I found this in a few different places around the 'net - hopefully it's helpful:

Obtain Remote Assistance by Sending an E-mail Message in Windows XP

This article describes how to obtain help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Microsoft Windows XP.

Remote Assistance allows a remote connection to your computer that can be used to view your computer screen, participate in real-time chat and, with your permission, remotely control your computer.

Note: The following requirements must be met before you can use Remote Assistance:

  • Both the local and the remote computer must be using either Windows Messenger or a Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI)-compliant e-mail program such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.
  • Both computers must be connected to the Internet while using Remote Assistance.

Note: If your computer is behind a firewall, you may need to reconfigure the firewall to allow Remote Assistance. Contact your network administrator before using Remote Assistance.

  • Click Start > Help and Support. The Help and Support Center dialog box appears.
  • Under Ask for assistance, click Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance. The Remote Assistance pane appears.
  • Under Remote Assistance, click Invite someone to help you.
  • Under or use e-mail, type your assistant's e-mail address in the Type an e-mail address box, and then click Invite this person.
    Note: Click Address Book if you want to select a contact from the address book.
    The Remote Assistance - E-mail an Invitation page appears.
  • In the From box, type the name or identification that you want.
  • In the Message box, type the message that you want, and then click Continue.
  • Under Set the invitation to expire, select the duration that you want to allow the invitation for assistance.
    Click to clear the Require the recipient to use a password check box if you do not want to password-protect the remote connection.
    Note: Using a password is recommended.
  • If you protect this connection with a password, type the password that you want your assistant to use in the Type password box. Retype that password in the Confirm password box, and then click Send Invitation. The invitation is sent using your e-mail program. You receive the following message:

Your invitation has been sent successfully. Note: You must communicate this password to the remote assistant in order for the Remote Assistance session to be created.

  • When your remote assistant accepts your invitation, you receive the following message

Assistant has accepted your Remote Assistance invitation and is ready to

connect to your computer.

Do you want to let this person view your screen and chat with you? where Assistant is the name of the remote assistant.

  • Click Yes.
    The Remote Assistance dialog box appears. The remote assistant can view your computer screen and chat with you in real time.
  • If the remote assistant wants to remotely control the computer, you receive the following message:

Assistant would like to share control of your computer to help solve the problem.

Do you wish to let Assistant share control of your computer? (where Assistant is the name of the remote assistant).

  • To accept, click Yes.

The remote assistant can now control your computer remotely. This includes the ability to shut down the computer.
Note: Do not use the mouse while the remote assistant controls the computer.

Remote Assistance Features Use the following features of the Remote Assistance dialog box to participate in the remote assistance session:

The Connection Status box displays the following information:

  • The name of the assistant.
  • Whether you are connected or disconnected.
  • The assistant's privileges during this session. For example, Screen View Only.
  • The Stop Control (ESC) button.

Press the ESCAPE key to stop the computer from being remotely controlled. When you press ESCAPE, you receive the following message:

User name or Assistant has stopped remote control by pressing the ESC key, or a key sequence or combination including the ESC key where User name is the name of the logged on user, and where Assistant is the name of the remote assistant.

The Send a File button.

Use this button to initiate file transfers between the local and remote computer.

The Start Talking button.
Use this button to initiate voice chat with the remote assistant.

The Settings button.
Use this button to adjust quality settings according to the connection speed that you have.

The Disconnect button.
Use this button to terminate the Remote Assistance session.

The Help button.
Provides Remote Assistance help.

The Message Entry box.
Use this box to type messages to the remote assistant in real time. Click the Send button, or press ENTER to send the message.

The Chat History window.
This window records the text messages typed by you and the remote assistant. Troubleshooting The ability to control your computer remotely is disabled by default.
When the remote assistant attempts to remotely control the computer, the following message appears:

Remote Control of this computer is not allowed. To configure the computer for remote control, follow these steps.
Note: You must be a member of the local Administrators group to perform these steps.

  • Click Start > Control Panel.
  • Under Pick a category, click Performance and Maintenance.
  • Under or pick a Control Panel icon, click System.
  • The System Properties dialog box appears.
  • On the Remote tab, click to select the Advanced button under Remote Assistance.
  • Under Remote control, click the Allow this computer to be controlled remotely check box, and then click OK.
  • In the System Properties dialog box, click OK.

Remote Control is now enabled. Note that you must still expressly permit the remote control of your computer in each Remote Assistance session.

The computer appears to stop responding
When you use Remote Assistance over a dial-up connection, the computer may appear to stop responding (hang) or may respond slowly. This behavior may be caused by the slow speed of the Internet connection. For best results, use Remote Assistance over a high-speed Internet connection.

Remote Assistance allows access to sensitive data
The remote assistant can see as well as, with your permission, gain access to the information on your computer. For this reason, invite only trusted sources to remotely assist you. More Information
Use Remote Assistance to view and edit your Remote Assistance invitations. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Click Start > Help and Support.
  • The Help and Support Center dialog box appears.
  • Under Ask for assistance, click Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance.
  • The Remote Assistance pane appears.
  • Under Remote Assistance, click View invitation status. A table similar to the following appears:

Sent To

Expiration Time



Tuesday, August 28,
2001 10:37:47 AM



Monday, August 27,
2001 8:35:05 PM



Monday, August 27,
2001 1:51:02 PM


  • Select the invitation that you want, and use the following buttons to change or view the status of that invitation:

Use this button to view the Invitation Details page for this invitation. When you are finished, click Close.

Use this button to rescind the invitation. The remote assistant can no longer use this invitation to connect to your computer.

Use this button to resend an e-mail-based invitation to the selected contact. Delete
Use this button to remove the invitation from the View or change your invitation page.

Try also checking out Splash Desk at:


I noticed it has a unique ability of running inside of any web browser without the annoying requirement of first downloading a special plugin before you can get to your desktop ... great if working in environments with tight browser restrictions (e.g. doesn't allow plugins to be launched -- like at my work).

Great talk!

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