Skip to content

How to troubleshoot a computer remotely with Windows 10

business dog with paws on keyboard

Imagine that your grandma needs technical assistance with her computer but we’re in the middle of the COVID pandemic. You don’t want to go visit her, and you don’t have to either.

There’s a neat and convenient tool that comes bundled with Windows 10 called Quick Assist, and you should know about it. If both computers are running Windows 10, you can use Quick Assist to either watch or take full control of the other computer through a remote desktop session.

Throughout this article, I will use assistant to refer to the person offering assistance, and recipient to refer to the person receiving assistance.

I’m ready to try Quick Assist

To begin, both the assistant and the recipient must launch Quick Assist. To find it, head to the Start Menu and type quick assist to search for this app.

quick Assist starting screen depicting two choices of waiting to enter the session code given by the assistant, or starting the session as the assistant.
Quick Assist starting screen

If you’re the recipient, wait until your assistant provides you with a security code. Once you’ve receive the code, put it in and select Share screen.

If you’re the assistant, proceed by selecting Assist another person and sign in with a Microsoft Passport. You’ll need to create a Microsoft Passport if you don’t yet have one. You’ll then be given a shareable security code, and options for communicating this with your recipient.

Quick Assist assistant screen showing the security code that the assistant must share with the recipient.
The assistant can now share this security code with the recipient.

Once the recipient enters the security code, the assistant is prompted to request a watch-only or full access session for which the recipient must consent.

Quick Assist screen prompting the assistant to choose a watch-only session or a full control session.
The assistant requests the session type, to be approved by the recipient.
Quick Assist screen prompting the recipient to approve the assistant's session mode.
The recipient is prompted for consent once the assistant selects the session type.

Once the session begins, the assistant will be able to watch what the recipient’s desktop and see exactly what they are seeing. The assistant can also request full control.

The app provides several useful buttons such as bringing up the Windows Task Manager, toggling through the recipient’s monitors, as well as pausing or ending the session.

Quick Assist screen showing the active session from the assistant's perspective.
The assistant can now watch or access the recipient’s computer, depending on the session type.

I don’t have Windows 10

If you don’t have Windows 10 that’s ok. While both the assistant and the recipient need Windows 10 to use Quick Assist, Windows also has a long-standing remote assistant tool called Remote Assistance.

There’s some preparation involved in using this tool. The recipient must first allow remote assistance requests to be sent from their computer. To do so, head to the Start Menu and type remote assistance to search for this app. Two options should be revealed – choose the one for allowing remote assistance invitations. In the next screen, ensure that Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer is checked.

The start menu showing the remote assistance apps.
A system prompt with a checkbox for allowing remote assistance connections.

Next, the recipient must request assistance – search for remote assistance in the start menu again, and choose the option inviting someone to connect to your PC and help you. The Remote Assistance app will start, and the recipient must choose the invitation option again.

The email option will likely be the only one available. Following the email option, a file will be prepared – the recipient must then email this file to their assistant. A password will be shown afterward.

Remote Assistance start screen. Two options are shown, one for the inviting someone for assistance, and another to help someone who has invited you.
Remote Assistance start screen, with an option for the assistant and an option for the recipient.

As the assistant, search for remote assistance in the start menu again, and choose the option inviting someone to connect to your PC and help you. This seems strange but it is correct. The Remote Assistance app will start, and the assistant must choose the option for helping someone who has invited you. Once the assistant receives the email with the Remote Assistance file, they must download that file and load it. Remote Assistance will then prompt you for the security password that the recipient has. At this point, the remote session will start.

The Remote Assistance session has similar basics to that of the Quick Assist app – the session will start in watch-only mode but the assistant may request full control.

Remote Assistance screen showing the active session from the assistant's perspective.
The assistant can now watch the recipient’s computer, or request full control.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*