Windows 10’s Anniversary Update brings a new “Quick Assist” feature. Built into Windows 10, Quick Assist allows you to take remote control of another person’s computer so you can help them troubleshoot it. It works similarly to Remote Desktop, but is available on all editions of Windows 10.
Quick Assist is really just the modern replacement for Windows Remote Assistance. It’s similar, but simpler and easier to use. You don’t have to email an invitation file back and forth.
When You Should Use Quick Assist
This tool is designed for quickly assisting someone with a problem (as the name implies). If you’re talking to a family member or friend on the phone, for example, and they say they have a computer problem, you can use Quick Assist to quickly connect to their PC, view their desktop, and interact with it to solve the problem–or just show them how to use their PC.
Because it’s built into Windows and is easy to use, it should be easy for you to talk the other person into setting up the connection.
However, this feature requires the other person help initiate the connection. You can’t just remotely connect whenever you want–your family member or friend must be sitting at the PC to grant you access when you connect. You’ll need a different remote desktop solution if you want to connect whenever you like without needing the other person’s help.
To do this, both your PC and the other PC will need to be running Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update installed. The older Remote Assistance feature is required for older versions of Windows.
What You Need to Do
First, open the Quick Assist application by searching your Start menu for “Quick Assist” and launching the Quick Assist shortcut. You can also navigate to Start > Windows Accessories > Quick Assist.
Assuming you want to help someone else by remotely accessing their computer, click “Give Assistance”.
You’ll then have to sign in with your Microsoft account. After you do, you’ll receive a security code that expires in ten minutes.
If your code expires, you can always just click “Give assistance” again to get a new one that will be valid for another ten minutes.
What the Other Person Needs to Do
You’ll then need to talk your friend or family member through opening the Quick Assist application on their PC. You can do this over email, via text message, or on the phone.
They’ll need to open the Start menu, type “Quick Assist” into the search box, and launch the Quick Assist application that appears. Or, they can navigate to Start > Windows Accessories > Quick Assist.
They’ll then need to click “Get Assistance” in the Quick Assist window that appears.
At this point, they’ll be prompted to enter the security code you received. They must enter this code within ten minutes from the time you received it, or the code will expire.
The other person will then see a confirmation prompt, and they’ll have to agree to give you access to their PC.
You’re Now Connected
The connection will now be established. According to the Quick Assist dialog, it may take a few minutes before the devices connect, so you may have to be patient.
Once they do, you’ll see the other person’s desktop appear in a window on your computer. You’ll have full access to their entire computer as if you were sitting in front of it, so you can launch any programs or access any files they could. You’ll have all the privileges the computer’s owner has, so you won’t be restricted from changing any system settings. You can troubleshoot their computer, change settings, check for malware, install software, or do anything else you would do if you were sitting in front of their computer.
At the top right corner of the window, you’ll see icons that let you annotate (draw on the screen), change the size of the window, remotely restart the computer, open the task manager, or pause or end the Quick Assist connection.
The other person can still see their desktop as you use it, so they can see what you’re doing and follow along. The annotation icon at the top right corner of the window allows you to draw annotations on the screen to help communicate with the other person.
At any time, either person can end the connection simply by closing the application from the “Quick Assist” bar at the top of the screen.
Watch out when modifying network settings. Some network setting changes may end the connection and require you re-initiate the Quick Assist connection with the other person’s help.
The “remote reboot” option is designed to reboot the remote computer and immediately resume the Quick Assist session without any further input. This may not always work properly, however. Be prepared to talk the other person through signing back into their PC and re-initiating the Quick Assist session if there’s problem and this doesn’t happen automatically.