Waisman Computing Services

FAQ 5203Remote Assistance

If you are in need of help from the Waisman Computing Services staff, but are not in a position for us to come visit you in person (let's say you are having trouble setting up a VPN connection on your computer at home), Windows has a facility for us to come visit you over the network. It is called "Remote Assistance".

We have not used this much in the past because the process for setting up this visit is rather cumbersome for a novice user. It involves sending us an invitation by e-mail.

This process is outlined below.
Step 1 - Open the Help and Support Center
Remote Assistance is one feature of Window's Help and Support Center.

If your start menu does not look like the one shown here, you can click on an empty part of your desktop, and then press the [F1] function key.
Step 2 - Ask for Assistance
Select the item to "Ask a friend to connect to your computer..."
Step 3 - Invite someone to help you
In order for us to connect to your computer, we must make use of an "invitation" which must be prepared by you, on the PC where you want help. "Invite someone to help you" is like opening the box of stationery.
Step 4 - Save invitation as a file
The first two options on this screen seem like they should be easier to use, but almost never work properly. We will use the more reliable option to "Save invitation as a file".
Step 5 - Identify Yourself and Extend the Expiration
This screen gives you a place to type your name and specify an expiration time for the invitation.

If the invitation were to fall into the wrong hands, it could represent a security risk to your computer and your personal information. So, it is a good idea to limit the length of time that the invitation can be used. However, the default of 1 Hour does not provide ample time for us to connect with each other and get our work done. "4 Hours" or "1 Day" would be a more reasonable expiration time.

Click [Continue>] after making the settings.
Step 6 - No Password
This screen allows you to set a password on the invitation so that only those who know the secret can use it to connect to you.

However, we don't recommend this step since there is usually no secure or reliable way for you to communicate the password to us. For example, it would be pointless to give the password in the same e-mail message that is used to send us the invitation. Also, we never need (or want) to know any of your passwords, and some may choose to use their logon password for this dialog.

The only recommended way to use a password is to communicate it by phone, and make sure that it is a password that is not used for anything else.

We suggest you un-check the box to "Require the recipient to use a password" and then click the [Save Invitation] button.
Step 7 - Save to Your Desktop
The Remote Assistance Invitation is actually a small file, which you should save temporarily on your desktop.

Click the [Desktop] shortcut on the left, and then the [Save] button. The default filename of "RAInvitation.msrcincident" is fine.
Step 8 - Send us the Invitation
The last step in this process is to attach the RAInvitation.msrcincident file to an e-mail message that you send to one of us.

Note: This is one situation where we recommend you not send to Help@Waisman.Wisc.Edu, but rather send to one of the Waisman Computing Services staff directly. It is similar to handing us your car keys, so you want to be sure you are giving it to the right person.

These Remote Assistance sessions work best when both of us are talking over the phone together; so including some contact information in your e-mail message is helpful.
Let the Session Begin
Once we have received your e-mail with the invitation, we will call you on the phone and initiate the connection.

On your computer, you will be given a choice to accept or reject the connection. Once you accept, we will be able to see your screen just as you do; and will be able to see what you are doing as you move your mouse around, open applications or files, etc.

We can also request to "take control" of your system, at which point both of us will have the ability to use the mouse, type commands, etc.

It's the next best thing to being there!
© 2018 Waisman Computing Services   |   Contact us   |   Last modified: 2009-10-15
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