Control your PC from your Windows Phone with PC Remote Pro [Review]

PC Remote Pro is a program by a freelance developer for remote control of any Windows XP, 7, or 8 PC from a Windows Phone. In short, it is feature-packed and fun to use, but more bugs than I can count on one hand take away from the experience.

PC Remote is available as a free version, though there are some more features available in PC Remote Pro (which has a trial, which I suspect is the same as “PC Remote”), such as no advertisements and being able to use your phone’s mass storage facility wirelessly. The full feature sets are described in either app’s description. Also, see the gallery at the bottom of this review for more images.

Here’s how to get it working: First, you must visit PCRemoteServer.com and download the desktop application for the computer(s) you plan to connect to (The program will catalog all connections you wish to save). Once installed and running, you can auto-discover the computer from PC Remote on your phone by hitting the refresh icon in the settings bar, or by manually punching in the network IP address the computer client gives you (the one with 192.168.1.xxx). Just remember that this is a network-based program and does not transfer data in and out of the network, so if you were planning to use your phone to access your computer from work, for example, know that this is not possible with PC Remote or any other WP8 app, as far as I am aware.

Once you are hooked up, you can manipulate mouse gestures with some multitouch functionality, interact with the keyboard, change the volume, view and interact with a remote desktop, use PC power functions like sleep and restart, view files on the PC remotely, and copy those files to your phone’s mass storage (though not in a way that you can use the files on your phone), among others.

Using the mouse and keyboard are easy enough. The mouse’s single touch capabilities are efficient and not cumbersome at all; the response times are great. But when you involve more than one finger, things get wacky; two-finger scroll is slow to respond on your computer’s screen, so you must slowly scroll when you want to do so. Zoom works well. But forget about the 3- and 4-finger gestures; they do not work at all. I also have an issue where, when I move the cursor to the corners to activate the Windows 8 charms, the moment I let off to click one, the charms bar disappears. It works just fine on the program bar, which is odd. The keyboard works, but in a slightly Spartan fashion; you type your sentences or search queries into a text bar, which, after some use, will be a big glob of jibberish once you’ve used it to type for awhile, though it doesn’t affect the actual input you are giving to your computer.

The remote desktop, while it does work, cannot be adjusted. In other words, you will get the full resolution and detail of your screen on your phone (unlike ConnectMe, for example, which lets you adjust graphics and resolution settings when connected), so the display may refresh at 1-2FPS. So, if you thought this was going to be a gateway to playing Counter Strike from your bathroom, tough luck. Though, I can’t imagine being able to play any full PC game with only a touchscreen for input…

You are given a full selection of power controls, including sleep, hibernate, restart, shutdown, logout, and monitor on/off. They all work properly.

PC Remote has full access to your PC’s hard drive(s). You can view the Windows libraries, like Pictures and Documents, or you can go through your hard drives, flash drives, or disc drives to look for individual files. The browsing here is basic, with no thumbnails displayed for pictures, for example, and no search function in the app. However, you can copy any file you like to your phone’s storage to open later on any PC with PC remote installed (I could not find the sample picture I copied to my phone when I plugged it into the PC and used the file browser). There is also a function that is supposed to send any photo from your phone’s camera roll to your PC, but I have yet to get it to work.

Finally, PC Remote Pro has controls for several popular desktop programs built in, including VLC, YouTube, Powerpoint, Windows Media Center, XBMC, Zune, Winamp, iTunes, Windows Media Player, Hulu, Media Player Classic, Netflix, and Spotify (whew). I don’t exactly have all of those to test out, but for me, both YouTube and WinAmp controls worked very well when I tried them out. There is also one feature I wasn’t able to try, as I have no Wifi-enabled PCs at home, and that is the Hotspot feature, which allows the computer to act as a Wifi hotspot for your Windows Phone to connect to in order to operate the PC Remote app. Hopefully it will run well for those who are able to use it.

In short, this is a very cool app, but there is a whole lot of room for improvement, mostly fixes for bugs in what is already available. Add to that the somewhat-clunky interface, and you don’t honestly wind up with a product worth the $2.99 Marketplace price, so I can’t recommend buying it. However, the free (or trial) version, though ad-supported, only lacks some of the more exclusive or high-end features, some of which, like wake-on-LAN and multi-monitor remote desktop support, aren’t reliable based on my experiences regardless, so I could recommend that you at least give PC Remote a try; after all, when it works, it works well.

[via PC Remote Server]


  • PatC

    If you can program the IP, then theoretically you could forward the port through your router to your machine and control from anywhere, just like remote desktop, assuming u know the port number

  • PatC

    Should check out Unified Remote. used it on android, and its phenominal on WP, little more expensive, but worth the price

  • pingoutpe

    I have a lumia 920 with a version pro and pc with xp pro. I manage to connect with PC but You tube doesn’t work. Another program to install in order to work?