The Help and Support Center's interface is every bit as customizable as other Windows interface components, which were discussed extensively in Chapters 6, 7, and 8. To get started, choose the Options button on the toolbar. You see the resulting Options page, where you can tailor the Help and Support Center to best suit your needs.
Note that the some of the changes available here go beyond the cosmetic. Obviously, selecting the "Small" text size for help content allows you to cram more help content in a single page. Further, you can disable the Favorites and History toolbar buttons, if not the entire toolbar itself.
But, if you choose the "Set Search Options" option, you can change not how the Help and Support Center looks but, more usefully, how it works. For example, one very helpful use of these options I've found is to use this page to restrict the scope of a Knowledge Base search. All you have to do is select Windows XP in the Knowledge Base drop-down box, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Restricting the search to just a portion of the Knowledge Base.
Of course, you could also just disable Knowledge Base searches with the check box shown. This might be necessary with a slow dial-up Internet connection, although the other options will return results while the Knowledge Base search runs in the background.
Another helpful option here is to alter the number of results returned. The default value of 15 is too small, I've found, for any comprehensive search. You can set this number up to 999, but I think you'll find a good working setting of about 2550 results returned per search.
We'll talk about the third option, "Install and share Windows help" in the chunk that follows.