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Requesting Remote Assistance by e-mail in Windows Vista

If you are using Windows XP the please use the guidance at: Assistance by e-mail & online. This guide is for Vista users. If you use browser-based e-mail (Yahoo, AOL, Googlemail, Hotmail etc.) and you are not familiar with attaching files to your e-mails then we MAY need to install a small helper-program which will allow us to connect remotely via a password read over the telephone.

If you have a router and have been unable to use Remote Assistance then you will find a guide to installing a tool to create a very secure private network can be found at: Setting up a network of experts.

If you have checked that your PC is ready and able to initiate Remote Assistance requests (see Remote Assistance checklist) then simply work through the steps below. Each of the screen shots can be 'blown up in size' by hovering over them. This is to help those users who have a high resolution screen but not the eyesight to match! - let me know if it doesn't work for you!


Firstly you should click on the normal Windows Start button (or just press the 'Windows Logo Key' to the bottom left of your keyboard) and then type in the word 'remote' in the search box at the very bottom of the left hand column. When you have finished typing the word it may take a couple of seconds to display a list as shown in the next picture.

Simply click on the 'Windows remote assistance' icon or text.

Note that at several times during these screens you MAY be interrupted by your Firewall or other defence mechanisms that want to check that you really do know what you are doing! If the prompts relate to 'Help and Support Centre' then allow then to proceed although you MAY wish to allow them on a 1-off basis rather than click on the option which says 'Remember this setting/option/choice'.

You should now have a window which looks like that to the left.

Click on the 'Invite someone you trust to help you' button and you will see the screen below. If you are using a Private Networking tool (VPN) such as Hamachi to connect to the person who is offering assistance then please make sure that it is both active and connected before proceeding to the next step below.

This page is dedicated to the choice of using e-mail to request assistance so LATER you will be asked to enter the e-mail address of the person to help.

Note that this guide assumes that you are using Windows Mail or Thunderbird - IF YOU ARE USING A BROWSER (Explorer or Firefox) to access your e-mail then you will need to take the BOTTOM option and then use your (browser) e-mail program to upload the file it creates and send it to your helper.

Please don't waste too much time keying in your name or message UNLESS there is information that you can cut and paste which is relevant to the problem or challenge with which you want help.

For security reasons you have to specify a ONE-OFF PASSWORD (Please, please don't use anything that is used elsewhere - especially not a password used elsewhere!).

If your helper has problems connecting to your PC then it is PROBABLY because of your firewall - you might want to click on the item at the bottom of this page before you click on the 'Next' button in the bottom right.

This is the help page for Firewall problems but you should use the one actually on your PC to get this up before clicking on 'Next' above because the links on your own version will be active and take you to pages that you can change firewall settings yourself.

This picture is only here on the web to show you what you can expect when you click on the link at the bottom of the prior page (above).

When you click on the 'Next' button you will FIRST get a window simply saying that your Mail program is being started. You will THEN see your e-mail program pre-prepared with an attachment awaiting you sending it to your helper.

After the e-mail has been sent you will get a window similar to that on the left although at first it will say "Waiting for incoming connection" with the left-most option being Cancel rather than Disconnect.

Note that your helper WILL NOT be able to SEE your DESKTOP UNTIL YOU have CONFIRMED that this is 'OK'. After that you will see the text above the icons to the left.

I hope the information above has been useful, let me know if not! Any Comments, suggestions or corrections to: Contact us please. This would be especially useful if the software environment you have is different to mine and the headings, text or prompts are different.

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