4 of the best remote access utilities

Sometimes, you need to control a PC from a distant location – perhaps your home machine when you're away, or perhaps you're providing tech support for a relative (oh joyous occasion). Maybe you want to print a document off from your home machine on a printer at the office. All these things and more can be accomplished with a decent remote access utility, and we've got four great offerings here which go way beyond the call of "decent."

LogMeIn offers a free version that lets you take over the desktop of another computer wherever you are – also from an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. The connection is 256-bit encrypted for your safety, and it includes some neat features like remote print, which allows you to print a document off from a remote machine on a local printer. There's also a Pro variant which starts at £64 per year.

Still our favourite app for remote control, TeamViewer 9 offers a brain-dead simple setup and a remarkably fast screen redraw when controlling another desktop, whether from a PC or Android/iOS device. For free, you get access to a single system, which is perfect for providing tech support to family and friends. The full Business version is expensive, mind, at £439 – but this is an excellent program.

Free for home or business use, TightVNC will give you control of a desktop machine from your location with your own keyboard and mouse.

Splashtop is a nifty solution which offers quality video streaming across devices with slick performance – and it does so for free, for those who are just interested in that. By paying a small subscription charge of $2 (£1.20) per month, it can also be used to remote access PCs, which it makes a very good job of, too.