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How to Use Windows Live Messenger for Remote Assistance

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 11/29/2009

Your computer is having issues, and you just don't know how to fix them. But, your good friend Jane in another state could easily help! If only she could see and run your computer to not only fix the issues, but to show you how to fix them as well! Read on to find out more!

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    Remote Assistance allows a person to see and take over the contents of your computer as you watch your computer screen. This is used by professional technical support to help you correct problems and issues with your computer that you have trouble explaining and/or they have trouble helping you correct via conversation only. Windows Messenger has this feature integrated in its program, so that you can avoid hours on the telephone and on hold. Do not worry though, because you have to send an invitation that must be accepted before any access to your computer is given, and you are in full control of the control of your computer being in the other person's hands.

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    Things You'll Need

    • Windows Live Messenger
    • Internet Connection
    • Friend with Windows Live Messenger
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    Step One

    Sign in to Windows Messenger. The software automatically comes installed with your Windows operating system. If you have never used the program before, it will open a wizard to either have you create an account or use an existing account to sign in. Follow the on-screen wizard in order to set up your account, and then sign in to Windows Messenger. Make sure that you have Windows Messenger information for the friend that you would like to start a Remote Assistance session with, too.

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    Step Two

    When you have added your friend to your Windows Messenger contact list, and you see that he or she is online, all you need to do is right click on his or her name in your list and select "Ask for Remote Assistance". This will send a message to your friend that will let them know that you need assistance, and they will have the option to accept or deny the invitation. All your friend needs to do is accept the invite.

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    Step Three

    Once the invitation is accepted, the two of you may experience some firewall issues and pop-up windows asking to allow the application to access the internet. If so, it's okay. The two of you just need to allow the application. Then, you'll probably get another message to allow the other person's computer to access yours. Allow it. It is just your friend's computer asking if it can come over for a visit!

    Now a new window will open, and you have one more thing to do before your friend can take over your computer and help you. First, your friend must click "Take Control" in the upper left of their screen. Then, you need to click "Yes" when a pop up asks if you want to allow your friend to take control of your computer.

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    Step Four

    Now your friend can see your screen and move your mouse to navigate through your computer to diagnose and correct the issues you are having. You can take control back at anytime!

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    Tips, Warnings, and Other Information

    • Remember that you can give and take control of your computer at anytime.
    • The entire process is permission based; not just anyone can come into your computer whenever they want without your knowledge.
    • This will not work if your computer cannot connect to the internet, and your connection will likely disconnect after a period of time working in Remote Assistance, for your security.
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