How to Remote Control your Windows PC with Email or SMS
It’s a long weekend and you’re happy because you’ll get to spend the next three days with your family. You left the office in an excited mood but as the cab was approaching home, you suddenly realized that you forgot to shut down the Office PC. Oops!
It’s a sinking feeling because there’re so many confidential documents on the computer and since most of your trusted colleagues have also left for the day, there’s no point calling them for help.
It works like this. You first install the free TweetMyPC utility on any Windows PC and associate your Twitter account. The app will silently monitor your Twitter stream every minute for any desktop commands and if it finds one, will act upon it immediately. The initial version of TweetMyPC was limited to basic shutdown and restart commands, however the current v2 has a far more robust set of commands, enabling a far more useful way of getting your PC to carry out certain tasks especially when you’re AFK (Away From Keyboard).
Before we get started, it may be a good thing if you can set up a new twitter account for remote controlling your desktop and also protect the status updates of this account to ensure better security.
Protecting the account means that you prevent other users from reading your tweets which in this case are email commands that you sending to the computer. To protect your Twitter profile, log in to Twitter with the credentials you want to use, click Settings and check the box next to “Protect my Updates”.
Let’s get started. Install the TweetMyPC utility of your computer and associate your Twitter and Gmail account with the application. It will use Twitter to receive remote commands (like shutdown, log-off, lock workstation, etc) from while the email account will be used for send your information (e.g., what process are currently running on your computer).
How to Send Commands to the Remote Computer
Now that your basic configuration is done, it’s time to set up a posting method. You can use email, SMS, IM, web or any of the Twitter clients to send commands to the remote computer.
Download Files, Capture Remote Screenshots & more..
While the TweetMyPC is pretty good for shutting down a remote computer, it lets you do some more awesome stuff as well.
For instance, you need to download an unfinished presentation from the office computer so that you can work on it at home. Or you want to download a trial copy of Windows 7 on the Office computer while you are at home.
Here’s a partial list of commands that you can use to remote control the PC – they’re case-insensitive and, as discussed above, you can send them to Twitter via email, SMS, IM or the web.
That said, there’s scope for improvement. For instance, the app will wait for a minute to check for new messages in your Twitter stream so it’s not “instant”. The developers can actually increase that limit because the Twitter API now allows upto 100 checks per hour.
And since the app is dependent on Twitter and Gmail, it will not work during those rare fail-whale moments.