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Remote Desktop Access via Zoom Remote Control: A Guide

With Zoom’s Remote Control feature, remote desktop tech support, tutorials, and troubleshooting have never been easier. Check it out here:

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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.

zoom remote control
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.

zoom remote control demo

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.

zoom remote control demo

When she approves it, all I have to do is click my mouse to gain control of her screen.

zoom remote control demo

Can you imagine how useful this is? Check this out, I can even type a message to myself!

remote typing zoom

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.

remote sound controls zoom

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.

requesting remote control zoom

Likewise, you can share your screen and have your video conference partner do the same thing via Remote control.

requesting remote control zoom

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.

requesting remote control zoom

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.

I’m also inviting you to join our Webinar Wednesdays – an excellent opportunity to learn something new every week – by clicking here: https://members.dottotech.com/webinar-wednesday-registration-page/

That’s it – have fun storming the castle!

How to Help Someone Remotely Using the Zoom Remote Control Feature

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