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Invite Another User to Troubleshoot Your Windows 7 Machine with Remote Assistance

During your excitement to try out Windows 7 you might get stuck and need the help of a friend or colleague.  Here we will take a look at using Windows Remote Assistance to allow someone you trust to connect to your computer and help troubleshoot the problem.

Windows Remote Assistance has actually been around since Windows XP and was included in the Help and Support section but starting in Vista it became a standalone app.  Here we will show you how to use it using the new Easy Connect feature in Windows 7. 

Request Help

To request support on your Windows 7 machine type “troubleshooting” (no quotes) into the search box and hit Enter to bring up the Control Panel view and click on “Get Help From A Friend”. 

friend

Then click on Invite someone to help you.

invite

Now you can save an invitation file as an attachment or automatically send it with your default email program.  If the other computer is a Windows 7 machine the simplest method is to Use Easy Connect then the other user just needs the generated password.

new

Remote Assistance opens up with the Password you will need to give to the person you’re requesting help from so they can connect to your PC. 

pw 

Accept Invitation to Help

The helper computer just needs to access Remote Assistance and click the link to offer assistance.  download the Invitation attachment and double click to launch Remote Assistance. 

helper

If an invitation was sent just double click on it to start Remote Assistance.

 sshot-1

Remote Assistance opens up and you will be prompted to enter in the password given by the machine that needs help.

enterpw

Now you will have a remote view of their machine an you can begin diagnosing the trouble.  The controls at the top allow you to change view settings, gain control of the computer, and chat with the user.

sshot-1 (2) 

You can still access XP machines for support as well but they will need to send an invite to the Windows 7 machine.

sshot-2009-08-10-[17-52-30]

Other Info

Another way to get to Remote Assistance is Start \ All Programs \ Maintenance \ Windows Remote Assistance which works on Vista too.

start

To begin establishing a session you will need to approve the helper’s connection.

accepts

When the person helping you requests to take control of your machine you will get a confirmation to approve control.  You will also notice the graphics settings will switch to lower quality making it easier on system and network resources.

get control

colorscheme

During the Remote Assistance session you can chat with each other which certainly comes in handy if talking on the phone isn’t possible.

sshot-1chatt 

As the person getting help you can change different sharing settings.

settings 

A list of computers you have done a remotes session with is stored for easier future access.

sshot-2009-08-10-[18-12-06] 

This should help get you started with doing Remote Assistance sessions to help out your friends and family.  While this is aimed at the home user it can certainly be used in a small business setting. 

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 08/13/09

Comments (13)

  1. dave

    Nice article. This is an extremely useful feature and it will definitely make my life easier if I don’t have to have people going to download crossloop or teamviewer. Of course if they don’t have a UPNP router(which any router at this point should be able to do) then you might be suck. And I’m sure Mcafee will figure out a way to block the feature to make it not work! But besides that again a very nice feature to have.

  2. Matt

    A very cool feature! Worked seamlessly with Kaspersky enabled, was much easier to sort out my friend’s computer problems (though we used googletalk instead of the chat feature – helped when exchanging the password)

    Potentially dangerous though, if it was all enabled, the helper could do almost anything with the computer, including uninstalling things etc.

  3. Andrew G

    My friend’s computer says that it has not been set up to send invitation files (I’m paraphrasing). What should I do? As of right now all I know is its running windows 7.

  4. toughLuck

    Andrew,

    Get a new friend!

    -other buddy

  5. Sandy

    Totally confused, fortunately my GEEK son found this so I hope to be soon in his capable hands

  6. Brendan

    Okay, I tried & tried & tried again & again to get this to work: From-My Vista Laptop To-Mom’s 7 Desktop & couldn’t get it working no matter what we tried. I am here, to try & find a way & this doesn’t tell me anything I haven’t tried. I actually did a lot more intricate steps than this includes. I made sure to have my mom go in & make sure that remote assistance was enable in the My Computer>Properties>Remote Settings section & it was & I had her extend the time limit to the max: 30 Day & make sure to uncheck the Allow only comps. w/Win7 or later, to allow my Vista comp. I also checked those settings on mine & still, No Luck..what’s up with that? Couldn’t figure it out. Both of us had our remote assist windows open & tried both ways, her to me or me to her, with correct passwords, still nothing. Also when I would copy & paste the password, it would just wait & wait to connect while hers was waiting for connection & then say that it couldn’t & maybe she had closed remote assist (which she hadn’t done). Then when I tried typing the same correct password, whether caps locked as it was or not, it would tell me it was the wrong password…Tried this with both our firewalls down too!..I am very tech savvy & she is not & that is the point of this. So now apparently I will have to make the trip to her house to figure it out in person, defeating the purpose of remote assistance. Pretty much sucks,lol, unless of course, anyone can lend any other insight on this. I hoped to be able to actually Show her how to work things & not tell her,but Windows has again made this process a pain in the neck, it seems. At both our wits end,we gave up for the night…please lend me a hand & any insight,readers of this..Thanx

  7. JR

    TOUGHLUCK….i must say, you made my day making that comment :-) LMAO

  8. PaulG

    Excellen article, used for the first time yesterday to connect to a friends computer, download and install a driver and disable a setting for them. Saved me a 20 mile round trip drive in the rain.

  9. charlie

    This is fucking useless. A 10 page instruction manual on how to get someone who needs help with a computer (ie a non technical person!) to connect to another PC. What the? This is supposed to be simple. Ask for help, enter a password, give the other person the password and you should be in. This is a useless feature of an incredibly useless operating system. When will the idots at Microsoft finally come up with an OS that people can use. And I mean the common user, not some tech head. I’ve been on the phone with my parents (60+) to get a connection between W7 and Vista via messenger. Which off course does not work unless they follow a 40 step guide like the one described here. I’ve had trouble for them to even sign into Messenger! Useless bloody techo’s at MS.

  10. Geekomatic

    Same issues as Brendan- Have Vista trying to help a friend w/7 & did every possible thing I could think of to get to him- no dice…I used to help friends all over the world via Netmeeting- I guess Microsoft found out how useful & simple it was & decided to “fix” it by creating this convoluted bunch of B.S?

    Of course, it’s always been that way- MS has never innovated- they steal or (as usual) wait for a smarter, third-party to come up with a decent program & then take them over….& on & on it goes…

  11. Kev

    Same issues as the others trying to support my aging parents from another country. NOthing works. The article is a direct crib from teh MS web site. But it fails by not telling you what’s needed comms wise – or how to trouble-shoot.

    Agree with the others – MS should write software that always works, not works if you’re lucky.

  12. Lem3

    Failure to connect is usually due to a firewall blocking access on the computer asking for assistance. For Windows Firewall see:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Allow-Windows-Remote-Assistance-to-communicate-through-a-firewall

    For others, open TCP port 3389 or just disable the protection program altogether for the duration of the assistance session.

  13. Chris

    You need a professional or ultimate version of windows to be able to host a remote session. Am I right?

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