Windows Vista & Remote Assistance

Windows Vista & Remote Assistance

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Windows XP introduced a new feature called Remote Assistance that enabled XP users to help each other over the Internet.  Helpdesk personnel were able to view and even share control of their network users machines using Remote Assistance.  However, with the launch of Windows Vista, Helpdesk staff ran into a new issue.  It is no longer possible to offer unsolicited Remote Assistance from Windows XP (expert) to Windows Vista (novice).

This is because the Help & Support Service which is the cornerstone of Remote Assistance in Windows XP, was deprecated in Windows Vista.   When you offer Remote Assistance from a Windows XP client, it needs to instantiate the HelpSvc DCOM object on the target machine.  On a Windows Vista client, this object does not exist.  When you attempt to offer assistance from an XP machine to a Vista machine, the following error is presented:

RemoteAssistance

If you look in the system log on the Windows XP machine when you get the "Automation Server Can't Create Object" error, you will find the following error in the System Log:

===================
Event Type: Error
Event Source: DCOM
Event Category: None
Event ID: 10006
Date: 11/6/2006
Time: 5:02:15 AM
User: <DOMAIN>\<USERNAME>
Computer: <NAME OF THE XP MACHINE>
Description:
DCOM got error "Class not registered " from the computer <TARGET MACHINE> when attempting to activate the server:
{833E4010-AFF7-4AC3-AAC2-9F24C1457BCE}

For more information, see Help and Support Center at
<http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp>.
===================

If you search the Registry on a Windows Vista machine for that CLSID, it does not exist. On a Windows XP machine, that CLSID refers to the Help & Support Services Service (HKCR\CLSID\{833E4010-AFF7-4AC3-AAC2-9F24C1457BCE}).

To work around this issue, use one of the following methods:

1) Use a Windows Vista Machine as the Expert machine
2) The Vista machine can send an invitation either via email or by using a file invitation that the XP machine can use to connect

A quick note here: If by some chance you have the RDP6 Beta Client installed on the XP machine, then the HelpCtr.exe may crash with an Access Violation. This issue is fixed in the RTM version of the RDP6 client.

Until next time ...

Additional Resources:

 - CC Hameed

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  • PingBack from http://www.ditii.com/blog/2007/06/01/windows-vista-remote-assistance/

  • Why can't this just work? You do realize that all of your customers that use SMS can't use SMS with Vista and now without Remote Assistance they have to look at purchasing alternative remote management software so their IT staff can connect to managed Vista clients?

  • I agree with Nick, 'cept that, it's the people who need the assistance who are least able to figure out how to get it.  This should be as simple as it can be.  Why is everything always a struggle?

  • Vista uses msra.exe for remote help. If you type

    msra /? on a command line you will see how you could automate it.

    I`d like to use msra /offerRA <remote computer>

    BUT: it doesn`t work. I get an error message about a network prob, which isn`t true, since RA via invitation file works.

    Only hint is (and thats how I found this site):

    Source: RemoteAssistance

    EventID: 9

    There was a problem interacting with COM object 833E4010-AFF7-4AC3-AAC2-9F24C1457BCE.  An outdated version might be installed, or the component might not be installed at all.

    Both machines are VISTA, firewall disabled, etc.

  • This is awful.  Does MS know what a headache it's just created?  Yet another reason to discourage clients from doing the upgrade to Vista.

  • If you want to use msra.exe /offerRA <computername>, the offering user MUST be member of the the Vista group "Offer Remote Assistance Helpers" (directly or via a domain group). Otherwise you get an error message and event 9.

  • And MNicrosoft said this was the most tested OS ever! Two things I need to work and won't - Remoteassistance and Outlook via RPC/HTTPS with our Exchange 2003 Server.

    Rubbish!

  • After many hours of work, I have been unsuccessful in getting Remote Assistance to work between Vista machines with Windows Firewall running.  I've followed all the suggestions for configuring Firewall to let RA through, with no luck.  I've loaded the 937385 HotFix on both machines to make it work in the first place (with Firewall off).  Any word from MS that this might be fixed?

  • I have able to offer RA from Vista to Vista and from Vista to XP.  I cannot offer RA from XP to Vista.  I have the fireall running on both.

    Also, using Vista with Office 2007, I can connect to my E2K3 server using RPC/HTTPS.

  • I just tried to offer RA to my father-in-law who has a Vista machine. Unfortunately -now that I've read the postings- because I have WinXP I cannot offer expert assistance. I'm glad I'm still computing the "old fashioned" way as far as Microsoft is concerned!

  • So in fact, from Vista using "msra.exe /expert" is enough to do helpdesk related stuff.

  • I have yahoo'd high and low for an answer to this to no avail.

    I use remote desktop v5 (I unistalled v6 as a troubleshoot) which works fine on my Dell XP pro host but after a day or so after booting up the host, it will not connect.

    If I try to connect to the server the logon screen will flash on as if it is ready to load, then it will crash with no errors. There is no record in the event view when this happens.

    I have screen saver turned off and my monitor and drives are set to never sleep. The host is configured to be "always on"

    This issue happens when I connect from an internal network from Vista as well as from XP via the internet. I don't have problem connecting to other hosts from these clients.

    Any ideas?

  • Why can't Microsoft just make the darn thing work. Fix it and release a patch so we can go about doing our business.  This is eaxctly the reason why Apple is consuming so much of your market share. Just make the thing work and quit worring about ways to obsolete previous products. You not driving us to upgrade...your driving us to different platforms. You have enough money now how about making a product that works!

  • my sister downloaded antivirus 2009 on my computor i cannot get rid of it can u help

  • If anybody come over any workaround for remote assistance from XP to Vista without having the can not create object error, please post in here.