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Best free remote desktop software 2023

Only the best free remote desktop software allows for streamlined remote access that won’t hurt your budget. Find out which providers are our top picks

A graphic of a laptop and desktop PC on a blue background with clouds above them

Remote access technology has the potential to streamline your business in various ways, and the very best free remote desktop software offers seamless remote access to computers and other devices from your own device, as well as robust support services and unrivalled utility.

There are numerous premium remote desktop programs on the market offering high-end, sophisticated features and tools for a monthly or annual rate, but reliable free remote desktop programs are hard to come by. To aid your search, we’ve put together a list of the best free remote desktop software solutions available today.

The 3 best free remote desktop software solutions

  • Zoho Assist: top free remote desktop platform Zoho Assist's free plan offers top tools including built-in live chat, multi-device connectivity, multi-monitor support, and more. A 15-day free trial gives you access to the premium plans, which start at £8 a month and offer advanced, leading features for remote assistance.
  • AnyDesk: excellent free plan for personal users AnyDesk's top free-forever plan provides one user with access to excellent remote desktop tools, via end-to-end encryption, such as remote printing and mobile and desktop OS use. Its premium plans start from £12.90 a month, and add a wide range of advanced features.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop: free remote access If you've got a Windows PC, Microsoft Remote Desktop is included for free, and offers built-in functionalities such as remote file access, mobile apps, and much more. While it's got a learning curve, it offers simple and immediate remote access for Windows users.

What are the best free remote desktop programs?

The best overall free remote desktop program is Zoho Assist, which has a variety of advanced tools and is backed by the rest of the Zoho ecosystem of productivity software tools and platforms.

AnyDesk is known for its powerful premium solutions, but its free plan is certainly worth using as well. TightVNC is a reliable provider that has been around for more than 20 years, while Microsoft Remote Desktop is an advanced option, and it comes pre-installed on most modern Windows computers.

In turn, Chrome Remote Desktop offers a browser extension that can be used with a variety of operating systems. It’s super easy to use, and boasts decent security and streamlined performance.

The best free remote desktop services, compared

Remote desktop servicePlatform(s)Maximum usersEncryption
Zoho AssistWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidOne256-bit AES encryption
AnyDeskWindows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOSOne 256-bit AES encryption
Microsoft Remote DesktopWindowsOneSSL
TightVNCWindows, LinuxNo limitNone
Chrome Remote DesktopWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSOne256-bit AES encryption

The best free remote desktop software available today

Zoho Assist

Zoho Assist logo


Best for providing remote support


  • Platform(s): Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
  • Max users: One
  • Encryption: 256-bit AES encryption


  • Integrated with the rest of the Zoho ecosystem
  • Live chat and clipboard sharing tools
  • Great cross-platform compatibility


  • Only one user is supported

Score: 4.5/5

Zoho Assist is better known for its premium team remote desktop solutions, but its free plan has plenty to bring to the table. It only supports one user, but it enables you to connect to a variety of different devices. There’s a built-in live chat tool as well.

One thing that stands out about Zoho Assist is its excellent multi-monitor support. There’s also a 15-day free trial for the more advanced subscriptions, which you might like to consider if you need more tools than the free plan offers.

Read our full Zoho Assist review


AnyDesk logo


Best for security-conscious users


  • Platform(s): Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Max users: One
  • Encryption: End-to-end AES 256-bit encryption


  • Can be used on various desktop and mobile operating systems
  • Unattended access and remote printing available
  • Advanced security tools


  • A little complex for beginners
  • Not useful for teams

Score: 4/5

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AnyDesk is another popular premium remote desktop software provider with an excellent free-forever plan. This is only available for personal use, but it’s certainly an option worth considering.

Known for its excellent security, which includes end-to-end encryption, AnyDesk also offers a range of various advanced tools, including a remote printing module, and you can access unattended computers with a password. It’s also available on a suite of mobile and desktop operating systems.

On the downside, AnyDesk is a little complicated to get started with. You will have to upgrade to a premium plan if you need to use it in a professional setting or with more than one user.

Read our full AnyDesk review.

Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop logo


Best built-in remote desktop solution


  • Platform(s): Windows
  • Max users: One
  • Encryption: SSL


  • Comes pre-installed with most Windows computers
  • Streamlined file transfer tools
  • Provides smooth remote desktop access


  • Can be a little confusing to set up
  • Can’t be used with all Windows computers
  • Can only be used with Windows

Score: 3/5

All modern Windows computers come with built-in remote desktop access tools via the RDP protocol. These can be used by someone else from a remote location who may need access to your computer.

All things considered, Microsoft Remote Desktop is excellent. It comes with a range of features, including remote file access and mobile apps. However, it can be difficult to use, and you will need at least some tech experience to get the most out of it.

For example, you will often have to set custom firewall rules before remote access is possible. You may have to forward specific ports on your router, which isn’t difficult but may scare off some beginners.

Read our full Microsoft Remote Desktop review.


TightVNC logo


Best for Linux users


  • Platform(s): Windows, Linux
  • Max users: No limit
  • Encryption: None


  • Free, open-source program
  • Excellent documentation
  • Supports multi-platform environments


  • No built-in encryption or other security features
  • May require router port forwarding

Score: 3/5

TightVNC has been around since 2001, providing a solid remote desktop software option for over two decades. The solution is completely free for anyone to use and relies on the virtual network computing (VNC) protocol to provide users with streamlined remote access.

What makes it notable is its small bandwidth size. By using a small amount of bandwidth, it’s able to provide great screen share quality and performance. One of its disadvantages is, however, that it lacks encryption which means your remote access activities could be impacted by an attack. Additionally, you’ll need to have a little expertise to get TightVNC set up, including taking actions like router port forwarding.

Despite this, the software is compatible with Linux, meaning that if you use that operating system it might be a good choice for you. If you’re worried about the lack of encryption, it could be solved by making sure you pair this offering with a great VPN service.

Take a look at our TightVNC review.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop logo


Best overall free remote desktop software


  • Platform(s): Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Max users: One
  • Encryption: 256-bit AES encryption


  • Great cross-platform compatibility
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Streamlined performance with excellent quality


  • Lacks advanced features
  • Can only be used with Chrome

Score: 3/5

Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the most popular free remote desktop programs out there. It is compatible with Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android devices as well as being rapid and convenient. Additionally, this program is a simple Chrome extension so you only need to add it to your browser, meaning there’s no tech expertise required in setting it up.

Be warned that it doesn’t contain advanced features available in other software which would have given it a boost. For example, it doesn’t provide file transfer tools or remote printing. If you find yourself needing help, there isn’t a live chat feature to aid you either.

However, we do recommend considering Chrome Remote Desktop, especially if you’re in the market for a simple program which can access a number of different devices.

How to choose the best free remote desktop software for you

The first thing to remember when selecting one of these pieces of software is that many of them tend to be fairly similar and simple. This could mean that not all of the free remote desktop programs are able to support multiple users. If this is a dealbreaker for you, it could be worth taking a look at packages like TightVNC or Microsoft Remote Desktop.

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Security is an important feature to take into account, with AnyDesk excelling particularly well at it. Always take into account which operating system, or systems, you’ll need to deploy it on and make sure that the program is compatible.

It’s useful to not forget that these programs are available for free. This means they probably won’t contain all the features you need and might not be fancy. We recommend trying out some of the programs we’ve covered and see which one works the best for you.

Interested in learning more about remote desktop technology and platforms? Then take a look at our variety of content on the topic, including how to use Microsoft Remote Desktop, what TeamViewer offers, learning about XRDP, and how to use Microsoft Remote Desktop.

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