A. In previous FAQs, we've seen that Windows XP permits a single Terminal Services-style session (known as Remote Desktop). Remote Assistance builds on this feature to offer a Help desk/troubleshooting feature that lets authorized personnel view a user's desktop session and, with permission, take control. Whereas Remote Desktop lets you connect via a Terminal-Services client on any platform, Remote Assistance requires that both computers be running XP.

If a user has a computer problem, he or she sends an invitation for assistance to someone via email or Windows Messenger or as a file. The assistant receives a message with a file attachment. Executing the attachment opens the Remote Assistance application, which sends a request to the user for permission to connect. When the user grants permission, the assistant can assist the user.