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Copilot Rocks

When I moved to Ohio one of the things that I left was a side job helping a few businesses with their IT needs.  After I moved down I continued to help one of the companies however I could, usually that just meant running their e-mail server and a few other things, all that could be handled over the phone or through email.

Recently there was one I couldn’t issue I couldn’t solve over the phone.

Background: A few years ago I set up an OS X Server for a publisher to work as a file server and had all their systems (Mac and Windows) connected to it. Since then a few more systems have been added to it, but the server was going strong.  Until a few months ago.

The clients server went down, hard.  A somewhat local shop was able to get the system running again but they were left without the network shares in Windows or their OS X systems (although OS 9 was fine).  Spending a few hours on the phone I couldn’t figure it out either.  But I knew that if I were to sit down at the system I’d be able to figure out, I had set it up initially after all.  I know there are a ton of apps like VNC that would do what I want, but in order to set up VNC I’d have to walk them through setting up the router which would be difficult to do.

<Hit up the Read More link to read the rest>

Enter Copilot

We use FogBugz at work and I’ve followed Joel‘s blog for some time so I was familiar with what Copilot was, what I did not know was that it worked on Mac OS 10.2 and later as well as Windows.

I signed up for a day pass and since it was over the weekend, the pass was free.  I then downloaded the customized software to my Mac.  Then while on the phone I directed the customer to the site, where he entered the invitation code I received from Copilot.  He downloaded the customized software and ran it. Just like that we were connected.

Fifteen minutes later I had the shares set up and he downloaded the client onto other systems so I could set up the shares on the client computers.

Not quite yet

I thought all was good, until Sunday evening I get a call from my client again.  After we hung up on Saturday he left the system to copy their files back to the server (backups rock too).  When it was done he rebooted the server to ensure he could still access them, no go.  The files and folders were there but they could not be read or written to.  Suspecting that I just forgot to check a box somewhere I had him go to Copilot again where we still had time left from Saturday!  A few minutes later I find the “New files and folders should inherit permissions from parent” checkbox and all is good with the world.


Maybe its just an issue when using the client on OS X, but the mouse cursor was messed up on all of the systems I connected to.  Connected to the OS X server the cursor was just a series of diagonal lines with no semblence of a cursor at all.  When connected to the Windows clients there was a mangled mouse cursor underneath the diagonal lines.

It was also not possible to click the disconnect button on the OS X host, I had to have my client do that manually.  When Windows 2000 was the host I had no problem disconnecting my self.


About James

I am a Senior Developer/Consultant for InfoPlanIT, LLC. I previously spent over 7 years as a Product Manager for what eventually became ComponentOne, a division of GrapeCity. While there, I helped to create ActiveReports 7, GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis, and Data Dynamics Reports.


One thought on “Copilot Rocks

  1. Have to agree with you, CoPilot is a very useful product/service and it’s great to see FogCreek make it free on weekends. I’ve used it several times to help family members (sometimes on another continent) with their computer problems, and it works surprisingly well – much better than Windows Remote Assistance which is a pain to get working through firewalls and/or different versions of Messenger.

    (I’m not affiliated with Fog Creek Software in any way; just a happy customer!)

    Posted by Mark | June 5, 2008, 10:37 pm

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