Remote Assistance in Windows 2008

Remote Assistance provides a way for users to get the help they need and makes it easier and less costly for corporate helpdesks to assist their users.

The Remote Assistance application in Windows Server 2008 is implemented in MSRA.exe.

It can be started from the command line by running msra.exe.




From the Start > All Programs > Maintenance > Windows Remote Assistance


Remote Assistance Registry Keys

User-specific Remote Assistance registry keys will not exist unless Remote Assistance is installed and the current user has run Remote Assistance at least once.

The per-user Remote Assistance registry values are located in the following key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Remote Assistance\

The location of the per-machine registry key for Remote Assistance has changed from previous versions of Windows. The new location is:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Remote Assistance

In previous versions of Windows location is:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Service

Remote Assistance Group Policies

Remote Assistance may be configured using the group policies located in the following container: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Remote Assistance

The policies write registry values to the following area of the registry: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services

A Remote Assistance connection may be initiated by the following ways:

++Offer Remote Assistance (unsolicited) mode

++Solicited mode


Offer Remote Assistance (or Unsolicited Remote Assistance)

Unsolicited remote assistance is initiated by an Expert user and is used to offer Remote Assistance to a Novice user. The Expert should know the Novice’s machine name or IP address to view the novice’s desktop. If the Expert needs to share control of the Novice’s machine, the Expert can request control and the Novice can accept or deny the request.

Solicited Remote Assistance


The Invite someone you trust to help you option, also referred to as solicited, Remote Assistance, is initiated by a Novice user that looks for assistance from an Expert user. This mode is started by using one of the following methods:


++Send an invitation by email via Simple MAPI The Novice can email the RA invitation to the Expert as an attachment.


To use this method, the Novice’s email application must support Simple MAPI protocol. e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Lotus Notes support Simple MAPI protocol.


 ++Manually save an invitation file and send it to the Expert Novice has to create the ticket as a file (save it to a file) and manually send the file to an Expert.


 The invitation file is a text file that is XML formatted and contains information that the Expert's machine will be able to start remote assistance.


Session logs are XML-formatted documents.

Log Path: %SystemDrive%\Users\user_name\Documents\Remote Assistance Logs

A unique session log file is created for each RA Session on the computer. Log files stored within this folder are formatted using XML and are named using the convention YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.xml, where the time format is 24-hour.

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