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Getting Help with Windows XP

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Windows XP's Help and Support Center, a hybrid web portal and on-disk help system, is a powerful place to find answers to Windows problems. Learn how to make the most of it with this sample chapter.
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If you're already a Windows user, don't yield to the temptation to skip this chapter because you've given up on Microsoft's anemic help system. A change of heart—driven by what Microsoft spends on telephone support—has spawned XP's Help and Support Center, a hybrid web portal and on-disk help system. With it you use web-style links and searches to access:

  • Standard documentation
  • Animated tutorials
  • Troubleshooting wizards
  • Diagnostic and repair utilities
  • Up-to-date configuration information about your system's hardware, software, and services
  • Knowledge Base articles at Microsoft's support site and Windows newsgroups (if you're connected to the internet)

Also, XP's new Remote Assistance program lets a remote user view your screen—or even control your PC—to help you solve problems.

Starting Help and Support Center

The first stop in Help and Support Center (Help Center for short) is the home page ( Figure 3.1 ), which includes links to basic information, external help resources, and common system tasks. Your home page may differ slightly from the one pictured because this help system isn't a static collection of pages; Microsoft and third parties like PC manufacturers are free to modify it. The "Did you know?" section in the bottom-right corner is the usual target for such changes.


Figure 3.1 The left column lists common help topics. The green arrows in the right column mark links to support resources and system tools.

To start Help and Support Center:

  • Choose Start > Help and Support.


    Press Windows logo key+F1.

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