With Zoom’s Remote Control feature, remote desktop tech support, tutorials, and troubleshooting have never been easier. Check it out here:
Are you part of the “sandwich generation”? This means that you have kids, but also have parents for whom you occasionally (or not-so-occasionally) provide tech support. For those of us who have done the latter, we all know how hard it can be to troubleshoot things via video call, or even holding a video conference and simply explaining a computer feature to someone who isn’t, well, as tech-savvy. Fortunately, remote desktop troubleshooting and instruction have become a breeze thanks to a tool built into Zoom: the appropriately named Remote Control feature.
Remote Desktop Control Via Zoom
To activate Zoom Remote Control, just sign in and go into your settings. There, you'll find a toggle switch that will allow you to turn it on.
Right off the bat, I want to tell everyone that yes, this is available in the Free version, not just in the Paid version. Like I said, just go to your settings, find the toggle switch, flip it on, and you’re good to go.
So now that we’ve done that, it’s time to see what this feature can do.
During screen sharing, the person sharing their screen can allow others to control the shared content. This means that you can take over the screen of whoever is sharing their screen in your Zoom call. Off the top of my head, tech support would be the most practical and useful application for this. Specifically, for our parents who might be just a tad intimidated by their computer’s settings, and are too scared to fiddle with their Control Panel settings. With Zoom’s Remote Control feature, you can do that for them, even when you’re far away. Pretty nifty, huh?
This feature is also incredibly useful during training sessions, especially when a participant is having difficulty figuring something out.
How to Use Zoom Remote Control
The person whose computer needs to be controlled starts by sharing their screen.
In this example, my teammate April helped me with the demo. I’m using an Apple computer, and so the View options item is visible at the top of the screen.
Clicking on the drop down menu reveals a few other features, including one that lets me send a request to April and ask them if I could control her computer.
When she approves it, all I have to do is click my mouse to gain control of her screen.
Can you imagine how useful this is? Check this out, I can even type a message to myself!
Let’s say you’re supporting your mom or dad and trying to fix their computer problems for them. For example, an audio issue. You can adjust their audio settings remotely and go into their system preferences.
You can also use this to train team members who have difficulty picking up lessons or finding their access to whatever features or tools you’re talking about. You can even record the whole thing!
Note that this works on both Windows and Mac (and if you think about it, you can use your Mac and control the screen of someone using Windows, and vice versa).
Regaining Control of the Screen during Zoom Remote Control
Regaining control of your desktop after someone accesses it via Zoom Remote Control is also extremely easy. As in, you just click on your mouse, and you’ll get control of it again.
As you can probably imagine, a lack of coordination can easily result in some truly annoying (or amusing) times for you and your video call partner, as both of you can keep clicking (intentionally or accidentally) and transferring control of the mouse to yourselves. So if you want this to work, it’s going to need a bit of coordination to establish some kind of protocol when it comes to claiming and reclaiming screen control.
Likewise, you can share your screen and have your video conference partner do the same thing via Remote control.
Oh, and if you do this on an Apple machine, note that the system’s default settings will require you to grant permission the first time you enable this.
And again, by simply moving or clicking the mouse, you can take back control.
Or you can click the bottom of the screen to stop sharing and take over your own screen once more.
Remote Desktop Coordination, Made Easy
Overall, the Zoom Remote Control is a great feature, and is one of the few Zoom functionalities I hadn’t been able to use prior to this tutorial.
Personally, I think it’s an excellent hands-on teaching tool, especially for visual learners regardless of age. With the Zoom Remote Control, instead of simply telling them what they should do, you can step in and show them how to do it. And for many people, that makes a world of difference.
My dad would have absolutely enjoyed this feature. I’ve actually lost track of how many times I used to coach him on how to use his computer via video conferencing or video calling. More often than not, I would just end up going to my dad’s place myself to manually fix whatever problem he had on his machine. Nowadays, with the current state of the world, this isn’t a recommended course of action – and thanks to this terrific tool from Zoom, you don’t have to physically be there to “be there” for the troubleshooting session, if you get what I mean.
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That’s it – have fun storming the castle!
How to Help Someone Remotely Using the Zoom Remote Control Feature
- Oh my gosh where was this feature when my father was alive. There is a feature in Zoom which I have to share with you today which may be a game changer for many in the sandwich generation. Those of us who have kids but also have parents who we're occasionally supporting in technology. There is a feature built into Zoom which goes well beyond the social connection benefits that we get from Zoom. It's called Zoom Remote Control and it allows us to take remote control over somebody else's computer. Not for nefarious purposes but for the purpose of support. For the purpose of education. For the purpose of helping and its free and it's built into Zoom and I'm gonna show it to you today on Dottotech. Steve Dotto here, how the heck are you doing this fine day? Today we're gonna be taking a look at a feature that's built into Zoom called Zoom Remote Control If you go into your settings, you'll find a switch, a toggle switch that will allow you to turn it on and this is what it does. During screen sharing, the person who is sharing can allow others to control the shared content. In other words, you can take over the screen of the person who is sharing their screen. So what does that mean practically speaking? Well, there are a lot of purposes that this will work for. But the one which just leaps to mind for me, is technical support. Is helping somebody out with something on their computer, especially for those of us who have parents that are maybe a little bit intimidated by the settings on their computer and afraid to go into the control panel and adjust things. This will allow you to take over their computer and remotely control it and remotely set things up. It is pretty cool. Now it's something that I haven't used before but fortunately, a member of my team, April has done it quite often. So I asked her to take me on a tour. Let's say you and I and April now explore Remote Control in Zoom. Hey April, how the heck you doing?
- I'm good, how are you?
- I am good. So here's what we wanna look at today is I wanna look at Zoom Remote Access and I gotta tell you the truth. I've never used it
- Oh. but it's something you told me that you've used before.
- I have I have, and it's been super helpful for when I'm working with somebody doing a training session and somebody who's having a hard time kinda figuring out something. A lot of times I take over their remote. And I kind of lead them to where they need to be. And what's nice is that as I'm doing, when they're sharing their screen and I use the remote then they take over the remote back. It's not a back and forth where there's this big notification. So it's kind of cool. Yeah, I like it a lot.
- Okay, so let's do it right now. So the person whose computer needs to be controlled shares the screen.
- Yep. So you share your screen with me right now.
- Alright, so I'm gonna share my screen and you're gonna see my desktop here but,
- And I see View Options at the top of my screen. That's what I click on?
- [April] Yep and in the View Options at the top of the screen, in the drop down, you'll see request to
- Remote Control, I've got that right there and I've sent you a request. So now you've received a request
- [April] Now I just need to approve it. So now you should have access to my screen.
- So I clicked to start the remote. So now it says right here, I'm controlling April with Cox screen.
- [April] Yes.
- So if I go here, and I okay, let's What have you got? You got Snagit, I'm gonna open your Snagit I hope you don't have anything bad in Snagit. So this is actually, do you see on your computer screen? We'll get you to do this on my side in a moment. But you see,
- [April] Snagit did open. I have three screens though. So I would go to my, would go to my Chrome down on the bottom, and you should be able to, Can you see my Chrome?
- Just a minute, I will find it.
- [April] Keep going keep going, right there.
- There it is. Oh, you've got multiple monitors. There it is.
- [April] Yeah, so that's,
- So I'm actually opening your browser window and I'm readjusting it. I can go in. So this is our chat so I can actually chat to me.
- [April] Yup.
- I'm actually sending a text message to me. You are the best boss. There it is.
- [April] Oh, boy. I just, Oh, that's so sweet. April says, I'm the best boss. Thank you, April.
- [April] You're welcome, you're welcome. So this, so people, but the key here is if you are supporting somebody, I can also do this, which is I think, essential, I can go into your system preferences at this point here.
- [April] Right.
- I can go in and I can say, okay, you're having issues with your audio. Let me take over, Mom, Dad or anybody else. Let me take over and let me adjust your audio settings and make it all work for you because so often people have issues with their computer settings. These are the issues that people have trouble with. And being able to go in and adjust the computer settings, the system preferences, is essential. And this would work the same in both Windows and Mac. Now actually, if you think about it, you can be on a Mac computer and you could service and help your parents or somebody else on their Windows computer this way as well, couldn't you?
- [April] Yes, you can. Yeah and actually, most recently, I do volunteer work for a veterans' Organization and Zoom is one of the tools they've been using. So I actually use this feature to show them how to go in, set up a webinar, how to go in and kind of walked them through Zoom and launching from start to finish, the webinar because they weren't sure and clearly, sometimes when you're sharing it on your own screen, they can't see all of those features. So I took over the remote and walk them through step by step and it was recorded, so they actually got the recording to use for other team members, which was perfect.
- That's excellent. Now when you wanna take over the screen, what happens?
- [April] So I'm just gonna click on my mouse. And when as soon as you click on your mouse, you take back over the control of the mouse.
- [April] Yup.
- Now, can I take back control again by clicking again on the screen? And now I have control of your mouse once again.
- [April] Yes.
- So you can tag team back and forth. I guess there's a certain protocol that it can get a little bit frustrating if people are constantly taking back control of their own mouse.
- [April] Right. Now, do you want me to, do you wanna share your screen?
- I will but I'm gonna just point out for everybody watching on YouTube that you have more tabs open than even I have.
- [April] Maybe, could be.
- Okay, so I'm gonna stop participant sharing. And now I am going to share my screen and I've got the browser window open with a blog post in it that we might be having issues with, for example. So I'm gonna share screen and I'm just going to share that browser window. I'm gonna share that actual browser window with you.
- [April] Okay.
- So now you've got that being shared.
- [April] Yup.
- So this is our last post.
- [April] Now I'm going to view options I'm going to request Remote Control and there it is.
- I don't
- [April] You have, should have a pop up
- Oh your screen, there is, yeah, I got the pop up here.
- [April] So I couldn't see the pop up just wanna let you know.
- Well, there's also a setting that has to happen in your security settings in this particular case that's built into Apple's systems settings that it's requesting permission.
- [April] Okay.
- There we go, okay, so now you should have access.
- [April] Alright, so,
- Yes, you're moving the mouse. This is awesome.
- [April] All right,
- You're going through it and your highlighting and you're showing me how to do stuff
- [April] Right here.
- Yeah. and if I choose to move the mouse at any point, I can take back control.
- Yes And by clicking down on the bottom of the screen, I can take over and stop the sharing from happening.
- You got it.
- Just like that.
- It's a great feature, I love it.
- It's very very cool.
- And well I think it's one of those great teaching tools and like you said helping mom and dad with those settings and being able to show them and I know a lot of people are much more of a visual learner too so it's so easy for you to go in and actually show them pretty much hands-on how to do it so that's very cool.
- Thanks so much April. This could be a real game changer in so many different scenarios. I just wished I had this tool when my dad was alive. I can't tell you how many times I was coaching him through using his computer and eventually I would just say, "You know what, Dad, I'm going to come over." and it gave me a good excuse to go visit him. But of course, in this day and age, that might not be a practical thing to do. So this is a terrific tool, this remote access. Now I wanna share one thing with you before we leave because I can guarantee there will be questions in the comments of people asking for this saying they can't find the feature and it's not working in their Zoom and asking if it's only available in the paid version and not the free version. No, this is available in the free version and if you don't see it, this is what you do. When you sign into your Zoom account, you go into your settings. This is where we turn on and off all of the different extra features that are built into Zoom, some of which may be enabled on your installation, some of which may not be enabled but if I show you something in one of these videos that you don't have access to, chances are if you go in here, you will find one of these little toggle switches that will allow you to turn on or off those features. And if we scroll down amongst so many features, we will find Remote Control. It is, there it is, right there. Remote Control, during screen sharing the person who is sharing can allow others to remote, to control the shared content. If that is gray, turn it on and then you will have access to this feature. Now if you have found today's video to be useful I have a few favors to ask of you. First of all, please give us a thumbs up, give this video a like and share it with others who may benefit from it. Additionally, if you've not yet subscribed to our channel, what are you waiting for? Click that subscribe button, ring that notification bell and I will see you next time for more DottoTech. Till then, I'm Steve Dotto. Have fun storming the castle.
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