About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

July 8, 2014

June 10, 2014

October 29, 2013

Get Help, Join Me

Last week we looked at "Windows Remote Assistance" to see how you could give or receive help with your computer issues.  It works well but as I said there are drawbacks in that you need to be going from a Windows to a Windows computer and could not link with a Mac or Ubuntu (Linux) system.  Today we will look at "Join Me."

There are many programs which do pretty much the same thing.  Some of the more popular applications are "DameWare," "Go to Assist," "PC Anywhere," "LogMeIn" (the parent company of and many, many others.  Some of these charge (a lot compared to free) for their services and others are free.  However, I do not believe any are as easy as Join.Me. 

First, the person who needs someone to log onto their computer for help needs to start the process.  It is easy since all you do is open your browser and type in "" in the address bar.  It will automatically add "https://" (the "s" means a Secure site) and take you to the site.

join.meNow, if this is the first time you have used it go to "Share," "Basic" and click the large orange arrow button.  This will start downloading the small executable file to your computer.  Once the download has finished, find the file and double click it to start ""  Your browser may also choose to "Run" the file if your browser allows it which is fine. 


join.meOnce installed and running you can click the "Share" button and a nine digit code will be generated for you.  It will show something similar to, "" The nine digit number varies each time you use it.  Now give the helping person the nine digit number or email them the generated link.

If you email them the link they can click the link in the email and be instantly logged onto your desktop.  If you read them the number, via phone as most often happens, they log into just as you did.  But this time they choose the "Join" the meeting after they add the nine digits.  They finally click the green arrow and they are in.  They will go to your machine and you can both see what is going on with your computer.  Do not worry about anyone else using the code.  Once you end the session and close "" someone else would need a new code, generated only by you, to get into your computer.

You have full control and the "helper" can only view your computer unless you allow them further access.  If you wish to give them permission to actually "drive" your computer go to the meeting tools (pointer) button and click, "share mouse control."  When they are finished take it back.  Easy.

It includes many other neat features such as allowing the people you invite to have voice chats over the Internet using their free VOIP, text chat between all the members in the meeting, transferring files to each other and more. 

There are always updates and changes to this and every other app.  They recently added a couple you may find helpful…if you are a helper.  If you have an Android phone/tablet or an iPhone/iPad you can only view someone’s computer from them.  You cannot share your screen to get help.  It also depends on which version of either OS you have.  For Apple products it must be the latest version and depending on what you need to do it could cost you.  For Android, free…ah, my favorite word.

October 23, 2012

Brittany, Octavius and Ubuntu

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:32 am

My wife and I have a friend, Brittany and one day she and my wife were talking.  Brittany said that she had a broken computer.  Well, then my wife proceeded to tell Brittany what I do for a living, hobby, etc.  Now at this point I have to say Brittany does not read the Daily News Record weekly, listen to WSVA monthly, check out or she would know that I “mess” with computers…as my wife puts it.

Brittany asked if I would take a look at her notebook, Octavius.  I have heard of people naming their computers but this was my first, firsthand experience.  I do not do  repair work any longer since I am too busy with other things in life, but for friends I am always happy to see what I can do to help them out.

I asked a few questions and found the reason it stopped was that her cat walked across her keyboard.  Now, unless her cat understands computers very well I do not know how he/she could have done that.  Basically she got a black screen with text when she turned her computer on.  The largest worry about any computer doing that is that the hard drive is kaput. Not a biggie to replace, but it can be costly.

She also said her notebook was in bad shape.  Once I got it, I really got it.  She had dropped it…down the steps…several times.  The screen was hanging by a piece of plastic along with a few wires. Some of the casing was gone, duct tape functionally decorated it, and a key or two may have been missing; however, she liked it and wanted to see if I could make it work again.

Then Brittany uttered some magical words that made me jump for joy – “It wdwas a Linux computer.”  Also, she kept all of her music, videos, documents, etc. on an external drive.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Ninety-nine percent of the time when a non-geek mentions Linux, they mean that in the past someone has removed Microsoft Windows from a computer and installed Ubuntu (  Since all of her data files were on her external drive she had no worries, as long as her hard drive would boot and run.

10-21-2012 8-29-19 PMI wrote several columns last year about Ubuntu, so if you want to find out more visit my site and check them out.  But for now here is a much abbreviated description of Ubuntu.  It is a great operating system. You can perform 99% of everything you can with Windows.  Some of the best news is it is free, although they do ask for donations.

I checked her system and found that her previous Ubuntu operating system was destroyed but the hard drive was in great shape.  In less than two hours I had it up and running; the Internet, word processing, email and all the other operations working to perfection.  I returned it to her the next day. She and Octavius are now happy, I am sure the cat is ready to try again and life is good!

I would caution Brittany about two things.  The screen is going to go one day…be prepared.  Next, just in case it really was the cat, use the key combination of “Ctrl + Alt + L” and lock it down when you walk away, before your cat saunters across it again.

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: