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How to control your PC with your Android phone

Alex Garnett | April 10, 2013
PCs and Android go together like Garfunkel and Oates, so seal the deal with these free remote control solutions.

Sadly, this is another one of those situations where I can't give specific instructions, because everyone's PC is different: if you're using a network card that's right on the motherboard, you'll want to check your BIOS for Wake-on-Lan settings, or else check the Advanced Settings of your network card in Device Manager.

On just about any network adapter--except wireless USB adapters--you should be able to find something labeled 'Wake-on-LAN' support. Turn that on.

Next, grab the Android app of same name (as with VNC, there are several options, but I've gone over them with a fine comb, and the Wake On Lan Android app is the best I've seen). This time there's nothing to run on your PC, but as a trade-off, you'll have to manually input both your machine's MAC address (remember when you grabbed it earlier) and the IP address to configure Wake On LAN. Once you think you've got it set up, sleep the machine, and give it a shot--oughta come right back to life. Just think of what you can do now by combining these apps: You can wake up your machine, open VLC, and stream a movie to your phone, all without getting out of bed!

Carry your PC in your pocket, wherever you go

Now, a final note about using any of these tricks while you're away from the house. The address we assigned to your machine is valid only within your own network (which is why everyone in the world is allowed to have that same address). To connect from elsewhere, you'll need to input your global IP address, which you can look up by simply opening a browser window at home and searching for "What is my IP address?" on Google.

Be warned: Some ISPs will assign a new global IP every time your modem reconnects, which means that you may have to re-check this after a power outage (call your ISP first; they may be feeling generous enough to assign you a semi-permanent IP). Before this will work, though, you'll need to set up your router to forward requests from outside of your home network to the machine, since connecting to your global IP means you're no longer specifying which computer you want to remotely access. You're connecting to your router, so your router needs to know which PC you're trying to access.

Again, all routers are different, so I can't give you precise directions here. You'll want to find the option within your router configuration page for Port Forwarding, then add the relevant ports (select Both for TCP and UDP, if given the option) for your PC. Those ports for the remote services we've covered are as follows (if you're asked to input a range, for example, "port from" and "port to," just enter the same number for both values):


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