The How-To Geek Forums Have Migrated to Discourse


How-To Geek Forums / Windows XP

(Solved) - Troubleshooting at a distance . . .

(64 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by BobJam
  • Latest reply from Lighthouse
  • Topic Viewed 5776 times

BobJam
Posts: 1052

I was wondering if there's any capability WITHIN Windows XP to troubleshoot somebody else's computer by getting their desktop and programs to show (and manipulate) on your own machine. I'm not talking about things like "PC Anywhere", but rather a capability NATIVE to Windows XP (HE) that will allow you to do this.

The reason I want to do this is because I am going to try and troubleshoot my Sisters machine and she lives in Southern California and I am in Arizona.

As many of you probably know, troubleshooting via phone or email is at best tedious and likely futile with someone who basically is computer illiterate (that would be my Sister)

If I could sit down in front of her machine, I probably would be able to solve her problem (I don't know what it is yet) within a half hour or so. But trying to talk her through some diagnostics is going to likely take days, with both of us getting frustrated and angry, especially me when she says something like "What's Control Panel" when I first start into this. And telling her to "click on this and then click on that" will probably not work.

So, this is why I want to see if there's any way I can do it at a distance myself.

I know there is something like "Remote Assistance", but my suspicion is that that's what manufacturers use to troubleshoot their own machines . . . like if somebody has a Dell, then Dell can connect to that particular machine, or HP can do HP, etc.

I'm looking for some way to do it myself without having to do much over the phone/email, other than tell her what she needs to do to get me connected for troubleshooting her machine.

Another hurdle, if there even is something like this, is going to be her OS. I think she has XP Pro, so if XP HE (my OS) can even do this, does the other system have to be XP HE also??

Again, let me make this clear. What I want to do, if I can, is sort of ""see" and manipulate her stuff through mine.

Can I do it, or am I going to have to try guiding her through "click on this and then click on that" over the phone or in emails??

I've done troubleshooting over the phone before, and with novices it's very hard to do. I've also done troubleshooting via emails (with screenshots too), and this is also tedious, often leading to days of directions when I could solve the problem within minutes if I was just in front of the machine myself.

Thoughts??

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
pipo
Posts: 428

hi bobjam, i read this article before by the Geek, i hope this is what you're looking for (or at least, i hope this helps), remotely control somebody's desktop the easy way

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
k9
Posts: 129

@pipo - BobJam was looking for something "NATIVE to Windows XP (HE)", so I guess CrossLoop doesn't satisfy the 1st requirement itself.

@BobJam - I don't think this is possible with out using any 3rd party software. I would suggest you help your sister (over phone perhaps) download and install a remote control s/w like CrossLoop or TeamViewer and then take control of her system and troubleshoot the problem.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

I'm curious to know if Pipo's suggestion works for you, BobJam. If so, I have an aunt that's like your sister, so I'll give it a try too;-)

Cheers,
Sarah.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Crossloop does work well in those situations. I once repaired a computer in the next room via internet with it :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

yes but with crossloop don't you have to accept from both sides? or did you set it up differently? i think that vnc is pretty strait forward and easy to use.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Yes you do. I walked 20 feet and accepted. If you are repairing a computer at distance, the other person will be there anyway to accept/allow

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

i know they would be there but if you already had to walk to that computer why not just fix it there? i have done the same thing with vnc with a computer that was closer but i didn't have to go over to that computer to accept.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Aleeve
Posts: 2818

This looks like a really useful tool
I shall try it!

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

@jack. I did it as an experiment. (and for the exercise)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

lol i see. i kinda figured it was something like that.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

BobJam: Remote Assistance is native to Windows. Go to Start -> Help and Support and you should see Remote Assistance on that page. This is NOT a Dell tool, it is built-in to Windows. It works very well for remote controlling and the 2 systems do not have to be running the same OS. I've used it plenty and it's good.

One of the hard parts with RA is getting the invitation. Microsoft wants you to use their tools -- Outlook Express or Windows Messenger. However the third option, "save to file" is universal. Once the invitation is saved, it can be sent by mail, IM, FTP, or what have you. One more caveat -- if either you or your sister are behind routers or firewalls, it can be tricky. Let me know if you need help with it.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jd2066
Posts: 3814

@ScottW: Actully on the email invitation I think it is the default email client which can be Outlook Express but not always.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

@jd2066, you are correct, as usual, however some people use web-based mail with no local client and I have found that Remote Assistance can't seem to handle that.

@BobJam, there are plenty of articles on Remote Assistance at Microsoft (KB, Technet, etc.). The page below, that I googled up, has a very nice tutorial with screen shots. It also lists the port, 3389, that is used by Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). That port needs to be allowed or forwarded through routers and firewalls.
http://www.windowsnetworking.c.....rmass.html

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
The Geek
Posts: 2059

I've found that CrossLoop works really well through routers and firewalls, since their servers handle all the connection details.

It's also much simpler than any other solution for the end user... just open Crossloop, have them copy/paste the code to you in an IM window (or verbally tell you over the phone), and once they accept you are good to go.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

Wow . . . got more responses here than on other forums. Thanks very much.

Coupla' things.

pipo,

I went to that link you provided on the Geek's article . . . more on that in a bit.

k9,

Yes, I did say "NATIVE", but I didn't consider there were third party softwares out there that my Sister could download too. In that regard, CrossLoop fits the bill. I guess I was thinking that I didn't want to make it that much of a hassle for her, so that's why I said "NATIVE". Plus, I didn't want her to have to pay anything, but I see also that CrossLoop is "FREE".

As you can see by some other posts, Windows DOES indeed have this capability with "Remote Assistance"

On another forum someone linked me to another "FREE" piece of software that does the same thing as CrossLoop. It's called "TightVNC". I took a look at the TightVNC web page, and it looked like a good piece of software . . . BUT . . . it didn't seem to be too user friendly for a novice to use (my Sister) to get connected to somebody more experienced (me).

I saw a lot of geekspeak/jargon/computer lingo, so if I refer her to that page for the download, she will likely not only get intimidated but NOT know how to connect to me.

I need something that's very easy for a novice to use for connecting, and TightVNC, while it appears to be an excellent piece of software, doesn't seem to fit that description. I want to be able to minimize the amount of "click on this . . . enter this" stuff I have to tell her.

While Windows Remote Assistance certainly won't eliminate that "click here" stuff I have to tell her, it does seem to be a little simpler than TightVNC, though I see that TightVNC seems to have more capabilities than Windows Remote Assistance.

So, I'm leaning toward trying to use Remote Assistance with her, unless I've misread the TightVNC documentation and it will be easier for her to use.

Which leads me to another question about OS's. If she has XP Pro, does it have the Remote Assistance GUI or only the Remote Desktop GUI . . . and are they the same anyway?? I need to know this because I'm going to send her some screenshots from my machine if I use Remote Assistance, and if the screenshots are different from what she sees, she'll get confused.

Sarah,

I haven't launched into the effort yet (haven't even decided which piece of software I'll use yet), but when I do, I'll post back here in this thread and let you know.

Lighthouse,

More on my thoughts about CrossLoop in a second. And I would appreciate an account of how that CrossLoop experience of yours would go for a novice connecting.

jack7h3r1pp3r,

I assume you're talking about "TightVNC" when you referred to "vnc". As I read on the web page, "TightVNC" is the developer's upgrade of "VNC". I'm intrigued by your comment that "vnc is pretty strait forward and easy to use." That's exactly what I'm looking for regarding my Sister, but I didn't get that out of reading though VNC's documentation, as I said.

ScottW,

While I haven't decided yet which software I will use . . . Windows Remote Assistance, TightVNC, or CrossLoop, Crossloop seems to be the only one that negotiates AROUND firewalls. I assume there is a way to overcome the firewall restriction with RA and VNC, and it will be easy for me to give a permission with the ZA that I use, but my Sister has a router (a hardware firewall), and I don't know that I will be able to guide her through the steps necessary to let VNC or RA through that router. I guess I could just tell her to unhook the darn thing, and also disable my ZA if it gives me problems, but I'd rather not be so insecure with this whole thing. So . . . I may prevail upon your advice on how to deal with these firewalls. Just bear in mind that my Sister doesn't respond well to geekspeak, so I may have to translate your advice into plain English if you use computer lingo. TIA.

I have indeed read up on RA, and one of the things that confuses me in some of the write ups is their reference to plain vanilla XP. In one breath, they said just "Windows XP" and didn't differentiate between Pro and HE. But then they go on to say that Pro has a "Remote Desktop" function while HE has only the Remote Assistance function.

To repeat my earlier question: If she has XP Pro, does it have the Remote Assistance GUI or only the Remote Desktop GUI . . . and are they the same anyway?? I need to know this because I'm going to send her some screenshots from my machine if I use Remote Assistance, and if the screenshots are different from what she sees, she'll get confused.

jd2066 and ScottW,

Regarding email invitations and clients with RA, I have both GMail (which is the only Internet Email now that interfaces with OE . . . hotmail used to, but now M$ wants you to read the adds, so hotmail can no longer be read through OE) AND OE AND HOTMAIL, but my Sister has AOL, which is really buggy and quirky, so I may have to get her to sign up for a hotmail account (I know that will work with RA). Will GMail??

And finally, Mr. Geek,

My compliments on your discussion of CrossLoop. I took a look at Crossloop, and the deal breaker there seems to be that it requires broadband. I have an archaic dial-up, but this may be what gets me off the fence. I have been meaning to step into the 21st Century and switch from my stubby pencil dial up to cable, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. In any case, even if I use Remote Assistance, I'm sure if I still have dial up that it will be slow going for me. Got to switch to broadband.

It does indeed look like CrossLoop may be the ticket for her ease of use in connecting, at least based on your screenshots and the comment you made in this thread.

Can you use CrossLoop with a dial up??

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

Does CrossLoop work on dial-up?
Yes, but we recommend broadband for optimal service.

http://www.crossloop.com/ipage.htm?id=faq

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

if you use dial up it will be really slow.

and the vnc that i use is real vnc all you have to do is have your sister would have to do is download this here: http://realvnc.com/cgi-bin/download.cgi then just install. then have her tell you her ip and you are set as long as you have it too.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

Looks like Scott moved back to the Netherlands. You really have a way to confuse us.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

mmmm...tilting at windmills. Don Quixote

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

Yes, I'm missing it these days. Hopefully a visit in the fall will cure my home away from sweet home sickness.
You guys up for a rendezvous in A'dam?

Biers and frikendel on me ;)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

Sure, why not. The beachtowns would be even better.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

OK, Scheveningen it is. We know Meneer House loves the sea :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheveningen

What could this be?

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

Sounds good. A Lighthouse is already there.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Call that a lighthouse? pah!

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
whs
Posts: 17584

Not THAT, but this

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

http://www.scheveningenlive.nl/beach2stream.html

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Umm... cars come and go. But there are always a hardy bunch of folk guarding the beach head!

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

Ohh you're all so good at hijacking threads ..... LOL

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Well. We are just filling time til' Bobjam comes back, and tells us how it went :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

On second thought, groot biers on Sarah. Often.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Mais oui :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

BobJam: I made no mention of other remote control products because you were very specific about *native* windows tools. If Crossloop works well for you and your sister, then by all means use it. Since your sister has Remote Desktop, this is an even better way to remote control a system than Remote Assistance. Remote Desktop is designed for someone to log in to their own computer remotely and thus no invitations are required. Also, the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is very efficient because it is native to windows, so it may help with the speed issues brought on by using dial-up. Here are the instructions from MS on how to setup and use Remote Desktop:
http://www.microsoft.com/windo.....intro.mspx

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

@The Rest Of You: all of this OT discussion belongs in the OT forum. You can argue that you are not hijacking the thread, but there is no denying that you are TCing it. I expect moderators to model good behavior to show other members how to behave.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Scott
Posts: 5618

Thanks for the heads up, sport.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

Lighthouse,

Am back, but still haven't started the effort . . . am waiting for my Sister to call me. At some risk of violating the TOS, you have my "permission" to hijack my thread with light banter while you're waiting for results <grin>.

ScottW,

As I understand it, XP HE, which I have, DOESN'T contain Remote Desktop, only Remote Assistance (and Remote Desktop is not in my All Programs menu). So, at first I would say that I certainly can't connect to her machine using Remote Desktop because I don't have it.

But on reading through that link you kindly provided, it appears that maybe (obviously I don't understand it completely and will have to read that web page again) she can set up her machine using Remote Desktop and then I can access it with Accessories>Communications>Remote Desktop Connection (which IS on my menu).

One thing I read on that link makes me believe this will work: "The remote computer must be running Windows 95 or later. This computer must also have the Remote Desktop Connection client software installed. The remote computer is known as the client." So I would be the "client" and she would be the "host"?

But another thing I read makes me believe that I'm going to have to get her IP address: "Note: If you're not connecting to the host computer through a VPN, you'll need to use the actual IP address of the host computer instead of the computer name."

I know Steve Gibson's "Shields Up" program will give the IP address, but I think there's an easier way for her to do it. Isn't there a command she can use ("ping" or trace route or something like that) that she can use that will display it??

So, if this Accessories>Communications>Remote Desktop Connection works for me and she can set up her XP Pro for a Remote Desktop session, will this work??

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

BobJam: yes, you have it right! You can indeed access Remote Desktop on your sister's computer even though your computer cannot *be* accessed in the same way. She configures Remote Desktop and you run Remote Desktop Connection to connect to her system. She can provide her external (WAN) IP address by going to this website:
http://whatsmyip.org/

There are still some hurdles to get over, as usual. Your sister has a router, so you have to get through that. The best way is to setup a VPN connection -- very hard to explain. Second best would be to have her setup port forwarding on port 3389 which is used by RDP. That should be enough, but I can't guarantee it. The last resort would be a DMZ setting on the router opening all ports, just be sure to shut it down after you are done.

Finally, your sister will need to set a password on her login account, if she doesn't already have one. I do believe that Remote Desktop requires this and it certainly is a good idea. Keep checking in Help and Support for more info and feel free to ask for more details on anything.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

But wait, there's more. When using Remote Desktop, your sister (the host) needs to log off or lock the desktop. Probably best to just log off. Also, the Remote Desktop Connection (client) software has different performance profiles on the Experience tab under Options, including some for dial-up connections. Also, I found an interactive tutorial in the Microsoft Interactive Training application in All Programs -> Accessories. If you have it, look for "Accessing your Desktop from a Remote Computer".

Here's an interesting tidbit from Crossloop's FAQ: "CrossLoop installs and uses TightVNC". So, Crossloop is a friendly front-end for very technical TightVNC! Crossloop does sound like a good solution because it does encryption and NAT traversal.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

ScottW,

First, thanks for all the responses and help.

I still haven't decided what to use . . . Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, VNC, CrossLoop, or what. But . . . where I was at one time leaning toward Remote Assistance, and then toward Remote Desktop, now I'm leaning toward CrossLoop.

My main reason for leaning toward CrossLoop is this: The goal of this whole exercise was to troubleshoot a problem on my Sister's computer. Consequently, I don't want to get bogged down and sidetracked troubleshooting the very software that I'm using to get to her machine to troubleshoot in the first place. This might become necessary if I use Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance, because in both cases I would have to tell her how to configure her router (and I barely know myself), or as you suggest, try to tell her how to set up a VPN connection (and that's another thing I'm not very confident doing myself). And too, her router, as I understand it, would give a "disguised" IP address anyway, so I'm not so sure I wouldn't have to get the IP address without the router, whatsmyip.org notwithstanding. Or does that give the "true" IP address . . . is that what you meant by "her external (WAN) IP address"??

So, if I decided to go with Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance I might be inclined to tell her just to unhook the router. But then her problem to troubleshoot may be the router itself (I don't know yet . . . I haven't heard from her).

If she were anything other than computer illiterate, a computer idiot (oops . . . if she knew I called her an idiot, she'd slap me silly) I might try one of those two. But in the case of the router or VPN setup, it would be close to the blind leading the blind, and if it didn't work the first time, I'd likely get sidetracked and end up troubleshooting the setup itself. That would make both her and me frustrated and angry.

Plus there is the issue of TightVNC being "very technical", as you said, so that's out.

So, my tentative conclusion is basically in line with what you said at the end of your post: "Crossloop does sound like a good solution because it does encryption and NAT traversal". And it appears to be the most user friendly, which for my Sister is a big plus. I may end up following Mr. Geeks discussion on it.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

I've taken a look at LogMeIn. The only thing I don't know yet is if I can use it with my dial up . . . I think I can, but it will be horrifically slow and I'll have to do things like change color to B&W to speed it up a bit. I've posted the question on the LMI forum.

It's currently a tie between LMI and Crossloop. The "winner" will be the one I decide is the most user/novice friendly and the one that requires the least (or none) manipulation of firewalls.

For RA and RD I might be inclined to just tell her to unhook her router, and I really don't want to do that.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

BobJam. There is no contest!. For ease of use, Crossloop is the way to go :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

LogMeIn seems to have lost the race, if I'm understanding the answers I got on the LMI forum correctly.

In response to my question about using dial up, a poster added this caveat:

"I don't know if you are near your sister to install the software, but LMI will only support the FREE version when it is installed physically at the machine. So, she would have to install it into your account, or you would have to install it into your account, FROM HER MACHINE."

So I asked a follow up question to that:

"Huh??? Can you explain in more detail?? What do you mean "she would have to install it into your account". I don't have an account on her machine . . . should she make one?? And when you say "FROM HER MACHINE", that seems almost to defeat the purpose of LMI, because if I was in front of her machine I would simply be able to troubleshoot it physically and not need LMI.

By the way, I am in Arizona and she is in California. So, NO, I am not able to sit in front of her machine. That is why I looked into LMI in the first place.

Don't mean to be flippant or abusive here, I just don't understand your answer.

Clearly I'm missing something here. Sorry to be so dense, but I'm new to this "remote assistance" stuff."

In response to that, I got a cryptic link (https://secure.logmein.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=19790) that led to this first sentence:

"Physically go to the computer you want to remotely access"

So I posted this final item in my thread:

"Wait a minute . . . wait a minute.

Le'me see if I can distill this down to a single question with a simple YES or NO answer.

Can I troubleshoot my sister's machine using LMI WITHOUT driving (8 hours) to her place??

If the answer is NO, then I'll go away and not waste any more of your time or mine.

If the answer is "Yes, if . . .", then I likely will have to read some more about how to use LMI."

I don't want to post anymore on the LMI forum because I seem to have hit a dead end there, but it certainly seems like LMI defeats the purpose of remote assistance by requiring that you "Physically go to the computer you want to remotely access". I mean, if I'm going to drive for 8 hours, I might as well stay there and troubleshoot while I'm there. It would be pretty dumb to drive 8 hours just to install a remote assistance piece of software and then turn around and do what I could have done while I was there.

But then a computer doesn't really know who's sitting in front of it, so my assumption is that my sister could do all they say anyway. But then this would require that she herself do a lot of manipulations first, and that IS NOT what I'm looking for.

So I'm really confused. And if I'm confused, my Sister sure as heck will be.

Depending on the answer I get to my "final question" on the LMI forum, I may default to CrossLoop without any further queries anywhere.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

You may be wondering why I'm so hesitant about choosing a remote assistance piece of software. There's a precise answer to that question: I'M LIKELY TO GET ONLY ONE CRACK AT IT!! That's because if my sister encounters any hiccups, she'll probably NOT let me try it again . . . because she'll have such a bad taste in her mouth. I want her to say, "Geeezz, that was easy", NOT "You better not ever do that again!"

I'm considering doing a "simulation experiment". What I mean is this: I'm going to try and have one of my experienced computer buddies play me and I'll play my sister and have them try to connect with me using one of these remote assistance softwares. That way, I'll be able to see what my sister will have to do, and not only judge how effective it is but also know what she'll have to do exactly.

Look at it this way: It would be like a caveman trying to pilot a space shuttle. Computers are as strange and incomprehensible to my sister as a space shuttle would be to that ancient caveman. So, to borrow from those GEICO ads, I need to make it so easy that even a caveman can do it.

Also, consider that you were doing it for your grandmother. Your grandmother just stepped into the 21st Century, put her stubby pencil down, and got a computer for the first time. She asks you for help, and you say you need to know her IP address, She emails you back, "What the heck is an IP address?" You ask her what operating system she is using. She says, "What the heck is an operating system??" That's pretty much my sister. So, the question I am asking people is "What remote assistance software would you use for a person like that??"

I'm not looking for "what most professionals use" (on one forum I visit, a poster said that and said most professionals use UltraVNC.) I'm not looking for what has the most features and such. I'm looking for something that is easiest for the end-user, the person that needs help. NOT the helper. If it's hard for me and easy for her, that's fine.

Crossloop seems to fit that bill somewhat. Is that what you would use, given my focus?? Geek's article on remote assistance seemed to say exactly that.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

Hi BobJam - thanks for posting back every time. I'm curious how 'easy' it will be when you do your experiment:)
My aunt is the same way, but she lives only an hour drive away and after reading all this, I wonder if driving over isn't just easier. She already has trouble making the mouse 'behave' as she calls it! LOL

Good luck,
Sarah.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

I sort of found out what my sister's problem is, but I don't completely understand it yet. I'll have to phone her and get more details, and follow up with an email to avoid the "I thought you said . . ." issue.

She emailed me that a neighbor offered to "help" (sarcastic tone on my part) her, and told her that "sending [print] jobs through the internet was a good thing and easy to set up." So, she agreed to let him do it (WHY SHE THOUGHT THAT SHE NEEDED TO SEND PRINT JOBS THROUGH THE INTERNET IS A MYSTERY TO ME).

She has Verizon wireless, and in that "help effort" (sarcasm again), the neighbor somehow screwed up her wireless connection.

So the neighbor decided to reinstall her XP Pro.

Now she is able to connect again, but her complaint is "I just want my computer back to the way it was before with all my programs".

I suspect that her issue is simply a reinstall from her program CD's, which isn't really a troubleshooting issue, but rather an issue of me guiding her through the installation process. But as I said before, I'm not sure. It may involve the installation of some drivers too. Or other things may be screwed up and I'll have to do some real troubleshooting.

Stay tuned . . .

P.S. Sarah, I'll report back here on how my "experiment" goes, if I do it.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

You have my greatest sympathies BobJam, I think a lot of us have been in your situation.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

I just got a response on another forum where a poster said:

"Using Windows Messenger and Remote Assistance eliminates any router problems and any need to know IP addresses. With any IM do not accept invitations from anybody you do not know and trust. You don't even have to run it until your sister calls or emails to ask you to run it so she can request RA.

I'm not trying to sell Remote Assistance and Windows Messenger, but it seems to be the simplest to try to get a novice to use--no downloading, no router configuration, etc."

And

"One way to request assistance is Start – Help and Support – and under “Ask for assistance” click on “Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance.” Then “Invite someone to help you” and “Use Windows Messenger.” The person you invite must be online; call the person and ask him/her to go online if necessary."

So, RA sounds like it might fit . . . I think I'm going full circle on this.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
SarahJames
Posts: 6581

My aunt has screwed up her keyboard settings, so when hitting one key something else appears on the screen. I guess it is just a matter of setting the keyboard back to VS international, Dutch and then it will be allright, but I don't know what else she messed up. I must say I can't blame her - she's in her seventies and never ever has worked with any computer before, so I think she is rather brave trying it out all of a sudden. But I can pick up the pieces or someone else who happens to pass by and well, they often are like your sister's helping neighbor ....

Feeling for you;-)
I might just pay my aunt a visit or hope some other helper passes by, because I think it will all be too much for her, even the easiest way.

Thanks for posting back - I've picked up a lot along the way.
Hope RA does it for you.

Cheers,
Sarah.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

In getting ready for my "experiment" to use Remote Assistance with Messenger, I realized that I had used that xp_messenger_remove.vbs script from Doug Knox's web site (http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tip.....remove.htm) when I first got this machine in May of 2004.

So, I downloaded Install_MSN_Messenger.exe (which I think is version 7) and installed it. I loaded it and it looked like it had the Messenger logo, so I thought I was good to go with it. Then I went to the "Help and Support Center", and clicked on "Ask for assistance>Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance". But this gave me a message that Messenger was not installed. That confused me, and after some manipulations (like installing and uninstalling over and over), I realized nothing was going to work.

The warning that Messenger was not installed had a link under it for a download of Messenger, so I tried that. It downloaded WLinstaller.exe, which is simply an installer for not only Windows Live Messenger (version 8), but a bunch of other Windows Live software.

And again I tried the "Help and Support Center Ask for assistance>Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance". But this gave me the same message as before, that Messenger was not installed. That confused me more, so I uninstalled the Windows Live Messenger, version 8, and now I tried Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs>Add/Remove Windows Components, and saw that Windows Messenger was unchecked, so I thought that maybe checking it would reinstall Windows Messenger and make things right. But no joy on this either . . . I didn't even get Windows Messenger on my menu this time as I had with the others, so it didn't look like this did anything at all.

Now I began to think that that vbs script, xp_messenger_remove.vbs, had banished Messenger forever. Did it??

After some more manipulations (installing and uninstalling), I at last decided none of this was going to work. I could have used an email invitation or a file save for the RA experiment, but since I understand that using RA with Windows Messenger doesn't involve configuring a router or getting your IP address (see my post #16 above . . . and if her software Firewall is Windows Firewall, which I think it is, I can just have her disable it if it gets in the way), and I don't want to have to try and get my sister to mess with her router or look for her IP address, I wanted to use RA with Windows Messenger.

So I Googled some, looking for an answer why the "Help and Support Center" always said that Messenger wasn't installed when in fact it was, with version 7 and 8.

I found a Microsoft news group on Messenger, and found a poster that asked the exact question I had. Here's the answer:

"Windows Messenger (not Windows LIVE Messenger) needs to be installed for Remote Assistance to work.
You can download the latest Windows Messenger version here
Windows Messenger 5.1
http://www.microsoft.com/downl.....layLang=en
Remote Assistance relies on Windows Messenger to be installed. If Windows Messenger is not installed, Remote Assistance will not work, and as a result, Windows LIVE Messenger cannot use Remote Assistance. As a result, you'll need to install Windows Messenger.
--
Jason Tsang - Microsoft MVP"

So I downloaded Messenger 5.1, messenger.msi, installed it, and lo and behold when I opened "Help and Support Center Ask for assistance>Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance", it recognized this Messenger as installed and asked me to sign in.

Coupla' things on this. I've long since ceased to be a Microsoft basher, but on this I would have to say that Microsoft has definitely dropped the ball. The very link in "Help and Support Center Ask for assistance>Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance" for downloading Messenger downloads THE WRONG MESSENGER. And since a lot of people over the years have uninstalled Messenger (witness the popularity of Doug Knox's vbs script, and other web sites that link to it, and also see the high number of Google hits on "Remove Windows Messenger" . . . I got 65,000), you would think that Microsoft, realizing this, would provide for people like us reinstalling Messenger for this very reason.

Plus, the name "Messenger" has been used by Microsoft for a number of things (Like the Windows Messenger Service, which is VERY DIFFERENT from the Messenger IM, and MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, which are both very different from the Messenger 5.1), so users are confused by those muddy terms. Simply saying "Messenger" can mean too many different things.

The other thing I noticed was that Windows Live Messenger appears in the Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs list, while Messenger 5.1 DOES NOT. Because, I assume, 5.1 becomes an integral part of the OS, while Windows Live Messenger retains it's identity as an external app.

Additionally, Windows Live Messenger does not place that "Automatically log on to Windows Messenger" line in the General Tab of the Tools>Options in OE. Windows Messenger 5.1 DOES.

Bottom line here, I am now prepared to run RA with Messenger . . . but no thanks to Microsoft.

If I can't find, a "computer buddy" for the experiment (and I haven't yet), I do in fact have two computers myself, so I may try it with them. But I will be logged in on the same WAN connection with the same IP, so will that be a problen with CrossLoop?? With RA??

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
ScottW
Posts: 6609

Attn: MODS. Please send BobJam my e-mail address. I'll be your Remote Assistance buddy, BobJam. It's about time to take this work offline anyway.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

Thanks, Scott!! You can email me at rbjamie AT gmail DOT com (munged here, of course).

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
quahog
Posts: 68

I dont know if anyones suggested vmware but heres a link so you can read about it, and a download link for it if you would like to try it (its free and pretty cool, also good for running two operating systems without dual booting)

Read about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMware

Download:
http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/

Ps: just something to think about as a possible solution

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

Hey quahog,

Thanks for the links. I don't understand virtual machines very well, but as far as I understand the phrase, it really isn't something suited to remote assistance as I want to use it.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

You are correct BobJam. It is a different thing entirely.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

yes i was a bit confused as to why there is a virtual machine post when we are dealing with remote assistance ?? :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
quahog
Posts: 68

Well, I suggested it was because if you can get a virtual copy of her system (Im not sure if you can do that remotely) and you can work on it without disturbing your sister. Its just something that could minimize the disruption

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

quahog. You have no idea what you're talking about. Do you?

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
quahog
Posts: 68

What do you mean?

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

How would you "virtually" copy a system. Transfer it over the net. And then work on it dynamically?

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
quahog
Posts: 68

Thats why I said "Im not sure if you can do that remotely"

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

So why did you suggest it in the first place?

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
jack7h3r1pp3r
Posts: 2815

so to use vmware would you need the os installed or how exactly does this work?

kinda off topic sorry

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
BobJam
Posts: 1052

Solved . . . CrossLoop it is, and thanks to ScottW for all the help.

BTW, how do you mark these threads as "solved"?? I don't see a button for that, or is this something that a Mod does?? If so, then you can mark this as "solved" and end this agony.

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

Jolly good BobJam. I always recommend Crossloop as the easiest (on the assumption that, if I can do it, so can anyone else)
and Solved is taken care of :)

Posted 8 years ago
Top
 



Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.