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Windows 10 Quick Assist: Move Over TeamViewer?

Windows 10 Quick Assist: Move Over TeamViewer?
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No matter how simple it is to use a new Windows operating system with each new release (at least that’s how they want you to believe), there’s no escaping the fact that there will still be a lot of users out there that just need help! If you’re the one providing said help, you’ll know that it’s much easier to just show someone how to remedy a problem rather than explaining it over the phone, email or SMS text message. Hopefully by doing so, the end user will have remembered what you did and not bother you the next time around! I’m sure we all love helping another family member or friend but it can get pretty tiring sometimes. With the Windows 10 Anniversary update comes a very awesome yet not much talked about feature that aims to make getting/providing remote support assistance that much more easier. This is especially important because as the individual requesting assistance, the process needs to be quick, easy to perform and in that it just works without any special configuration or tweak needed on their end. As the person providing the support, you can definitely appreciate a feature that was actually baked into the operating system. This requires less work on your part on getting the actual remote support session up and running and instead use that time to actually help fix whatever problem the end user is having. With the release of Quick Assist by Microsoft, we finally have a quick and easy way to provide remote assistance to whomever needs it without much fuss. Let’s take a look.

Quick Assist is NOT a remote desktop solution. It is meant to quickly provide remote assistance to another individual rather than being able to access your personal computer at home.

To be fair, Microsoft did have the Remote Assistance feature available for some time now. It was similar to Quick Assist in that it was baked into the operating system but the similarities ended there. It wasn’t really user friendly and not to mention, it can be a pain to make it work at times. Connection issues is definitely not something you want to deal with when trying to provide remote support. Most typical end users have no idea what a router or firewall is and so having them configure this just so that the connection can be established is a real time waster. That’s where TeamViewer and other third party solutions came to the rescue. It was extremely easy to use in that the user just had to run a small piece of the program, provide you with some security code and off you go. Not only was it easy to configure but the most important part is that it just works. As long as both user had internet access, the connection went through. With Quick Assist, Microsoft finally and I mean finally took a page out of this and ran with it.

Getting Started

The biggest limitation at the moment is that Quick Assist is available only for Windows 10. Not only that but I believe both systems will need to have the big Windows 10 Anniversary update installed. I’ve tried upgrading one of my systems with the latest and greatest Windows updates except for the anniversary one but the Quick Assist feature was nowhere to be found. Here’s to hoping that Microsoft will be providing the Quick Assist feature for Windows 8 and at Windows 7 in the near future. I highly doubt it but one can hope. With that out of the way, both parties are ready to connect with each other. Oh and of course, an Internet connection is required for both parties.

In this example, I will be taking on the role of the individual providing the remote assistance. Therefore, I will first create the session and then have the other party establish the connection afterwards.

To launch Quick Assist, I simply search for it in the Start Menu.

Quick Assist In Start Menu
Quick Assist In Start Menu

Next, as I am the one providing the support, I will choose the “Give Assistance” link.

Assistance Options
Assistance Options

Next, you’ll have to sign in with your Microsoft account be it your *@outlook.com, *@hotmail.com or whatever you currently are using to sign in for Microsoft services. Once done, a security code will be presented on screen along with a 10 minute countdown timer. As you can guess, you have exactly 10 minutes to get the other individual to enter in the code to establish the connection. The good news is that not only can you email the code to the end user but it will also provide very simple instructions on how the user can open the Quick Assist app on their computer. If not, you can easily communicate the code via whatever method is available to you such as over the phone, SMS text message, etc. The user just needs to open the Quick Assist app, select “Get Assistance” and enter in the security code you’ve given them. Once they have allowed the connection to be established via the security prompt, the connection between both computers will have been established and you will be able to view and control the remote computer.

Security Code
Security Code
Connection Established
Connection Established

Usage

Although I’m glad for the Quick Assist feature, I’m also disappointed in the lack of features. Quick Assist is very barebones. You can control the individual’s computer as well as use the Annotate feature, which I think is buggy. With it, you are able to free draw on the screen with different colors for the other person to see. While testing, I was not able to select another pen color besides red. By default, the remote computer screen is shrunken when presented to you. Therefore, it might make it a bit difficult for you to see and control things but you are able to select the Original Size option. However, doing so will most likely bring in scroll bars. This makes for a very poor user experience for the individual providing the remote support. I’m not sure why but there is a Task Manager button where it will allow you to quickly bring up the Task Manager on the remote computer.

I’ve tried a couple of connections to some of my computers and I was unimpressed with the speed. There was a bit of lag and controlling ¬†the remote computer wasn’t as smooth as when I used¬†TeamViewer or AnyDesk. I’ve also tried connecting to my laptop that was connected to my 4G TMobile hotspot just to see if there would be any connection limitation but there were none. That’s one thing that can be praised for Quick Assist. It just needs to work regardless of how both individuals are connected to the Internet.

As it stands, the Quick Assist feature is a long shot away from being compared to TeamViewer or other third party remote assistance solutions. It’s just too barebones at the moment. There is no file transfer option, resolution scaling and chat features. I just can’t understand why not much more effort was put into Quick Assist. It’s definitely a bonus for all users as it’s truly free and builtin to Windows 10, which is what most people care about anyways, but I was seriously hoping for something more advanced since you know, it’s the year 2016. But hey, it’s a good start and I can say for sure that it’s a lot better than the previous Remote Assistance feature. That surely counts for something, right?!

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