We’ve talked before about how syncing files across all your devices is only as useful as your ability to put the files you need in the right place. When that doesn’t happen, it’s handy to have a back-up plan for accessing critical files remotely.
Previously, we took a look a Chrome Remote Desktop as a potential solution. Here’s a look at two other ways you can get remote access using apps and services that might already be part of your everyday routine.
Phone to PC
Popular media sharing app Pushbullet recently added remote access to its long list of features for trading files between devices. The new feature, dubbed Remote Files, allows you to access your PC’s files on your Android device.
Once you’ve got both apps up and running, open the desktop program and go to Settings. Then scroll down and check the box next to “Remote Files access”.
After that, allow a few minutes for your phone to realize your desktop machine is ready for access. Then, open Pushbullet on your phone, tap the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper left corner, and select Remote Files from the slide out navigation panel. You should see the name of your desktop listed. Tap it, and you’ve got full access to files saved in your User account. (You can’t access system files using Pushbullet.)
The only thing to remember with Pushbullet is that—obviously—your PC must be on and connected to the Internet for your phone to access files remotely.
Remote Files is free, but you are limited to transferring files up to 25MB and the company says you can only use the feature for limited, yet unspecified amount of transfers per month. You can remove those limits with a pro account, which costs $40 a year or $5 per month.
When Microsoft upgraded Windows 8 to version 8.1 it removed OneDrive’s fetch files feature, a.k.a remote access. With Windows 10, that feature is back. Windows 7 users can have this feature as well if they download the OneDrive desktop app.
To get fetch files working on Windows 10, all you have to do is click the upward facing arrow in the system tray on the right of your taskbar, then right-click the OneDrive icon and select Settings. A pop-up window will open. Click the Settings tab and check the box next to “Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC.”
Next, open OneDrive.com, and in the left-hand navigation column, click “PCs,” followed by the name of the computer. A new tab will open, giving you access to the files on your PC.
Just like Pushbullet, your PC must be on and connected to the Internet for OneDrive’s fetch files feature to work.
Remote access probably isn’t something you’ll need very often, but it’s a great thing to have ready in your back pocket for those times you really need it—because when you need it, you really need it.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.