A relatively unknown app, Quick Assist, is pre-installed on Windows 10. It serves as a remote access tool that connects two PCs over the internet. This allows one person to control and diagnose issues or fix problems on the other person’s PC. For example, they could run an anti-malware program or uninstall a problematic hardware driver.
Quick Assist presents the desktop of the controlled PC to users on both ends. This feature also makes it an excellent teaching tool, as the person controlling the remote PC can demonstrate how to use applications or perform specific tasks.
If you find yourself needing to provide technical assistance to a co-worker, family member, or anyone else, but can’t do so in person, follow these steps to quickly connect their Windows 10 PC to yours using Quick Assist.
Five Important points to Consider Before Starting
Both computers must be running Windows 10 version 1607 or later. You can verify this by searching for “Quick Assist” in the Windows Search box located near the Start menu. If the Quick Assist app launches on both PCs, you’re good to go. If not, update the PC lacking Quick Assist to the latest version of Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
The person seeking assistance with their Windows 10 PC needs to be physically present in front of it initially. This is required to grant permission for Quick Assist to connect their PC to the assisting person’s computer.
If you are the one providing assistance, you must have a Microsoft service user account. This could be an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 account, or a free email account with Outlook or Hotmail. If you don’t have one, the Quick Assist tool will guide you through the process of signing up for free.
For optimal performance, ensure that both PCs have fast and reliable internet access. If you can engage in a video chat session with good image and sound quality, Quick Assist should work smoothly.
Quick Assist won’t stream sound from the remote PC. However, this should not pose an issue unless you are trying to fix an audio-related problem on the other PC.
Establishing the Connection
Assuming you will be the one controlling the other person’s PC remotely, follow these steps:
Launch the Quick Assist tool by clicking the Start button and navigating to the Windows Accessories folder. Alternatively, use the Windows Search box near the Start menu and type in “Quick Assist.”
Towards the bottom of the screen, under “Give assistance,” click the “Assist another person” button.
Sign in with your Microsoft account.
Quick Assist will generate a 6-digit security code. Share this code with the person whose PC you need to connect to. You can communicate it via email, chat, text, or voice call.
Instruct the person who needs your help with their PC to launch Quick Assist on their Windows 10 computer. Under “Get assistance,” they should enter the 6-digit security code you provided and click the “Share screen” button.
At your end, Quick Assist will present two options: “Take full control” and “View screen.” Opt for “Take full control” and click “Continue” to proceed.
- The person at the other PC should click the “Allow” button, granting permission for you to access their PC.
What You See and What They See
If you are the one remotely controlling the other person’s PC, Quick Assist will display their Windows 10 desktop within an application window.
You can minimize, maximize, and resize this application window, but it cannot be enlarged to fit your entire screen. To control the other PC, move your mouse pointer over the image of their desktop. By doing this, you will control their mouse pointer. Whatever you type on your keyboard will be replicated on the remote PC as long as your mouse pointer remains over their desktop image.
You have the freedom to perform various actions on the other person’s PC, such as interacting with their Start menu, running programs, conducting file searches, and navigating system settings.
The individual sitting in front of the other PC can observe your actions. They will see you moving their mouse pointer, as well as any text you input or applications you open.
It’s important to note that they can still use their PC’s keyboard, mouse, or touchpad, which might interfere with your actions. If you’re using Quick Assist to teach the other person how to perform a task, it’s best to be on a phone call together. This way, you can explain what you’re doing and let them know when it’s their turn to take control of their PC. I don’t recommend using Skype or any other online video or voice chat platform since it may slow down Quick Assist’s connection.
The other person can pause your control over their PC by clicking the double-line icon to the right of “Screen sharing on.” This pause icon will change to a triangle, enabling them to resume the connection later.
They can also revoke your control by clicking the “X” to the right of “Quick Assist,” which will sever the connection between the two PCs.
Tools at Your Disposal
If you’re the person controlling the other PC, you will find a toolbar with several useful options at the upper-right corner of the Quick Assist window.
- Select Monitor: This option lets you view the content on an additional monitor connected to the remote PC. If the PC displaying information is connected to a second monitor, you can click “Select Monitor” to switch your view to that particular monitor.
- Annotate: The “Annotate” tool enables you to draw on the other PC’s screen, allowing you to highlight and emphasize certain elements during remote teaching sessions. The doodles disappear when you exit the annotation mode or when the connection between the two PCs ends.
- Actual Size: It displays the other PC’s screen in its original resolution, but it doesn’t automatically fill your entire screen. Horizontal and vertical scrolling may be necessary to view the entire remote screen.
- Toggle Instruction Channel: This straightforward messaging feature facilitates communication between you and the person at the other PC. Click on this button, type a brief message in the chat window that appears, and hit “Send.”
The individual at the other PC will receive a notification on the clipboard icon located on the toolbar at the top-center of their screen. By clicking on it, they can access the chat window and respond to your message.
- Restart: This button ends the connection between the two PCs and restarts the remote PC. Once the remote PC restarts, the user in front of it will be prompted to grant you permission to connect again, eliminating the need to generate and enter a new security code. This option comes in handy when you need to reboot the remote PC and then reconnect.
- Task Manager: Clicking this button launches the Windows Task Manager tool, which is useful for troubleshooting issues relating to applications running on the remote PC.
- Pause and End: These buttons allow you to pause or end the connection with the remote PC. By clicking “Pause,” a “Resume” button will appear in its place, allowing you to resume the connection. Clicking “End” will prompt a “Reconnect” button. If clicked, the person in front of the other PC will receive a prompt asking for permission to reconnect.
Remember, the connection can be terminated by any party involved if need be.
This article was originally published in September 2016 and updated in April 2020.