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Remotely Access a Mac from a Windows PC

If you have a network environment with both Windows and Mac OS X, there will be times you need to connect to the Mac from Windows.

In this example I’m connecting my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit system to my Mac running OS X 10.7.2 Lion.

First, download and install the most recent stable version of the free utility TightVNC to your Windows computer.

During installation, uncheck TightVNC Server, unless you’re going to use it for other remote access situations. For connecting your Windows system to a Mac, the server isn’t required.
install tightvnc

On your Mac click the Apple icon and select System Preferences.

Mac Menu

System Preferences opens. Click Sharing under internet & Wireless.

Sharing

Now, in the Sharing window check Screen Sharing. Then click the Computer Settings button. Note the IP address is listed above the Computer Settings button. You’ll need it to connect with TightVNC.

ScreenSharing Mac

Next, check VNC Viewers Macy Control Screen with Password. Type in a password and click OK.

vnc password Mac

Then type in the password for your Mac system and click OK.

mac system password

Go back to your Windows computer and click Start >> All Programs >> TightVNC >> TightVNC Viewer.

launch tightvnc

Enter in the IP address for the Mac computer. The IP address is displayed on the Screen Sharing window on the Mac. Click Connect.

Enter IP TightVNC

Next type in the password you created for the VNC connection earlier. This is NOT your Mac system password.

password

Wait a few seconds for the connection to be established. Tight VNC brings up the remote connection screen. Select the user account you want to use to log in on your Mac.

VNC Mac

Enter in the user account password.

log in Mac

There you go! You can control your Mac remotely from your Windows PC just as if you were sitting in front of it. I have my Mac set to a large display resolution, so the first thing I did is turn it down to 1024×768. This provides more screen real estate so I can work on Windows easier.

This setting is up to you. You can run it as full resolution if your Windows display is capable.

Remote Control Mac

In fact, TightVNC provides several cool options you can explore to get the remote session to work how you like.

Connection Options

If you use the remote connection a lot, create a shortcut on your desktop. On the TightVNC toolbar click the Save icon.

save icon Tight VNC

Then give the connection shortcut a name, save to desktop and click Save.

save explorer

Next it asks if you want to save the password. If you’re the only user on the Windows PC it’s easier to save it, but again it’s up to you.

save pw TightVNC

The TightVNC remote connection to your Mac icon displays on your desktop. Just double click it anytime you want to remotely connect to your Mac. Nice and easy!

desktop icon

There’s a bit of lag time while controlling your Mac from Windows via TightVNC, based on your network speed or over a WiFi connection. Your mileage will vary. Overall though, this is an easy and effective way to remotely control your Mac from your Windows system.

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6 Responses to Remotely Access a Mac from a Windows PC

  1. Ron White January 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    A great tip, Brian. But now my question is if this method can be used to connect a Windows PC and an iPad. I’ve been looking long and hard for a way to network them, and come up with diddily.

    ron

  2. Ryan March 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Good article. Have you tried out Team Viewer? That app lets iOS to Windows or Mac and Windows to Mac and vice versa.

    • Steve Krause March 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Teamviewer is a great app. It’s free for personal use and I agree – it works great! We need to do a write-up on it. It’s on the list!

  3. Aliasgar Babat January 22, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Great article. Has anyone deployed on premise remote support appliance such as RHUB or Bomgar appliances in order to access MAC computer from PC? Try it out. It is easy to use and is only onetime cost.

  4. Allan Krause May 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Hi Brian,

    I assume this article only refers to remote access to a Mac on the same network as the Windows machine. How can I access my Mac at home from my Windows desktop at work?

    Cheers,

    Allan

  5. brettdog August 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Curious, is there a way to blank the remote Mac screen when using this method?
    I may try Team Viewer but it seems like overkill with all the additional functionality I don’t need and it’s seems to require Flash which I am avoiding whenever possible these days.

    bdog

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