Use These Tips and Tools to Set Up Remote Support for Friends and Family


Set up Remote Support for Friends and Family

If you can’t be on site to help friends and family with computer issues, this article has some good tools and tips on setting up remote support.

If you’re the person family and friends rely on for help with computers it’s a good idea to get remote support set up for the times you can’t be there in person.

Ed Bott has some terrific ideas and tips for setting up remote support along with some suggestions for useful services and programs. The article is worth a read with excellent suggestions if you provide (or will need to provide) remote support for anyone or want to know how it’s done for future reference – his tips and suggestions are excellent guidelines. His suggestions cover four areas:

Install remote support tools
If you’ve ever tried to help someone and they don’t know how to explain what they see on the screen it’s best to have a system in place where you can see what is going on and make any needed changes or repairs. Along with other services in the article he recommends Team Viewer or AnyDesk. Both are free for personal use but do have a look at the other tools he mentions, one might work best for your situation.

Install video chat software on desktop and mobile devices
Along with other familiar services Webex Meetings and Zoom are two free recommendations.
If you use Zoom, take advantage of these features to keep your space secure:
- Don't make your meeting link public
- Use a password
- Use the Waiting Room feature to control who comes and goes
- Allow only signed in users to join
- Lock the meeting
- Remove unwanted participants
- Disable video of unwanted participants

Set up a shared folder in the cloud
Setting up a folder in the cloud is a great idea – store diagnostic programs, tools or utilities so both parties can access it at your preferred cloud storage service like Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc.

Get updates and security software in order
While things are running right is the best time to check that remote support clients are updated, security software is working, and password managers are properly configured so family and friends can stay in touch and get remote assistance with computing issues. Setting up remote assistance in advance so it's running smoothly and friends and family are familiar with how it works is good preparation for any future disruptions where help will be needed.

Remote support essentials: 4 steps you can take now to keep friends and family connected

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Please note there have recently been problems with hackers accessing Zoom sessions. It is important to set passwords for sessions with Zoom:

Thanks. :)
Yes there have been issues, and it's partly because people haven't set up their meetings so they are secure. I've added basic tips to the article and a link to Zoom's blog on how to make meetings safe.

Used to use TeamViewer, was great. Now its limited to 5 minutes per session if you dont pay. I dumped it.

2 alternatives that Ive tried: Google remote desktop if you are just going into your system remotely or have a google pw on the receiving machine. Smooth operation once you get in. But doesnt work well for support because there still are a lot of people that dont have a Google account.

The other comes standard in the OS from MS: Quick Assist. Its a 2 way auth tool that gives you total control of the users screen. Ive used it several times with very new Win 10 users and with a bit of coaching, get in with no problem. Note that the user must input a code and then in the 3rd part of auth, they must allow you access, so you cant use this without user assistance at the keyboard. Its a me, you, me, you thing. Dont know when it started showing up in Win 10, but its in the latest 2 versions. Not sure about older ones.

Try Quick Assist, its working for me.

I didn't run into any issues with Team Viewer or AnyDesk but Team Viewer may have changed something in the last few days. Quick Assist is good for Windows 10 users. I havent tried Google's Remote Desktop, thanks for the input. :)

Recently, many people have got a popup message in TeamViewer: "Your TeamViewer Plan is not valid". But it still works. It seems to be an error which may have been fixed by now with the latest update of TeamViewer.

Team Viewer has apparently been revoking licenses for what they deem commercial activity. I hadn't heard of that error message, thanks.

This is a great (and currently relevant) topic. I've provided "support" to many family members over the years and have tried a bunch of different products. For our small business and home we use Zoho Assist which is free for "on demand" support which allows you to connect to another computer or the other user to connect to you. It's an enterprise level product that has worked well for me. Many of our business clients have Apple laptops and desktops and I can connect to them for training as easily as a windows computer.

I like Zoho products, I've used some of them for many years. Thanks for the heads up, I didn't know they had an remote assistance program that works cross platform, I'll have a look at it. :)

Thanks! Very informative.

You're very welcome. :)

TeamViewer is no longer free for personal use. Anydesk still is.

From the TeamViewer website: "From the very beginning, TeamViewer has been available to everyone completely free of charge for personal, non-commercial use. Get Started Now! It’s free for personal use or as a trial version for business users." MC - Site Manager.

Good to know - I used it for many years but then a year, perhaps two years, ago I got a popup that it was upgrading to a new version that would require a paid license. At that point, I dropped it. It appears they reversed course which is excellent.