Remotely Control Somebody’s Desktop the Easy Way

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By Lowell Heddings on November 12th, 2007

We’ve all gotten the call from some family member asking why their computer isn’t working properly. After an hour of troubleshooting over the phone with them or trying to get remote assistance to work we’ve decided we’re skipping the next family reunion to avoid being asked to help… there has to be a better way…

There is, and it’s called Crossloop – a completely free screen sharing software that’s extremely simple to use and very secure… since it’s not enabled all the time. I’d advise installing this on their computer even before they have problems so you’ll be prepared.

Yes, It’s Really This Simple

Tell the person that you are trying to help to open the application and select the Host tab. They’ll need to give you the access code and then click the Connect button.


Type in the access code on your copy’s Join tab, and then click Connect. Note that the spaces are only for readability and not necessary.


They’ll get a dialog telling them that you want to control their computer, tell them to hit Yes.


The first time they run the app, they’ll need to click the Unblock button (unless you’ve already installed and configured it for them)


Now you are controlling their desktop, and you can tell them to get lost while you delete the 389 browser search toolbars they installed.


This application will work even if you have a firewall, and uses an encrypted connection. You can read more information about how it actually works.

Also Good to Know

You can click the little folder icon on the CrossLoop window to send files from one computer to the other.


If you are having speed issues, you can tone down the amount of colors being shown, which should dramatically speed up the connection. Right-click on the CrossLoop window title bar and then choose Connection options:


You can select the checkbox for “Restrict pixels to 8-bit (for slow networks)” which will make the picture really ugly, but you can breeze around and get things done. I’d only use this if you are having issues, but it’s good to know it’s there.


After you end the first session you’ll get a dialog asking you to rate your session and provide feedback. If you complete it then it’ll go away.


Overall this is a great application for doing remote help, much easier than driving to your family member’s house and listening to their stories about mowing the lawn in the snow while walking 20 miles to school…

Thanks to our forum moderator Scott for pointing out this app to me.

Download CrossLoop from

Note: If you have problems with Windows Vista as a Host, a workaround is to disable UAC prompting while still leaving UAC enabled.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/12/07
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