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Windows Remote Assistance: A Full Guide on How to Use It

Author: Helga York
Helga York Article author

You will find out what the Windows Remote Assistance is for, can it fly right for your scenarios, will it solve your problems or add on more, and why remote assistant software is much safer than system utility apps.

Plus, we’ll find out if remote desktop assistance and remote access assistance is the same thing (spoiler: not at all), and get tipped off about some tangible specifics of remote assistance in different Windows system versions.

What is Windows Remote Assistance?

Windows Remote Assistance is a standard system utility app first introduced in Windows XP. It allows you to invite the entrusted helper to access and temporarily control your computer remotely over a network using an encrypted RDP connection. In this way, the technical issues can be fixed on the fly, without causing much downtime.

You can also use this app to access a friend’s PC and give some advice or practical help. This app allows you to manage files, change settings, and much more. The concept is similar to the Remote Desktop Connection utility, but these two apps have some major differences you need to be aware of to choose the right tool for your specific situation.

Windows Remote Assistance vs. Remote Desktop Connection

The main reason why these two concepts may be mixed up is that, in the core, they both are aimed at accessing a remote machine over a distance. Plus, both the remote assistance and remote desktop sessions start with an invitation, require user’s permission, and use RDP. But the difference between remote assistance and remote desktop connection is quite substantial.

In a word, nine times out of ten, people use remote desktop connections to access their own computers from a distance. Sure thing, it is possible to use for remote computer assistance, but during a session there will be no way to see what some distant person is doing with your system, files, and whatnot, let alone interfere in any way.

This is why it’s better to use Windows remote assistance for getting tech aid. This app lets users keep track of what’s going on, actively participate in the process and never share any data they don’t feel like sharing.

How to Use Windows Remote Assistance

Some of the details will vary depending on the Windows version you have, but the overall process of using Windows remote assistance via a standard system feature is pretty much the same.
  1. Adjust your System Properties to allow remote access. You may need some aid from a system administrator to do that on your office PC.
  2. If you have a third-party firewall, you’ll also need to open the port 3389 (or have a system administrator do it for you).
  3. Use a system app or feature to generate an encrypted file and/or password needed to request remote assistance, then pass those to someone you trust via the invitation email.
  4. Hit your snooze button (in a figural sense) and wait till the helper-outer connects to your PC and fixes it for you.

And don’t forget to untick the ‘Allow remote assistance connections to this computer’ box on the system Properties Remote pane.

Windows 10 Remote Assistance Specifics

The most convenient way to get Windows 10 remote assistance is to type msra.exe in your Command Prompt and follow the instructions of the Quick Assist utility. But first you’ll need to tweak your computer’s properties to allow remote assistance and enable the quick assist feature. Besides that, there is an oldschool Windows Remote Assistance tool just in case someone contracts the habit of using it since Win XP times.

Windows 8 Remote Assistance: Some Essential Details

There is no Quick Assist in Windows 8, so you’ll have to use a good old MS Remote Assistance tool. The Easy Connect feature is pretty buggy here, so to avoid problems, request Windows 8 remote assistance by emailing an invitation file (the one with the .msrcincident extension) to a support technician or your tech-savvy friend.

Windows 7 Remote Assistance

Click Get help from a friend on the Control Panel’s left pane to prompt for a Windows 7 remote assistance, and send the Invitation.msrsincident file to your trusted helper. The session won’t start without your permission so don’t miss the popup box.

Is It Safe to Use Remote Assistance?

One last question I can’t leave out of this blog: is using remote assistance safe? The harsh truth of modern digital reality is that no network connection can be one hundred percent safe. So the real question is what precautions you should take to minimize the risks.

The most obvious tip is to never use those standard Windows utilities we’ve been talking about this whole time. Mostly because they all operate via the RDP connection which, from a perspective of cybersecurity, is an open door for malware and hackers. So, in most scenarios, a third-party product like TeamViewer or AnyDesk is always a better option.

Ok, now that’ll be all for today. Don’t hesitate to click my links for a better grasp on Windows remote assistance, stay safe and see you all in the next HelpWire blogs.