Microsoft Quick Assist is a built-in tool in Windows 10 that allows a user to get help or provide help to another windows 10 user. Let’s take a look at what it is and how it works.
SPOILER ALERT: I really can’t help feeling that we are going to start seeing scammers using this tool to cold call and convince people they are from Microsoft. I can imagine the scenario, “We must be from Microsoft! we are using the Microsoft Quick Assist tool”. Watch this space folks!!!!!
Quick Assist is built into Windows 10, you can find it easily, simply hit the Windows key and type ‘assist’. Quick Assist will appear and from here it’s easy. Microsoft use this themselves now on some of thier support teams. We too have been using it in comparison with our own Splashtop SOS for some remote support sessions. So far, it’s ok but isn’t as nice to use as a commercial product.
Once it’s open, you have two options, you can Give assistance and you can Give assistance. The two options are obvious, I am going to go through the give assistance option first.
Clicking the Assist another person
The window will take you to this screen. You may be prompted to log in and for this you must have a Microsoft 365 account.
You can see from the options you can send the link via email or you can tell the person you are giving assistance to, the code by phone. they will enter the code in the Code From Assistant box on the Quick Assist opening screen as shown above.
You will then see two options. Take Full Control or View Screen. View Screen is obvious and more secure from the standpoint of the person receiving assistance as the person helping can see the screen but not take control. this is useful when providing telephone support where seeing the screen is very helpful. In my example I asked to take full control.
At the end users computer, they get a final prompt saying that they are giving access to someone else to thier computer.
The computer I connected to has two screens so, here you can see both of them.
The computer you connect to gets a notification that the computer is being accessed (above) and the edge of the screens show a gold border. In viewing mode, I would not be able to do much other than text chat or draw using a screen marker to highlight points of interest on the desktop. However, I took full control, I have these buttons. Tapping the details button gets the text below each button to show.
- Select Monitor -, you can choose to work on only one monitor and switch between monitors if you need to.
- Annotate – activates a pen you can draw on the screen of the remote computer.
- Actual Size – shows the remote screen as the actual size.
- Restart – you can restart the computer remotely but you need the person you’re helping to reconnect you when it comes back on again.
- Task Manager – a shortcut to open the Task Manager on the remote computer
- Reconnect – We have found the connection can be spotty at times. You can force a reconnect here.
- Pause – pretty obvious
- End – Closes the remote session
Quick Assist isn’t a bad piece of software to use in a pinch to help someone with a problem. It is a bit unreliable in our experience. We have seen it drop connection frequently when switching between monitors on the remote computer. For us it does not replace using commercial software like Splashtop SOS or other products such as TeamViewer. But it can be useful if you are having problems as it provides another way to gain access to a computer to provide help and support. For home users it may be very useful to have particularly during our recurring lockdowns of 2020/21.