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How to install and configure remote assistance

Installing and configuring 'offer remote assistance' as we used to have on SBS 2011 can be done on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials but it requires some steps to complete.

If you have worked with SBS 2011 in the past you have probably used Remote Assistance from the Dashboard where you would right click any computer listed and ‘Offer Remote Assistance’.

Where the heck do I find the Offer Remote Assistance capability in Server 2012 R2 Essentials?  (I'm guessing this a just plain Server 2012 thing, but in my case I'm specifically using Server 2012 R2 Essentials.). From the server console, I want to be able to offer remote assistance to workstations joined to the Essentials domain.

This is how it was in SBS 2011. We do have a new dashboard in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials but Microsoft did not implement Remote Assistance on a default installation nor is it integrated in the console. It is up to us to come up with a solution!

How to install and configure remote assistance

Unfortunately the way it was done in SBS 2011 is no longer available in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials but you can still offer Remote Assistance. It took me a while to figure out how to get Remote Assistance working but here is how you do that.

  1. From the Server Manager click ‘Add roles and features’.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  2. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  3. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  4. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  5. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  6. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  7. Check ‘Remote Assistance’ and click Next.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  8. Click ‘Install’ and then ‘Close’.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  9. Start Group Policy Management from the Server Manager
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  10. Choose to create a new Group Policy
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  11. Name it ‘Remote Assistance’.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  12. Right click the GPO you just created and choose Edit.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  13. Expand the Computer Configuration/Policies/Software Settings/Administrative Templates/System/Remote Assistance node and open the Configure Offer remote Assistance rule.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  14. Set it to Enabled and Allow helpers to remotely control the computer. Then click Show
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  15. In this case I would allow all Domain Admins to offer Remote Assistance but you can also create a security group called ‘Helpdesk’ and add the users you need. Click OK twice.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  16. Next step is to create a Firewall rule that allows Remote Assistance on the client computer. Expand the Computer Configuration/Policies/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Windows Firewall with Advanced Security/Windows Firewall with Advanced Security/Inbound Rules node, right click in the right panel and click New Rule.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  17. Choose Predefined and from the dropdown list choose Remote Assistance. Click Next.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  18. Choose the two rules as in the screenshot and click next.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  19. Choose Allow the connection and click Finish.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  20. Link the GPO to the domain. Close Group Policy Management.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  21. On a client that is joined and connected to your network run an elevated command prompt and type gpupdate /force.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  22. To make sure the GPO has been applied run gpresult /r and check if the new Remote Assistance has been applied.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  23. We have installed Remote Assistance but if you look in the menu of Server Manager you will not find anything. Even if you do a search on Remote Assistance you will not find a clue how to start a session. But if you run msra /offerra the Remote Assistance tool will start.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  24. Type the name of the PC you want to offer Remote Assistance and click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  25. We need to go to PC1 and accept the offer.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  26. Click Yes.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  27. On the client we have accepted Remote Assistance.
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  28. After we switch back to our server we can see the desktop of the client. It works!
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  29. Finally we make a nice shortcut on the desktop of our server and here is how you do that. Right click on your desktop and choose New shortcut. Click Next
    How to install and configure remote assistance
  30. Give a name and click Finish.
    How to install and configure remote assistance

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