How to create an “Offer Remote Assistance” shortcut

One of the features I like most about Windows XP (and SBS 2003) is Remote Assistance. In particular, I love being able to offer unsolicited remote assistance to my users (i.e. without them initiating the RA session, this way the user only has to click “ok” on the RA popup). This translates on helping users faster, not to mention that you can enjoy margaritas from the confort of your home while you help users. ow that I think about it… those “Earn $$$ while sitting in front of your PC at home” scams on the internet might be true after all.


Anyway, going back to the point… since I use this feature a lot and its somewhat hidden on XP (not so much in SBS) I thought it would be a good idea to create a link in my desktop (and/or the server desktop) to offer RA to users in distress. To do this, simply create a shortcut that points to:


%windir%\explorer.exe “hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm”


Now, I only have to connect to the site, double click there and type the address (talk about being lazy!). 🙂


Happy RA-ing!


 


 

51 thoughts on “How to create an “Offer Remote Assistance” shortcut

  1. VERY useful, I always think it would be nice to use this tool as I have done so in the past to help users. But, I can never find the application while I’m on the phone with a user because it is so hidden.

    Thx for the help

  2. I Think there is a typo above. Explorer.exe should be Iexplore. For example:

    "%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\iexplore" hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm

    In fact, just past the hcp in your IE browser:

    hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm

    Remember, you need port 3389/tcp open at your firewall. For reference, see

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301527

  3. The next logical step would be to make it autopopulate the computer name or tcp/ip address. Specifically,

    I was thinking that when you go into Network Places and see all the computer names. You could right click

    on the name and it would offer the option of remote assistance. This is turn would automatically start remote

    assistance on the remote machine. This option is available in Windows Messenger when you want to offer assistance

    to a buddy over the internet. Has anyone tried doing this for Network places?

  4. I am interested in placing a shortcut on users’ desktops so they can request remote assistance automatically without having to go through a bunch of technical questions. My users are generally foolish and this would truly be the only way to truly implement this. The shortcut you have provided above brings up the remote assistance for helping a user on a local area network. I would like it to open up some form of remote assitance that can work outside the LAN so that I can assist offsite workers. Please let me know if anyone could help me. Thanks.

  5. rcimbly.exe -launchra

    it only brings up the screen without having to go through the help menu.

    it would be nice to have something that would just prompt for an email address to request help.

  6. I have figured out how to fully automate remote assistance with a few workarounds, including a simple script that auto-populates the computer name field and clicks the ‘Connect’ button as well.

    You can use Visual Basic Scripting to accomplish the work. Here’s an example:

    ‘DECLARING VARIABLES

    Dim objShell

    Dim WshShell

    Dim vString

    ‘INITIALIZE VARIABLE VALUES

    set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    vString = "COMPUTERNAMEHERE"

    ‘SENDS KEYSTROKES TO START PERSONNEL PROGRAM

    objShell.SendKeys "^{ESC}"

    WScript.Sleep 1000

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{ENTER}"

    WScript.Sleep 10000

    objShell.SendKeys vString ‘SEND THE VARIABLE VALUE, INCLUDING DATE

    WScript.Sleep 500

    WScript.Quit

  7. In addition to the above, you have a shortcut in the Start-Menu that opens the ‘Offer Remote Assistance’ screen–should be 11th position upward from the Start button itself. You can adjust the delay time in the above script so it works faster too. The following website has some information about automating the remote computer’s connection too–so the user doesn’t have to accept a request:

    http://www.anetforums.com/posts.aspx?ThreadIndex=3115

    Good luck,

    Todd Shillam

    tshillam@comcast.net

  8. This walked the menu but did not open the Remote Assistance. And how do I run this on someone’s remote pc? LOL!

    Cool, but useless…

    ———————

    ‘DECLARING VARIABLES

    Dim objShell

    Dim WshShell

    Dim vString

    ‘INITIALIZE VARIABLE VALUES

    set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    vString = "COMPUTERNAMEHERE"

    ‘SENDS KEYSTROKES TO START PERSONNEL PROGRAM

    objShell.SendKeys "^{ESC}"

    WScript.Sleep 1000

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{UP}"

    WScript.Sleep 500

    objShell.SendKeys "{ENTER}"

    WScript.Sleep 10000

    objShell.SendKeys vString ‘SEND THE VARIABLE VALUE, INCLUDING DATE

    WScript.Sleep 500

    WScript.Quit

    ———————

  9. Another way of creating this shortcut is just right click on your desktop and go to "New" –> "Shortcut". Enter "hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm" (without qoutes "") into the location of the item box and hit next. Insert a name and finish it. If needed go to \WINDOWS\system32 and choose rcimlby.exe if you want the typical remote assistance icon. Just thought i’d add another way to do this.

  10. i have the ports switched on some of my machines for remote desktop…how can i get around this and a router firewall to set up remote assistance for remote clients

  11. FYI IE7 Beta seems to break offer remote assistance. If I revert back to IE6 everything works fine. Anyone else see this?

  12. I tried this method but it failed for me. I can access RA if the host PC manaully makes an invite so I know this is possible. When I doubleclick the shortcut I am prompted for an IP address which I enter. I get the following error message, “Access to the requested resource as been disabled by your administrator.”

    Ideas?

  13. I have two windows accounts, one for email and standard everyday tasks and I have an admin account which is set up as admin on all other machines. I want to be able login to my system with standard account and do a “run as” on the short cut to use my admin account. I don’t want to log out of my machine and log in as admin everytime I need to offer assistance. When I try run as, the window never opens. Anyone have any ideas? Is this possible?

  14. Hi Every time i try to launch this i get an error message saying remote assistance failed please try again.

    I initially tried following this Microsoft article by applying group policy to allow certain people to offer assistance and opening up port 135 through the firewall.

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=300546

    Any Help is appreciated

  15. You need to use group policy to deploy the “offer remote assistance” (Unsolicited) option. Here are the GP settings: Under Computer/admin template/system/remote assistance enable offer remote assistance and add users or groups to the list of helpers.

    Then under Computer/admin temp/network/network connections/windows firewall/domain profile add these authorized apps as is.

    %systemroot%\pchealth\helpctr\binaries\helpctr.exe:*:enabled:helpctr.exe
    %systemroot%\system32\sessmgr.exe:*:enabled:Remote Assistance

    then in the same location enable allow remote desktop exception with * if you don’t care about what ip ranges or specify.

    Run gpupdate on client machine or when they reboot all should be working for unsolicited RA they just have to click yes to allow.

  16. Any way to append a parameter to the Remote Assistance URL in order to connect to a specific workstation?

    The url is: “hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm”

    Thanks, Kathy
    kkerhing@excite.com

  17. Open your host machines registry (the one you are connecting to), go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\
    Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp

    Find the “PortNumber” subkey and notice the value of 00000D3D, hex for (3389). Modify the port number in Hex and save the new value.

    3389 is the default Port.

  18. Hi,

    this is very cool to offer a remote support.

    I have a question:

    Do we can use a easy way to add the IP as a parameter?

    for example

    %windir%\explorer.exe “hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm ?ipaddress=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx”

    Thanks,

    my email yufeixiaoyu at hotmail.com

  19. Interesting stuff. I’m wanting to offer my users a short cut on there desktop that when clicked it will open a request for help on my screen….is this possable as all of my users are on remote sites behind NAT….?

  20. so what it I want to offer remote assistance to a user on a client’s domain knowing his domain IP or server RDP name and the client computer name? is that possible? Basically tuneling through the server?

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  23. Is there a way we can execute this in conjunction with the /runas as command

    i tried

    %windir%\system32\runas.exe /user:domain\username /savecred “hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm”

    but no go

  24. Wow! Another prime example of Microsoft stupidity!

    Thanks for this — I have spent way too much time trying to figure out a simple way to make a shortcut like this.

  25. I know its to late to answer but I took a week to get this working , just want to spare someone that time .

    To create through gpo , computer config /administrative template/network/network connections/windows firewall/domain profile .

    define program exception enable add
    * %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\Sessmgr.exe:*:Enabled:Remote Assistance
    * %WINDIR%\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\Helpsvc.exe:*:Enabled:Offer Remote Assistance
    * %WINDIR%\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\Helpctr.exe:*:Enabled:Remote Assistance – Windows Messenger and Voice

    allow file and print.. enabled
    allow remote desktop .. enabled

    define port exceptions
    135:TCP:*:Enabled:Offer Remote Assistance

    Then go to computer config/administrative temp/system/remote assistance

    solicited disabled ( on few webpages it did say enabled)

    Offer remote assistance enabled
    Helpers domain_name\Group_name
    example domain_name\Domain Admins

    Last go to computer config / admininstrative temp/windows component/terminal service
    allow users to connect remotely to terminal services enabled.

    That was to create GPO

    Here is a batch file that worked for me

    netsh firewall set opmode ENABLE ENABLE

    netsh firewall set service FILEANDPRINT ENABLE ALL

    netsh firewall set service REMOTEDESKTOP ENABLE ALL

    netsh firewall add portopening TCP 135 REMOTEADMIN ENABLE ALL

    netsh firewall add allowedprogram program=c:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\Helpctr\binaries\Helpsvc.exe name=”Offer Remote Assistance”

    netsh firewall add allowedprogram program=c:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\Helpctr\binaries\Helpctr.exe name=”Remote3″

    netsh firewall set notifications ENABLE

    pause

    I researched or this info and took me a week to get it working , only tried it on a domain don’t know if it will work in workgroup , Hope I could help

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