Windows Vista -
How to Use Remote Assistance in Windows Vista
Published on 12/10/2006
Overview of Remote Assistance in Windows Vista

How to Use Remote Assistance in Windows Vista

Requirements for Remote Assistance
Both the novice's computer and the expert's computer must be running a version of Windows Vista.
The novice's computer and the expert's computer must be connected to a common network. The Internet can serve as this common network. For more information about possible network configurations, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
301529 ( Supported connection scenarios for Remote Assistance 
In Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Home Basic, the novice must be using an owner account.
The novice must be able to transfer a file to the expert. The novice can send a file automatically through the Help and Support Center by using Microsoft Outlook Express or by using Microsoft Windows Messenger. Therefore, the user must have set up Outlook Express or Windows Messenger. The novice can also save the file and send it to the expert by using other ways of transferring a file.
Note This article describes Remote Assistance situations where the novice initiates the Remote Assistance session by sending an invitation to the expert. On computers that are in the same domain, the expert can offer Remote Assistance to the novice and bypass the requirement that the novice sends the invitation to the expert. For more information about offering Remote Assistance, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
301527 ( Configuring a Windows XP machine to receive Remote Assistance offers

Sending a Remote Assistance invitation
1. Click Start, and then click Help and Support.
2. Under Ask Someone, click Windows Remote Assistance.
3. Click Invite Someone You Trust to Help You.
4. There are three available options for sending the Remote Assistance invitation, Windows Messenger, e-mail, or saving the invitation as a file. Select one of the three options, and then follow the directions.

Note With the email or Save as Invitation methods, the novice will be able to protect the session with a password. The novice must also select a time period when the invitation will automatically expire. The novice can cause the invitation to expire at any time by clicking the View invitation status link on the Remote Assistance page that is referred to in step 3.
5. When the expert receives the invitation, the expert is prompted for the password that the novice set. After supplying this password, the expert can initiate the Remote Assistance session.
6. After the expert initiates the session, the novice's computer verifies the password that the expert entered.
7. The novice's computer also checks to make sure that the expert used a valid invitation and that the invitation is still open.
8. If the invitation is open, and the password is correct, the novice receives a notification that says that the expert wants to start the session now. Then the novice is prompted to start the Remote Assistance session.
9. If the novice chooses to start the session, the Remote Assistance novice chat dialog box will open on the novice's computer, and the Remote Assistance expert console opens on the expert's computer. At this point, the expert can see everything on the novice's computer in real time.
10. The expert can request to take control of the novice's computer at this point by clicking Take Control on the expert console. This sends a message to the novice's computer that notifies the novice that the expert is requesting to take control of the computer. The message provides the following three methods by which the novice can stop the expert's control of the novice's computer:

Press the ESC key.
Hold down the CTRL key, and then press the C key. 
Click Stop Control next to the novice's chat window. 
11. If the novice chooses to give control of the computer to the expert, the novice and the expert share control of the keyboard and the mouse. It is best if the novice does not move the mouse or type when the expert has control because the session responds to input from both users. Input from both users at the same time can cause the mouse to behave unpredictably. If the novice stops the expert's control, the Remote Assistance session continues, and the expert can still see the novice's desktop.

Method 1: Windows Messenger
Users of the Windows Messenger service can invite a contact to help them by using Remote Assistance. The Windows Messenger method is the preferred method for sending a Remote Assistance invitation for the following reasons: Windows Messenger works in real time. This enables the novice to know if the expert is online. 
Windows Messenger provides additional ways for the novice and expert computers to find each other over the Internet. These methods can be used when computers are not on the same network or when computers are trying to connect over the Internet through a firewall or over the Internet through a NAT computer.
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
301529 ( Supported connection scenarios for Remote Assistance
When you use Windows Messenger service, you do not have to open Help and Support Center. You can also send the invitation when you open Windows Messenger by following these steps: 1. On the Actions Menu, click Request Remote Assistance.
2. Click To Start Remote Assistance.
3. Click the desired contact for Remote Assistance.
The selected contact receives a message that requests a Remote Assistance session, and the expert can click Accept or Decline.

A Remote Assistance session may also be initiated in Windows Messenger when you right-click a contact. To do this, follow these steps:1. Right-click a contact.
2. Click Start Activities.
3. Under My Activities, click Request Remote Assistance.

Method 2: E-mail
Remote Assistance can help the novice compose an e-mail message to send to the expert. The e-mail contains an attachment that includes the invitation. The expert is prompted to provide a password when the attachment is opened if the novice specified a password. Then, the process continues as explained in the "Sending a Remote Assistance invitation" section.

Remote Assistance uses the e-mail client that is specified in the Programs tab of Internet Options. If an e-mail client has not yet been configured, Remote Assistance tries to help the novice configure it. To change the e-mail client that Remote Assistance uses, do the following: 1. In Control Panel, double-click Internet Options.
2. On the Programs tab, change the e-mail setting to the e-mail client of your choice.
Remote Assistance uses Simple Mail Advanced Programming Interface (Simple MAPI) to help the novice compose an e-mail. Some e-mail clients do not support Simple MAPI, and these e-mail clients do not appear as an option in the Internet Options Control Panel program.

Method 3: Save invitation as a file
If the novice's e-mail client does not support Simple MAPI, or if the novice wants to use another means by which to send the invitation file to the expert, the novice can save the invitation as a file.

This option enables the novice to automatically save to the local drive or to a network share the same file that is described in Method 2. The novice can then attach this file to an e-mail message by using an e-mail client that does not support Simple MAPI. Or the file can be transferred by using a network share, copied to a disk, or transferred in another way to the expert. When the file is received, the expert can double-click it to open the invitation and start the Remote Assistance session. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300692 ( Description of the Remote Assistance connection process
Note Remote Assistance uses DCOM. In Windows Vista, the EnableDCOM registry entry is located in the following registry subkey:
If the EnableDCOM registry entry is set to "N" or is missing, Remote Assistance will not work.