Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Remote Assistance

Jason Zandri's latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series covers the Remote Assistance feature.

Welcome to this week's installment of Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 minutes a week, the 16th in this series. This article will cover the Windows XP Professional Remote Assistance feature.

Windows XP Professional Remote Assistance Overview

Remote Assistance is a convenient way for level two system technicians (and in certain cases, knowledgeable friends and associates) to connect to your Windows XP system and either walk you through any problems you are having or allow them to take care of the problems for you.

After Enterprise users log a call to a central help desk either via the phone or the Enterprise's current trouble call system (or by one of the ways mentioned later in this article), Remote Assistance allows the appropriate person to log into your system to view what you see on your computer screen and chat online with you in real time through the use of Windows Messenger about what you both see on the local system. (It is possible for them to speak over the telephone with you about what is seen on the local system as well.) If the task is "too difficult" to walk the user through, the support person can "take over" the session and complete the task remotely.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - The minimum system requirements needed to properly utilize Remote Assistance as outlined by Microsoft are that both connecting systems must be using either Windows Messenger or another MAPI-compliant e-mail account such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.
Both systems will need network connectivity, either via the Internet or a corporate WAN/LAN.

On some corporate WANs, firewalls might stop you from using Remote Assistance depending on which ports are being filtered at the firewall.

Remote Assistance runs over the top of Terminal Services technology and uses the same TCP port used by Terminal Services: port 3389.

Remote Assistance will not work if outbound traffic from TCP port 3389 is blocked.

If you are using Network Address Translation (NAT) in a home environment, you can use Remote Assistance without any special configurations. However, if you have a personal firewall or similar lockdowns in your home environment, you will have the same issues as in a corporate environment -- Remote Assistance will not work if outbound traffic from TCP port 3389 is blocked.

Also, Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition are the only two systems that can use this functionality. The user requesting assistance and the user providing the assistance must both be using systems running one of the versions of Windows XP.

Page 2: Remote Assistance Configuration

This article was originally published on Oct 11, 2002
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