11 Replies Latest reply: Oct 16, 2008 2:36 PM by g-pod
g-pod Level 2 (270 points)
Is there an OS X equivalent of Windows Remote Desktop? (Windows Remote Desktop lets you remotely connect to your Windows machine, and interact with the actual screen.)

I want to be able to use my Mac remotely from a public Windows machine.

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • orangekay Level 5 (4,085 points)
    In addition to the dozens of VNC clients out there, there's:


    and Leopard's built in implementation.
  • RBL Level 1 (80 points)
    What is Leopard's built-in implementation?
  • glsmith Level 3 (875 points)
    There's Leopard's "screen sharing" functionality, which may be what orangekay is referring to. You can turn this on from the Sharing preference under the system preferences. Leopard systems can use this to share desktops between themselves, very similar conceptually to rdesktop on Windows.
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,862 points)
    On the Mac being remote controlled, go to System Preferences Sharing tab and select (highlight but do not check) +Screen Sharing+. Click on the +Computer Settings+ button, then check +VNC viewers may control screen with password+ and enter a password. Click OK.

    Back on the main window, check the box for +Screen Sharing+ to start this service.

    On the Mac (or any computer) doing the remote controlling, run a "VNC client" program. There are VNC client programs for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, even Mac OS 9. If the controlling computer is a recent Mac, I recommend +Jolly Fast VNC+. It is actively being worked on by its developer and it is indeed quite fast (and stable). And it's free.

  • Network 23 Level 6 (11,900 points)
    You can go both ways without much trouble. I've used my Mac to control my PC, and my PC to control my Mac, thanks to VNC or Microsoft Remote Desktop (Mac client).
  • RBL Level 1 (80 points)
    That's very helpful, thanks.

    And once I have it turned on at my home computer I'd then like to control the screen from my laptop at work or on the road. Do I need to have special software on my laptop to control my home computer remotely over the internet, as opposed to controlling it just over my home network? For example, someone mentioned a VNC client (I'm fuzzy on what exactly that is), will I need one to access my computer over the internet, and if so where might I find a beginners guide to using it?
  • glsmith Level 3 (875 points)
    I use screen sharing from home to access my computer at work. For that you'll need some type of connection into your office. For example, I use a VPN to connect to work, then from my home machine simply go to Finder->Go->Connect to Server, and type vnc:// to share my screen at work (the work computer being represented here by the IP address You don't have to use a VPN; I do because that's what I have set up. You could use most any type of connection, even something like an SSH tunnel.

    On the road, you can do the same thing as long as you can create that connection. Now, if you're in your office (or on the road) and want to access your system at home, that's a little different. But Apple does have a service through .Mac (soon to be MobileMe) called Back To My Mac, which uses the .Mac servers as an intermediary. Then all you need is an Internet connection on both ends; both computers connect to the .Mac servers. I've not used this service, but you might want to check it out...

    Message was edited by: glsmith
  • KJK555 Level 4 (2,895 points)
    On a Mac with Leo installed all you really need is a VNC Server installed. Vine Server is free and will do nicely:

    You do not need Vine Viewer (which is not free), Leo's built in viewer works just fine (should you need it). If you want to only to view your Mac screen remotely all you need is Vine Server. Should you want to connect to another computer's screen with your Mac, Leo's built in viewer works nicely. To activate Leo's viewer, activate System preferences > sharing > screen sharing.

  • ScottCo Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, so here's where I'm struggling. I have my far inferior work PC running XP. My wife's MacBook Pro is upstairs in her home office. Rather than having to move it back and forth multiple times a day, I'd like the ability to log into it remotely from my XP machine.

    I've edited the "Screen Sharing" settings and get the "Other users can access your computer at vnc://", but so far I've been unable to connect to her Mac using a VNC client?

    What VNC client are you using for PC to Mac and is there anything else you see that I might be missing?
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,862 points)
    I don't use a Windows machine for this purpose, but I've heard of RealVNC and TightVNC.

    As an alternative to using Apple's built-in VNC server settings, you may also want to try Vine Server (free)


    You would turn Apple's Sharing VNC settings OFF and run Vine Server as a separate app. Vine Server has more features and flexible controls.
  • g-pod Level 2 (270 points)
    Thanks. Screen sharing was the key. Also found a solution with screenshots: http://www.macworld.com/article/131094/2007/12/screensharepower.html