So, after six months, you're still having trouble working out how to use XP properly and running into compatibility problems at every turn? We've seen very little coverage about a feature that could save your bacon, so we thought we'd offer some friendly advice to those in search of technical help. XP's Remote Assistance feature lets you seek help from your corporate IT department or an expert friend online -- in real time. Here's how. If you're online with XP or XP Professional and need technical support, simply press the F1 key to access XP's Help And Support screen. On that screen, select ‘Invite a friend to connect to your computer with Remote Assistance’, and XP sends email requesting help to your company's IT department or a friend. You can even send the request via Windows XP Messenger, XP's built-in IM client. Your IT department or expert friend must be running XP Professional -- only the Pro version can view or control another XP Pro or Home system.
Once your chosen helper receives and accepts your request, he or she can view your on-screen movements and offer advice via Messenger or over the phone. You can also hand off control of your PC, complete with keyboard and mouse activity, but you must give additional permission first. Remote Assistance also lets you transfer files between PCs so that you can install necessary driver and configuration files to repair a problem. Because Windows is so graphically intense, Remote Assistance works best over a fast Internet connection, such as DSL or cable. But you can scale down the screen resolution and visual features to make the performance tolerable on slower DSL or dial-up connections if you're desperate.