July 23, 2003 spout

Windows XP Remote Assistance Rocks!

I just had a Windows Moment.” I was on the phone with my Dad who has Windows XP and was having trouble. Since he paid for my computer science degree, he assumes that I’ll be his tech support. In fact, everyone in my family assumes I’ll be their tech support; it’s annoying as hell! I don’t know how support folks diagnose and fix problems over the phone all day long. More than 5 minutes and I’m ready to say, How much was that computer science degree, Dad? I’ll write you a check.”

Anyway, after trying it for about 20 minutes (and failing), I asked him if he had the Remote Desktop settings on his My Computer->Remote tab, thinking that I could use terminal services to solve his problem. Of course, since he was running XP Home, he didn’t, but he did have Remote Assistance. So we tried it. And even though he’s in the back woods outside of Fargo, ND and on dial-up (isn’t this a commercial for Windows XP?), he was able to email me a request for remote assistance (Start->Help->Ask for assistance->Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance) and I was able to connect to his computer (through my firewall!) and solve his problem (half of Office 97 was installed on C: and half on D: and wasn’t happy about it at all).

Wow. That’s a feature that made my life better.