VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is remote control software which allows you to view and fully interact with one computer desktop (the "VNC server") using a simple program (the "VNC viewer") on another computer desktop anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don't even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view a Windows Vista desktop at the office on a Linux or Mac computer at home. For ultimate simplicity, there is even a Java viewer, so that any desktop can be controlled remotely from within a browser without having to install software.
VNC is in widespread active use by many millions throughout industry, academia and privately. There are several versions to choose from, including a free version and some substantially enhanced commercial versions.
VNC has a wide range of applications including system administration, IT support and helpdesks. It can also be used to support the mobile user, both for hot desking within the enterprise and also to provide remote access at home, or on the road. The system allows several connections to the same desktop, providing an invaluable tool for collaborative or shared working in the workplace or classroom. Computer support within the geographically spread family is an ever popular use.
or the individual user, one common scenario is using VNC to help troubleshoot the computer of a distant less-technically-savvy relative. In other words, sitting at your desk in Baltimore, you could use VNC to take control of your relative's PC in California and show them how to install and use some new software package by actually doing it yourself.
A very common business application of VNC is in remote system administration, where it is used to allow administrators to take control of employee machines to diagnose and fix problems, or to access and administer server machines without making a trip to the console. VNC can also be used to provide a flexible hot-desking and road-warrior environment by allowing employees to access their office desktop and server machines from any machine in the company's offices or from other remote sites, regardless of the type of computers involved at either end.
VNC is widely used in educational contexts, for example to allow a distributed group of students simultaneously to view a computer screen being manipulated by an instructor, or to allow the instructor to take control of the students' computers to provide assistance.