I'm trying to use the windows Remote Assistance to be able to hop into a friend's computer so I can assist him with something (he's out of state) but I think he needs to be in my network for it to work. Is it possible to use the windows Remote Assistance to hop into his computer, or is there another type of software I could get (that's free hopefully) in order to be able to do this?
try logmein.com. They have a free version and it is great! You will need to setup an account, and your friend will have to install the software on his pc. If you pay for it, then they do not need the software on there pc, but can use a browser.
They also have a free VPN client called Himatchi if you would rather go that route
I completely recommend Team Viewer. It is free for personal use and can be run with or without installation. I will never use anything besides Team Viewer again. It is available for Windows/Linux/Android/Mac.
Join.me is run by LogMeIn.com, and is simple, easy, and free.
I've found FogCreek's CoPilot to be wonderful for this kind of assistance. It's easy enough that I can even use it with my non-tech-savvy father in law for remote assistance.
Also, it's free on weekends and frequently free on holidays (Father's/Mother's day, etc). If you're using it frequently, they also have pretty good package deals.