Support, in the context of the Help and Support Center, means getting help from outside sources. Clicking the Support button on the toolbar displays the Welcome To Support page, which has three options, all directing you places other than the installed help files.
The first is Ask a Friend For Assistance, which starts the Remote Assistance process that was previously discussed in Chapter 12.
If using XP Professional, you'll see a second option called Get Help From Microsoft. What you accomplish by clicking this link's misleading title is essentially opening the support.microsoft.com Web page from within the Help and Support Center. (Technically, you've also followed a link to the Product Solution Center as well, but that's splitting hairs.) From there, it's just a matter of following the applicable links. (Incidentally, Microsoft used toand I know this is difficult to believemake themselves available to support the software they made and sold with this Help Center link.)
The last support option is to go to a Windows Web site forum. When you follow these links, you open an IE window where available public newsgroups are at your disposal. Further, you can read and respond to news threads from within IE by using the Web-based reader; you don't have to set up a separate newsreader application like Outlook Express.
Figure 7. The Windows XP Newsgroups.
Post your issue to hear feedback from other people who don't really know what they're doing, either. OK, I take that back; the newsgroups can be very helpful.
Pretend, for example, that you had a question specifically about copying and pasting in Windows XP. That's a fairly basic feature, so your best bet for a response would be to post your question to the Windows XP Basics newsgroup.
Note that in order to post a new message or respond to an existing one, you must first sign in with a Microsoft Passport account.
Or you could simply be curious to see what issues have come up with other users. By simply "lurking"reading the posts from users without responding or posting new questionsyou might learn a new technique that ends a current hassle or prevents one from occurring. You don't have to sign in to read newsgroup posts.
Also, you'll notice a newsgroup called Help and Support. This is a catchall group for getting Help and Support; it's not about the Help and Support Center. Just thought I ought to clarify.