Microsoft has greatly enhanced and improved the Help and Support Center in Windows XP Professional. This lesson acquaints you with the features available in Help and Support Center.
Windows XP Professional now includes two Assisted Support services-Microsoft Incident Submission and Management and Windows Newsgroups-which help users resolve computer support issues.
The Microsoft Incident Submission and Management feature allows you to submit electronic support incidents to Microsoft, collaborate with support engineers, and manage submitted incidents. For example, if you are having problems installing drivers for new hardware on your computer, you can launch Help and Support to submit an electronic incident report to Microsoft.
To access Help and Support follow these steps:
Windows XP Professional displays the Help And Support Center window, as shown in Figure 1.6.
Figure 1.6 Help And Support Center window
Windows Newsgroups provide valuable information to help you resolve computer support issues in a free, online setting. You can use the connectionless message boards and the real-time chat rooms to get answers quickly without submitting incident reports to a Microsoft or OEM support organization. The goal of this feature is to promote Windows and MSN Community offerings in Windows XP Professional Help and Support, as well as to encourage users to add or extend this service in their own communities.
To access the Windows Newsgroups follow these steps:
The Compatible Hardware and Software feature provides up-to-date, comprehensive, user-friendly hardware and software compatibility information to aid users in upgrading equipment, making purchasing decisions, and troubleshooting problems. For example, if you purchase an application that requires a 3-D accelerator card, you might not know which cards are compatible with your computer. You can use Help and Support to run a comprehensive query and find compatible 3-D accelerator cards. You can run queries based on manufacturer, product type, software, or hardware. The Microsoft compatibility teams use data from user interactions, independent hardware vendors (IHVs), and ISVs to improve their products.
To access the Compatible Hardware and Software feature follow these steps:
The Device Driver Referral Site helps you install device drivers that are not included with Windows XP Professional or on a disk with the device. When such a device is connected, Windows XP Professional starts Help and Support Center and asks the user to send device information to Microsoft. After uploading the information, Help and Support Center offers additional information, including the following:
The Microsoft Knowledge Base is a comprehensive database containing detailed articles with technical information about Microsoft products, fix lists, documentation errors, and answers to commonly asked technical support questions. To access Knowledge Base, connect to the following address: http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/support/search.asp
The Windows Help system uses HTML to format and display information. If you have an Internet connection, you can search for every occurrence of a word or phrase across all Windows compiled HTML Help files. Because the Windows Help System is also extensible, multiple search engines can plug into the Help and Support Center application using a set of standard interfaces. Users can search for content across multiple remote and online providers. For example, you can search for information resident on your computer or located remotely in the Microsoft Knowledge Base or in a participating OEM's knowledge base.
To access Full Text Search follow these steps:
Figure 1.7 Help And Support Center Set Search Options window
My Computer Information provides an easily understood, highly accessible view of personalized software and hardware information about your computer or another computer for which you have administrative permissions.
To access My Computer Information follow these steps:
You can view information in five categories, as described in the following sections.
The My Computer Information - General category allows you to view information about your computer such as the computer manufacturer, model, basic input/output system (BIOS) version, processor version and speed, operating system, amount of memory, and amount of available disk space.
The My Computer Information - Status category allows you to examine diagnostic information about your computer, including the following:
The Computer Information - Hardware category allows you to examine descriptive information about your computer's hardware including the local disk, display, video card, modem, sound card, USB controller, network cards, CD-ROM drives, floppy drives, memory, and printers.
The Software category allows you to view a list of Microsoft products that are installed and registered by a product identification (PID) number on your computer, including products that run automatically from Startup. It also shows you Windows Watson Crash Information about any software that crashed while running on your computer.
Advanced System Information allows you to choose from the following options:
Figure 1.8 The System Information window
You can open two sessions of the Help and Support Center application at the same time. Running concurrent sessions enables you to submit incident reports while looking at Help or System Information.
The Help and Support Center application allows you to print an entire chapter of Help content with one print command; that is, it can iteratively print all available topics in a specified node. If some topics are not available because of network connection problems, Windows XP Professional prints only the available content. After you have located the information you want to print, click Print (see Figure 1.9).
Figure 1.9 The Help And Support Center Print option
The Remote Assistance feature allows you to remotely view and control a computer for any support task. It also enables chat and file transfers. If you have a computer problem, you can invite another person (a remote assistant) to help you over the Internet. The remote assistant can accept your invitation, chat with you about the problem, and view your desktop. The remote assistant can also transfer any files required to fix the problem. With your permission, the remote assistant can also get full control of your computer to perform any complex steps needed to fix the problem.
For more information about the Remote Assistance feature, see Chapter 10, "Configuring Windows XP Professional."
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers for these questions are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."