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Whenever someone tries to tell me, that the PC era is long gone, or that nobody uses desktops anymore, I ask them this. Have you walked into a bank recently, or looked around in your office, or played any recent computer game? These are definitive examples of proof, that the PC market is very much alive.
Now, what is the first scenario, which comes to your mind, when you hear the words, “remote access”? Trying to access a computer from another computer, which is located elsewhere, via an internet connection. That’s good, but why limit it to being accessed via another computer?
What if you can access your computer, with devices which you are likely to have readily available with you? Like a laptop, or a tablet, or even your smartphone. How cool is that?
This is possible with the help of a software called Parallels Access. You can use it to access your computer from another computer, or a Mac, or an Android device or an iOS device.
The first step is to install the product on your Windows computer, or your smartphone (or tablet). Next, you will be asked to sign in to your Parallels Account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for free, or to make it faster, you can use your Facebook or Google account, and grant access to Parallels, to use your name and email address for creating the account. Once done, you will see an interface, which is similar to the screenshot below.
Next, open the Parallels Access client, on the computer you wish to access your primary computer from, or the relevant Android or iOS app on your phone or tablet. Login to your account, and the app will let you connect to the your primary PC remotely. You can also connect to this PC, from a web browser.
Let’s see the PC client’s UI. There are some icons on the top left corner of the Parallels Access client, for account, file sharing and advanced.
The account tab has a small bar with links to the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon App Store, and a web browser link, using which you can control the computer from. Below this bar, are two panes. The one on the left side, lists which account you are using to log in to the remote desktop service, allows you to change the account settings via the web console, and an option to sign out of the account from the client.
The online console, lets you edit your password and profile, select the language you want to use and to manage your sunscriptions and licenses for other Parallels services.
The right pane on the desktop client’s account tab, lists the name of the PC, the connectivity status, and an option to turn off remote access to the computer. Your primary computer, aka the remote desktop, must have the Parallels Access client running on it, for the remote access to work, else your device will have no computer to connect to.
The file sharing tab of the Parallels Access client, lets you share files with your connected devices. The Advanced tab, lets you toggle settings for logging in to the PC, or ask for the Windows username and password. You can also set it to lock the computer when working remotely, or when the remote session ends. You can use this tab to let the program auto start with Windows, and check for updates automatically, though these options are already enabled by default.
Let’s move on to the mobile app, we tested the Android version, and we have to say it is pure magic. Once you login to the app, you will instantly see the PC on which you installed the client on.
Tap on the PC listing, to connect to the remote desktop. You will see many icons on the next screen, these are the same shortcut icons from your remote PC. Simply tapping on an icon will open the corresponding program on the remote PC. You will be able to view the program on your Android/iOS device, and use the PC software’s features just like if you were using the computer.
You will see a bunch of icons on the top of the UI. The search icon lets you search your desktop’s shortcuts and launch the apps. The icon with the two windows, shifts the view of the app to the Parallel Access App Launcher.
This screen has a sidebar with 5 icons. The first, called show all windows, is the same as the icon with the two windows which we mentioned above, and displays a bar on the bottom of the screen ti list of all the open programs on your PC. You can close or shift to one of them by tapping a window or close it by tapping the X on top.
The second icon lets you launch applications (same as the first icon in the main screen), while the third icon opens the Windows File Explorer. You can open the same from the main screen’s File Explorer icon too. The gear icon, is for accessing the Settings of Parallels Access, while the last option, the keyboard, lets you use a full computer keyboard including shift, alt, tab keys, etc, from your smartphone or tablet. The app lets you use gesture controls for drag and drop, right click, scroll, magnify, etc.
You can use all of these features with a web browser too, say from another PC or Mac.
Whether you want to view your downloads progress, or access your files when you are away from work, or simply want to have all your software with you on the go, Parallels Access is definitely the best choice. It can even be used as a game controller, for your PC games.
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