your TeamViewer account. You can choose this PC for instant connection and remote screen viewing.
On the remote computer, the user will need to confirm that you have permission to connect to remotely.
When they click Allow, you can see and control their remote screen.
If you log into a TeamViewer remote installation using your TeamViewer account, all you have to do to connect remotely to this remote computer is to enter the password during the connection process.
At the top of the window, you will see a control panel that you can use for various functions to help you use the remote computer as well as communicate with the remote user.
Some of these features include:
- Leave a note on the screen that the remote user can find later.
- Lock, log off, or restart the computer.
- Send Cntrl-Alt-Delete or other key combinations.
- Change the image scale or screen resolution.
- Adjust the viewing quality settings.
- Add a side panel to communicate with the user
- Initiate a phone or Internet call
- Launch a video call
- Add an annotation on the screen to the remote user could see it
- File Transfer
- Session Recording
- Printing from Remote Computer
As you can see, TeamViewer is a fully functional and very powerful tool for remotely connecting and controlling a remote computer.
2. Windows Quick Assist
Another useful remote screen sharing tool that is not only free but also pre-installed on Windows is the Windows Quick Assist tool.
If you are helping another person who is using the latest version of Windows, you just need to make sure both of you are using the Quick Assist tool.
To open the tool, select the Start menu, type Quick Assist, and select the Quick Assist tool to open it.
When it opens, select “Help another person get started.”
To continue, you will need to sign in to your Microsoft account. When you first set up your computer, you probably had to create a Microsoft account. This is the one you will need here.
When you’re done, you will see a security code that you can provide to the remote user.
The remote user just needs to enter the code and select Share Screen.
Then they need to select “Allow” to give you permission to connect.
On your computer, select “Continue” to complete the connection.
Finally, the two computers will connect and you will see what the user sees in full screen mode.
Now you can take control, move the mouse pointer and help the remote user with any problems they have.
The top menu of the shared screen includes a control bar for use on a remote computer.
- Select any monitor
- Add annotations to the screen
- Use the “instruction channel” to send messages to a remote user.
- Restart your computer.
- Start Task Manager.
Windows Quick Assist is one of the easiest (and free!) Screen sharing methods available. It’s fast, easy, and almost everyone has a Windows computer.
When it comes to video conferencing, Skype has always been king. And of course, any video conferencing software you can use to view someone’s desktop is the perfect remote support tool.
The free version of Skype is good for connecting to a remote desktop by calling the user and asking them to show you their screen. You can start a video conference by selecting the video camera icon above their profile.
When you are in a video conference, any participant (possibly more than two) can select the Screen Share icon at the bottom of the screen to immediately share their desktop with all meeting participants.
After the remote screen is displayed, you may need to click the Screen Share button at the bottom of the screen to share it with all other conference participants.
Once the screen is shared, other conference participants can walk through with the person showing the screen using troubleshooting tips to resolve the computer issue.
Skype’s screen sharing is excellent and the screen refreshes quickly.
The free version of Skype requires voice chat to provide remote support, combined with the user showing their screen and using the mouse.
However, in premium or business Skype, during screen sharing, you will see an option that allows you to control other participants in the conference call.
4. Jane M.
If you want to host a screen sharing session using an easy-to-use app, you can’t go wrong with Join.Me.
When you register with Join.Me, you can create a web link to use in screen sharing sessions. You can click “Start” under the “Start Meeting” section to start a session.
You can send an arbitrary link to join.me to any number of users so they can join a session with you.
You can send them the link in an instant message or select the send email link to send the user an email with a connection code.
When they join your session, you will need to allow them to join the video conference.
Like Skype, the free version of Join.Me allows you to share your screen and chat with other users during a session. This means that a person who needs help troubleshooting a computer needs to set up a session and invite users.
However, the premium version of Join.Me lets you transfer mouse control to anyone in the session, making it an ideal tool for screen sharing and remote troubleshooting.
Other Pro features include on-screen annotation and troubleshooting session recording.
If you really don’t want to install a full-fledged screen-sharing app on your computer, Screenleap is a good solution. It installs as a Google extension and allows you to share your screen with anyone over the Internet in seconds.
The first time you launch the application, you will need to select â€œOpen Screenleap Launcherâ€ and enable â€œAlways open these link types in the appropriate applicationâ€.
After launching the app, you can change what you are sharing using the dropdown. Either share your desktop, or only share the part drawn inside the rectangle.
You will see that your Screenleap session contains the code shown at the top. You can ask anyone to visit screenleap.com, enter a special code, and select View Screen to view the shared screen session.
To share your screen using this app, you have two options at Screenleap.com. You can select the broadcast screen and share your desktop with everyone who has your URL link (requires you to create an account with your email). Or, you can select “Share Screen” to instantly show your screen and receive a code to send to the person you want to share your screen with.
Screen sharing works well, but there is some delay as the transmission is sent and received from your browser to the remote user’s browser.
Also, since this is a simple screen sharing add-on, you will not be able to control another computer remotely using this app. You will need to talk on the phone while you are looking at the screen remotely and talking to another user describing the troubleshooting steps.
The free version of Screenleap allows you to share the screen for up to 40 minutes daily, which is quite a bit for free software.
CrankWheel is another Chrome add-on that lets you share your display remotely. One thing that sets the CrankWheel apart is that it is extremely lightweight. Setup takes seconds.
Plus, it offers three main methods for sharing your screen.
- Sharing only one browser tab
- Sharing one program window
- Sharing the entire desktop screen
When you select any of these options, you will see a pop-up window where you can select the tab or application that you want to grant access to the remote user.
There are two ways to share your screen. You can either enter another user’s phone number and send an SMS with a share link, or copy the share link and send it via email or instant message to a remote user.
As soon as another user enters the link into their browser, they will immediately see the screen you are sharing.
This is probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to share your screen and let users connect to your computer remotely – or remotely connect to any other computer.
The free version of CrankWheel allows 25 free remote screen sharing sessions per month, which should be more than enough for general troubleshooting help with family and friends.