Remote Controlling Your World

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 Posted by Aman Jain

Its something that’s happened to all of us at some time .Its a Friday and your eyes let you see nothing more than to do lists for a weekend.There’s the date whose grown tired of your thousand and one excuses , and the party that demands your presence …You waltz away home ,memorizing the sequence in which the list has to be executed , and then the symphony throws up a flat note from a real life! You just forgot to finish that document that nearly finished you off mentally!

Sprinting back to office is not an option you would like to look to at!Now if there was a way of doing the damned thing from home !

It’s the same scenario when asking for help on a lengthy phone conversionations with the so called help desks .If you could only let them access your desktop for a while and let them fix it remotely ,indeed life might actually be worth living for a change !

Here’s the solution –simple remote access tools that let yopu do just that – access your PC remotely.

Help’s on the way remotely

Windows XP has a nifty little tool called Remote Assistance that does what its name states – troubleshoot computer problems from a distance .Remote Assistance is easy to use and secure – no one take control of your PC unless you send an invitation , and give the person proper authorization.Along with Windows XP and an internet connection, you need Windows Messenger 5.0 or greater installe on both PCs .

1. Enabling Remote Access

To enable the Remote Assistance services , go to Start > Settings > Control Panel, and click on the system icon .Alternatively you can use the [Windows] + [Pause /Break] keayboard shortcut.Under the Remote tab , check the ‘Remote Assistance ‘ box .Click on Advanced and ensure that ‘Allow this computer to be remotely controlled’checkbox is ticked .Let the default setting for the amount of time the invitation can remain open stay as 30 days.Keep clicking on OK till you exit the menu.

2. Inviting the expert

Initiate a Remote Assistance session either by using Windows Messenger or email.

Log on using your standard MSN.Net ID , which is the same as the one used for MSN messenger .Right Click on the expert’s ID in the main window and select ‘Ask for Remote assistanc e’ to send an invitation to the expert.

3. Running a Remote Assistance Session

A dialog box informs you if the expert has accepted the invitation and is ready to connect you to the computer .If you do not get a response after a while send the invitation again since your internet connectionmight be weak.Click ‘Yes ‘ to let the expert view your desktop and chat with you .The expert will have to click on ‘Take control ‘ in case you wish to let him or her access to your desktop to solve the problem .Accordingly , Remote Assistance will prompt you on your machine .Choose ‘Yes’ to let the expert take over control on your PC .Now both you an the expert have control on your PC.You can disable access to the expert by pressing [Esc].The expert can also hand back control to you by clicking on ‘Release control’.Send and receive files while using Remote assistance by clicking on the ‘Send a file’.This can be done by both parties.The receiver is notified of the file transfer.You can also start a conversation by clicking on ‘Start Talking’.

Other Assistance

Windows XP professional has a built tool called Remote Desktop that lets you operate on your remote desktop PC.Note that Remote Desktop services are available only for Windows XP Professional version.

All you need is the host ie. the windows XP professional machine and the local PC- client running on any version of Windows .The PC’s could be on the same LAN, VPN , or connected over the internet.

4.Setting up the host computer.

The host computer could be the one at your workspace or home .You would need to set it up before you can access it remotely.Log on as the Administrator, since you will need to have Administrator rights to access the Remote options .Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel, and click on the System icon.

Flip across to the Remote tab and check ‘Allow users to connect remotely to this computer’ .Click on the ‘Select Remote users’ tab.H?ere click on Add to add users who intend to connect remotely.Either enter the usernames or locate the usernames by clicking on Advanced .Ensure that the location is correct and click on Find.Click OK

To get back to the Select Users menu .again click OK and the user is added into the list .By default the Administrator has access to the service.You can remove a user from the list by highlighting the username and clicking on Remove.Finally click OK and return to the Remote menu.Here click OK and your system is set to receive the remote connections.You can lock up your Windows XP machine.Note that you also need to have the necessary associated services tuned on to connect remotely.

Also remember to leave your computer turned on, and connected to the network-The Remote Desktop service will not be able to physically switch on your computer!

5. Setting up the client

You need to have the Remote Desktop Client Software to connect to the host computer .By default to the host computer .By default , its installed in all Windows XP Professional and Home edition Computers .You will have to install the Remote Desktop Client Software separately for all other Windows editions.

Starting the session

Starting a remote desktop session is pretty simple .Go to Start> Programs > Accessories > Communications and click on ‘Remote Desktop Connection’.Click on options in the Remote Desktop Connection .Here in general , set all the options related to Logon settings .Save your previously entered sessions along with your authentication details in the Connection Settings , so that you can log on without entering a username or password.Tweak the keyboard and sound options under the ‘Local resources ‘.Programs lets you start programs when you connect , and experience lets you set the kind of eye candy that’s acceptable , considering your connection speed .Keep the eye candy to a minimum and set the colours options to a lower value if you have low bandwidth connectivity .Also remember to change the resolution to an appropriate value.

Now specify the computer that you intend to connect to .

Enter in the host’s name or IP Address and click connect .A logon prompt comes up.Enter the username and password.

During the session the host is locked.Unlock it by pressing [Ctrl] + [Alt] +[Delete], and the remote session is terminated.

There’s more

Remote Desktop can be used in full screen mode or a windowed session.The default settings apply keyboard shortcuts for the full screen mode .Hence you get the feeling of physically operating your host PC.In fact just about everything appears as though you are physically on that host computer – your disk drives , your mapped anjd networked drives and network shares , and so on – all your PC’c resources are literally at your fingertips,and you could start file transfers and send or receive emails or review documents .

Remote desktop can be used inside an office to collaborate over a project or share an idea with the rest of your colleagues.Since most remote connections support text and graphics cutting and pasting through the clipboard , you can cut out or copy text from the remote machine and paste it to a local document as often as needed.



  1. stanemte said...

    Why don't you use a web-based remote control tool? I've tried one -- Techinline Remote Desktop -- and was satisfied with it. You'll only need an internet connection and a browser. No need to install anything on your PC. And right away you'll have a ready-to-use remote desktop access environment. You can easily use it to get access to Remote Support. And no fuss about...

    Does anybody have long time experience with this Remote Support tool? We're going to use it for technical support and I'm concerned how is it reliable?