Using Windows Remote Assistance

Computer users often have configuration problems or usage questions that are difficult to support professional over the telephone. Remote Assistance provides a way for users to get the help they need and makes it easier and less costly for corporate help desks to assist their users.

Making the Request for Assistance
In Windows Server Help, there is a wizard driven section for Remote Assistance, The wizard driven connection allows for a request to be sent either through a Microsoft .NET Passport account, through sending a saved file, or through a non Passport e-mail account, by using Windows Messenger. For a successful request through e-mail, both computers must be using a Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI)-compliant e-mail client.

To use the Windows Messenger service for your Remote Assistance connection, you must have the assistant’s Windows Messenger user name in your contact list, and make the request from a Windows Messenger client. Windows Messenger will display their status as online or offline. Remote Assistance can only be requested directly when your assistant is online.

After receiving a request for Remote Assistance, the helper can remotely connect to the computer and view the screen directly to fix the problem. When you initiate a request for help, the Remote Assistance client sends an encrypted ticket based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) to the helper, who is prompted to accept the invitation.

Using Remote Assistance
A user can request assistance from another Windows Messenger user by placing the request through the Help and Support Center application or directly through Windows Messenger. Both applications use the same mechanisms for determining if the expert is online, and then making a request for assistance.

The Windows Messenger window opens, and the user selects the expert’s Windows Messenger account. The expert receives the invitation as an Instant Message. When the expert clicks Accept, the Remote Assistance session is initiated. The requesting user confirms the session by clicking Yes. When the remote connection is established, the Remote Assistance session begins on the expert’s computer. The expert and user can share desktop control, file transfer capabilities, and a chat window through which they work together to solve the user’s problem.

Offering Remote Assistance to a User
Remote Assistance is especially useful if you want to initiate troubleshooting on a user’s computer. To do this, you must enable the Offer Remote Assistance Local Group Policy setting on the target (user’s) local computer:
1. On the user’s computer, click Start, Run, and then type gpedit.msc. The local Group Policy editor appears, enabling you to adjust policies that affect the local machine.
2. Under the Computer Configuration node, expand Administrative Templates, then System, and then click Remote Assistance.
3. Double-click Offer Remote Assistance and then select Enabled.
4. Next, click Show, then specify the individual users that will be allowed to offer assistance by assigning helpers within the context of this policy. These “helper” additions to the list should be in the form of domainusername, and must be a member of the local administrators group on the local computer.

Initializing Remote Assistance
You can now initiate Remote Assistance from your computer, to a users computer, providing that the credentials that you supply match those of a helper defined in the target computer’s local Group Policy:
1. Open the Help And Support Center, click Tools, and then click Help And Support Center Tools. Next click Offer Remote Assistance.
2. In the dialog box, type the name or IP address of the target computer, and then click Connect. (If prompted that several users are logged on, choose a user session.)
Then click Start Remote Assistance. The user receives a pop-up box showing that the help-desk person is initiating a Remote Assistance session.
3. The user accepts, and Remote Assistance can proceed.

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