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Tools to Easily Perform Remote Tech Support

Sam Chada • Oct 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

It’s inevitable, we all have one or two family members that become the family’s IT Support Team. In my family, I’ve taken on the position but live quite a distance from everyone else. Most of the time, the questions or problems can be resolved over the phone. But sometimes a weird error or odd behavior will crop up leaving the end user perplexed and unable to explain what’s happening. In these instances, I like to use a remote login tool so I can see what’s going on with their computer (with their permission, of course!).

I’ve always leaned towards Window’s remote assistance, a Windows 7 utility created to allow someone you trust, such as a friend or technical support person, to connect to your computer and walk you through a solution – even if that person isn’t nearby. But the remote assistance utility is not compatible with Mac computers. To sidestep this compatibility issue, there are a couple web-based remote desktop apps that I like and may be worth a try for you:

Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension of the Google Chrome browser that allows a user to remotely see and control another user’s remote desktop through the browser window. Both Google Chrome and the extension must be installed on the remote computer as well as the controlling computer, and a user must be present at the remote computer to enter an access code provided by the controlling computer.           

Piggy backing off of the Chrome Remote Desktop app, Google recently updated its Hangout chat client with the same remote desktop control technology. This new feature gives you the option to take control of someone’s computer during a video call by entering an access code.

If you prefer Skype, a software application that uses the Internet for everyday voice and video calling, then you may be interested in the free app, SkyRemote. SkyRemote is an app that allows you to share multiple desktops with your Skype contacts. You can even record your sessions and save the recording as an AVI file.  

Have you used remote assistance tools to help troubleshoot a friend or family member’s computer issue? What was your experience like? Do you recommend a different tool that’s not on the list? 

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