Control or observe one client computer

You can control a screen to assist a user with a problem or to perform activities on a computer that doesn’t have a display, removing the need for a KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) switch.

You can observe any computer that has Remote Management configured and has been added to a Remote Desktop computer list. For information, see Install and set up Remote Desktop and Add Remote Desktop clients.

You can control the screen of the currently logged-in user or any user that has observe and control privileges enabled. For information about Remote Desktop privileges, see About access privileges.

You can control the keyboard, trackpad, or mouse of only one computer at a time. Special keys, including the sound volume, screen brightness, and Media Eject keys, don’t affect the client computer.

Control or observe a client

  1. In the Remote Desktop window, select a computer list, then select one or more computers.

  2. Choose Interact > Control or Interact > Observe.

    If more than one user on the client computer has observe and control privileges enabled, you can choose the currently logged-in user, or any other user.

When you’re viewing a screen with a larger window, the settings in the Control & Observe pane of Remote Desktop preferences determine how the screen scrolls. For information, see Remote Desktop preferences.

If your Remote Desktop preferences are set to share keyboard, trackpad, or mouse control, the remote computer’s keyboard, trackpad, or mouse are active and affect the computer just as the administrator’s do. If your preferences aren’t set to share control, the remote computer’s keyboard, trackpad, or mouse don’t function while the administrator computer is in control.

Switch between control and observe modes

You can switch from controlling to observing a single client.

  • Click Control button in the toolbar.

    If the button is selected, you’re controlling the client computer. Otherwise, you’re observing.

Share control with a user

When you’re controlling a computer, you can either take complete control of the keyboard, trackpad, or mouse or share control with a remote user.

Lock a user’s screen

You can lock a computer’s screen while controlling it to prevent the user from seeing what you’re doing.

  • Click Curtain button or choose Interact > Lock Screen, then enter a message to display when the screen is locked.

Capture the screen to a file

You can take a picture of the remote screen, and save it to a file on the administrator computer. The file has the same resolution and color depth as the controlled screen.

  • Click Camera button in the toolbar, then enter a name for the file.

Switch the control window between full size and fit-to-window

When controlling or observing a client, you can see the client window full-size, or scaled to fit the control window.

  • Click Full-size button in the toolbar.

Share Clipboards for copy and paste

When you’re controlling a client computer, you can transfer data between the Clipboards of the administrator and client computers. Using the shared Clipboard, you can:

  • Copy text and images from documents on one computer and paste them into documents on the other

  • Select and drag text and images from one computer to the other

  • Copy a link from your web browser and paste it into a web browser on the remote computer

  • Select and drag text from a document on one computer and drop it on the desktop of the other computer to create a clipping

The keyboard shortcuts for Copy, Cut, and Paste are always passed through to the client computer.

  • To automatically share the Clipboard between the administrator and client computer, click Auto-share clipboard button in the toolbar.

  • To transfer the contents of the client computer’s Clipboard to your Clipboard, click Transfer content of client to admin button in the toolbar.

  • To transfer the contents of your Clipboard to the client computer’s Clipboard, click Transfer content of admin to client button in the toolbar.

View multiple displays on a client computer

When controlling or observing a client computer with more than one display, you can view both displays (side-by-side in one window) or one display.

  • Click in the toolbar to change which display to view.

Adjust screen image quality

When controlling or observing a client, you can adjust the quality of the images on the screen.

  • Drag the slider in the toolbar to the left to reduce image quality, or to the right to increase image quality.