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How to set up Parallels Access on your PC

Parallels Access allows users to control their PC or Mac remotely with their mobile devices. While the service only supported iOS after its initial launch a year ago, Android support was added with the release of Parallels Access 2.0 in mid-June.

Getting set up with Parallels Access is pretty foolproof: Just head over to the Parallels website to set up an account and download the Windows client. You don’t have to enter any payment information for a free 14-day trial of the software (it’s $20 per year after that).

After installing the software, the program will ask you for your account email and password when it first launches. When you log in, you’ll be dropped at the Parallels Access account information window. You can change your account information by clicking Account Settings... or choose whether your current computer is accessible.

parallels account screen

After logging in with your Parallels credentials, you will be able to change your account options and enable or disable access to your PC.

To customize Parallels Access, click the Advanced button a the top of the window.

The first two sets of options are security-related and determine what Parallels will do to prevent unauthorized use of your PC.

parallels options screen

The Advanced options tab in the Windows Parallels Access application will allow you to adjust security options.

If you want to be able to take control of your PC with just your Parallels login (which can be saved on your phone), leave Log in automatically with my Parallels Account selected. This option is faster, but less secure.

If you’ll be controlling your PC with a device that might be left in a public place (like your phone), you should select the radio button labeled Ask for my Windows user name and password as well. This ensures that if your mobile device is compromised, you PC is still protected by your login password.

Underneath the radio buttons, two checkboxes control whether and how your PC will lock itself while you’re using it remotely.

The main option, Lock this computer when working remotely, will prevent someone else from hopping on your PC while you’re controlling it remotely with Parallels. It requires that the PC run Windows Vista or newer.

If someone does jump on your computer, your PC will be locked, requiring your Windows password to reopen. You’ll also be disconnected from your PC on your mobile device, but you can re-connect by tapping the PC’s name again in the Parallels app.

parallels lock screen

If you configure Parallels Access to lock your PC, it will help keep a potential ner-do-well out.

The secondary option, Lock this computer once you finish working remotely, is automatically enabled when you enable locking while in use. It will ensure that your PC locks itself when you’re done using it from your mobile device. 

The rest of the options are pretty self-explanatory.You can enable automatic updates, or make log messages more detailed if you like.

Now all you have to do is enable access and log in from your mobile device.

You can get the Android and iOS apps on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, respectively. Once installed, launch the app, log in using your Parallels credentials, and select the PC you want to access.

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