Many computer problems can be addressed remotely without needing to have a computer support professional visit your home or workplace in person. This is accomplished by utilising software which permits the support professional to view your screen in the same way as if they were seated at your computer. They can then use the keyboard and mouse on their own workstation, and you can view everything they do as if they were sitting there with you. In fact, just yesterday morning I resolved an issue for a client running Microsoft Outlook on a Mac.
Unfortunately the reputation of computer support performed remotely has suffered because of scams which have been prevalent in recent times. Early last year, after publishing a blog post on this topic, I was shocked to find an unpleasant comment on a third party site a few days later, which accused me of computer fraud, hijacking and stealing, and calling me scum. This was perhaps an extreme reaction from the individual concerned, but nevertheless indicative of the reputation of this industry.
It’s possible that you’ve been the victim of such a scam yourself. Generally they will use intimidating tactics, insisting that you have a problem which means that they need to log in to your computer in order to resolve the issue. Or you may have had an invasive pop-up warning you about an urgent problem with your computer and directing you to call a number displayed so that the issue can be resolved.
The ultimate objective of the fraudsters is to extort you, either through gaining access to your bank account, or in some other manner. I have assisted quite a number of clients who’ve fallen foul of these scams. You should never allow an unknown person to gain remote access to your computer unless you’re sure that it’s someone you can trust. In general, if someone has initiated a call to you about an issue, you should terminate the telephone call before they can persuade you that they need to gain access to your computer.
When used in a legitimate manner, remote computer support is an immensely powerful tool. Issues can be resolved without the need for anyone to visit your home or workplace in person and there is no requirement of travel for the computer support professional. This will result in a less expensive solution for you as the client, particularly when the issue is resolved within a short time period. I’ve had quite a few situations when less than fifteen minutes were required in order to fully resolve the client’s problem. Sometimes all it requires is that a single setting be changed in the operating system or in an application. This could be something as simple as the name of an email server, a change to a default application, or a required update to a driver.
There are numerous different remote desktop software options, most of which are free of charge to you as the client. One of the most popular is TeamViewer, which is widely considered to be the industry flagship remote access product. You may also be familiar with products such as GoToMyPC . These popular products are used both by legitimate technical support companies, and by fraudsters.
Norm’s Computer Services uses a product called AnyDesk. Using the product requires a visit to the AnyDesk home page from where the software can be downloaded. With Microsoft Windows you can run the software without even having to install it and it’s a very light download. On a Mac, installation of the software is a little more complicated, but nevertheless not difficult to get up and running.
After launching AnyDesk, a window will be launched showing a nine digit number which is the AnyDesk address required for access to your computer. After giving this address to the support professional, you receive an on-screen request from them to access your computer. Access to the computer is only granted should you accept the request, and the software cannot be used to control your computer at any time without your permission.
You may be wondering whether the issue you’re having can be resolved using a remote access solution. In fact it’s possible to resolve practically any software issue using this approach. It’s not possible to investigate issues which require opening up the computer to address a hardware issue. It also wouldn’t be possible to perform a reinstall of your operating system remotely. If your computer boots successfully, and has internet access, then remote access software can be used to investigate and troubleshoot your issues. In recent times I’ve addressed email issues such as the one described at the beginning of this article, carried out computer health checks, installed printers, removed viruses, speeded up slow computers, and more.
In summary, remote computer support is a great option for having computer issues resolved speedily and efficiently, as long as you can trust the remote access support professional. Assuming this is the case, you may find that pesky issues are resolved within minutes of making that phone call.