ISSUE 18.9.F • 2021-03-08
The AskWoody Newsletter

In this issue

QUICK TIP: Using Windows 10 Quick Assist in reverse


Additional articles in the PLUS issue

LANGALIST: Finding working drivers for an older PC

PUBLIC DEFENDER: There are no USB cables any more

PATCH WATCH: You think you’ve been hacked?

BEST UTILITIES: Freeware Spotlight — DISM_GUI


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Using Windows 10 Quick Assist in reverse

Will Fastie

By Will Fastie

Instead of helping someone with remote control, Quick Assist can be used as a demonstration tool.

The simple difference between a screen-sharing tool (Skype, Zoom) and a remote-control tool such as Quick Assist is that the latter is one-way. Once the session is underway, the roles of the two systems involved cannot be swapped.

I explained the goal and operation of Quick Assist in my previous article for AskWoody, Windows 10 Quick Assist: Fast, simple, and free (Issue 17.46.0, 2020-11-23). The goal makes clear why Quick Assist is one-way — it is intended to allow one person to help another by gaining remote access to the recipient. The person being helped retains full control of their system, while the person helping can see everything that is happening and, if given permission, can control the remote PC.

The key to this arrangement is that all the action happens on the recipient’s PC. If the helper wants to demonstrate a procedure or software feature, and has been granted control by the recipient, the helper can grab the mouse and proceed.

But what if the demonstration involves something that the recipient’s PC does not support? Suppose the helper’s goal is to demonstrate Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE) and the recipient does not have that program? Or something that is in Windows 10 Pro and not Windows 10 Home?

Crossing the streams

Even though this kind of demonstration is not its intended purpose, Quick Assist can be used that way. It’s not much of a trick, really, and there is only one requirement — that the person receiving the demonstration have a Microsoft account.

Will Fastie

Both parties launch Quick Assist on their respective PCs. You’ll find the utility on Windows 10’s start menu under W in the Windows Accessories folder.

The dialog to the left appears on both PCs. It is here that Quick Assist is told who is the helper and who is the recipient. And it is here that the reversal happens. The person who wishes to give the demonstration will choose Get assistance while the person viewing the demonstration will choose Give assistance.

The terminology can be confusing. The important thing to remember is that with Quick Assist, the person giving assistance is the one who views the other person’s PC. Thus to view a demonstration, that person must choose Give assistance even though that’s not what is actually happening.

From here, the rest of the connection process is relatively simple. The person “giving assistance” must log in with a Microsoft account and the person “getting assistance” (the one who is giving the demonstration) will be asked whether to grant full control or allow viewing only. The latter is the appropriate choice in this case. See my previous article for the full sequence.

Once the connection process is complete, the person who chose Get assistance can begin the demonstration, and the other person will see everything.

I do wish that Quick Assist had a built-in feature to allow switching roles while a session was active. But it is not very hard to launch Quick Assist in reverse.

Questions or comments? Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

Will Fastie is editor in chief of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.

Best of the Lounge


This past week, two forum threads regarding the lowering of the AskWoody MS-DEFCON level to 4 garnered the most interest. See Install the February updates, skip that Secure boot and February updates trigger few issues.


AskWoody Plus member Stargazer mentions the higher reliability he has experienced running Windows in a macOS VM, while others confirmed their difficulties with similar hardware. There is also sharp criticism of CCleaner.


Attacks on Exchange servers made the headlines last week and the forum posts reflect the concern over this issue.


AskWoody Plus member areader asked for help finding a simple relational database program similar to one he had used years ago. This triggered some reminiscing and a few suggestions. Do you have any ideas?


Opinions differ, but the forum topic is interesting. What do you think?

Stories in this week’s PAID AskWoody Plus Newsletter
Become an ASKWOODY PLUS member today!


Fred Langa

Finding working drivers for an older PC

By Fred Langa

Once a PC is no longer supported by the manufacturer, its abandoned drivers can become incompatible as new versions of Windows roll out.

Here’s one known-good way to track down a still-working driver for an older PC.


Brian Livingston

There are no USB cables any more

By Brian Livingston

It used to be that you could run any old USB cable between just about any two USB ports, and the devices on each end would simply work. But that hasn’t been true for a long, long time.


Susan Bradley

You think you’ve been hacked?

By Susan Bradley

Attackers these days are of two varieties — those that want you to know you’ve been attacked and those that don’t. The first camp is the ransomware attackers, the ones
holding your system hostage. The second type is silent, lurking inside your computer with
a nefarious goal.


Deanna McElveen

Freeware Spotlight — DISM_GUI

By Deanna McElveen

If you like fixing Windows without typing, so you can keep that Slurpee in one hand, this is the tool for you!

You’re welcome to share! Do you know someone who would benefit from the information in this newsletter? Feel free to forward it to them. And encourage them to subscribe via our online signup form — it’s completely free!

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