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Tip: Initiate Remote Assistance from a Command Line or a Script


Remote Assistance in Windows 7 and Windows Vista is implemented as a stand-alone execut¬able called Msra.exe. You can initiate Remote Assistance sessions directly from the command line or by using scripts. Here’s an overview of the syntax and usage for this command.

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Option: /novice
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Novice (User) in Solicited RA mode and presents the user with the choice of either sending a Remote Assistance ticket using a SMAPI-enabled e-mail application such as Windows Mail or by saving the invitation as a file. After this choice has been made, Windows Remote Assistance opens on the User’s computer in the Waiting For Connect state.

Option: /expert
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance in the Helper mode and presents the choice of either specifying the location of a Remote Assistance ticket to open or specifying the User’s computer name or address (Offer RA). The computer name can be either a host name (if the User is on the local subnet) or an FQDN (DNS name), and the address can be either an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address. Unsolicited Remote Assistance without an invitation requires preconfiguration of the remote computer being helped.

Option: /offerRA computer
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Helper in Unsolicited (Offer) RA mode and uses DCOM to remotely open Remote Assistance on the User’s computer and then connect to the User’s computer to initiate a Remote Assistance session. The User’s computer can be specified using either its computer name or address. The computer name can be either a host name (if the User is on the local subnet) or a FQDN (DNS name), and the address can be either an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address. This method is demonstrated in more detail in the section titled “Scenario 3: Offering Remote Assistance Using DCOM” later in this chapter.

Option: /email password
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Novice (User) in Solicited RA mode and creates a password-protected RA ticket that is attached to a new Remote Assistance invitation message opened by the default SMAPI-enabled e-mail client (which by default is Windows Mail). The password must be six characters or more and must be relayed separately to the Helper. The e-mail client application launches a window with the invitation file attached. The User must enter the e-mail address of the Helper in the To field to send the message to the Helper.

Option: /saveasfile path password
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Novice (User) in Solicited RA mode and creates a password-protected Remote Assistance ticket that is saved at the path specified. The path can be either a local folder or network share, and the User must have appropriate permissions on the destination folder to create the file. The path must include a file name for the ticket. (The .MsRcIncident file extension will be automatically added to the file name.) The password must be six characters or more. Use of this method is demonstrated in more detail in the section titled “Scenario 2: Soliciting Remote Assistance by Creating Remote Assistance Tickets and Saving Them on Monitored Network Shares” later in this chapter.

Option: /openfile path password
Supported on: Windows 7, Windows Vista
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Expert (Helper) in Solicited RA mode and opens a previously created Remote Assistance ticket that was saved within the path specified. The path may be either a local folder or network share, and the Helper must have appropriate permissions on the destination folder to open the file. The path must include the file name of a valid ticket that has the .MsRcIncident file extension. The password must be the same password that was used by the User to secure the ticket when it was created.

Option: /geteasyhelp
Supported on: Windows 7 only
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Novice (User) in Solicited RA mode and with the Easy Connect option already selected. After the Remote Assistance invitation has been posted to the PNRP cloud, the User is presented with a 12-character password that she must communicate OOB to the Expert (Helper), which the Helper can then use to accept the invitation and initiate the Remote Assistance session.

Option: /offereasyhelp address
Supported on: Windows 7 only
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Expert (Helper) in Offer RA mode and with the Easy Connect option already selected. The Helper is presented with a dialog box for entering the 12-character password that was communicated OOB to him by the Novice (User), which is needed by the Helper to accept the invitation and initiate the Remote Assistance session.

Option: /getcontacthelp address
Supported on: Windows 7 only
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Novice (User) in Solicited RA mode with the Easy Connect option already selected and with the Remote Assistance history contact specified by address already selected. You can find address for a contact in your Remote Assistance history by opening the RAContacthistory.xml file located in the \Users\Username\Appdata\Local folder on your computer. The format for address is a 40-character hexadecimal string with .RAContact appended to it.

Option: /offercontacthelp address
Supported on: Windows 7 only
Description: Starts Remote Assistance as Expert (Helper) in Offer RA mode with the Easy Connect option already selected and with the Remote Assistance history contact specified by address already selected. You can find address for a contact in your Remote Assistance history by opening the RAContacthistory.xml file located in the \Users\Username\Appdata\Local folder on your computer. The format for address is a 40-character hexadecimal string with .RAContact appended to it.

Note that there is no support for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) scripting of Msra.exe.

From the Microsoft Press book The Windows 7 Resource Kit by Mitch Tulloch, Tony Northrup, Jerry Honeycutt, Ed Wilson, and the Windows 7 Team at Microsoft.
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