How to Control an Android Device From Your PC

remote control android from

Look ma, no hands! With a simple VNC  (Virtual Network Computing) app on your Android phone, tablet or mini PC, you can control your mobile device from a browser window on your Windows computer. Though the performance of this remote login is too slow for serious work or play, there are a few reasons that you might want to control an Android device from your PC.

When you’re entering complex settings such as your email server name and password, it’s sometimes easier to enter a lot of text with your computer’s physical keyboard, which is available under VNC. With VNC, you can control an Android  device on the other side of your house, setting an alarm on the phone that’s charging in your bedroom while you sit in the livingroom. Best of all, if you want to turn your Android mini PC into a server, you can control the stick from your laptop, without even having to plug it into a TV. 

Here’s how you can control an Android device from a Windows PC.

1. Install VMLite VNC Server ($7.99) on your Android device (phone, tablet mini PC). If your device is rooted, you can try a free alternative such as Droid VNC Server, but if not, VMLite is your only real choice.

vmlite vnc server


3. Enable USB debugging on your phone. You can find the USB debugging setting under Developer Options in the Android settings menu.

developer options

Note: If your phone doesn’t have a Developer Options submenu under Settings, you can make one appear by navigating to Settings -> About Device and tapping on the Build Number five times. Many newer phones such as the Galaxy S4 come with their developer menus hidden by default.

4. Attach your phone to your PC. Your computer will attempt to install ADB (Android Developer Bridge) drivers for your phone. If it fails to find them, you may need to download the appropriate drivers from the manufacturer.

adb driver install

5. Install and launch the  VMLite Android App Controller on your PC. You can download it from vmlite.com.

vmlite install

6. Click the Start VMLite VNC Viewer button  in the App Controller program. If your phone is rooted, you can simply launch the VMLite VNC Server on your phone and hit the Start button in it.

start vmlite

The VMLite VNC Server app will launch on your phone with its server started. If the server does not start, you may need to try again and make sure you have the right ADB driver.

7. Establish a connection between your PC and Device in one of two ways:

A. Click USB Connect and OK when the app controller prompts you for port numbers if you plan to keep your Android device plugged into your PC. 

vmlite android app controll

B. Unplug your Android device and connect it to the same Wi-Fi network as your PC in order to establish a wireless connection.


8. Navigate to the VNC server’s address in your browser. If you are connected via USB, navigate to http://localhost:5801 or, if you are connected via Wi-Fi, enter the IP address displayed under “Browser:” on your Android device.

vmlite vnc server ip

If you prefer a standalone application, you can install a free VNC client such as VNC Viewer and use the address under “VNC viewer” to connect. 

9. Click Start HTML VNC Viewer or Start Java Applet VNC Viewer on the web page which appears in your browser. The HTML VNC Viewer runs in a tab while the Java applet VNC viewer opens in its own window and requires the Java plugin to be installed. In our tests, both performed similarly.

vmlite vnc viewer start

Once you launch either viewer, you will be able to control your Android device from a window on your desktop. You can navigate through the entire operating system and use any apps you want with a click of your mouse and enter text with your PC keyboard or swipe gestures.

vmlite vnc java


Unfortunately, performance is extremely sluggish so don’t expect to do any gaming or video viewing. 

VMCLite VNC Server Settings Tweaks

You can tweak a few settings to in the VMLite VNC Server app, by entering the menu and selecting Settings.

select settings

If your device is rooted and you want to start VMLite VNC Server every time it boots, check Start server at boot.

vmlite vnc server start ser

If the screen image is too large to fit in your PC browser without forcing you to scroll, select Screen scaling and switch from 1.0 to 0.5.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. javier Says:

    Hi, i just read the article about control of an android device from your pc and i have a question..

    When you instal de VMLite VNC server in your pc and make all the steps with your phone you get them working together. But after this, you need them to be in the same wifi or plug by a usb to use the program? Is it posible to run the phone from the computer even if they are in diferent networks (diferent internets)?

    Thanks

  2. Duc Dang Says:

    Woud it app allow to control more than one mobile device from a computer?

  3. Koon Says:

    I need to know something. Can I connect with my android phon all time by this app. Are there any permission pop-up ?

  4. Vimal Kumar Says:

    Would it app allow to control more than one mobile device from a computer?

  5. Vimal Kumar Says:

    Sir,
    this software is not installing on my pc..

  6. ruan Says:

    ok here i go

    my sony xperia z screen broke cant do anything on my phone so the problem is i want to get all my stuff off my phone so that it can be send for repairs how do i access my phone on my pc without doing anything on my phone ????

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