Thursday, August 21, 2008

Using Windows XP Help and Support Center

Although most Windows programs include an individualized Help program, which you can access by clicking Help from their menus, Windows XP also includes an all-encompassing Help program. It helps with general Windows questions, as well your computer in general. To start using it, choose Help and Support Center from the Start menu. The program rises to the screen.

The Windows Help and Support Center works much like a Web site. To move back one page, click the little green Back arrow in the upper left corner. That arrow helps you out if you've backed into a corner. Just click it to move on to a more helpful page.


The Help and Support Center offers assistance in these categories:


Pick a Help Topic: Click these to see general information about a topic. Clicking Customizing Your Computer, for example, displays a list of things that you can change about your computer. Choose Your Start Menu from the list, and the Help menu lists how to add items to the Start menu, change the way they open when clicked, or tweak the menu's list of recently used files and documents.


Ask for Assistance: Stumped? Here are two ways of bringing in outside help. The Remote Assistance program lets you invite a savvier Windows XP user to connect to your computer through the Internet. When the Geek connects to your computer, he sees your desktop on his screen. He can walk you through problems, offer tutorials, and behave as if he were standing over your shoulder. If you're not into that kind of computer intimacy, try the other option: Contact Microsoft for Help, or connect to help sites through the Internet.


Pick a Task: Microsoft placed the most commonly used items here. One click enables you to keep your computer up-to-date, find Windows XP-compatible parts for your computer, restore your computer back to a time when it worked well, and run diagnostic tools to view information and test your computer.


Did You Know?: Windows XP tosses little updated tips here. You may just get lucky and spot one that's useful.

For best results, start your quest for help by glancing at the Pick a Help Topic area. If your troublesome spot is listed here, click it and begin narrowing down the search for pertinent information.


If that doesn't help, use the Search command at the page's top. Type in a key word or two describing your problem and click the green arrow next to the Search box. Typing e-mail, for instance, brings up 30 bits of information. Click any of the suggested topics to see if they solve your problem.

The Search command groups its results in three areas. Suggested Topics, the first and most valuable, lists troubleshooters, step-by-step tutorials, and general information. The Full-text Search Matches area lists any area containing the words you searched for. The last, Microsoft Knowledge Base, shows any results found in a Microsoft-created database listing information about all its products. (Microsoft Knowledge Base requires an Internet connection.) 

 

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