by February 6, 2002 0 comments

It’s necessary at times for us to ask an experienced person to help in solving problems. Windows XP makes this task simple by introducing a new help tool–Remote Assistance. This lets you ask for help or reply to a help query.

You can enable Remote Assistance for your machine by right-clicking My Computer and going to the Remote tab. Turn on the ‘Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer’. Click on the Advanced button and turn on the option to allow the computer to be controlled remotely. Also set a reasonable time limit say 12 hours for the invitation than the default 30 days.

Now, go to Start>All Programs>Remote Assistance. If you’re inviting someone to help you, you can either pick him from the MSN messenger list or send him an e-mail. You can even save the request to a file and send it later if you so wish. You can choose the amount of time the invitation remains open and enter an optional password (highly recommended) that should be used by the person when entering your system. On continuing, you are asked to confirm whether you wish to send the invite.

If using the e-mail option, a mail is created and added to your Outbox in the default mail client. Connect to the Net and send it. If you’ve entered a password to access your system, you’ll need to send that separately as the e-mail does not add it.

The recipient receives the e-mail with a link to instructions on how to access Remote Assistance, your personalized message to him as well as a remote assistance attachment. Opening this attachment runs the Remote Assistance tool. This shows the name of the person who sent the invite, the invite expiration time and a password entry field. If the computer is found, the helper can connect to the remote computer and chat with the inviter, take control of the screen and demonstrate the problem. 

Remote Assistance uses port 3389 to connect. So if you’re behind a firewall and are not able to receive remote assistance it could be because the port is blocked at the firewall level. Remember that your entire computer is accessible by the person you send the request to. So make sure that you request help only from trusted friends as well as make a unique password every time you do. Also keep the invitation period short so that people cannot misuse the facility.

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