There's someone in every family who's the computer expert (and with this book on your shelf, it's probably you). So, why not hire yourself out to friends and loved ones to serve as unpaid Microsoft technical support? With Windows XP's Remote Assistance feature and an Internet connection, you can.
A few caveats before you begin. First, both parties must be using Windows XP to take advantage of Remote Assistance. Grandma can't be running 98, although it doesn't matter if she's running Home and you're running Professional. Second, both must have an active Internet connection. Data is sent between the two computers, so if Grandma calls to say her problem is that she can't get her dial-up to work, you can forget about Remote Assistance. Third, neither of the connections can be blocked by firewalls. The Windows Firewall is configured by default to allow Remote Assistance traffic, but many Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) routers have a firewall component that blocks this traffic by default.
Once the networking and operating system prerequisites are in place, there are a few other details that must be taken care of before a Remote Assistance session can be established. They include:
If you uncheck the "Allow the computer to be controlled remotely" check box, shown in Figure 9-11, the Expert would open a "read-only" Remote Assistance session. The Expert would only be able to view the Novice's computer and exchange messages.
Figure 9-11. Allowing remote control.