Best free remote desktop software 2024

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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 $12 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 $14.90 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

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Remote desktop servicePlatform(s)Maximum usersEncryption
Zoho AssistWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidOne256-bit AES encryption
AnyDeskWindows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOSOne256-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

(Image credit: Zoho)

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

Whilst Zoho Assist’s paid plans designed for remote teams receive a lot of attention, its free version shouldn’t be overlooked. Although it is limited to one user, it allows connections to various devices and includes a built-in chat feature.

A key advantage of Zoho Assist’s free plan is its exceptional multi-monitor support. If you are interested in unlocking extra features you can always try Zoho’s 15-day free trial for its premium plans.

Read our full Zoho Assist review


AnyDesk logo

(Image credit: AnyDesk)

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

AnyDesk’s brilliant free-forever plan is another popular option for remote desktop software. This plan is limited to personal use only, but the price alone makes it an option that is definitely worth considering 

Respected for its robust security features, including end-to-end encryption, users can also enjoy a range of advanced tools such as a remote printing module, and you can also access unattended computers with a password. In addition, AnyDesk is available across a number of mobile and desktop operating systems.

One drawback to AnyDesk’s solution is that it can be slightly complicated to set up. Users will need to upgrade to the premium plan if they plan on using AnyDesk’s solution in a professional environment or with more than one user.

Read our full AnyDesk review.

Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop logo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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

By virtue of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), every modern Windows computer already boasts some built-in remote desktop access tools. These tools can help someone in a remote location who might need to access your computer. 

Overall, Microsoft Remote Desktop is fantastic, offering a good range of features such as remote file access and mobile apps. The system isn’t the simplest to use, however, and you will likely need to have some level of technical proficiency in order to get the most out of it.

For instance, before you can get the remote access to work you will often need to set up custom firewall rules. Similarly, you may also have to forward specific ports on your router, which in itself is not particularly strenuous, but for new users it may still present a challenge.

Read our full Microsoft Remote Desktop review.


TightVNC logo

(Image credit: TightVNC)

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

A prominent name in remote desktop access since 2001, TightVNC has offered a reliable option for remote access for over two decades. TightVNC’s software is totally free for all users and is built on the virtual network computing (VNC) protocol to provide users with streamlined remote access.

What is more impressive is the system’s meagre bandwidth requirements. By only taking a small fraction of bandwidth, TightVNC’s solution is able to offer excellent screen share quality and performance. One weakness of the system is that it lacks encryption, meaning your remote access connection could be compromised by a threat actor. Furthermore, TightVNC is another solution that will require some leg work from the customer, including setting up router port forwarding.

TightVNC's software is compatible with Linux, which could make it the obvious choice for users running that operating system. If you have concerns about the system’s lack of encryption, this could be addressed by pairing it with a solid VPN service.

Take a look at our TightVNC review.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop logo

(Image credit: Google)

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

Looking for a free, easy-to-use remote desktop solution? Look no further than Chrome Remote Desktop. One of the most popular free remote desktop programs out there, it boasts broad compatibility across Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android devices, making it a great choice for multi-platform access.

Setting up is a breeze - just add the Chrome extension, no tech skills needed. However, keep in mind it prioritizes simplicity over advanced features. You won't find file transfer, remote printing, or live chat support here.

Despite these limitations, we recommend Chrome Remote Desktop for any basic remote access needs and it should be high up on your list if you value simplicity and cross-platform compatibility.

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.

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.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance technology and finance writer, whose scientific background in the natural sciences lends rigour and nuance to his informative, accessible articles. His reviews on website builders, web hosting and business web development grace the virtual pages of TechRadar Pro,, and, as well as IT Pro Portal. Well-versed in blockchain, cloud computing and cybersecurity, Daniel takes a keen interest in all aspects of B2B and B2C tech.