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Remote assistance without email or Windows Messenger?

I need to configure remote assistance so that the IT dept. can initiate RA sessions with users without using Windows Messenger or sending email invites. It sounds funny I know, but it can be done. They had it set up this way at my old job, however I no longer have any contacts there. I essentially want  the IT team members to have a shortcut on their desktops that launches the Help and Support Center screen where you enter the computer name or IP address. From there they can initiate a normal RA session with the user. Any thoughts on setting this up? All servers run 2003 and all clients are XP.
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dfxdeimos
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I am not aware of any *BUILT IN* in ways to do this outside of e-mail or IM invitations.

However System Center Essentials will allow you to do exactly what you are looking for from its administration console. It is possible that you were using SCE at your old job?
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LeeTutor
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During the request for remote assistance, under the options to IM or Email the request, there should be an option to save the request as a file.

See: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300546 and scroll down for the file information.

As an alternative, you could install VNC, UltraVNC or TightVNC on the machines then just have the service set to manual. If you need to connect to one of them, you would start the service remotely then initiate the connection, or alternately set up the machines with ssh (openssh for windows) and tunnel with putty or puttytel.

There is a single button click method of using VNC where the helpdesk builds an executable file and starts a listening vncviewer session and the end user just runs an executable. That sounds great but my personal results have not been favorable.

Ahh, based on the other comments maybe what they did before is manually create remote assistance files for each system and then stored those files where the sys admins could access them? That could be a lot of overhead depending on the size of your company.

Maybe (and I am thinking as I am typing) you could just create one file and open it in notepad and modify the details to work with other systems.

I am not sure if the files have expiration dates on them, but it may be worth a shot.
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Perfect solution amazingTech. The link helped as well Lee.
After some reading, I can elaborate on my previous comments and offer some more advice.

The Single Click help utility at ultra vnc explains how the concept works and how to configure and establish it. Ideally it would allow you to put an icon or shortcut that would connect back to a previously designated helpdesk computer.

You can also set your AD Group Policy to allow specific machines to initiate remote sessions, but that seems more complex to me. If you do that, then the shortcut offered by AmazingTech should work, but it will otherwise fail in many circumstances due to settings typical to office environments.

You can always go to Start - Run and use the mstsc /console to start a connection, but alas not a shared one (or mstsc /admin for Vista or Server 2008.)

I've worked in offices that used solely vnc and offices that used solely remote desktop and remote assistance. I personally find that it most reliable to have vnc installed as a service but not running. If you're going to be connecting over the internet or through untrusted networks, then you should consider securing it better, but for our local network I'm usually satisified to have the service set to manual and start it on demand with psservice (from sysinternals.)

If you need something more secure, more enterprise minded, check out http://showmypc.com (which is built on vnc/ssh as well.)

You can do it yourself with putty or puttytel and openssh for windows in the same way that you would for linux machines, as it is described at http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-security-4/vnc-with-putty-tunnel-28085/ .