NetMeeting for Remote Assistence

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 3 June 2002 / Last Updated on 3 June 2002]

Windows Internet Explorer contains NetMeeting, allowing to chat and to view a common
application. Although used by most people for meetings via a network (to avoid travel),
NetMeeting can also be used to give support, to give "Remote Assistance".

Lets name the system needing support ("Assistance") the "Novice" and the system giving help /
support the "Expert" ( when both systems are based on Windows XP, then you can use the new
"Remote Assistance", making it easier to invite an "expert" and giving the "novice" better security):

Such a connection to give assistance is possible via any connection, which supports TCP/IP :
- local area network (LAN )
- Wide area network (WAN)
- dial-in via Modem
- via the Internet

Once the "Expert" has connected to the "Novice" system, he can see on his screen the desktop of
the "Novice", he is also (if allowed by the "Novice") take control and use the mouse and keyboard
on his "Expert" system to control the "Novice" system :

NetMeeting can be used in 2 different modes to access a system :

-configure the "Novice" explicitly as "Remote Desktop", allowing the "expert" to connect
to the "Novice" without any confirmation action of the "novice".
-use NetMeeting in the "conference" mode, requiring the "novice" to accept the incoming
connection of the "Expert", see below.

First time use :
Changing configuration values
Making a Call to join a meeting ( to give help / support )
Hosting a meeting ( get help /support)
Take control from a remote system
NetMeeting and Firewalls


NetMeeting is installed as part of the Microsoft Internet Explorer. It is usually started up via the
Windows-start menu : "Programs" / "Accessories" / "Communications" / "NetMeeting" :

( If you have problems locating this in the menu of your systems (which I had on XP, where I could not find it ),
you can also start it directly from "C:\Program Files\NetMeeting" by starting "CONF.EXE" )

First Time Use :

When using NetMeeting the first time, you are asked to enter some selections .
You can always change them later.

On first time usage, NetMeeting will prompt
you to enter some personal information
and to define the connection parameters.

On the first screen, it just summarizes the
features of NetMeeting:
- Talk to others
- Use Video to see others....
- share applications and documents
- collaborate with others
- send files to others
- draw with others in a shared Whiteboard
- send messages to others in Chat

just "Next"
"Enter information about yourself"
- name
- e-mail address
- location

then "Next"
"A directory server lists people you can call"

If you like to use the Microsoft Directory
server, go ahead, but then you need to be
connected to the Internet when making
connections, even if you like to use
NetMeeting only on a LAN or WAN.

I suggest to UN-CHECK the
"Log on to a directory server" and
to connect later via TCP/IP addresses.
NetMeeting needs to know the speed
of the connection network to be determine,
how often it can send updates to the
participants of the meeting.

if used on a WAN, which most often
connects locations with 64 K bit lines,
please select "28800 bps or faster modem"
You can place an icon for NetMeeting on
the desktop.

There will be a few more screen to calibrate
the sound-card and microphone.

if you do not need it, skip them with "Next".
NetMeeting is Ready:
- change Settings
- make a call to join a meeting / to
give Help/Support
- host a meeting / get Help/Support

Changing Configuration values :

If you need to change one of the
settings, select from the menu :
"Tools" : "Options"
Here you can adjust all configuration

Making a Call to join a meeting ( to give help/support )

To "Place a Call" to join a meeting,
or to give Help / Support, select
the button "Place Phone"
"Place A Call" :

Since I am not using a Directory Server,
I need to handle myself the addressing
by entering the TCP/IP-network address
of the system hosting the NetMeeting
You will now have to wait, because (like with a
phone call), it is "ringing" on the system hosting
the NetMeeting session, and somebody at that
system has to accept the connection
("pick up the call")
You will see the list of people in
the meeting.

you will also see on your screen
all windows, which have been
shared, usually by the meeting host
( see an example in the Hosting section ,
allowing you for example to give Support ).

to terminate the connection, "hang up"
by using the button "End Call".

Hosting a meeting ( to get help/support )

To host a meeting or to be able to get help,
select from the menu:
"Call" to "Host Meeting"
window : "Host a Meeting"

You can give your meeting a "Name".

You can define additional option,
on whether only you will be able
to accept new incoming calls and
whether only the host can share
(see below).

When other people connect to join the meeting, a message box will pop-up:

You need to "accept" the call.

To "share" a window or program,
to have it also displayed on the screen
of the other meeting participants, select
the button "Share Program"
Select from the list the
program/window to be "shared":
to be displayed on the other
systems of the meeting.

You can share an application,
like a document or a graphic program,
or you can share your Desktop
(allowing others to give you support).

Step 1: select the item to share
Step 2: click on "Share"
once the desktop or an application has
been shared (indicated by the check-mark
in front of the name in the list ), you can
define , whether the other participants to the
meeting can only view it or whether they can
take control and then use their mouse and
keyboard to control it.

Step 3 (optional) : click on "Allow Control"
Once the desktop or an application has been
shared and the "Control" has been defined:

Step 4 : Close the Window

Once a window has been shared, the other participants of the meeting will get it as an additional
window on their desktop :

In this example :
- window on the right : the copy of NetMeeting running on the system.
- window on the left "Test system's desktop - controlled by..." is the desktop of the other
system, displaying the copy of NetMeeting running on that system

Taking Control from a Remote System :

When you move the cursor on the remote system into a
shared window, the cursor will change , as shown on the
left , to indicate that it can not be used to control the program.
To take control, double-click in the remote window.
The system running the window will be informed about
the request to take control and has to "accept" this.

Once a remote "expert" has control over the desktop of a "Novice" system, the "expert" can
use check the system for problems, checking:
- Control-Panel
- Device-Manager
- Event Log
- ...........

Use of NetMeeting via Firewalls :

When using NetMeeting to establish a connection , which goes through a firewall, it will most
probably be required to configure the firewall to allow the TCP/IP-ports used by NetMeeting
to pass through the firewall : list of ports used by NetMeeting.
(more information on ports used by NetMeeting : Knowledge base articleQ158623).

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