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I've used both WebEx and GoToAssist, but neither of them have a story to tell for 'unattended' access of a user's desktop unless the user is using the machine's primary console. Unattended in the sense that they phone me and I then appear in their session, rather than they visit a website and enter their details and wait for me.

This is a common use-case, since the users' machine is a virtual desktop, and the session broker is connecting the user via RDP. They never have a session with their desktop unless it's a remote desktop session.

At the moment, if I use either of the said products to get an unattended support session going, all I can see is the login screen of the physical console, telling me that a remote session is in progress.

Are there alternative tools which will make me happy?


UPDATE: People are asking what I am doing, so here is the basic overview:

  • A user's desktop is Windows XP/7 virtualised by VMWare's hypervison. It runs on a central server.
  • The user accesses their desktop using a keyboard/display provided by a "Sun Ray". Ultimately the Sun Ray uses an RDP sessison to connect to the virtualised desktop.
  • As with regular desktops, when someone is logged on with an RDP session, the main display of the desktop invites you to CTRL+ALT+DEL to login, noting that someone else is already connected remotely.
  • With WebEx and GoToAssist, if you use their 'unattended' solutions to try and help out the user of the machine, you'll see the login prompt of the virtual desktop's main monitor, rather than the RDP session where the user actually needs help.
  • Since that's not helpful, I seek a product which will show me the user's RDP session, rather than the virtual desktop's main display.

I hope that explains it.

I am following up Sam's suggestion with the vendor, and will report back.

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Could you describe your virtual desktop connection better? What is it? –  Nixphoe Nov 16 '11 at 15:38

4 Answers 4

Look up NetSupport Manager, no login etc., just enter the IP address and you see what's on their screen

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But I want to see what's in their RDP session, rather than what's on their screen ... –  David Bullock Nov 16 '11 at 14:30
    
@DavidBullock I believe the most recent version supports RDP/Terminal Services if there are multiple terminals available on the target but I haven't personally tested this.. Shoot a mail to their sales team, or download the trial and test it yourself –  sam Nov 16 '11 at 14:33
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@DavidBullock But if you're all running on Terminal Services, what's wrong with right clicking the user in TSM->Remote Control? It prompts the user for a yes/no dialogue but it's a fairly simple message and I'm sure if the users are expecting support it won't be too much of an issue –  sam Nov 16 '11 at 14:36
    
the user is using RDP to a full virtualised desktop, not to a Terminal Services session. The user accesses the virtual desktop via an RDP 'thin client' device (SunRay with UTTSC). But maybe if a server with Terminal Services were available on the LAN, it could 'broker' these sessions, and that would allow me to do as you suggest? (Not familiar with TS this decade!). Thanks for your thinking on this. –  David Bullock Nov 16 '11 at 14:57
    
Is your Virtual Desktop a Virtual Machine running on top of another OS, or just a TS session to a server? –  Driftpeasant Nov 16 '11 at 16:08

Have you looked into Bomgar?

You could use a free trial to see if it would meet your need. The Jump Client feature allows for unattended access, although I'm not sure how things would work in an RDP environment

http://www.bomgar.com/remotedesktopaccess/trial-bomgar.htm

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I've used bomgar. Works well, even via RDP. If the user fires up the app it will show what is on their screen. You'll still have to have them do something (enter a session key etc) because the jump client will show the CTRL + ALT + DEL to login. –  Nate Jun 19 '12 at 21:14
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+1 for Bomgar. So good. –  MDMarra Jun 19 '12 at 22:30

Perhaps TeamViewer can help you? I'm using this often for unattended access / Remote support. I'm not using the exact use case as you but its free to try so perhaps you can have a look to see if it can help you?

Good luck!

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Have you tried Windows Remote Assistance? It does require some setup, but should initiate a connection to the virtual desktop and "shadow" the currently logged in user. We do this with users that RDP to the desktop and we provide support to them remotely as well. it does require the user to be present to click "ok/yes" twice to let you see their session and then to remotely control it.

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Remote Assistance certainly will do what the OP wants. It should be noted though that "unsolicited" remote assistance where the session is initiated by the supporter and user just gets a confirmation prompt has to be explicitly enabled via the group policy setting "Offer Remote Assistance" in the Administrative Templates/System/Remote Assistance branch. –  the-wabbit Feb 3 at 7:38
    
Yeah, in truth I wish there was a way to suppress the prompting for the user if the system is idle. But in truth, requiring local user interaction is likely there as a way to prevent any monkey-business. I just wish that as a domain admin I could make that decision myself rather than have it dictated by Redmond. –  MikeAWood Feb 4 at 19:29

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