Remotely troubleshooting your parents machine

If you are helping your parents, relatives or grandparents at home with any kind of pc/laptop issues (since you are a computer person), here is how it generally goes:

Hey Megan, this is your father! How do I print a flowchart?

But even then, once in a while, you get a different problem - your parents got a new laptop, and a good internet connection, and now you want to install Skype properly on the laptop so that you can see one another. Here is what I did recently to get this done:

  1. Download TeamViewer on the target laptop: If you have a chat program open, paste this link there and ask them to click on it.

    Yup, I know - don't ask them to go and visit the website and download from there: you and they don't share the same screen and it is difficult to locate where the exact content is. In my case, my screen size was bigger than theirs and we spent some time figuring out why they couldn't see the "Download" button, until I figured out that the page needed to be scrolled further. If the folks at @teamviewer are listening - please see if you can make the download button in the first screen itself.

    Make sure you save it on the Desktop - we will come to the cleanups later on.
  2. Download TeamViewer on your own laptop: yes, even if you have it installed, please uninstall and get the installer yourself.
  3. Install together: Go through the installation wizard together - meaning install the software on your laptop as well as their laptop simultaneously, asking them to click on the exact same buttons which you do. Basically, at this point of time although you don't see their screen, you know exactly what they are looking at. Mark it as personal/non-commercial use, and no need to register right now.
  4. Open the other screen: If all goes well, the folks on the other side should get a computer id and password and share those with you. Once you have those, login into the remote machine and knock yourself out with all the cleanups, Skype install, etc. that you want.
  5. Leave the door open: As with any other thing, there are lots of pros and cons of leaving the backdoor open for yourself to login and troubleshoot remotely. I have left the TeamViewer running as a service that starts with the computer, for all future debugging and troubleshooting help.

To the folks who built this software - God bless you all for simplifying the process so much, and making non-commercial usage free!


  1. Heheheheheheheh.... Its very true!! Being a mechanical engg, I do have to go through the flow chart for all machines of relatives (???)..Mixer to cars!! :P :P

  2. Bubblegum, ouch - not too many google image search results then, I believe? :)


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