The holidays will soon be upon us and one of my primary jobs when visiting my family is to help my parents and siblings with their computer problems. This has been our family tradition for over two decades. My family saves up a list of problems all year long and while football is on TV and the food cooks, my office hours start. That was the norm until this year.
The current state of the world has thrown a wrench in the annual pilgrimage to mom and dad’s house for computer support. Sadly, we have all chosen to skip the travel this year and stay at home. Luckily for my technically challenged family, I can still offer them technical support safely from home. Are you also the tech support for your family? Have you ever said, “I wish I could see your screen” when helping?
I have some great news for you. Whether working remotely or helping out a family member, Microsoft Windows has the capability built in to allow a trusted person to offer you remote assistance for others. The best part is it costs nothing to do a one on one session with another Windows-based computer. In just a few clicks, you can be helping your coworkers or friend just like you are sitting at their keyboard with them.
Where is the software?
There is nothing to install to access this software. It comes preinstalled on all versions of Windows from Windows 7 forward.
The program is called Quick Assist and it can be found in the program launcher/start menu of Windows. The easiest way to find it is to click start and then start typing “Quick Assist”. The menu will display the program for you. Click on it to get started.
As the Helper
As the helper, you have a few things that you need to have first. The first thing you need to have is a valid Microsoft account. This can be a paid Microsoft 365 school or work account or a free Microsoft Live account, which can be created using just about any valid email address.
After you start Quick Assist, you will choose to “Assist another person”.
You will be asked to provide a Microsoft account. Enter your Live account or work account and click next. Enter your password.
You will be taken to the Quick Assist waiting screen. This is where you will contact the person you are assisting and provide them with the Security Code. More on that in the next section.
As the Help Recipient
As the person receiving assistance, you will need the code that the person assisting you will provide. The best way to get the code is over the phone with the person helping you. After launching Quick Assist, enter the code and click “Share screen”. You do no need to have a Microsoft account to receive help.
Providing the Assistance
There is a short back-and-forth that needs to take place to get the screen connection going.
|After the code is entered by the recipient, the helper is asked what kind of connection they want to use.
Taking full control will give you full ability to make any changes just like you are sitting at the keyboard
View screen will allow you to observe the other screen only.
|After the helper presses “Continue”, the help recipient must approve the level of assistance. If you agree to the helpers’ request, click “Allow” to continue.
Now you can sit back and relax while the helper remote controls the computer on your behalf.
As the helper, you have any of the tools the Windows operating system offers. You can launch and run any program just like the person at the keyboard. There are a few convenience tools in the toolbar at your disposal.
- Select monitor – If the computer has multiple monitors, this allows you to pick any single or all of the monitors to view
- Annotate – Allows you to draw on the screen to highlight an area to draw attention to it.
- Actual size – If the screen resolution is too small to see, clicking actual size can help make content larger.
- Toggle instruction channel – This lets you send messages back and forth if you are not able to talk in person.
- Restart – Reboot the remote computer.
- Task manager – quickly see what processes are running on the controlled computer.
- Reconnect – after a reboot, use this to reconnect to the controlled computer.
- Pause – Use this if sensitive information needs to be typed in like a password. This will blank out the helpers’ screen.
- End – this is how you stop helping and close the remote-control session.
I hope this helps you bring a little happiness and joy to your favorite people who need technical support. Be it on the job or at home, you can leverage Windows tools to overcome challenges and solve problems.
About the Author
James Cragle is a Collaboration Consultant at New Signature and also his family’s live-in IT support. He is the father of 2 teenage children and the IT support for for seniors in their 70’s. He uses Quick Assist at least once a week to help those in need.