Is it possible to "offer" remote assistance from a Windows 7 computer to a Vista or XP computer?


  • On a Windows 7 computer using the command line  - msra /offera  - on our AD domain with all the GPO, firewall, acls, etc. in place I have sucessfully offered assistance to another Windows 7 computer.  I've tried doing the same thing from windows 7 to Vista and XP machines but the attempt fails with an error dialogue box telling me the offer could not be completed.  It goes on to say Remote assistance is unable to find the target computer or I have incorrect permissions.

    Is it possible to offer remote assistance from a Windows 7 computer to a Vista or XP computer?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 4:07 AM


All replies

  • Yes, I do it all the time.  I actually am having the OPPOSITE issue.  I can remote assistance XP machines, but not Windows 7.  Were you able to RA before moving to 7? 
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:56 PM
  • Definitely yes. There is a built-in tool called Windows Remote Assistance to meet your requirements.

    Best Regards
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:10 AM
  • Thanks for reply Dale.  Just to check you are able to OFFER remote assistance.  I can REQUEST remote assistance between Win7 and vista without a problem.  The issue is using the offer function "msra /offera" used by helpdesks. It skips the need for the user to send an email or do anything at there end to ask you for assistance. Only works between machines in the same domain with the offer group policy enabled. 
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:35 AM
  • Thanks Matthew.

    I was never able to get offer remote assistance working reliably on XP and, sorry, haven't tried Vista to Windows 7.  Just to be clear this is offer remote assistance not request.  In the offer assistance the user doesn't need to send you an email or anything you just send them the offer and they accept.  Only works with machines in the same domain and the correct offer remote assistance group policy enabled.  Microsoft designed it for use by help desks, apparently.  It would be a very useful function because it makes it easy for the user. The problem is we operate in a multi OS version environment like most other people I guess.  If it only works between the same versions it becomes too difficult for the support staff changing OS all the time.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:54 AM
  • Please download Windows 7 Remote Assistance Resource Kit, and you may get the answer.

    Best Regards

    • Marked as answer by Asknetadmin Friday, November 06, 2009 4:32 AM
    Friday, October 30, 2009 3:17 AM
  • Hi Dale

    Thanks for that.  Haven't read the whole thing yet but the document will be a great help with the implementation of a service desk trial we currently have underway.  A quick glance tells me that what I want is possible.  It's not happening in practice but at least I know now that we need to look at our setup.  We have got something wrong somewhere.
    Friday, November 06, 2009 4:32 AM
  • Okay, here's the way it is for me:
    (Everything is in place for firewall exceptions, etc. in the GPO and all machines in question are part of the same OU to which the GPO is applied.  I am using the same account each time I offer Remote Assistance.)

    I cannot offer Remote Assistance by running "msra /offerra <computername>" from Windows 7 to Windows 7 or to Vista.

    I can offer Remote Assistance from Vista to Windows 7 by runnning mrsa.exe and choosing "Offer to help someone" or by running "msra /offerra <computername>".
    Looking at the Windows 7 (2008 R2) version of the GPO settings, it doesn't say anything is different about the GPO settings from the Vista (Windows 2008) version.

    Drew, what are the GPO settings that you are using which allow it to work from Windows 7?  Also, what syntax do you use with msra.exe from Windows 7?
    Friday, February 12, 2010 8:59 PM
  • The OP mentioned command msra /offera while the correct command should be msra /offerra <computername> - 2 r's

    Above ChasBoston mentioned "msra /offerra <computername>" which is correct but I can see how the second r could be easily over looked.

    I am not sure if the OP just had a typo or what they are actually trying to use. I can verify that from a Windows 7 box you can use msra /offerra <computername> to offer assistance to Windows XP, Vista and 7. (On the same domain.)
    Wednesday, March 03, 2010 6:29 PM
  • I too have the same issue. I am using msra from windows 7 to xp pro sp3. I know it is a windows firewall setting but I can't seem to figure out what exactly need to be let through. As soon as i turn off the firewall it works. Can anyone provide the ports or programs that need to be let through? Right now it is remote desktop and remote assistance...
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:42 PM
  • That is all the exceptions needed.  & those the MS/Windows Firewall will allow automatically.  One does need to have "Allow Remote Assistance" enabled in the System Properties on (of course) both machines.

    That said... If one is going to use MS RA, rather than Team Viewer, other firewalls can impede it.  Examples are, some enterprise firewalls or security set ups, Zone Alarm, (damn) Norton Personal Firewall, etc, etc.

    I have never had difficulty if only the Windows Firewall is involved.... nor was any mucking about w/ Firewall Settings needed.

    However, when I do hit an occasion where MS RA won't connect, I just switch to Team Viewer (smile)

    And really, if all one is after is RA, RD does not need to be enabled or set as a Firewall exception; they are 2 distinct & separate things.

    I trust you will find my comments helpful.  Let us know how you fare...

    Drew - MS Partner / MS Beta Tester / Pres. Computer Issues
    • Proposed as answer by Drew1903 Saturday, September 04, 2010 4:58 PM
    Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:25 AM
  • I am having the same trouble as some others...I can easily offer Windows Remote Assistance from my Windows 7 machine to any Windows XP SP3 machine in our Windows Server 2003 R2 AD environment.  I cannot offer remote assistance to ANY other Windows 7 machine and I am a domain admin.  I also noticed that the remote assistance settings were grey'd out in our Windows 7 machines (mine included) and I received the following responce from Arthur in another thread...

    Please check the following policy.

    Computer configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Terminal Services/Allow users to connect remotely using Terminal Services

    Also the following Registry value

    HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services

    Value named fDenyTSConnections

    If the policy is not configured, the Registry value should not exist.

    I suspect that some programs or virus change this policy.


    I looked as Arthur suggested and noticed that we did indeed have this registry value but I was not sure what was causing it.  We do have the Offer Remote Assistance GPO set to 'enabled' and my helpdesk group and myself are members of that group.  I am at a loss as we need to start deploying Windows 7 to our first departments in a few months with no option of connecting to them to help and diagnose problems.

    Any help would be appreciated, and please do not mark the call as fixed when only the symptoms have been diagnosed and the issue not resolved.


    Monday, September 13, 2010 7:11 PM
  • It is sometimes tough to address a scenario, sight unseen, from afar.  You know as well as I there should be no obstacles using RA.  As long as "Enabled" and no firewall issues blocking, should fly.  W/out meaning it as a cop-out, it is suggested you bring a tech on-site.  Until a resolution, you may find Team Viewer or something similar, helpful.

    Drew - MS Partner / MS Beta Tester / Pres. Computer Issues
    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 5:00 PM
  • Sorry to jump in late, I am also having some issues with this. I can easily offer Windows Remote Assistance from my Windows 7 machine to any Windows XP SP3 machine in my domain. The problem I am having is allowing the Windows 7 machine to take control. I can only view and make suggestions via chat. I can’t drive the system to show a user how to run an app or set something up, any ideas?
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:29 PM
  • I take it you want the 'other' party to take or be given "Control" of your machine.  What steps have you taken to allow this & what happens when you do try to do RA w/ another W7 machine?  Any 'error' messages or anything of the sort.  Personally, I use RA a lot & never hit a snag unless the other party has (usually) a 3rd party firewall involved.  Just the OS (Windows) firewall will not block it.  Also, a password must be used/given to permit someone to take control via RA.  Again, it may be a port access issue which, Wire Shark may help sort that out for you.
    Drew - MS Partner / MS Beta Tester / Pres. Computer Issues
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:58 PM
  • I have a question about the firewall aspect of this.  We by default have always disabled the Windows Firewall as we use Symantec Endpoint Protection for our security needs.  Since I have disabled the firewall for the domain profile on my machine and the other Windows 7 machines wouldn't that eliminate the firewall possibly blocking the ports for the Offer Remote Assistance?  When I try to offer to a Windows 7 machine it comes back almost as soon as I hit the offer button with the cannot connect message.  It doesnt even make the attempt.



    Friday, September 17, 2010 3:46 PM
  • Actually, I am support looking to show users how to work with applications that they may have difficulty working with. I have not had a problem connecting and taking control of other windows 7 or Vista systems. It's just the XP sp3, I get the Chat and view desktop capability without the ability to request control. So I wind up directing over the phone as I watch the user follow my directions. It would be so much easier to drive and show the user than talk him/her through it.
    Friday, September 17, 2010 4:15 PM
  • Hey Drew,

    On our Windows 7 machines (there are only a few of them) we are not running the Symantec products as of yet, so there are no third party firewall's installed and both machines have the Windows Firewall turned off and still it immediately comes back with a cannot connect message when attempting to connect to another Windows 7 machine.  We have a group policy that allows remote administration but is a Windows Server 2003 policy....could that be the problem?  Do I need the Windows 2008 R2 version of the GPO in order to make the windows 7 to windows 7 connections work correctly?  I am honestly at a loss for why this would be happening, but I am starting to get desperate for it to work as I will be needing it as soon as we start Win 7 roll outs.



    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:42 PM
  • I got it to work from Windows 7 to Windows 7!  I followed this suggestion:

    At my office we were having problems sending Offer (Unsolicited) Remote Assistance invitations to our new Windows 7 Enterprise machines and were not able to get connected to these machines. We would immediately get an error that would not allow us to connect. To get this working we had to add our administrator account to the "Offer Remote Assistance Helpers" group. 

    Go to Start - Run - type without quotes "compmgmt.msc" and hit OK - Local Users and Groups - Groups - Offer Remote Assistance Helpers.

    Add yourself to this group then try to send the remote assistance invitation again from your helper machine, hopefully this will work. I think in earlier versions of Windows all the users in the Administrator group were by default added to this group as well. That doesn't appear to be the case with Windows 7

    This was posted by zsattler in another forum and I finally got it to work!!!


    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 4:01 PM