Remote Desktop vs Remote Assistance: What Are the Differences?

Remote Desktop vs Remote Assistance

The last year has significantly shifted our perspective on remote work. Pandemic has shown that technology can and should be used to ease people’s life. Many people no longer have to commute hours to their offices to do their job, and more people are working remotely from their home. People can also be flexible and split their hours between home and office, or any place with Internet connection.

Many companies offered remote work even before the pandemic has started, but this shift has accelerated over last years. Nowadays, we are faced with technological challenges of remote work. IT companies had to adapt their software for increased demand of remote workers. While many workers not only need to be able to work remotely, IT professionals are faced with the fact that they need to support infrastructure and remote workers. In this article we will describe the differences between remote desktop and remote assistance since there’s still some confusion between these two areas.

Remote Assistance vs Remote Desktop

IT professionals use both of these technologies, but there are some significant differences between them which we will cover below.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance usually means a connection from a distance needed for technical support. Remote worker can invite support engineer by creating a support request. Completing a few steps, IT professional can gain access to user's machine. In case of remote assistance, support engineer cannot access a remote machine without user consent and need remote worker confirmation.

Both host and technician can see their desktop, communicate via chat and technician performs steps needed to troubleshot and resolve a problem. Remote assistance considerably saves time for both parties. One doesn’t have to postpone their work and wait for the problem resolution, and the other doesn’t need to be near a remote machine in order to resolve the problem.

IT professionals can quickly review the state of remote machine, check the registry or download files. If allowed by a host, technician can fully control the remote machine performing administrator tasks. Obviously, a remote worker can stop the connection anytime.

Remote Desktop

Remote desktop usually means that a remote machine in unattended and users have full access to devices from a distance. Windows Remote Desktop, when connected, locks the remote computer screen and the access to machine is available only remotely. The host computer performs all processing, a user only controls a remote machine via mouse and keyboard, while looking at a video output remotely. Before remote desktop connection can be established, the host computer must be configured to allow such connections.

An example of remote desktop would be connecting work computer from a home computer to access files. It can significantly increase productivity of employees and give them more flexible ways to do their job, while remote assistance eases remote support.

How to set up a connection

When choosing whether to use remote assistance or remote desktop, users should consider a few options, understand what is the desired outcome and what are their goals.

How to connect remote assistance

Remote assistance requires both parties to be present at two computers. A host needs to be able to run a software and send an invitation to an IT professional, and then technician can connect to a remote computer for assistance.

How to connect remote desktop

Remote desktop software must be installed and configured before a worker can gain remote access to her machines. The following steps should be performed before user can establish a remote connection:

The security of remote connections

Security of Remote Connections

Remote access brings a lot of risks to remote machine and business. While remote desktop and remote assistance offer benefits for support and productivity, security concerns are even more important as they are both vulnerable to cyberattacks.

When requesting remote assistance, users can monitor remote session even if they do not fully trust a technician. Software for remote assistance usually doesn’t have to be constantly running as support can be provided on-demand.

When using Windows RDP, users are strongly advised to use an additional layer of security by using VPN and many companies require that their employees use one. Other software may offer great benefits reducing the amount of setup and offering great security solutions.

Keeping all systems up-to-date will significantly reduce risks of open vulnerabilities. Technicians are advised to provide users with guidance and offering clear but strict password policies.

Advanced features of remote access software may include the following:

DeskRoll Remote Desktop & Unattended Access

DeskRoll offers a great variety of options to satisfy a wide set of user demands needed for both remote assistance and remote desktop:


If you are looking for a secure remote access software, then DeskRoll offers these solutions:

It's designed to be straightforward to use. Register for free and get an instant access to remote desktop and remote assistance tools.