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Remote control your PC
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Access any PC over the internet for troubleshooting or remote access purposes

magine the scenario: you or a friend needs help with their PC, but you live miles apart. You try to help over the phone, but you're getting nowhere fast. You need to be sat at the PC to see what's wrong, so what can you do?
   If both parties have got working internet connections you can connect to each other's PC, enabling the expert to take a closer look at the other and - with the novice's permission - even take control of it as if they were sat in front of it.
   This functionality extends beyond simply fixing someone else's problems - if you've got the right software you can share programs or even access your home PC from the office laptop, which might be a godsend if you forgot to send an email or transfer a file. Better still, this functionality is built into Windows XP and Vista, so won't cost you a penny.
Remote Assistance
If you have a problem with your PC, and your friend is also running Windows XP, then Remote Assistance is the way to go. It's designed to make it as easy as possible for someone to request and receive help.
The step-by-step guide below reveals how to request assistance from another person with Windows XP - once you've clicked Send Invitation you should open your email program and double-check the invitation has been sent; if not, click Send/Receive and it should immediately go to your friend.
Once the expert has received the email, he should open it and double-click the attachment, choosing Open when prompted. He'll then need to enter the password you've sent him separately before clicking OK.

Step-by-step: Ask for assistance

Using Remote Assistance
This looks very similar to Windows Messenger, and it works in a similar way, enabling you to chat with the expert and explain your problem. If you have headsets you can talk directly with each other, although you will need to have configured them using the Audio Tuning Wizard (accessible through the Settings menu) first.
   When the expert clicks Take Control a dialog will appear - click Yes if you're happy to let him do so. He'll then get on with whatever it is he needs to do, pressing [Esc] when he's finished to surrender control back to you. If you're unhappy with what he's doing, you can take back control at any time by pressing [Esc] or the Stop Control button.
   Once the support session has ended, either party can click the Disconnect button - if the invitation is still valid (in other words, it hasn't expired), you can connect again if necessary; if it has expired, just send out another invitation.

Annotation: How Remote Assistance works

Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop works in a similar way to NetMeeting's Remote Desktop Sharing, but is more secure. Your home or work PC will need to be running Windows XP Professional, but you can control it from any Windows-based PC with the help of a free download.
   The technology is designed to work over a VPN, network or the internet. If you're accessing it via a VPN, all you need is your computer's name (verify this from the Computer Name tab of System Properties). Network users will need to obtain their PC's private IP address by clicking Start > Run, typing cmd and pressing [Enter], then typing ipconfig /all and pressing [Enter] again. Finally, those wishing to access their PC over the intenret will need its public IP address, which you can obtain by clicking here.
   You'll also need to verify that Remote Desktop Sharing is enabled - once done, you'll be able to access your PC from another machine. The step-by-step guide below reveals all.

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Step-by-step: Take remote control of your PC

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