5.1.3 Remote Assistance
Remote Assistance is installed with the operating system by default but is disabled. Thus, it must be enable
before it can be used. Remote Assistance allows a user at one computer to ask for assistance from a user at
another computer, on the network or across the Internet. This request for assistance can be made through
Windows Messenger, e-mail, or through a transferred file. The assistant can also offer remote assistance
without receiving an explicit request if Group Policy settings are configured to enable offering of remote
assistance and the assistant is listed in the Offer Remote Assistance policy, or is a local administrator.
However, the user requiring assistance must grant the assistant permission to take over the userís computer.
When an assistant receives a request for assistance, he or she can initiate a connection to the requesting
userís computer. Once connected, the assistant is able to view the actual desktop and applications that are in
use on the requesting userís computer. In addition, a special application is launched on the requesting userís
computer that allows the user to chat with the assistant and control the session. In addition, files can be
transferred easily between the two through the Remote Assistance interface. Remote Assistance on the
requesting userís computer can also be configured to allow the assistant to interact with the requesting userís
desktop and applications on the requesting userís compute. This allows both the requesting user and the
remote assistant to control the computer at the same time. The RDP protocol is used during this session so
that only screen updates are sent to the client, i.e. the assistant, while keystrokes and mouse movements are
sent back to the server, i.e., the user requesting assistance.
Remote Assistance requires that both computers be running Windows XP Professional or Server 2003. In
addition, Remote Assistance invitations can require that the assistant provide a password, to prevent an
impostor from connecting to the computer while pretending to be the assistant. You can also specify the
amount of time for which a Remote Assistance invitation will remain valid. Users also have the option to
turn off the Remote Assistance feature entirely.
Only one Remote Desktop session at a time can connect to a Windows XP Professional system. In addition,
when you connect via Remote Desktop to a Windows XP Professional computer, you will see all the
applications that are running on the desktop of that Windows XP computer.