How to monitor and manage your PC from any smartphone or tablet

All you need is a mobile device, a data plan, and a few computers that need love and attention.

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Set up notification alerts

PC Monitor's flexible built-in notification system will send alerts when certain conditions arise. To get the most from PC Monitor and to have it notify you the moment something critical occurs and demands your attention, click through the various tabs available on the Notifications menu and enable any alerts that you deem important. PC Monitor can send notifications when the computer starts up or shuts down, when particular users sign on, or when someone plugs in a removable drive. It can also send notifications when a triggering event occurs or when a key hardware component (such as a processor) begins to overheat.

In many instances, enabling alerts in the PC Monitor Manager involves nothing more than ticking various options listed on the tabs available under the Notification menu. More-advanced notification options may entail manually setting up rules to trigger a notification. The process for setting up a notification alert is similar to the one for configuring a custom counter. First, tick the box labeled Send a notification when one of these conditions are met; then click the Add button, and specify the relevant conditions in the resulting window.

Grab the PC Monitor mobile app

After you've installed the PC Monitor application on the computers you want to monitor, install the companion mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. Versions of the PC Monitor app are available from Apple's App Store, from Google Play, and from the Windows Phone Marketplace. At the appropriate venue, search for 'PC Monitor' and download and install the app. MMSoft imposes no limit on the number of mobile devices you can install the PC Monitor app on; the three-system limit is only for the computers being monitored.  If you have several tablets and smartphones, you can install the mobile app on all of them. After installing the PC Monitor mobile app, launch it. You'll see a simple screen containing only two buttons: 'Configure Account' and 'More Info'. Tap the Configure Account button, and on the subsequent screen enter the username and password that you set up earlier to sign in.

Select a PC

If your mobile device and PCs have active connections to the Web, upon signing in to PC Monitor you should see a list of your systems. We set up PC Monitor on two systems (labeled ADRIENNE-NZXT and EVGA-CLASSIFIED) with the Default group name. Tapping either system name in the list will bring up a system overview and other details. Tapping any of the icons at the top of the PC Monitor app will display other groups associated with your account, notifications, and reports.

Monitor your PC from your couch

If you've enabled notifications, and the PC Monitor desktop and mobile applications are communicating properly, all that remains for you to do is to explore the mobile app to monitor and manage your systems. PC Monitor will send notification alerts if necessary, of course, but the mobile app also provides a host of data in real time.

After you tap a system name in the left pane of the app, the right pane will become populated with system details and buttons for performing various tasks, such as opening a command prompt, checking for OS updates, or restarting the system. You can also use the PC Monitor mobile app to send messages back to the associate desktop PCs, if you want to alert a user sitting in front of the machine about an issue.

After the application is installed on a system, the PC Monitor service runs unobtrusively in the background and consumes minimal system resources. No icons appear in the system tray, and the app doesn't pester you with unwanted balloon or other notifications. Unless you have the PC Monitor Manager utility open, PC Monitor is as invisible as an application can be on a Windows system. During our testing for this project, the PC Monitor service rarely, if ever, consumed any detectable CPU time and used no more than 44MB of RAM, so using the app shouldn't raise any performance concerns.

Since PC Monitor is free to run on up to three systems for personal use, there's little reason not to give it a shot. If you have a compatible mobile device and some systems that you'd like to monitor remotely, you can have PC Monitor downloaded, installed, and running in a matter of minutes.

This story, "How to monitor and manage your PC from any smartphone or tablet" was originally published by PCWorld.

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