How can I set up the Windows XP Remote Assistance feature?

Question

How do I setup and use the Remote Assistance in Windows XP?

-Richard

Answer

This question was answered on January 15, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Anyone that has ever tried to help a friend or family member with a computer problem by telephone will love the Remote Assistance option that is a standard component of Windows XP.

Instead of taking 30 minutes to help someone on the phone, screen by screen, you can access their computer over the Internet and often times click a few buttons for them and reduce the time to 30 seconds.

In order for Remote Assistance to work, both systems must be running either Windows XP Home Edition or XP Professional and both computers must be connected to the Internet

There are three ways to ‘ask another user for assistance’; the first is the use the Windows Messenger that is installed in all Windows XP systems, the second is to send an e-mail invitation and the third is to send a file via e-mail.

The simplest method, if both parties are current users of the Windows Messenger system, is to use the ‘Ask for Remote Assistance’ option in the ‘Actions’ menu In order to use the Windows Messenger, you must create a .Net Passport account, which is free, and then sign into the system.

If you don’t want to use the Windows Messenger, the ‘host’ computer can send an e-mail ‘invitation’ to the ‘client’ computer, which will contain everything needed to connect to the ‘host’ except the password The password should be communicated via a phone call or another e-mail message for security purposes.

To send an e-mail invitation for Remote Assistance, click on ‘Start’, then on ‘Help and Support’ to open the Help and Support Services page in Windows XP In the ‘Ask for assistance’ section, click on the ‘Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance’ link and then on ‘Invite someone to help you’.

The Windows Messenger option and the e-mail option will appear on the screen as well as a ‘Save invitation as a file (Advanced)’ option for those that use a web-based e-mail system.

If the host machine is currently configured to use Outlook or Outlook Express, enter the e-mail address of the ‘helper’ in the ‘use e-mail’ section, then click on ‘Invite this person’, which will generate the invitation form Enter your name and in the message section type any information that will be helpful to the helper, then click ‘Continue’

Set an expiration time for the invitation, and specify a password that will be needed for the remote person to connect and then click on ‘Send Invitation’.

A confirmation of the invitation will appear and an option to view the status of your invitation will also be available.

Remember, the person that needs help must be connected to the Internet when the recipient of the invitation attempts to remotely connect This means that you must coordinate with each other, especially if the ‘host’ uses a dial-up Internet connection.

If the machine that needs help uses AOL, MSN or any webmail service for e-mail, then you will need to use the ‘Save invitation as a file’ option, then manually send the file via your webmail program.

Once the helper receives the e-mail, they simply click on the attachment which launches a window that asks for the password to connect and away you go!

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on January 15, 2004