How to See What Someone is Doing on Their Laptop
Whether you’re a teacher, employer, manager, or parent, there may be times when you need to see what someone is doing on their laptop. Having this information can help with collaboration and enable you to take appropriate action if need be. But how exactly can you monitor someone’s laptop? We’ve done the research and will tell you exactly how!
There are several apps and software programs that can help you gain access to the screen of another device. And we’ll cover 6 of the best in this article. Let’s get into it!
Wolfeye Remote Screen Software - Best Overall
Wolfeye Remote Screen software is the best of the best when it comes to monitoring a laptop screen. It allows you to see the entire screen – the picture is so good that you feel like you’re using the monitored laptop.
Another great thing about Wolfeye Remote Screen software is that you get to manipulate the data you receive. Users enjoy being able to:
- Take screenshots of screen recordings
- Save screen recordings for later review.
- Archive recordings they don’t need.
You can also review and check on websites that the person visited.
To ensure that you can monitor the laptop screen without the user knowing, Wolfeye automatically opens at Windows startup and is invisible. So, the person/people you’re monitoring won’t know that it’s happening unless you tell them.
And to top things off, you can use the software anytime and anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser. Use your own PC, laptop, or even your mobile device.
Want to give it a try? Wolfeye is available for an affordable price. Start with a 3-day trial of the software to see if you like it. If you do, you can purchase a 12-month license for less than $10 monthly.
Browser extensions are good for those who need to monitor very specific laptop usage; for instance, the websites someone visits. They can also be used to generate reports containing information on internet activities. Users also love that they can block certain websites through browser extensions to limit employees’ or kids’ temptation during work or school hours.
Just be aware that browser extensions are limited to the browser the person is using. If the extension is installed on Google Chrome and the person on the laptop uses a different browser, the extension is useless. So, be sure to factor that fact into your decision.
If you’ve ever used browser extensions, you might think that all of them are free to try and use. That’s why a lot of people use them. But that’s not always the case; some of them require a one-time or monthly payment. Keep an eye out for that.
Review System Logs
For those who only need to see minimal information from another’s laptop, consider reviewing the laptop’s system logs. System logs can show you a wide variety of information, but the most pertinent information for your monitoring purposes may be running applications. Even if the window isn’t currently in view on the laptop, you’ll be able to see that it’s running in the system logs.
Compared to some of the other options on this list, system logs may be a little limited in information. But it’s ideal for those who only need to know specific information about what someone else is doing on their laptop and it costs you nothing.
The way you’ll access the system logs on a given laptop will depend on the operating system it has. So, if you want to take this route, we recommend you find out the laptop’s operating system and do a Google search for how to access the system logs. Ensure that the source is recent, as operating systems are always changing.
There’s also a bit of a learning curve when it comes to reading system logs, so you’ll need to do additional research in that regard. This is a legitimate hurdle people have to get over if they want to monitor a laptop this way.
Check the Browser History
In cases where you are concerned about the websites that a person is visiting, maybe all you need to do is check the browser history on the laptop in question. Unless the browsing history is disabled on the device, you would be able to see a list of the websites visited. You can even filter to show website searches for a specific time period. That would theoretically give you the information you’re looking for.
Just know that you won’t be able to see any websites that were manually removed from the browser history. There’s also a chance that the user took the liberty of disabling the browser history whenever they went to a site they wouldn’t want you to detect.
For these reasons, checking the browser history will only work some of the time. In instances where you can’t be sure that you’re seeing everything, it may be worth considering another monitoring option.
Use Screen Sharing
Many of the video communication apps we use today have a screen sharing feature you can use to see someone else’s screen. Though, you will have to send a share request prior to being granted access.
Depending on the video communication app you’re using – Skype, Zoom, etc. – the process for sending a share request and accessing another person’s screen may be different. So, you may have to read up on the feature to learn how to use it.
When you use screen sharing on an app like Zoom, for example, you’ll be able to see either a specific window or the entire screen. What you’ll see will depend on the options the other user selected before granting permission to view their screen. If you plan on using screen sharing for employee monitoring, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to see the full screen.
This type of sharing is really great for team collaboration as well as illustrating concepts that may be hard for the other party to understand.
Is it Legal to Look at What Someone's Doing on Their Laptop?
Now that you’ve got the means to look at what someone’s doing on their laptop, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Is it legal to monitor someone’s laptop? The answer is not straightforward.
In order to monitor someone’s laptop legally, you’d need to either be an employer, parent, law enforcement officer, teacher, or proctor. But that’s not all – there are cases where seemingly authorized personnel may not be legally permitted to monitor someone else’s laptop.
So, we strongly urge you to either get in touch with a legal professional or do some in-depth research on the laws governing privacy and monitoring. You may find that it’s well within your rights to monitor a given person’s laptop. But you may also find out that your planned monitoring would be illegal.
There are steep penalties in place for privacy violations. Therefore, it’s wise to take the legal piece seriously.
Do You Need to Monitor Someone Else’s Laptop?
Before you pursue monitoring software and implement monitoring techniques, it’s important to nail down exactly what type of information you need. And that will depend on what action you’re trying to prevent. Here are some possible scenarios:
- You are a parent and want to make sure that your kid doesn’t go on social media during homework time.
- You can use any of the remedies in this article, but Wolfeye Remote Screen will give you the most information and allow you to watch them live.
- You are a teacher and want to monitor students to keep them on task.
- You’ll need real-time monitoring. Wolfeye Remote Screen, browser extensions, and screen sharing can all be helpful in this case. They enable you to see exactly what the student sees, making it easier to keep them on task.
- You are a proctor who monitors exam takers.
- Software that blocks certain websites can make it easier to prevent exam takers from cheating. Browser extensions can be used in addition to proctoring software.
- You are an employer and want to maximize productivity.
- Employee monitoring can cut out time-wasting behaviors and ensure that remote employees aren’t working on secret projects and irrelevant tasks. To help you monitor PC use and limit things like this from happening, Wolfeye Remote Screen and screen sharing can be very helpful.
How to Choose the Right Monitoring Solution
Selecting the right monitoring solution can be a bit daunting. You do have several potential choices, after all. If you’re having trouble deciding, we urge you to use the section above as a guide and be prepared to try multiple solutions.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Your tech set up. Does your existing computer have the power to work with the applications or software programs you’re considering? Most software developers make system requirements easy to find on their websites.
- Do you have any non-negotiable features? Think long and hard about the features you might want in a solution. Real time monitoring, screen captures, and reports are a few.
- Is the solution scalable? If you’re a small but growing company, it might be helpful to seek out a solution that can grow with you.
- Do you have compliance requirements you need to uphold? In the healthcare field, HIPAA standards are in place for the safeguarding of patient information. Be sure to select a secure solution that aligns with those standards.
Thinking over all of these things can make your best choice stand out much easier.
But don’t forget that you’ll never know whether a monitoring tool or feature will work for you until you try it. If you’re just not sure where to begin, start off at the top of our list and work your way down. That way, you’ll know for sure that you’ve got the best solution for your needs.
Should You Disclose Monitoring?
So long as the monitoring you’ll be doing is legal, the choice to disclose monitoring is yours. For instance, in the case of parents who want to monitor their kids, there’s no obligation to share with them that you’re monitoring them. But you might still want to let them know that they’re being watched to discourage them from breaking the rules.
In more formal situations, employers may be inclined to share with the employees that they are being monitored on company devices. Depending on the laws in your area, you may be required to do so. If you go against the law and monitor your employees without telling them, you could definitely be in for fines or even criminal charges.
Note: Whenever you’ve posted it in view that your employees are being monitored, it may not be necessary to inform them using other methods.
As you can see, sometimes the choice to disclose is up to you, and other times, it’s an obligation.
So, there you have it – how to see what someone is doing on their laptop. Your choices are plenty, but Wolfeye is the premier choice for remote monitoring in the majority of cases. Regardless of the solution you ultimately choose, we hope you found all the information you were looking for and we wish you the best!