These days, there's never a reason to be stuck without that critical file. With remote-access tools, you can log in through any Web browser, anywhere in the world -- even on a smartphone -- and work on a screen that looks exactly like your desktop at home (or work, depending on where you download the software). Here are two of the leading services.


GoToMyPC allows you to drag and drop files between machines and synchronize the two versions with just a click. If you need tech support, you can share your desktop with someone thousands of miles away, without disclosing your log-in information. The host PC -- the one with the files and programs you need -- must run Windows, and it works only with smartphones that use the Windows operating system.
COST: $19.99 per month for one PC, with discounts for customers paying annually or using more PCs.

LogMeIn Free

LogMeIn Free has a key advantage: It can be downloaded to a Mac. But it's bare-bones. You can open files and run programs from the host PC. For features like desktop sharing and file syncing, however, you will need to upgrade to LogMeIn Pro ($19.75 per month for five PCs). LogMeIn Free works with Windows Mobile smartphones, and the LogMeIn Ignition application ($29.99) lets you use it from an iPhone as well.
COST: Free