Most of us have been there. Someone in the family or a close friend calls for computer help on the telephone or by email. And they are trying to explain a problem they are having on their system using phrases like ‘that thing that looks like a bell’ or that ”you know, the wizard thingy’ that doesn’t help at all. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take control of their desktop for a look-see?
Well Windows XP has what is called Remote Assistance built into the system. And though I have used on occasion, there are some downsides you should be aware of.
- The person on the other end requesting help needs to be semi-computer literate. Though the setup procedure is fairly simple, some folks have trouble setting it up and sending a request.
- Remote Assistance works best with broadband. Trying to use a dialup connection is akin to shoving bamboo shoots up under your fingernails.
- If you are disconnected during a session, you may have to reestablish a session to proceed.
- Since you are using an Internet connection, you can’t download stuff i.e. drivers or such to correct a problem.
- Rebooting into Safe mode is prohibited since the Internet is not supported.
- Sometimes Remote Assistant may hang the system. I’ve had this happen on a badly infected system.
- Viruses and spyware may prohibit any type of diagnostic until the infections are removed.
- Working on a hardware or software problem can be problematic since most require a system reboot.
But for some minor issues, Remote Assistance can be helpful. Give it a try and see what you think. For a complete tutorial on how to set up remote assistance, take a look at this article from Microsoft.
[tags]remote assistant, help, family, friends, session, broadband[/tags]