Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Making your life easier - software to fix a computer that's not on your network

If you work in any manner of IT, or happen to have been born within the last 20-30 years, chances are your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, mom's friend that comes over for coffee and criticizes her cleaning and makes you want to set off fireworks in the living room to get her to leave, etc have come to you at some point or another to "fix their computer". Whether the issue be viruses (sooooo many viruses) or the computer's running slow, or someone took the cover off the PC and the cat's been sleeping in the tower, one of the more frustrating tasks can be trying to troubleshoot with them over the phone without seeing what they're seeing and without any clear idea as to what they're talking about.
"Are you in Windows?"
"I'm in the basement."
"What do you see?"
"The couch your aunt gave us and a dog toy."
"No, what do you see on the desktop?"
"Coffee rings and a Readers' Digest from 1987."
One piece of software that has made this so much easier to deal with is CrossLoop. At work, we use Dameware, which has a lot more functionality, but it's not free and not as idiot-proof to install when not on a network. With CrossLoop, I just send the person an email (which, granted, requires they have internet access and know how to use email) with screen-shots of the steps to go through get set up. It's pretty quick, easy, and painless.

One criticism I have is the colour of their "Share" tab. It's grey. So, on a couple of occassions, I've had this conversation:
"Ok, and did you click the 'Share' tab?"
"I can't."
"Why?"
"It's greyed out."
"No, it's just grey. Click on it, please."
But, that's a small price to pay in the quest for easier remote troubleshooting. Anyone know of any other useful software like CrossLoop?

Mrow.

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