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Troubleshooting and Managing Windows Computers Remotely

Level 11

Remote Troubleshooting

One of the major job functions for IT professionals is managing and troubleshooting Windows computers. System administrators use various tools and techniques to accomplish this and most of the time it requires the administrator’s physical presence at each computer. Moving around from one system to another figuring out what went wrong makes it hard for administrators to be efficient.  As organizations have expanded beyond national borders and practices like telecommuting are being practiced in greater numbers, remote support tools have become staple items in the toolsets of almost all IT professionals.

Perhaps the most widely used tool for remote assistance Windows is Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  RDP is native to all Windows operating systems since Windows XP (except XP Home).  This means that sys admins can provide remote assistance to Windows XP users and remote assistance to Windows 7 users alike.  It also means they can provide remote assistance to Vista users.  It allows IT Pros to remotely control Windows machines from anywhere in the world as long as they can establish a connection and certain other conditions are met (i.e. port 3389 open on the receiving firewall, etc.).

Though RDP is easy to use, it cannot be considered a complete remote support tool for Windows computers because its functionality is limited to simple remote control sessions.  During an RDP session, users are unable to share screens, making some troubleshooting processes cumbersome.  RDP does not allow techs or system administrators to perform remote administration tasks such as restarting services, viewing event logs, or stopping processes without initiating a full remote control session.  This can be especially frustrating because there are times when simple administration tasks can resolve computer issues and initiating a full remote control session may lock an end-user out depending on which version of Windows is running on their computer.   Ideally, IT Pros would have access to tools that allow them to initiate remote control sessions and perform remote administration tasks from the same console.

DameWare Remote Support (DRS)

DameWare Remote Support is exactly that; a complete remote support tool that IT Pros can use to manage all of their Windows computers from one console.  DRS allows admins to initiate remote control sessions through one of three methods:



• DameWare’s own Mini Remote Control Viewer (MRC)

This offers admins a great deal of flexibility when connecting to remote computers and it opens up the realm of Mac OS X and Linux to admins who need to support a mixed-OS environment.

DRS lets admins perform Windows administration tasks from its console without needing a full remote control sessions.  Some of these tasks include:

• Viewing event logs

• Viewing and killing runaway processes

• Starting, stopping, or restarting services

• Accessing the Disk Manager to manage partitions

• Managing and creating local users and groups

• Managing attached printers and installing drivers remotely

• Scheduling tasks

• Editing the registry and uninstalling software

In addition to the time-saving remote support features included in the DRS console, other common IT tasks can be performed with DRS.  These include:

Managing multiple Active Directory Domains

• Adding, removing, or modifying AD users, security groups, and OUs

• Managing group policies

• Managing Exchange accounts

• Exporting Active Directory objects in bulk to CSV or Excel files

DameWare Remote Support makes the day-to-day tasks of IT Pros much easier to handle and increases productivity by allowing them to perform many common job functions from one MMC-style console.

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Level 15