Troubleshooter’s Toolbox

Troubleshooter’s Toolbox

A couple of months ago I posted this article on becoming a Tech Support Superstar with just an iPad, today I’d like to share some free software you can use while connected to a Windows PC during a support session.

If you have tried the GoToManage iPad App you will have seen just how easy it is to get connected to someone else’s computer, but once you are what then?  Showing Mum or Dad how to do general things is straight forward enough, but what if they are having some real issue, what do you do if they’re….. INFECTED?!

You might not want to admit it but your Parent’s PC might just be a Zombie, all it takes is one little Email attachment.  Now you could just wait until your next visit and go all “Walking Dead” on it, but why not try curing it first from a safe distance.  The great thing about being remotely connected to an infected computer is that as long as you don’t transfer over any infected files to your computer, you have nothing to worry about.  The plan is to build an online tool box of applications that you can remotely download onto the sick PC and run them.

Troubleshooting Check list:

  • Online (or Cloud), storage for files and useful Apps. Both SugarSync and DropBox offer free entry level accounts with more than enough storage for you needs.
  • Assemble the right tools for addressing the various issues the PC may be suffering from.
  • Upload the various Apps to your “Cloud Drive” ready to be downloaded on to an infected computer when needed.
  • Create a note on your iPad with a link to your public cloud folder for easy linking.
The Applications:
You’ll want a combination of Applications that you will run one after the other, each dealing with a specific problem.  Once you are connected to the infected PC via the gotoManage iPad App, you’ll open a web browser on the infected PC and download the varoius Apps from your cloud drive.
  • We’ll start with a virus scan using ClamWin, a very popular Anti-Virus progam often included in portable app bundles.
  • Next it’s time to scan for Malware using Spybot – Search and Destroy.
  • CaSIs is another Malware scanner that you can use with or instead of Spybot.  Personally when it comes to Malware I don’t think you can be too careful, so I’d run both.
  • Windows Safe Mode Fixer Most recent Malware try to prevent you booting into Windows Safe Mode in order to prevent you for removing it, this will help.
Once you have finished downloading the various applications you will need, upload them to your cloud drive and place them in a Public folder.  The reason I suggest using a Public folder is because once you are connected to the infected PC, you’re not going to want to login to any online accounts until the PC is clean again.  If you use a Public folder you can just open copy and paste the link from your iPad into the infected PCs web browser and safely download your applications.  Some Malware may require some extra steps like booting into SafeMode to delete files (luckily this is something you can do with the GoToManage App), or temporarily disabling System Restore in Windows XP.  Just be sure to do some Googling before you leap in.

The final step is to try and prevent this from happening again, if you can’t change the user you can at least give them better tools to protect themselves with.  My personal favorites are; Avast Home for anti-virus, Malware Bytes for anti Malware, CCleaner for overall system maintenance and Google’s Chrome for web browsing.

I’d love to hear your application suggestions if you have any?
Windows 8 developer preview

Windows 8 developer preview

Recently Microsoft made the Developer Preview of Windows 8 available for public download and testing.  If you are one of the many out there that chose to download it and take it for a spin, you may have run into issues trying to use some of the GoTo products on it.

I have spent some time testing Windows 8 myself and due to the current lack of Java for Windows 8, the easiest work around is to download and install Google’s Chrome browser or Mozilla’s Firefox.  When you use either of these browsers to join a GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar or GoToAssist session, they should download an .exe file which you can then choose to open/run.  From there the required software should download and install and you will join your session.  Remember Windows 8 is currently a preview for Developers, so you should be prepared to run into usability issues like this for the time being.

Become a Tech Support Superstar with just a Tablet or Smartphone!

Become a Tech Support Superstar with just a Tablet or Smartphone!

Updated: 1/21/2014

So you’re busy playing Angry Birds when the phone suddenly rings, it’s your Dad and he’s having trouble printing…. again.  Normally what happens next is a very long and frustrating phone call or a trip to Mum and Dad’s to fix the printer “visit”.  Well no longer!  With GoToAssist Remote Support you now have the ability to fix Dad’s printer issue from your iPad and for free!

All you need to do is sign up for a GoToAssist Remote Support Free Mobile Plan, and then download the iOS or Android App.  Easy!

Once you have logged in to the App using the Email address and Password for your Free Mobile Plan, a support session will be created and you’ll see instructions on how to have your client Dad join.  The first way to to direct him to a website and enter in a code, or you can Email a link directly from your iPad.

Once you are connected you will be able to see the screen of the Windows PC or Mac, communicate via the built in Chat and control the computer.

Unlike some of the other remote access Apps available for the iPad, GoToManage takes real advantage of the iPad’s touch screen which lets face it, is the main reason to buy one in the first place!  Instead of dragging your finger around the screen trying to control the pointer as if you were still using a mouse or track pad, you simply tap on the screen where you want the pointer to be, just as you do with most iPad Apps.  If you need to be more precise with where you are tapping simply use the pinch to zoom feature which goes up to 300%, so even fat fingered geeks like me can do it.  Once zoomed in you can fling the desktop around with your finger, it’s like your flying and is are quick way to navigate around especially if the computer you are connecting to has more than one monitor.

If you are old enough you might remember an old TV advertisement showing someone sitting at the beach working… well with a 3g iPad that could now be you.  Or you could just keep play Angry Birds.

iOS App Fact Sheet  and  Android App Fact Sheet