I’ve done technical support for years now and most often have to get someone to be my remote eyes and hands. This can become exceedingly difficult when dealing with someone who’s less versed in the nuances of computer use than I’d like. One of the tools I’ve found that makes this a lot easier to deal with is remote desktop (or remote terminal services). This allows you to see the desktop of whomever you’re troubleshooting with. Now most of the time this involves setting up some sort of remote desktop server on the persons computer and you knowing what their IP address is (Very difficult if it’s dynamic). I know this almost sounds like more trouble. But there is a solution.
The solution I’ve found is UltraVnc SC which is a version of VNC that allows you to send someone that when run opens a VNC session from their computer to yours. No need to have them install anything or open any ports in their firewall.
This is what you’re going to need
- A Windows PC (Unfortunately at the current time UltraVnc SC only works on with Windows)
- Ability to open ports on your router
- The Full UltraVnc Package installed on your PC (Get it here )
Ok lets get started
The first thing to do is create a text file called helpdesk.txt
helpdesk.txt should look like the following
[TITLE] UltraVnc SC [HOST] HELP DESK -connect 184.108.40.206:5500 -noregistry [TEXTTOP] Replace this text [TEXTMIDDLE] With [TEXTBOTTOM] Anything you want [TEXTRTOP] [TEXTRMIDDLE] [TEXTRBOTTOM] [TEXTBUTTON] More Info [WEBPAGE] http://www.ultravnc.net [BALLOON1TITLE] Connecting ... [BALLOON1A] line1 [BALLOON1B] line2 [BALLOON1C] line3 [BALLOON2TITLE] Connected. [BALLOON2A] line 1 [BALLOON2B] line 2 [BALLOON2C] line 3 [DEFAULT]
The main thing we need to alter here is
[HOST] HELP DESK -connect 220.127.116.11:5500 -noregistry
You need to change 18.104.22.168 to the IP address of your computer running UltraVNC or the Outside IP address on your router. You shouldn’t need to change the port from the default of 5500. (Incidentally make sure that this port has been opened to your computer on your router. Otherwise this just won’t work)
The rest of the fields just alter the text that appears in the UltraVnc SC window, BALLOON1 is shown while it’s trying to connect and BALLOON2 is shown once the connection is established. Feel free to play with these settings none of them are essential to UltraVncSC functioning. You can get a detailed explanation of all the fields in this file from the UltraVnc SC site here Once you’re done save the helpdesk.txt file somewhere you can find it.
Add the helpdesk.txt file to a zip archive.
The next step is to create the UltraVnc SC executable from this zip archive we’ve created. Go to http://www.uvnc.com/pchelpware/creator/index.html You’ll see a grey box with username/password fields, a button that says choose file and a second button that says upload. You need to enter the username foo into the username field and the password foobar into the password field. Next we need to hit the choose file button. This will open up a file browser you need to find and select the zip file we created earlier. Once that’s done click on the upload button. This will take a few seconds but it should reload the screen with a blue box at the bottom that says something similar to “File helpdesk.exe can be downloaded” click on the link to download your customized UltraVnc SC executable file.
Now start your UltraVNC listener up on your Computer it should be Ultra VNC Viewer (Listen Mode) under your start menu.
Now just get this file to Mom and Dad’s computer and they can double click on the file to open it up and then double click on “HELP DESK” (If you followed the example helpdesk.txt file above) to open the VNC connection. You should get a VNC window with their desktop up on your screen. Easy as that.
Note that in my experimentation other VNC clients are not compatible with UltraVNC SC you must use UltraVNC as the Listener.
As always if you have any questions comments or suggestions please post them in the comments.