Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance

Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
Remote Assistance in Windows 7
Remote access is a powerful feature that has been a part of the Windows platform since
Windows XP. Previously this was available only to businesses for desktop support and
employee access to resources at the office. With the release of Windows XP, Microsoft
introduced two technologies, Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance. Remote
Desktop (requires Windows Vista or 7 Professional at a minimum) focuses on business use
and integrates with Microsoft technologies such as Terminal Services to support so-called
dumb terminal access. More specifically, a dumb terminal provides access to resources
managed through a centralized server accessed through a client computer with a display,
keyboard and mouse, there is no need for a physical PC like you would have on your desk at
Remote Assistance which is described in this document is targeted to the home user,
although it is still useful in small business scenarios for help and support technicians. Remote
Assistance allows you to do a number of things:
Ability to share your Windows 7 Desktop with another user
Ability to share control of computer peripherals: Mouse and Keyboard
Peer to Peer connection without a relay server, meaning, Remote Assistance works just
as well with two computers over a LAN (Local Area Network) just as it would over the
Internet (WAN).
Remote Assistance in Windows 7 introduces a new feature called 'Easy Connect' which
simplifies the process of connecting to another PC remotely even further. When a connection
is established between both computers, contact files are exchanged which creates a trust
relationship. This further simplifies future connections that are made without the need for a
password. Let’s take a look at inviting someone for help using Remote Assistance Easy
There are multiple ways of inviting and offering assistance, let’s take a look at connecting from
the “Novice” side and accepting from the “Expert” side.
Click Start, Type: Assistance in the Search box
Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
Hit Enter
There are multiple options available to authorize the connection. If you use a web-based email
provider like Gmail or Yahoo! mail, you can save the invitation as a file and send it as an
attachment to the person who will be helping you. If you use a client-based email service like
Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, you can click Use e-mail to send an invitation to
help automate this process. The person assisting you will need that file and the 12 digit
alphanumerical password that appears on the screen in order to connect to your computer.
In this example we will try to use the Easy Connect option to connect the two computers.
For this method, both computers will connect to a remote server and, using a password, they
can find and connect to each other. Both computers must be on a network that allows such
connections – some businesses may have firewalls that prevent Easy Connect from working
Inviting a friend or family member for help
Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
This is the “Helper” password which you will tell the “Expert” to gain access to your desktop.
Once you have established your connection with the “Expert” who will be assisting you with
your problem, the “Expert” will connect to your machine with the password generated by
Windows Remote Assistance. Let’s take a look at connecting from that side of the fence:
Using the Easy Connect wizard to help a friend or family member.
Enter the password generated by the person requesting assistance.
Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
Your Windows Remote Assistance session will now begin:
The above screenshot shows the person viewing the desktop of the individual in need of help.
Both persons can initiate a chat session to help communicate and explain the problem.
Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
Requesting and granting control of your desktop
A person seeking help can share their desktop which will allow the “Expert” to use the mouse
and keyboard to help solve their problem. In this scenario, the “Novice” doesn't know how to
hide desktop icons; the “Expert” is showing them how to do so.
Note: You can quickly stop sharing your desktop by clicking 'Stop Sharing' located on the Chat
Windows 7 - How to Use Remote Assistance
Remote Assistance makes the troubleshooting experience on the PC seamless, replacing the
lengthy phone calls in which you tried to explain what your PC is going sometimes using
psychic abilities to solve a problem or waiting to have a service technician come on-site. With
Windows 7, Remote Assistance is even easier to use.
Troubleshooting: If you experience problems trying to connect or invite, try these
Ensure that your network location is set to 'Home' in Network and Sharing Center.
Microsoft provides a tool for testing your router for Peer-to-Peer technologies such as:
Universal Plug and Play or Teredo (Network Address Translator).