Remote computer access tips

Stuck with a problem on your computer? With remote computer access you can actually let someone help you from a distance. Not just like in a telephone conversation, but with full visualization of what's happening on your screen.

That's right: let someone remotely connect to your computer and share your screen like he or she was sitting next to you.

 

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In this series of articles you will learn about:

In this first article we'll start off with Windows Remote Assistance.

Remote Assistance allows you to invite someone to connect to your computer over the internet and help you with something as if they were sitting next to you. You decide whether you allow the helper to simply view your screen or even take control of it.

Windows XP offers Remote Assistance functionality out of the box, so if you are running Windows XP, you're practically all set to send an invitation to a friend, colleague or support professional.

Here's how to send a remote assistance request:

The remote computer access invitation will be sent in an email message, so make sure that your email program is running. Your e-mail program might find it suspicious that something in your computer is trying to send out an email and might show you a warning similar to this:

Remote Computer Access Mail Warning

Allow the access and click "yes". Depending on your e-mail program you might get additional prompts that you have to confirm.

That's it! Your request for remote computer access support is now sent. You can double check the sent items in your e-mail program to make sure that your cry for help is actually sent.

What will now happen is that the helper will receive an incoming mail message with a Remote Assistance invitation file attached to the mail. The helper accepts the invitation by opening the file (double-clicking it).

This all happens on the helper's computer screen so you, as the requester will see nothing of it. What you will see on your screen (after the helper has accepted your invitation) is a dialog like this:

Remote Computer Access confirmation

Clicking "Yes" will allow your helper to view your screen and will also bring up this window on your screen:

Remote Computer Access controls

This remote computer access control screen allows you to chat with your helper, send a file, end the remote support session, or even talk to each other if you both have microphones and audio on your computers.

At this point, your helper can see your screen, but he or she is not able to actually do anything on your computer. What your helper can do is request to take control of your screen, which will result in another message popping up on your end:

Remote Computer Access request

After you've hit the "Yes" button, your helper will be able to actually move the mouse around and type in commands on your computer, using his or her keyboard.

If this is the first time that you use some kind of remote computer assistance program, you might find it a bit spooky to see the mouse moving over your screen without you controlling it, but it's really a great way to quickly have someone help you if you are stuck with something.

If your helper is having trouble accessing your computer over your internet connection, it might be that your firewall is blocking the incoming connection. Check this remote computer support article that discusses a solution called "LogMeIn", which generally deals pretty well with firewall issues.

Or you might of course also want to customize your Windows firewall settings.

Next: read about Remote Desktop Connection

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