Is there a free customizable remote support option? How about UltraVnc SC? ~ Ask The Admin

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is there a free customizable remote support option? How about UltraVnc SC?

So you get the call... "Hello Karl? My, um, computer doesn't work. I think I broke the Internet. Can You Help? I can't open any of my porn pretty pictures!"

Well first I have them check the Internet connection by trying to go to or If they have Net we are good to go to fix that end user right on up. We will be using Ultra VNC Single Click. It is free and super easy to use for any Internet user - actuallly, any user that can click a link followed by ok!

It takes a little configuration and customization (if you want) but once it is up and running, you leave the viewer running on your machine and whenever someone runs your exe file or clicks your hyperlink you get a message on your screen that someone wants your help. It displays their username, machine name, OS version, SP and IP address. All of that is usually painful to extract from your client (relative or random dirt bag).

Now lets get you all set up to be a regular remote assistance wiz...

What your Gonna Need:

  • 2 Windows Machines. You both must have a Windows PC .
  • The ability to Open port 5500 on YOUR Firewall or Router. The End Users mini-server is going to start the connection to the viewer listening on your computer. Before you start, make sure port 5500 on your computer's IP address is reachable. If you're behind a router or firewall, open that port on up to allow access. This is the number one issue people usually have in getting to work. Grok? We have a great article on opening ports HERE.
  • How SingleClick UltraVNC works

    In a normal VNC server/viewer setup, the viewer contacts the VNC server to log in and remote control it. With SingleClick Ultra VNC, the opposite happens: the server is pre-configured to contact a viewer at a specified IP address.

The advantage here is that your end user (the person running the server) doesn't have to worry about opening ports on his computer or firewall. That takes a little pain out of the equation, since the server makes the call out, the connection can happen regardless. The only requirement, as I said before, is on you to have port 5500 open.

Set up your mini, standalone VNC server

Your mini VNC server starts up with just a plain text file that contains its configuration. Here's where you specify your computer's IP address and viewer port (5500 is what VNC uses by default).

Create a new text file called helpdesk.txt and copy and paste the following into it (or simply download a copy here from LifeHacker to start out with)

UltraVnc SC

HELP DESK - Double click here
-connect 123.456.789.0:5500 -noregistry

Hi User!

Let Mister Computer Head

Help you



Ultravnc PC support

More Info



Establishing connection ...

I'll try for 5 minutes

If it doesn't work, this software will remove itself

from your system.

Connection active.

Warning! Your desktop is now visible remotely.

You can break the connection any time

by using the close button.



The creator will package together all the necessary VNC server files and
let you download the resulting

Now, before you email that bad boy to your user you've got to get your viewer ready and listening on port 5500 as you specified in helpdesk.txt. Download the full-on UltraVNC package and install it. From the Start menu, launch the Ultra VNC Viewer (Listen Mode) which will wait for any incoming connections from your user.

Finally, email the helpdesk.exe file. (Let him know it's coming, what it's called, and that he should never run executable file email attachments unless you're calling him and telling him it's coming.) When he launches helpdesk.exe, this is what he'll see:

And after you are connected he will see this:

I geeked it up with a background image and "logo" file. Here's more info on how to do that, as well as set up encryption for the connection. Tell your user to double click where it says "Double click here" and the server will initiate a connection to your listening viewer. You can also set this guy up to auto connect (Thats the way it runs on This might be better for someone you have trouble walking through - ANYTHING!

All goes well, you'll load up your end user's desktop on your own - and you can help him figure out what's going wrong in PC Land.

If you do regular tech support for friends and family, keep a helpdesk.exe file around for repeated use, or customize it for your own stay-at-home PC support business. You can put it on your blog or homepage. Even save it as a draft email.

In the line that reads -connect 123.456.789.0:5500 -noregistry, replace 123.456.789.0 with your computer's current IP address. (If you don't know what it is, visit

Save helpdesk.txt and add it to a zip archive, called, (for easy referncing). Now, visit the Ultra VNC SC server creator. Enter username foo and password foobar and upload your file.

Thanks LifeHacker For Putting Us on Way Back When!