How to give remote tech support on Windows and MacOS

Remark

Possibly a buddy’s printer is on the fritz. Or your mother and father are questioning why their laptop is operating slower than ordinary.

These mundane tech points occur on a regular basis, and I’d be keen to wager you’ve needed to troubleshoot one — or requested somebody that can assist you — a minimum of as soon as. However what occurs when the individuals in your life who want hands-on assist dwell too far-off for a drop-in?

Because it seems, you could have already got entry to instruments that may enable you to take management of another person’s laptop and repair these issues from afar. Even higher, they’re free, and quite a bit simpler to make use of than you may assume.

However, as a well-known fictional uncle as soon as mentioned, “with nice energy comes nice accountability.” As soon as the individuals in your life discover out you possibly can repair a few of their laptop issues from the consolation of your sofa, you could quickly end up as much as your eyeballs in tech help requests. Our recommendation? Use this energy correctly, and possibly set some boundaries.

This may increasingly go with out saying however the individuals on either side of this equation should be related to the web. If the individual you’re attempting to assist remotely doesn’t have an web connection, you could possibly strive strolling them by way of tethering to a suitable iPhone or Android smartphone, if their mobile plan permits for it.

As a result of the instruments we’re going to debate primarily provide you with a dwell video feed of another person’s laptop over the web, don’t be stunned by the occasional hiccup or little bit of lag both — it simply occurs generally.

And at last, these instruments are constructed into broadly used variations of Microsoft’s Home windows and Apple’s MacOS, however they’re not in all of them. You could have to seek out one other answer in case you’re attempting to troubleshoot a lot older gadgets. Ship us an e mail at yourhelpdesk@washpost.com in case you’re having bother.

  • Two computer systems operating both Home windows 10 or 11. (In the event you recurrently use an older model of Home windows, we’d strongly suggest you replace in some unspecified time in the future. Microsoft ended help for Home windows 8.1 this month.)
  • A Microsoft account (for the individual attempting to help another person)
  1. Discover and run the Fast Help app. (The best method to do that is sort “Fast Help” into the search bar; you may additionally should replace the app by way of the Microsoft Retailer in case you’ve by no means used it.)
  2. Click on the “Help one other individual” button beneath the “Give help” header, and log into your Microsoft account.
  3. When you’re logged in, you’ll be given a six character code that you simply’ll share with whomever you’re attempting to assist. Have them plug within the code earlier than the 10-minute time restrict expires.
  4. If you would like supervise the individual on the opposite finish whereas they attempt to work by way of issues themselves, choose the “View display screen” possibility. However in case you’d fairly simply do all of it your self, choose the “Take full management” possibility.
  5. At this level, the individual you’re attempting to assist has to grant their permission. As soon as they hit the “Settle for” button, you’ll be capable of see — and management — their PC.

From right here, you possibly can dive proper into their laptop and make no matter modifications you each resolve are useful or wanted.

Like Home windows, Apple’s Mac computer systems include a reliable — and free — built-in display screen sharing software. So what’s the catch?

Nicely, for one, it’s a little bit difficult to seek out. You received’t see it in your Mac’s Launchpad or Functions folder. One of the simplest ways to entry it’s to open the Highlight search bar by urgent the Command key and the house bar on the identical time, then typing in “Display sharing.”

When you’ve efficiently launched the app, you’ll want both the distant machine’s host title (which nobody ever remembers) or the Apple ID tied to that machine.

Fortunately, there’s a neater solution to begin utilizing this software.

  • Two Mac computer systems operating MacOS Excessive Sierra or newer.
  • Apple IDs for each computer systems.
  1. Begin — or proceed — a dialog within the built-in Messages app with the individual whose laptop you need to management.
  2. Click on the icon within the top-right nook that appears like an “i” inside a circle.
  3. Click on the “share” button, adopted by “Ask to Share Display.”
  4. The individual on the opposite finish will get a immediate asking them to share their display screen. As soon as they settle for your request, they will select whether or not to provide you full management over their laptop — so you may make modifications instantly — or to simply allow you to observe.