Remote Assistance vs. Remote Desktop: Which Is Right for You?

What are Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop? How do they differ from each other? Which one should you choose? If you also have these questions, check out the post right now!


By Annie / Updated on April 20, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Remote Access

With the great development, more and more workers complete their jobs from anywhere. Remote access software allows them to access office resources from a distance away without arriving at the workplace.

Remote Assistance vs. Remote Desktop

Windows computers have two built-in remote access apps: Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop. Both apps can connect to a remote computer viaRDP protocol. Many users may need clarification about Remote Desktop (Connection) vs. Remote Assistance and need help with how to choose. However, the differences between Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop lie in many areas, including control authority level, connection way, etc.

Remote Assistance

Windows Assistance

Windows Remote Assistance, a previous version of Quick Assist, was first introduced in Windows XP and used to receive/offer instant technical support from a distance. To set up a remote connection between computers, users must allow theRemote Assistance connection to this computeroption on the to-be-assisted computer and send an invitation file to another computer. In a Remote Assistance session, users on two ends can view the same screen and see what is happening.

Remote Desktop

Windows Remote Desktop

Windows Remote Desktop, another built-in remote access app, is used to access remote computers and use their apps & files.  Enable Remote Desktop on the to-be-accessed computer and users can connect it with IP address and account credentials (user name and password).In a Remote Desktop session, the controlled computer will be locked, and only the user on the controlling end can see the screen. 

How do Remote Assitance and Remote Desktop differ?

After a basic understanding of Windows Remote Assistance and Remot Desktop, let's check out the chart about Remote Assistance vs Remtoe Desktop and see the differences between them. 

Items Windows Remote Assistance Windows Remote Desktop (Connection)
Usage Offer/Receive technical assistance Access unattended computer files and apps
What need for connection Invitation file, password, and request allow IP address, user name, and password
Port 3389 3389
Control authority level Partial control of the remote computer Full control of the remote computer
The screen of the controlled computer status Normal Locked
Access from Android/iOS devices Unavailable Available
Access from a different network Available Available but port forwarding/VPN is necessary
File transfer Unavailable Available
Chat Available Unavailable
Windows compatibility All editions, including Home and Standard Only Windows Professional and Enterprise

Now, surely users have realized how to pick the right one between Windows Remote Assitance and Remote Desktop. Then, it's time to see how they work on connecting to computers.

Use Remote Assitance to troubleshoot PC issues remotely over the internet

On the to-be-assisted PC:

Press Windows + R to open Run box, input sysdm.cpl, and click OK. On the pop-up window, go to Remote, and check Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer. Then, open Run box, input msra, and press Enter to open Windows Remote Assistance. Choose“ Invite someone you trust to help you” and click” Save this invitation as a file”. Save this file on the desktop and a pop-up window that contains a password will appear. After that, send this invitation file and the password to the computer on the other end.

Remote Assistance

Attention: Please do not close this pop-up window. Once you close this pop-up window, the connection will be canceled, and users need to do those operations again.

On the computer that offers assistance:

Double-click the invitation file and type the password in the entry bar. After users click OK, a pop-up window will appear on the to-be-assisted PC.

On the to-be-assisted PC:

"Yes" should be chosen and the screen can be shared by both computers.

Attention: To control the remote PC, Request control should be clicked, and the user on the to-be-assisted PC should click Yes on the pop-up message that says Would you like to allow xx to share control of your desktop?

Use Remote Desktop to take full control of another computer over LAN

On the to-be-controlled computer:

Go to Settings > System> Remote Desktop and drag the slider rightward to enable Remote Desktop.

Enable Remote Desktop

On the controller device:

Press Windows + R, input mstsc.exe, and click Enter to open Remote Desktop Connection; type the IP of the destination PC and click Connect. Then follow the prompts to complete the remote access.

Computer IP


The best alternative to Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop

Remote Assistance vs. Remote Desktop, have their own pros and cons respectively, and are suitable for different scenarios. Windows Remote Desktop is suitable for unattended computer access in the same LAN, and Windows Remote Assistance is suitable for instant technical help over the internet. If you are looking for a remote desktop app that supports both unattended remote access and instant help, you can check out AnyViewer. It can be the best alternative to Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop with high security, flexible connection, and rich features. See why it is picked up:

☞ End-to-end encryption: A strong algorithm, Elliptic Curve Cryptography, is used for encryption to ensure data safety for both sides.
Unattended remote access: Users can access an unattended remote computer with one click or security code after setup.
☞ Send remote control request: AnyViewer enables users to send remote control requests for instant technical support with a changeable control authority.
☞ No router configuration is required: Users can access a computer from a different network without port forwarding or setting up VPN.
☞ Chat in session: The one on one side can chat with the one on the other side in a remote session for convenient communication.

What's more, AnyViewer has many other useful features, including file transfer, resolution adjustment in session, power remote management, etc. It also offers versions for Android and iOS devices for users to access PCs from mobile devices. Free download it and see how it respectively works on accessing an unattended remote computer and sending a remote control request.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/Servers
Secure Download

Access unattended work computer via one-click control

On the to-be-connected computer:

Install and launch AnyViewer; create an AnyViewer account and log in to it.

Log in

Note: Once logged in, the computer will be assigned to the account, and you can see the assigned devices in My devices list and start the remote control or do something else.

On the controller device:

Install and launch AnyViewer; log into the same AnyViewer account; go to Device, click the host computer; then click One-click control. The remtoe connection will be established immediately.


Offer one-time remote support via sending a control request

On the to-be-connected computer:

Install and launch AnyViewer. Share the device ID with another computer.


On the controlling computer:

Install and run AnyViewer; input the device ID of the remote computer and click Connect with the Remote control option being selected. Choose the first option and click OK.

Send a Remote Control

On the to-be-connected computer:

A window pops up. Users can check/uncheck the Allows to control the mouse and keyboard option to determine whether the remote computer can use the computer or only view the computer. Allow should be clicked to set up a connection between the two devices.

Reqeust Control


Remote Assistance vs. Remote Desktop, each has advantages and disadvantages. You are advised to apply the appropriate one based on specific situations. Or you can seek the help of third-party remote access software, which integrates the advantages of Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance, satisfying different demands.