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Windows Remote Assistance

Windows Remote Assistance
A component of Microsoft Windows
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Type Remote controlling feature
Included with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Related components
Remote Desktop Connection

Windows Remote Assistance is a feature of Windows XP and later that allows a user to temporarily view or control a remote Windows computer over a network or the Internet to resolve issues without directly touching the unit.[1][2] It is based on the Remote Desktop Protocol.

In Windows Vista, Remote Assistance is based on RDP 6. It is a standalone application and does not use the Windows Help and Support Center or Windows Messenger. It is based on the Windows Desktop Sharing API.[3] Two systems administrators can simultaneously connect to a single computer. Remote sessions automatically reconnect after restarting the computer. It also supports session pausing, built-in diagnostics, chat, file transfer and XML-based logging. It reduces bandwidth requirements for low-speed connections. NAT traversal allows a session to be established even if the user is behind a Network Address Translation (NAT) device. Remote Assistance is configurable using Group Policy and supports command-line switches so that custom shortcuts can be deployed.

Helpers offering remote assistance can open multiple simultaneous sessions—one for each remote computer. However, users seeking assistance from helpers can have only one RA session waiting for a connection. Connect invitations can be sent to multiple recipients—any of which may connect. All subsequent connect attempts will be blocked until the first helper disconnects, after which another helper may connect. If the user disconnects the session, the RA application terminates and no further connections are allowed.

In Windows 7, WRA is based on RDP 7 and uses Peer Name Resolution Protocol when connecting using the Easy Connect option.[4] With Easy Connect, only a password needs to be shared instead of an invitation file, and two computers can establish a peer-to-peer connection over the Local Area Network (LAN) or the Internet without a relay server. Windows Remote Assistance does not support file transfer and clipboard sharing in Windows 7.[5][6]

Windows Remote Assistance is installed by default on Windows clients, but must be added manually on Windows Server 2008 R2 servers using the Add Features Wizard in Server Manager.[7] Remote assistance sessions may be initiated using the Windows Remote Assistance application available on the Start Menu under All Programs / Maintenance[8] or by using the msra.exe from command-line interface.[9]

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