Questions and Answers
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Troubleshooting a Computer Remotely
What are the minimum system requirements for Fog Creek Copilot?
PC users will need Windows 2000 or later and either Internet Explorer 6 or later
or Mozilla Firefox with cookies enabled to use the Fog Creek Copilot website. PC
users who wish to use Copilot OneClick need to have Windows XP or later. Mac
users will need Mac OS X 10.4 or higher and Safari, Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox
with cookies enabled to use the Fog Creek Copilot website. A broadband connection
What if the helper or the person being helped is behind a firewall?
Fog Creek Copilot works with any office or home firewall by automatically routing
your connection through our servers.
Do I need to configure anything?
No! Fog Creek Copilot runs completely as is, with no settings to adjust. Your file
downloads in 30 seconds or less and comes completely preconfigured to connect the
helper to the person requesting the help.
Does it matter who runs the Fog Creek Copilot program first?
No. Either person can run the program first. Only once both parties are running
the program will the connection be established.
How does the helper get the invitation code to the person needing
An invitation link can be automatically emailed to the person needing the help or
the helper can pass on the 12-digit invitation code over the phone, IM, etc.
What if I can't connect?
Fog Creek Copilot will keep trying. Your credit card or PayPal account will NOT
be charged until a successful connection is established.
What if I get disconnected?
Fog Creek Copilot will automatically attempt to reconnect.
What if I accidentally close the program and need to reconnect?
If you're the helper, you can just run the program again to reconnect. If you're
the person being helped you can do the same unless you chose the option for the
program to delete itself when you quit. If so, your invitation code will be saved
in your browser so you can easily download the Fog Creek Copilot program again and
reconnect. Simply return to www.copilot.com
and follow the instructions for using the remaining time in your Day Pass or Test
How many computers can the helper connect to?
With a Day pass, as long as your time has not run out, the helper can connect to
as many computers, as many times, as needed. With a subscription, you can connect
to as many people as you wish. Simply create a new invitation for each person you
How will I know how much time I have left?
If you are using a Day Pass, you can see the time remaining by checking:
- The top of the Helper window in Microsoft Windows
- The status bar in the Helper window in OS X
- The center of the Host dialog box on the computer being helped
If you have a subscription, you can click on the "Account" link at the
top-right corner of every page of the website. There, you will find information
on how many minutes you have used and how many you have left in your plan.
My connection is slow. How can I speed things up?
The developers at Fog Creek Software continue to improve the performance of the
Fog Creek Copilot service on all internet connections. Due to the fact that your
connection is encrypted on both ends and may be routed through our servers in order
to work through certain firewalls, the total potential for speed increase is limited.
For some tips on things you can do to increase performance, try the Performance Tips page.
Does Fog Creek Copilot support File Transfer?
Yes, Fog Creek Copilot on Microsoft Windows supports File Transfer. It can be accessed
through the buttons "Send File" and "Get File" on the tool bar of the helper's window.
Files transfered from one computer will be saved on the desktop of the other computer.
How do I set up a new Copilot OneClick computer?
- You need to be logged-in to your Copilot account to create a Fog Creek Copilot OneClick computer.
- Once you are logged in, start by clicking on the "OneClick" link at the top of the page. This will take you to the OneClick Control Panel.
- Click "+ Add Computer".
- Give the computer a name and click "Submit."
- Choose to either download the installer now or email the host computer a link to the installer.
- Run the installer on the computer that you want to access with Copilot OneClick.
Choosing the default settings during the installation will work for the vast majority
of people. If you aren't sure, don't change anything.
- When the installation on the host computer is complete, you are all done! You don't need to reboot. You
can access the computer by clicking its name on the Copilot.Com website.
How do I connect to a Copilot OneClick computer?
Simply click the link for the name of the computer that you want to connect to from
the Copilot.Com website. After clicking it, you will be prompted to run the Copilot
helper application just as you would if you were using the Fog Creek Copilot Classic
service. Once the downloaded helper application starts, your session will begin
after a few seconds.
I have Copilot OneClick installed on my computer; how do I get help?
Fog Creek Copilot OneClick appears as a green icon
next to the clock in the lower right on Windows and in the upper right on a Mac. It looks like this:
One thing that the person helping you
might ask is if you know the name of your computer. To find that, right-click on
the Copilot OneClick tray icon, and you will see an item that says:
Connected as "Geoff's Computer"
In this example the computer's name is "Geoff's Computer", your computer will likely
be different. Giving that name to the person helping you will make it easier for
them to start your support session.
How do I remove Copilot OneClick from a computer?
Copilot can be removed from a computer just like any other program with one special
difference: if you remove your computer from your account by going to the "All Computers"
page on the Copilot website and clicking "Remove", Copilot OneClick will automatically and silently
uninstall itself from the computer. Alternatively, on the Host machine running Copilot OneClick:
- On Windows: Go to Start->Settings->Control Panel and open "Add/Remove Programs".
Choose Fog Creek Copilot OneClick and click the "Remove" button.
- On a Mac: Drag the Fog Creek Copilot OneClick application to the trash.
Can I turn off the prompt that appears every time to allow the connection?
Yes. Right click the Fog Creek Copilot OneClick tray or menu icon and check the
"Disable Connection Confirmation" option. After that, the person receiving help
won't be forced to allow the connection each time they are getting helped.
Free trials let you give Fog Creek Copilot a try without having to pay. The session
lasts two full minutes, during which you will have full use of Fog Creek Copilot. To
start a free trial, enter your name in the appropriate box on the homepage, and
click "GO". When the website asks for a payment method, simply choose
"Test drive Fog Creek Copilot free for 2 minutes."
Day passes give you unlimited access for a full 24 hours. For more information,
see What is a Day Pass?
Subscriptions allow for instant access to Fog Creek Copilot sessions. They are billed
monthly, similar to cell phone plans, but much nicer and more flexible. See
How do subscriptions work? for more information.
How do subscriptions work?
When you sign up, we'll charge your credit card for one month of service. On the
fifteenth day of every following month, we'll automatically charge your credit card
for the monthly fee. Fees are based on the type of plan you have: Unlimited
Plans or Minute Plans. The very first month will be prorated.
Companies and teams can share one account, or create subaccounts
whose useage will be reflected on the master account.
One Copilot user can help an unlimited number of people with any account type.
How are unlimited plans billed?
Unlimited plans are billed based on the number of Copilot user logins in your Copilot
account. For example, if Geoff and Katie can each login with their own email address
to your account at any point during the month, you will be billed 2X the per-user
pricing. You can find a complete list of the current pricing plans
here. Only one session per login may be active at a time. In other words,
Geoff and Katie can both have a session active at the same time, but if Geoff shared
his login with Dave, he wouldn't be able to start one as long as Geoff had his active.
How are minute plans billed?
If you have one of the older minute plans, you will be billed the monthly fee associated
with that plan plus a small per-minute fee for any usage over and above what was
included with the plan. Two or more people can use Fog Creek Copilot at the same
time, and you will be charged for all the minutes that are used.. We will bill you
in tenth-of-a-minute increments, rounding up your usage for each session to the
nearest tenth of a minute. You are only charged for time that you are connected.
At the end of each month of service, any minutes that you haven't used will expire.
There is no rollover.
What type of payment is accepted for subscriptions?
All major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) are accepted
for subscription plans.
What if I choose the wrong plan?
You can change plans at any time up until 11:59:59pm Eastern Daylight Time on the
last calendar day of the month.
How do I change my subscription plan?
Click on Account in the top right hand corner of the page. When the page loads,
find the section detailing your plan and click "Change Plan".
How do I cancel my subscription?
Click on Account in the top right hand corner of the page. When the page loads,
find the section detailing your subscription plan and click "Cancel Subscription".
Your last month will be prorated and any outstanding balance will be charged to
your credit card.
How do Pay As You Go Plans work?
Pay As You Go Plans require a one-time $19.95 deposit. After you have paid the deposit,
you can use Fog Creek Copilot as much as you want for just $0.25 per minute. On
the first day of each month, you will be charged for the previous month's usage.
As with any other plan, you can cancel or upgrade plans at any time. If you decide
to cancel your plan before you have used $19.95 worth of service, the difference
will be refunded to you.
Can I allow other people to access my account?
Yes, you can! You may add an unlimited number of subaccounts to your primary account
at no charge. Simply click "Account," and then add additional email addresses
through the "User Accounts" section at the bottom of the page. Subaccounts
share their minutes with the parent account.
What is a Day Pass?
A Day Pass is a 12-digit invitation code that lets you use Fog Creek Copilot for
24 hours from the first time you connect. The invitation code is what the person
who needs help uses to invite the helper onto his or her computer. The helper is
given the invitation code first, but the connection is not established until the
other enters the code into the website and runs the Fog Creek Copilot download.
This ensures that you're permitting the helper onto your machine. This also lets
us securely maintain and time the connection, and, in the event that the connection
is lost, reestablish it by allowing access to the Fog Creek Copilot download again.
How much does a Day Pass cost?
A Day Pass costs $5 USD on weekdays, and is free on weekends. (A weekend is defined
as 8PM Friday Eastern Time (GMT-5) to 2AM Monday (GMT-5).) We also support
other pricing options.
Who pays for Fog Creek Copilot, the helper or the person being helped?
This is the helper's choice. Helpers may either pay for Fog Creek Copilot themselves
or pass the charge onto those needing help. If the helper chooses for the other
to pay, the person receiving the help will be prompted for payment after entering
the invitation code into the Fog Creek Copilot website.
Can a Day Pass be used to help more than one person?
Yes! A Day Pass can be used by the Helper as many times with as many people as you
want, as long as it's still valid. However, while multiple users can be helped
with a single Day Pass, only the Helper that generated the Day Pass can use it to
do the helping. This is to prevent malicious users from using an intercepted invitation
code to connect to someone's computer.
What type of payment is accepted?
Fog Creek Copilot accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express,
and Discover), as well as PayPal.
When does the clock start counting?
The clock begins only once the connection is successfully established.
What happens when the Day Pass runs out?
The invitation code will no longer provide access to the Fog Creek Copilot download,
and any connection that has already been made with that invitation code will automatically
What if I need more time?
You can purchase another Day Pass. If you find yourself doing this frequently, you
may wish to consider purchasing one of our subscription plans.
Does the clock stop if I get disconnected?
The clock is not stopped when Fog Creek Copilot daypasses disconnect. Fog Creek
Copilot cannot be responsible for the inherent unpredictability of network connections
across the Internet. However, if a connection is lost and cannot be reestablished
due to the Fog Creek Copilot servers being down, then you can contact Customer Service
and request a replacement Day Pass.
After purchasing an invitation code, how long do I have to use it?
Your credit card is only charged after the first connection is established. Therefore,
due to credit card restrictions, an invitation code must be used for the first time
within 3-days of being purchased.
Is it a security risk to have the connection running through your
No. All the information sent is encrypted on both ends of the connection. Even if
someone on our servers were "listening" to the information sent, the data
would not be decipherable.
Is it possible for a malicious user to use Fog Creek Copilot to take
control of someone's computer?
No! Fog Creek Copilot uses 128-bit SSL encryption and twelve-digit invitation codes
to prevent any malicious users from controlling a computer without their permission.
The connection is established only after the person needing help enters the invitation
code that the helper provides, runs the Fog Creek Copilot download, and agrees to
allow the helper access to his or her computer.
Why are cookies required?
Cookies are required so that you can use Fog Creek Copilot multiple times while
your Day Pass is still valid. This is especially necessary if you delete the program
and need to reconnect.
What happens to the program after I quit?
Once the person being helped quits the program, he or she is given the option for
Fog Creek Copilot to automatically delete itself. If the person being helped chooses
this option and needs to reconnect, he or she can download it again from the Fog
Troubleshooting a Computer Remotely
What if the helper needs to press ctrl-alt-del on the problematic
computer to bring up task manager?
Click the Ctrl-Alt-Delete button on the toolbar in the
Helper window. On a Mac Helper, you may simply hit Apple-Control-Delete.
How do I reboot the remote computer?
You can reboot the remote computer just as you would your own (Start→Shutdown).
This, of course, will disconnect you from the remote computer. To reconnect, return
to www.copilot.com and follow the reconnect instructions, and have the user you
are helping do the same. Future releases will make this process easier.
The computer I'm helping has a higher resolution than mine and there are scrollbars
on the helper window. How do I make the window smaller?
The helper window is designed to automatically resize itself to match the resolution
of the computer you are helping. If the resolution is too large, your view of the
remote desktop will be automatically scaled to fit. To explicitly lower their resolution,
right clicking their desktop, click properties, click the settings tab, and lower
the resolution slider.
What if I need to be the Administrator of the remote computer?
If you are using Windows XP or Windows 2000 you can run an executable as the Administrator
using the "Run As..." command. More information is given at
Microsoft Technet. If you need to actually log in as Administrator or are
not using Windows XP or Windows 2000, you will have to have the person you are helping
log in as the Administrator before you connect. There is no way for the user to
initiate the connection on his or her account and then for you to switch users while
staying connected. If you are connecting to a Mac, you may use the sudo
How can I communicate with the person I'm helping while connected through Fog Creek
We recommend talking over the phone or chatting over an instant messenger service
while helping someone remotely. Additionally, you may open up Windows Notepad (Start
→ Programs → Accessories → Notepad) on the remote computer and use
that to "chat" with the person you are helping. On Mac OS X, you may use
Can I use Alt-Tab to switch between open programs on the remote computer?
Yes. If you are a helper on a Mac and connected to a Windows machine, note
that the Alt-Tab keystroke is Option-Tab.
Are dual monitors supported?
No. Only the primary monitor will be captured with Fog Creek Copilot. The second
monitor will be ignored.
What does the person I'm helping see before we're connected?
You can see a popup with screen shots of what the person you're helping sees by
How do I obtain the Fog Creek Copilot source code under the GPL?
The client software used in Fog Creek Copilot is built from a VNC core. VNC is protected
under the General Public License (GPL). You may obtain a copy of the Fog Creek Copilot
client source code from
Hey, where did my wallpaper go??
Fog Creek Copilot removes the desktop wallpaper of the person being helped only
while the helper is connected. This dramatically speeds up the connection and improves
the Fog Creek Copilot experience. Once disconnected, your wallpaper will return.
Where can I find a technical description of Fog Creek Copilot?
A technical description of Fog Creek Copilot is available on the
Technical Information page.