Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Windows’ built-in Help Desk

Did you know that you have your very own Tech Support/Answer Man (..ahem, pardon me. Answer Person) living inside your Windows PC? 

One of the most useful Windows tools and services is also the most over-looked, ignored, and misunderstood. This tool can help you solve technical issues and/or show you how to do things.. and it’s free. (We here at Tech–for Everyone [me, myself, and I] are big fans of anyone who combines the concepts “useful” and “no charge”.) I am referring, generally, to the “Help” finder (the little search window) in Microsoft programs (such as Word and Excel); and specifically to the machine (operating system), the troubleshooting tool called “Help and Support“.
This red-headed stepchild of Windows tools should be the first place you go when your speakers stop working.. or you cannot remember how to set your “homepage” to the Wall Street Journal. You access it from the Start button–

(in XP…)
And in most programs (“applications”) the Help can be found in the upper-right, as in this example using Internet Explorer..

Vista’s Help and Support welcome window looks different than the “Pick a task”-oriented welcome page in XP and older versions, and I think the changes are to our advantage.

When looking for answers and solutions, the Search tool is often your best bet. Remember that searches use keywords to try to produce relevant results (machines cannot, yet, understand what you’re trying to say, but they can make matches to words and letters and symbols) so don’t type in too complex a sentence.

Let me demonstrate with a simple example: let’s say that I want to add Word to the icons down by my Start button (the “Quick Launch” area). I don’t type in “how do I put Word down by my Start button?” That will produce results using the keywords “Word” plus “start”. What I want to do is “add (a) program” to my “Quick Launch” (or, “Taskbar”). Right? So I use those keywords.
This produced 30 ‘matches’, and by looking down the list I find that the third one down is the most likely to have my answer. So I click on that link and see what I get.
The pictures show me I’m on the right track, and sure enough, the first link is almost an exact match to what I am trying to do.. with the “how do I” understood. I click on “To add a program to the Quick Launch toolbar” and expand the answer.
And there you go. I have run long for today– but tomorrow I will return to this topic and demonstrate how to use Help and Support to troubleshoot hardware and software problems.. such as if your sound stops working.

Today’s free link: The Microsoft WindowsHelp website is all about help and How To. Find tutorials, guides, and answers.. direct from the folks who wrote the software.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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February 19, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows | , , ,

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