Using Copilot

By Deane Barker on November 15, 2005

I used Copilot the other day to debug a Windows machine 1,665 miles away. It worked great.

After purchasing a day pass ($9.95), you get an invitation code and a little executable. Send the code to the other party. They enter it on the site, and they get an executable. The two executables match, because when both sides run them, they connect (the first one gets a “waiting” message until the other person runs their program). There’s a little window that runs to tell you how much time you have left.

I wish I had more to say, but there was very little drama after that — it just worked. There’s a bit of lag — it’s more VNC than Terminal Server — but still quite functional.

You can try it free for two minutes just to make sure it works before you buy.



  1. I’m a big fan of Joel’s blog and watched the Project Aardvark saga the whole summer leading up to copilot. I used CoPilot once on a couple weeks ago mother-in-law problem where, from Germany to her house in North Carolina, I restored a corrupted install of Eudora 4.5, backed up her email/contacts, downloaded, installed and configured Thunderbird, imported all mail/settings/etc to TB, then got the latest version of FireFox with Automatic updates turned on since, of course, she never updated from the first version of FF I put on last spring. And did some other maintenance which would have been impossible over the phone, and would have been more of a hassle than worth it to talk through getting a regular VNC or Remote Desktop session set up through their router.

    Then, while I was at it, she downloaded the executable on my father-in-laws computer and cleaned up some stuff there too. (so, btw – apparently you can use the same code on multiple computers as long as you’re in your time limit, so if you want to use it maybe create a log of several computer you need to connect to.)

    It worked well for me too – fast enough to be usable. Unfortunately it did crash a few times, but the automatic reconnect worked well. I just had to restart the executable on my end and it automatically re-discovered her connection, which was still live.

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