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Troubleshoot Remote Assistance

This page deals with troubleshooting Remote Assistance. You can find other network troubleshooting resources here:

Note: In Microsoft Borg-speak, when referring to the two parties engaged in Remote Assistance, the word "Novice" refers to the person at the machine being controlled, and "Expert" refers to the person who takes control.

You may receive a "Remote Assistance failed" error message on a Windows XP-based Internet Connection Sharing client computer that uses the Internet Connection Firewall feature

Consider this scenario: You send a Remote Assistance invitation to a Windows XP-based Internet Connection Sharing host computer from a Windows XP-based Internet Connection Sharing client computer. The client computer has the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) feature enabled. You receive an error message that is similar to the following:

Remote Assistance failed. Please try again.
Remote Assistance May Not Work if Internet Connection Firewall Is Enabled

When an expert attempts to connect to a novice's computer, the expert may receive the following error message:

A Remote Assistance connection could not be established.
How To Obtain Remote Assistance Using Windows Messenger in Windows XP

This step-by-step article describes how to use Windows Messenger to obtain help using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP. Remote Assistance enables you to allow another user to make a remote connection to your computer, which they can use to view your computer screen, participate in real-time chat and, with your permission, remotely control your computer.
How To Obtain Remote Assistance by Sending an E-mail Message in Windows XP

This article describes how to obtain help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Microsoft Windows XP.

Remote Assistance allows a remote connection to your computer that can be used to view your computer screen, participate in real-time chat and, with your permission, remotely control your computer.
How to Provide Remote Assistance in Response to an E-mail Invitation in Windows XP

This step-by-step article describes how to provide help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP in response to an e-mail invitation. Remote Assistance enables you to establish a connection to a remote computer through the Internet. This connection can be used to view the computer screen, participate in real-time chat, and remotely control that computer (when you have permission to do so).
How To Provide Remote Assistance In Response to Windows Messenger Invitation in XP

This step-by step article describes how to provide help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP in response to a Windows Messenger invitation. Remote Assistance enables you to establish a connection to a remote computer through the Internet. This connection can be used to view the computer screen, participate in real-time chat, and remotely control that computer (when you have permission to do so).
Remote Assistance Session Is Disconnected by Standby or Hibernation Mode, or Fast User Switching

An expert may be disconnected from a Remote Assistance session.
Remote Assistance Invitation Does Not Work After Being Disconnected from the Internet

When an "expert" attempts to establish a Remote Assistance session by using an invitation file, the expert may receive the following error message:

Remote Assistance connection could not be established. Please try again.
Permission Denied Error When You Are Using Offer Remote Assistance

When you are using Remote Assistance and the Expert attempts to connect to the Novice's computer by using Offer Remote Assistance, you may receive the following message:

Permission Denied
Error Message When You Invite a User to a Remote Assistance Session by Using Windows Messenger

When you invite another Windows or MSN Messenger user to a Remote Assistance session, you may receive the following error message:

Username does not have Remote Assistance installed and is not able to accept your invitation.

The user who has been invited receives the following error message:

The invitation from Username to start using Remote Assistance is declined because the program is not installed on your system.
You receive a "Remote Assistance connection could not be established" error message when you try to offer unsolicited remote assistance in Windows XP

Consider the following scenario. You try to offer unsolicited assistance to a novice computer for the first time by using Remote Assistance in Microsoft Windows XP. In this scenario, you may receive the following error message:

A Remote Assistance connection could not be established. You may want to check for network issues or determine if the invitation expired or was cancelled by the person who sent it.
Cannot Start a Remote Assistance Session After You Use System Restore

If a user (Novice) creates a Remote Assistance ticket, and then (before the ticket has expired) uses System Restore to restore the computer to a point before the ticket was created, the Expert will not be able to successfully connect to the Novice and use Remote Assistance. Instead, when the Expert attempts to connect by using Remote Assistance, the following error is generated:

Remote Assistance
Connection could not be established because the invitation has either expired or was cancelled.

You receive a "Your invitation was not sent because you need the latest version of Windows Messenger" error message when you try to use Remote Assistance on a Small Business Server 2003-based computer

Note: This article refers to Small Business Server 2003-based computer, however it also applies to XP.

When you try to use the Remote Assistance feature in MSN Messenger on a computer that is running Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 (SBS 2003), you may receive the following MSN Messenger error message:

Your invitation was not sent because you need the latest version of Windows Messenger to use the Remote Assistance feature. Please go to the Windows Messenger update site to install the latest version.
Cannot Use MSN EXPLORER or AOL To Send a Remote Assistance Invitation via Email Option

When you use Remote Assistance to invite someone to help you and try to choose the option to use e-mail, you might see the following message when you get to the available options page:

Outlook Express is not set up
Remote Assistance is either incompatible with the default e-mail program on this computer, or could not detect a default e-mail account.


You will also see an option to set up Outlook Express.
How to Change the E-mail Program That Is Used By Remote Assistance

This article describes how to change the default e-mail program that Remote Assistance uses to send an invitation. Remote Assistance can use three different escalation methods, or methods of inviting another user to provide remote assistance. One of these methods is by sending a Remote Assistance invitation in an e-mail message.
 
How to configure a computer to receive Remote Assistance offers in Windows XP

This article describes the steps to use to configure your Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computer to receive Remote Assistance offers.
How to Provide Remote Assistance in Response to an E-mail Invitation in Windows XP

This step-by-step article describes how to provide help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP in response to an e-mail invitation. Remote Assistance enables you to establish a connection to a remote computer through the Internet. This connection can be used to view the computer screen, participate in real-time chat, and remotely control that computer (when you have permission to do so).
How To Provide Remote Assistance In Response to Windows Messenger Invitation in XP

This step-by step article describes how to provide help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP in response to a Windows Messenger invitation. Remote Assistance enables you to establish a connection to a remote computer through the Internet. This connection can be used to view the computer screen, participate in real-time chat, and remotely control that computer (when you have permission to do so).
How To Obtain Remote Assistance Using Windows Messenger in Windows XP

This step-by-step article describes how to use Windows Messenger to obtain help using the Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP. Remote Assistance enables you to allow another user to make a remote connection to your computer, which they can use to view your computer screen, participate in real-time chat and, with your permission, remotely control your computer.
How To Obtain Remote Assistance by Sending an E-mail Message in Windows XP

This article describes how to obtain help by using the Remote Assistance feature in Microsoft Windows XP.

Remote Assistance allows a remote connection to your computer that can be used to view your computer screen, participate in real-time chat and, with your permission, remotely control your computer.
How to configure or disable Solicited Remote Assistance in Windows XP

By using the Solicited Remote Assistance feature in Microsoft Windows XP, you can explicitly request help from another party by using a method such as e-mail or Windows Messenger. This article describes how to configure or disable the Solicited Remote Assistance feature through Group Policy settings.
You Cannot Start a Remote Assistance Session Because the Start Remote Assistance Button Is Not Available

When you receive a Remote Assistance invitation, and then click the link that opens the Remote Assistance Web page, you may not be able to continue because the Start Remote Assistance button on the Web page is not available.
Terminal Services Settings That Affect Remote Assistance

This article describes some Terminal Services settings that may affect the functionality of the Remote Assistance tool.
Description of the Remote Assistance Connection Process

This article describes the contents of the Remote Assistance invitation file that is sent from the Novice to the Expert. This file is created when the Novice uses the Email or Save invitation as a file option in Remote Assistance. This article does not address using Windows Messenger to establish a Remote Assistance session.
Error message when a Remote Assistance connection fails in Windows Messenger: "Remote Assistance connection could not be established because the remote host name could not be resolved. Please try again"

When you send an invitation to a computer to use Remote Assistance in Microsoft Windows Messenger, the connection fails. Then, the user of the computer that receives the invitation receives the following error message:

Remote Assistance connection could not be established because the remote host name could not be resolved. Please try again.

This problem occurs even though you and the user can exchange text messages and connect for a voice conversation.
How to use the "Offer Remote Assistance" policy setting

You can configure Remote Assistance so that administrators, support personnel, or any user, can offer assistance to other users without requiring them to initiate the Remote Assistance session. This capability is called "Unsolicited Remote Assistance," and is designed for use in Enterprise corporations that are using domains. By default, this feature is turned off, and it can only be turned on through the Unattend.txt file, or by using group policies.
The Remote Assistance dialog box appears and does not respond when you request Remote Assistance help on a Windows Embedded for Point of Service-based computer

When you request Remote Assistance help on a Microsoft Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS)-based computer, the Remote Assistance dialog box appears and does not respond.
The DVD Playback Function Does Not Work During a Remote Assistance Session

The playback function on a digital video disk (DVD) video player does not work during a Remote Assistance session. For example, if you send out a Remote Assistance invitation, and then start the DVD video player, the DVD playback function does not work as soon as the Remote Assistance session is established. If you attempt to restart the DVD video player, an error message about low screen settings is displayed. Because Remote Assistance decreases the screen resolution during the session, most DVD video players cannot work.
Remote Assistance Expert Loses Control of Remote Assistance Session

During a Remote Assistance session where the expert has been given control, the expert may lose control.
Remote Assistance Tool Does Not Notify You If You Enter an Invalid E-mail Address

When you use the Remote Assistance tool, and you send a Remote Assistance invitation, if you enter an invalid e-mail address for the helper address, and then send the invitation, the Remote Assistance tool does not notify you that you used an invalid e-mail address.
Error message when you execute a Remote Assistance invitation file to connect to a novice’s computer on a Windows XP-based computer that has RDC 6.0 installed: "A Remote Assistance connection could not be established"

On a Windows XP-based computer, you execute a Remote Assistance invitation file to connect to a novice’s computer. However, the Remote Assistance session fails. Also, you receive the following error message:

Remote Assistance
A Remote Assistance connection could not be established. You may want to check for network issues or determine if the invitation expired or was cancelled by the person who sent it.


This problem occurs if the following conditions are true:
  • The Windows XP-based computer has Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 (RDC 6.0) installed.
  • The novice’s computer has multiple IP addresses when the Remote Assistance invitation file is created.
Exceptions that you added to Windows Firewall by using Remote Assistance while you were logged in to Windows Messenger or MSN Messenger have not taken effect

After you add exceptions to Windows Firewall by using Remote Assistance while you are logged in to Microsoft Windows Messenger or Microsoft MSN Messenger, you notice that the exceptions have not taken effect.
Overview of Remote Assistance in Windows XP

Remote Assistance is a technology in Windows XP which enables Windows XP users to help each other over the Internet. With this tool, one user, called the "Expert," can view the desktop of another user, the "Novice." With the Novice's permission, the Expert can even share control of the Novice's computer to resolve issues remotely.

With Remote Assistance, a Help Desk can assist users on the network, which is known as the Offer Remote Assistance feature.
You Cannot Offer Remote Assistance To A Computer Running Windows XP

When you try to offer Remote Assistance to a computer running Window XP on which Norton's Ghost Walker has been used to change the SID, you will get an error message as described in the Symptom area.
How To Enable Remote Assistance in Windows XP

Sometimes the best way to fix a problem is to have someone show you how. The Remote Assistance feature in Windows XP is a convenient way for an administrator to connect to your computer and walk you through the solution. After connecting to your computer, an administrator can view your screen and chat online with you about what you both see. With your permission, the administrator can use his or her mouse and keyboard to work with you on your computer.
Remote Assistance invitation file does not contain correct port number

Remote Assistance may not insert the correct port number in the invitation file.
If the Solicited Remote Assistance policy is disabled, you cannot offer assistance to a Novice computer

When you disable the Solicited Remote Assistance policy in Microsoft Windows XP, you prevent a Novice computer from requesting Remote Assistance. However, this setting also prevents an Expert from offering Remote Assistance to a Novice computer. The Expert computer will display the following error message:

A program could not start. Please try again.

The only way to start a Remote Assistance session is to set the Solicited Remote Assistance policy to Enabled or to Not Configured on the Novice computer.
Supported connection scenarios for Remote Assistance

This article describes the supported connection scenarios for Remote Assistance.
Remote Assistance May Not Connect to a Multiple-Homed Windows XP Computer with the Personal Firewall Feature Enabled

When you use a multiple-homed Windows XP-based computer with the Personal Firewall feature enabled, remote users may not be able to connect to the computer in response to a Remote Assistance request.

Also, if you are using a Windows XP-based computer with one network adapter and a modem with the Personal Firewall feature enabled, Remote Assistance does not open the firewall port on the modem connection.
You receive an "A program has not started. Please try again" error message if you try to start Remote Assistance on a Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer

If you try to start a Remote Assistance session on a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you may receive the following error message:

A program has not started. Please try again.

Additionally, if you click Start to start the Remote Desktop Help Session Manager service, you may receive the following error message:

The Remote Desktop Help session manager did not start properly (error code 0x80070005).
Remote Assistance, Application Sharing, or Whiteboard Session Does Not Start After Remote Computer Accepts Your Invitation

After a remote computer accepts your invitation to a Remote Assistance, Application Sharing, or Whiteboard session, the session for which you sent an invitation may not start, and nothing happens at all. For example, the Remote Assistance, Sharing, or Whiteboard dialog box is not displayed on your screen.
Remote Assistance Session Cannot Connect

When a novice user attempts to establish a Remote Assistance session with you (the expert), you may experience one of the following problems:

You may receive the following error message:

Remote Assistance connection could not be established because the invitation was either expired or was cancelled.

You may be prompted with the Log On to Windows dialog box, instead of having Remote Assistance log on automatically.
Remote Assistance connection to Windows Server 2003 with FIPS encryption does not work

Microsoft has added the FIPS Compliant setting to the options for Terminal Services encryption levels in Windows Server 2003. A Windows Server 2003-based server that has the encryption level set to FIPS Compliant cannot allow Remote Assistance connections from a computer that is running Windows XP, Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

When you try to connect from a Windows XP-based client to a Terminal Services server, the connection may not succeed, and you may receive the following error message:

Because of a security error, the client could not connect to the terminal server. After making sure that you are logged on to the network, try connecting to the server again.
 

Note: The next two articles have titles and descriptions that are almost exactly the same, however they address the problem in distinctly different ways.

You may not be able to use Remote Assistance to connect to a client computer after you install Windows XP SP2 on a computer that has the Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) installed

After you install Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) on a computer that has the Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) installed, you may not be able to use Remote Assistance to connect to a client computer.
You may not be able to use Remote Assistance to connect to a client after you install Windows XP SP2 on a computer that has the Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) installed

After you install Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) on a computer that has the Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) installed, you may not be able to use Remote Assistance to connect to a client.
An expert's Windows XP-based computer cannot take control of a novice's computer after a Remote Assistance connection is established

Consider the following scenario: A Remote Assistance connection is established between an expert's Microsoft Windows XP-based computer and a novice's computer. The expert then clicks Take Control in an attempt to take control of the novice's computer. However, when the novice tries to grant control by clicking Yes, nothing happens.
Windows XP Remote Assistance May Disconnect If You Use AOL (America Online)

If you connect to the Internet by using America Online version 7.0 and you then try to start a Remote Assistance session, the session may disconnect after the ticket is initially negotiated. The disconnect occurs before the desktop becomes visible to the expert in the session. The session may also seem to "freeze" on the computer that initiates the session before the expert is disconnected.
A user receives an "Unable to log you on because it is required that you use a smart card" message when the user tries to log on to your Windows XP-based computer by using Remote Assistance

Consider the following scenario. You enable the "Interactive logon: Require smart card" security setting on your Microsoft Windows XP-based computer so that users have to use a smart card to log on to the local computer.

After you enable the security setting, users cannot log on to your computer by using Remote Assistance. When a user on a remote computer tries to log on to your computer by using Remote Assistance, the user receives the following message:

Unable to log you on because it is required that you use a smart card to log on, please contact your administrator
Remote Assistance generates minimal event logging in Windows XP

When you start a Remote Assistance session with another computer, Remote Assistance does not track who initiated the session or the location of the computer that initiated the session.
An access violation occurs when you try to send a Remote Assistance request from the Help and Support Center in Windows XP

When you try to send a Remote Assistance request from the Help and Support Center in Microsoft Windows XP, an access violation may occur.
You cannot offer remote assistance to a user whose computer is running Windows XP Service Pack 2

When you try to offer remote assistance to a user whose computer is running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you are not successful. In this scenario, you may receive the following message:

Permission denied
Empty Message Box Appears When You Are Using Remote Assistance

When you are using Remote Assistance in Windows XP, an empty message box may appear. When you click the OK button, nothing occurs. To close this message box, you must click the red X in the upper right corner.
Unexpected Mouse Behaviour During a Remote Assistance Session

When you use Remote Assistance to take control of another computer, conflicting mouse-orientation settings between the two computers may cause the mouse to behave unexpectedly.

For example, the person taking control may have the mouse configured for right-handed orientation, but the computer that he or she is taking control of is configured for left-handed orientation, or vice-versa. These conflicting orientation settings can result in the functionality of the right and left mouse buttons being reversed.
Cannot Establish a Remote Assistance Connection

When you try to establish a Remote Assistance session, you may receive the following error message, and you may be unable to start a Remote Assistance session:

You have been disconnected from 'name' computer. For more information, contact 'name'
You receive "Remote Access Connection Manager" and "Remote Assistance Prepare System Restore" error messages in Windows XP

On your Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1)-based computer, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

When you try to connect to an Internet connection or create a new network connection, you may receive the following error message:

Cannot load Remote Access Connection Manager.
Error 711


When you right-click My Computer, and then click Properties, you may receive the following error message:

Rundll32.exe Entry point not found.
The procedure entry RemoteAssistancePrepareSystemRestore could not be located in the dynamic link library winsta.dll.


When you try to start the Remote Access Connection Manager service, you may receive the following error message:

Could not start the Remote Access Connection Manager service on Local Computer. Error 5: Access is denied

When you try to perform a system restore, you may receive the following error message:

Restrui.exe Entry point not found.
The procedure entry Remote Access Connection Manager and
RemoteAssistancePrepareSystemRestore related error messages appears in Windows XP could not be located in the dynamic link library winsta.dll

You Cannot Obtain Remote Assistance by Using the Exchange Server Instant Messaging Client

When you try to use the Remote Assistance support tool to obtain help, you cannot establish a connection by using Instant Messaging.
You Receive a Remote Assistance Error Message Stating That the User Has Closed Connection to Your Computer

After you receive an invitation from a user that is asking for Remote Assistance over email, you open the invitation, and then you attempt to make the connection, you may receive the following error message:

Username has closed connection to your computer.

On the client computer to which you are trying to connect, there is no indication that the user was trying to connect by using the Remote Assistance invitation.
Interactive Support Does Not Save Password

When you use Help and Support Services to send a remote assistance invitation, the Password and Remember Password options may be unavailable.

Note: Microsoft has a terrible habit of using fancy, uncommon words and phrases in place of plain, commonly understood words and phrases. "Interactive Support" is Microsoft Borg-speak for "Remote Assistance". The Microsoft Borg also refer to remote desktop sessions as "console sessions" and "console control", and they invent silly words like "deproblem" just to keep everyone confused.
Remote Assistance Session Is Terminated and Unexpected Behaviour Occurs

When you are using a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP, if you run Helpctr.exe, and then send a request for assistance to a valid e-mail address, when the expert opens the request, takes control of your computer, and then leaves the computer unattended for one hour, the Remote Assistance connection is closed.

When the computers are brought out of the Sleep or Hibernate state, the tool on the expert's computer is displayed as a white screen and the expert cannot submit a new text message using the chat functionality. On your computer, the tool is displayed, but the Remote Assistance connection closes if you attempt to use it.

If you enable the On resume, password protect option under the Screen saver options on the server, the following behaviour occurs:
  • The Welcome screen is displayed on the server.
  • A blank screen is displayed on the client.
  • No events are fired.
  • When you return to the active session, a blank screen is still displayed on the client.
Remote Assistance Is Not Available in Windows XP 64-Bit Edition

Windows XP 64-Bit Edition does not include the Remote Assistance feature. This behaviour is by design.

Note: If you need to offer remote assistance from a 64-bit edition of XP, and if you have access to a 32-bit edition, you can install Virtual PC and run the session from there. Microsoft offer a 30-day evaluation of Windows Vista, which can be downloaded as a Virtual PC virtual hard disk image, so that might offer you a temporary solution. Another alternative is to establish a VPN between the two computers and use Remote Desktop, however the user at the other end will not be able to see what you are doing. If you don't want to go to so much trouble, try the Open Source packages, such as RealVNC and TightVNC.
RA_MaxTicketExpiry Entry in the Unattend.txt File Does Not Work Correctly

Under the following conditions, the Remote Assistance maximum ticket expiration may not be set as you expect:
  • You run an unattended installation of Windows XP.
  • You use the RA_MaxTicketExpiry entry in the [PCHealth] section of the Unattend.txt file.
Although you use RA_MaxTicketExpiry entry, the Remote Assistance maximum ticket expiration is set to 30 days.
How to change the listening port for Remote Desktop

This article describes how to change the port that Remote Desktop listens on.

Note: The Remote Desktop Connection Client for the Mac supports only port 3389. 3389 is the default port.

Note: The article does not mention the fact that Remote Assistance is a component RDC and therefore uses RDC port assignments.
Error message when you try to use the Remote Assistance feature on a computer that is running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003: "You do not have access to logon to this session"

On a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003, you try to use the Remote Assistance feature to offer remote assistance to a user on another computer. However, when you try to send an invitation to another computer, you may receive the following error message:

You do not have access to logon to this session
A Remote Assistance session fails when the /3GB switch is enabled in the Boot.ini file on a Windows XP-based computer

Consider the following scenario:
  • You are running a Windows XP-based computer.
  • You invite an expert computer to access your computer by using Remote Assistance.
In this scenario, the Remote Assistance session may fail. Therefore, you have to restart the computer and then start the Remote Assistance session again.

This issue occurs if the /3GB switch is enabled in the Boot.ini file when you start the computer.
The remote assistance feature does not work correctly after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2 on a computer that already has Windows XP SP2 installed

After you install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) on a computer that already has Windows XP SP2 installed, the remote assistance feature does not work correctly.
You receive an error message the first time that you try to use the Remote Assistance feature to offer assistance to a user whose computer is running Windows XP

You are using a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP. You try to use the Remote Assistance feature to offer remote assistance to a user whose computer is also running Windows XP. However, the first time that you try to connect to the user's computer, you receive one of the following error messages:

A Remote Assistance connection could not be established. You may want to check for network issues or determine if the invitation expired or was cancelled by the person who sent it.

Or

You have been disconnected from Name's computer. For more information, contact Name.

If you try again, you can successfully connect to the computer and offer assistance to the user.
You are unexpectedly logged off when you try to connect to a computer that is running Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP

If you try to connect to a remote computer, you cannot log on to the remote computer. This symptom occurs in any one of the following scenarios:
  • You try to connect to a remote Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computer by using a Terminal Services session.
  • You try to connect to a remote Windows Server 2003-based computer by using a Remote Desktop Connection session.
  • You try to connect to a remote Microsoft Windows XP Professional-based computer by using a Remote Desktop Connection session.
  • When you offer remote assistance to a Windows XP Client, you are unable to connect after the user accepts the offer.
Although you cannot connect, you receive the following messages:

Please wait
Loading your personal settings


And

Please wait
Applying your personal settings


And

Please wait
Saving your settings


The remote computer processes your logon request. However, the remote computer never completes your logon request, and you are subsequently logged off the remote computer.