Sadly, many forms of malware will commandeer a user’s internet connection. For that reason, it can be tricky to remotely help your relative fix their computer. Nevertheless, it’s always worth a shot before you pay a visit in person. Here’s how to remotely troubleshoot your relative’s computer.
Get in Touch Over Video Chat
Have your relative connect to you over their smartphone. Since the problem is with your relative’s computer, it shouldn’t affect his or her smartphone’s Wi-Fi connection. Use something free like WhatsApp or Skype; just be sure that no personal information is passed over the networks like passwords or videos or personal files from his or her computer.
You need to get in touch over video chat so that you can have a look at the computer and/or talk to your relative in person. It’s far easier if your relative shows you on a live video what the problem is rather than trying to describe it.
You need to take the video chat option as your first choice because most problems are achingly simple. For example, sometimes an individual is using Edge, presses F11, and all they can see is a web page which they can’t get out off. Other times, people flip their screen and all it takes is pressing CTRL + ALT and the up arrow to fix it.
Seeing the problem can sometimes offer the quickest and easiest solution, especially if your relative is a bit of a novice when it comes to computers. Also, beware that the problem can often be no more than a prank, such as when your little brother changes all the names on your contacts to “Kitty.” Or, when your big sister screenshots your desktop, and then full-screens the image so it looks like your computer is frozen when really you’re looking at a full-screen photo.
How to Remotely Troubleshoot Your Relative’s Computer
If you’re using a Windows computer, there are built-in tools you can utilize. Remote assistance tools allow you to take control of another person’s computer. Ideally, you should still be on video chat with your relative so that you can ask questions while troubleshooting.
“Quick Assist” is available to most people using Windows 10, and if you’re not using Windows 10, then you should probably start because the iterations before it are wide open for hackers.
If your relative is still using Windows 7 or 8, then do a little research into the “Windows Remote Assistance.” It should still be included in Windows 10, but you can download it if you purged your version of Windows for unused content.
The Other Person Must be at the Computer
Open up the “Quick Assist” app on your computer. You can find it by searching your start menu. Next, click “Give Assistance.” Give it a few minutes to load if you’ve never used it before. Click the button to give assistance.
You’ll have to sign in with your Microsoft account, which may be the same as your Outlook account, if that’s the one linked with your computer. You’ll receive an onscreen security code that expires after ten minutes. Click “Copy to Clipboard.”
Sharing the Code and Connecting Computers
Your relative will have to undertake the same tasks as you. Have them find the “Quick Assist” function and start it up. Obviously, your relative is also going to need the “Get Assistance” function.
Now that you have the code copied to your clipboard (from earlier), you need to give it to your relative. Since you’re using a live chat function, you can speak it aloud, but it may be better to copy-paste it to your relative as well, so they can copy-paste it onto the “Quick Assist” tool.
Once the Connection is Made
The “Quick Assist” will connect, and you now have control over your relative’s computer. A screen appears on your computer, where you can see your relative’s entire GUI. It’s almost as if you were sitting in front of their computer on location. You have all the same permissions that the owner/administrator has.
The top of the “Quick Assist” screen shows the restart functions. These are the only things that are dramatically different, with regards to how you use the computer. There’s also an annotation function, which is a little old-fashioned these days. It’s typically used to help show the other person what you’re doing, but you can talk on the phone or use video chat to explain everything.
Closing Quick Assist
Shutting down or restarting the other person’s computer with the specially designated buttons on the Quick Assist GUI will not close down the Quick Assist connection.
In fact, the shut down and restart buttons on the Quick Assist GUI exist so that you may turn off or restart the computer without losing your connection. If one of you lose your internet connection, then the Quick Assist connection will pause until you’re both connected to the internet again.
You’ll have to close down the Quick Assist app on your device in order to break the connection. The only other time when issues occur is if you change some of your relative’s computer’s network settings because they may accidentally disconnect your Quick Assist connection.
If you accidentally lose your Quick Assist connection, then you’ll need to have your relative help you reestablish the connection using the methods previously described in this article.
Final Thought: What if You Do Not Find the Problem?
You’ve now learned how to remotely troubleshoot your relative’s computer. But the question is, if you can’t find the problem, should you visit in person and give it a try? The answer is: “Probably not.” Using the Quick Assist function allows you to gain full control of the other computer. If you’re unable to do something while connected to Quick Assist, then you’re probably going to fail in a similar manner when physically sitting in front of the computer. The only time when being there in person would help is if you’re taking a drastic measure like completely formatting the computer. In that case, it may be better to walk your relative through the process rather than doing it manually yourself, in person.