Online resources for remote support

Administering Remote Assistance in XP
This article is a little elderly, but remains a handy guide to the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP. It explains what is required for Remote Assistance to work, in terms of ports, firewalls, and group policy; it also shows how to block it. One thing it does not mention is that Remote Assistance depends on DCOM – see for more information on that.

Problems with Remote Assistance from XP to Vista
What happens to Remote Assistance when the user has Vista, but you have XP? It can get ugly. Here’s the official explanation, frustrating though it is. As one user comments, “Why can't this just work?”

Configure monitoring and logging on Small Business Server 2003
Doing remote support for Small Business Server? One essential step is to configure monitoring so that you get alerts for significant events. This article also includes links to others that explain how to configure logging for services such as Exchange Server.

Configure server status reports on Small Business Server 2003
This companion article explains how to set up server status reports for SBS. These are great both for troubleshooting and anticipating problems; and when a report plops into your inbox each morning at least you know the server is up and running.

Managing Server 2008 with Windows Remote Management and Shell
Sander Berkouwer’s blog post is a concise explanation of WinRM and WinRS - Windows Remote Management and Remote Shell - which are the big remote tools innovation in Server 2008. If you prefer the official documentation, it is at

How to install UltraVNC
This is a guide to installing UltraVNC, free software that lets you connect to a Windows system using a Java applet in your Web browser. It also support chat and file transfer.

Setting up an SSH server on Windows
Wish you could use SSH to log into a Windows server? You can, if you install an SSH server such as FreeSSHd ( If you use the how-to guide above, note the link to the version 1.2 tutorial (, since this is the latest version. Another option is to use Cygwin (, though it is not such a lightweight install.

How to use the Sysinternals process tools
This article by Sysinternals guru Mark Russinovich describes the Ps* range of tools in the Sysinternals suite ( There are two reasons these help with remote support. The first is that they help with diagnosing tricky problems, presuming you can log onto the failing machine. The second is that many of the tools can be run remotely, enabling clever stuff like killing a remote process, which can be handy in an emergency.


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If you're supporting en users who need to transfer files by FTP occasionally, explaining how to use FTP every time can get frustrating. Map an FTP site as a custom network location and they can do it through the familiar Explorer window. If you only have a couple of machines you can choose Tools >Map Network Drive… in Explorer and click the link 'Connect to a Web site that you can use to store your documents and pictures' to open a wizard that creates a network location. Select 'Choose a custom network location', type in the FTP address and fill in the user name and password. You can also create mapped drives and network places on the Environment tab of the user's Active Directory object - but if you have a lot of users to set up, put it in the logon script for the user profile under Active Directory Users and Computers.
If you're running into problems with Group Policy Objects, check this handy summary of the rules at read more


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