Windows 8 : Working with Remote Assistance - Initiating Remote Assistance, Providing remote assistance

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Initiating Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance sessions must be initiated by the person requesting help. Although you might walk the user through the process over the phone, through instant messaging, or even email, the person requesting your help must take the steps to start a session.

The connection is established through an invitation. There are a few types of connections, all of which require an Internet or local area network connection. It is important to know and trust that the other person on the connection is who he or she says he or she is. When a connection is made, the person who is providing the assistance will have access to the desktop and data on the computer of the person receiving the assistance. Both users see the same screen while the connection is active.

To locate Remote Assistance, search for Remote Assistance on the Start screen and select Settings. Four options are returned:

  • Allow Remote Assistance Invitations To Be Sent From This Computer This option enables the computer to send out invitations for Remote Asistance.

  • Allow Remote Access To Your Computer This option enables you to initiate remote access to your computer for other users.

  • Select Users Who Can Use Remote Desktop This option allows certain user accounts permission to access this computer by using Remote Desktop.

  • Invite Someone To Connect To Your PC And Help You, Or Offer Help To Someone Else This option enables you to create or respond to a Remote Assistance session.

To start Remote Assistance, choose Invite Someone To Connect To Your PC And Help You, Or Offer Help To Someone Else. This opens the Remote Assistance dialog box shown in Figure 1. You can select whether you would like to receive help or offer help.



In addition to being available to configure on a local computer, these settings can be controlled by using Group Policy. However, when Group Policy manages these settings, they might not be available for selection on the local computer if disabled by policy.

After an option for Remote Assistance is selected, Windows displays the desktop to introduce the Remote Assistance Wizard to configure the settings for a new session or a session being joined.

Asking for or providing Remote Assistance

Figure 1. Asking for or providing Remote Assistance

To request assistance, complete the following steps:

  1. Tap or click Invite Someone You Trust To Help You.

  2. Choose the method of connection to use for the assistance session. The connection options are:

    • Save this invitation as a file.

      After saving the file, you can decide how to get the file to the person providing assistance. After you save the file, a password is generated for the session and displayed. This password is required to access the remote session that is saved in the invitation file. You can share the required password over the telephone or in email, but remember to protect the password for the session.

    • Use email to send an invitation.

    • Use Easy Connect. This feature is the easiest way to connect, and you will use it most often.

  3. Tap or click Next.

Easy Connect removes the need for the invitation file but still requires the exchange of a password for the connection to open. Easy Connect has some caveats: both computers must run the same operating system, Internet connectivity for both parties must be functioning normally, and the user’s router must support the Easy Connect protocol.

After the connection is initiated, Remote Assistance prompts for acceptance. This operation times out after about one minute of inaction.

Providing remote assistance

When the session is accepted, you as the helper can see the screen of the person you are assisting in addition to a session control window by which you can pause screen sharing, chat, and configure settings. When the connection begins, it will be in view-only mode, allowing you to see, but not control, the user’s screen. To control the screen, choose Request Control at the top of the Windows Remote Assistance window. The person you are helping is prompted to give you permission to control the screen.

When the user grants you permission, you can control the screen and manipulate the system to help solve any problems. The user can see that you are connected and sharing control of the computer (see Figure 2). The user can pause or stop the screen-sharing session at any time, removing your access to that system.

While the screen is being controlled remotely, all actions are visible to the other party, and you can walk him or her through the process of correcting the issue.

If you cannot use the phone or instant messenger to communicate while working in a shared session, Remote Assistance provides a chat that exists within the session. This enables quick communication during the session.

While in a Remote Assistance Chat session, the default is to create a log of all session activities, which appears at the top of the chat window. It is a good idea to leave this option enabled in case a similar problem occurs in the future. That way, you can refer to the process that solved the problem.

Using Chat during a Remote Assistance session

Figure 2. Using Chat during a Remote Assistance session

Overall, Remote Assistance is an excellent tool for direct interaction to solve a problem without being physically present at the user’s location. Depending on the nature of the problem and the instruction required to start a session, using Remote Assistance can save significant time in the troubleshooting process. Because it works over the network or across the Internet by using an invitation file and password and is encrypted from end to end, it can be used safely across the enterprise.

  •  Windows 8 : Managing authorization and access rights (part 4) - Run As,Using and managing certificates
  •  Windows 8 : Managing authorization and access rights (part 3) - Running tasks as administrator and user account control
  •  Windows 8 : Managing authorization and access rights (part 2) - Local Security Policy console
  •  Windows 8 : Managing authorization and access rights (part 1) - Assigning user rights
  •  Windows 8 : Determining who’s who through authentication (part 5) - Logging on by using a picture password,Using a personal identification number for authentication
  •  Windows 8 : Determining who’s who through authentication (part 4) - Managing credentials in Windows 8 by using Credential Manager,Configuring a Microsoft account for use with Windows
  •  Windows 8 : Determining who’s who through authentication (part 3) - Smart card authentication, Biometric authentication
  •  Windows 8 : Determining who’s who through authentication (part 2) - User name and password-based authentication
  •  Windows 8 : Determining who’s who through authentication (part 1) - How does Windows authenticate users accessing the system?
  •  Windows Server 2012 : Planning, implementing, and managing Group Policy (part 9) - Configuring WMI filtering
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