Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have recently started off as an IT Helpdesk Trainee, and it was my first day today. They were mainly just showing me the ropes today, but I have a question.

From an technician perspective, when you receive a call from a customer needing X help on his machine, and where I work we use Remote Desktop connections to provide such support, I don't understand what credentials you login with?

Say for example a computer, Host15, is logged on, on a user account Joe Bloggs.

I have admin credentials as the technician for the machine, do I log into his machine using those credentials, but then surely that wouldn't be his profile?

Must I ask him for his username and password?

share|improve this question
Not too sure – why don't you simply ask the people who are training you what is considered standard procedure? :) — any way, if there's a problem with that user account, it would make sense to log in as that user, right? If you are allowed to ask for username and password also depends on the policies you have. – slhck Feb 27 '12 at 19:21
I wouldn't ask for a user's password under any circumstance. This is setting bad precedence for later on when they are social engineered for their log in credentials. In cases where you need to log in as the user, reset their password for such use. – Aaron Copley Feb 27 '12 at 19:53
Typically if you need to do something related to the user's account you would use Remote Assistance rather than Remote Desktop. That gives you access to the user's own session instead of starting a new one. Remote Assistance is based on Remote Desktop technology, so perhaps they're just confusing the two. – Harry Johnston Feb 27 '12 at 23:06

Assuming these machines are setup on a Windows Network with Active Directory (They log into a specific domain which you are the admin of) you would log into their machine with the Admin credentials you have.

share|improve this answer
Yes, all the servers are on an AD DS Domain, but can I ask, how exactly does that work ( logging into the admin account I mean ) ? – Thomas Cowlin Feb 27 '12 at 19:25
If you are an Administrator and have the admin log details then when you attempt to log into any machine on that network there is a reserved user account on the machine usually called Administrator that when you try to log in as it will validate the user credentials using AD. – xXPhenom22Xx Feb 27 '12 at 19:36
If you look at any of the PCs on that domain and look at the user accounts you will probably see the Administrator account, a Guest account that is usually disabled, then the user account for that machine – xXPhenom22Xx Feb 27 '12 at 19:38
Thanks, but what I mean is, how will logging onto a machine as an Admin allow me to fix something in correct on the callers profile, in this case, Joe Bloggs ? – Thomas Cowlin Feb 27 '12 at 19:39
Depends, if it is an application that is profile specific, then you would probably need to log in as that user. If you are making a more general fix not application related you can do it at the Admin level – xXPhenom22Xx Feb 27 '12 at 19:41

Depending on the issue.

Admin Issue
If it is an admin issue such as the action they require, the permission they need, etc. can only be given by an admin then naturally you will need to use your admin account.

User Issue
It may happen that you get a call where they are getting an error message. Sometimes over the phone explanations are not the best and its best to dive in and replicate the error yourself. To get the best understanding of the error/issue it is best to mimic what they are doing as closly as possible.

Username and Password Question
As for username and password this would be a policy question between you and your users, or you and your company. Which brings up the next point.

Techs/Admins With Multiple Accounts
Do you have a user account as well as an admin account? If you cannot access their account maybe you could more closly replicate a user error by using your user account instead of your admin one.

Helpful Links
I am not sure exactly what kind of support you are providing but maybe you can bookmark these links.

Computer TroubleShooting

More Troubleshooting Tips

Good luck in your new job!

share|improve this answer

We use Ultra VNC at our company. Link:

Only the Network Administrators group is given the password, and it seems to bypass all Windows security. It runs on the client's PC and your PC.

When the program opens, you give it the name of the PC you want to connect to and the password. If VNC is able to find that PC on the network and connect to the VNC program on that end, it is like you are sitting in front of their PC. You have access to the keyboard, mouse, etc.

share|improve this answer

You should never ever have it as a practise to ask users to give up their passwords to you, that's just a general rule. You should teach your users/customers to remember that their passwords are their own and that no legitimate company official will ever ask them for their password, this makes it much harder for scammers to get userful info from the user.

If we suspect that it may be a profile specific error we always ask the user to get a colleague to try logging in on the user's computer and see if he get the same problem. If he didn't, then that verifies that it was a profile specific error, in which case we just reset the user's profile (by simply renaming the profile folder and let the system automatically create a new one). It was then a simple matter of moving the user's desktop icons and wotnot to the new profile.

If it on the other hand was not a profile specific error and the colleague also got the error, then you wouldn't have a problem logging on yourself with your own credentials in order to investigate where the error is.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .