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Windows 8 : Security and Updates - Help, Support, and Troubleshooting (part 1) - Introducing Help And Support

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12/24/2014 8:42:47 PM

By far, the most important resource for getting the information you need, when you need it, is the Help And Support built into Windows 8. It doesn’t cover everything in great depth. But it does cover all the main features with a focus on the tasks most people want to perform with their computers.

You can get to Windows 8’s Help in a couple of ways. When you’re in a traditional Windows program such as Word, Paint, or any other, click the Help button (if any) at the upper-right corner of your screen (often a question mark, see Figure 1). Or if the program has a menu bar, click Help in that menu bar to see options for getting help. Or press the Help key (F1).

FIGURE 1 A sample Help button in a Windows program


If your keyboard has a Function Lock (or F Lock) key, the function keys (F1 through F12) work only if that key is on. This is often the case on laptops.

When you access help from a particular program, you get help that’s relevant to the program or component from which you requested the help.

Whether a given Windows 8 app will have Help content depends entirely on the app. To view options for a Windows 8 app, right-click in the app to bring up the App Bar, or slide up from the bottom of the display.

To get more general help with Windows 8, open the Charms Bar from the Start screen, click Settings, and then click Help (see Figure 2). Windows 8 displays a selection of Help items for specific tasks such as searching and rearranging tiles on the Start menu.

FIGURE 2 Access Help items from the Start menu.


You can also open Windows Help And Support which provides help on a range of topics. To open Windows Help And Support, shown in Figure 3, open the Charms Bar from the Windows desktop, click Settings, and then click Help. Figure 3 shows Windows Help And Support.

FIGURE 3 The Windows Help And Support home page


If you don’t see a Help option on your Start menu, don’t panic. Some computer manufacturers replace that with their own Help or Support option. Clicking that option takes you to a help page that’s similar to the Windows 8 Help page. It’s just rearranged to promote your computer manufacturer.

For beginners and casual users, the Get Started topic on the Windows Help And Support page is the best place to start, especially when you need reminders of key terms and concepts that the rest of Help assumes that you already know. These terms and concepts include topics such as hardware, software, point, click, double-click, right-click, drag, tap, swipe, slide, function keys, navigation keys, keyboard shortcuts, menu, command, desktop, icon, taskbar, Sidebar, program, window, document, minimize, maximize, restore, scroll bar, open, save, close, undo, file, folder, move, copy, delete, and print.

If you already have all those terms and concepts down pat, use the Browse Help topics item to browse through all the Help content. Or, click in the Search box, type a search keyword or phrase, and click the Search button to search for topics.

Navigating Help

Within the Help And Support Center, you see the buttons shown in Figure 4. (On your own screen, you can point to any button to see its name.) Here’s what each button offers:

FIGURE 4 The Help And Support Center controls

  • Back: Takes you back to the help page you just left (if any). Disabled (dimmed) when there’s no page to go back to.
  • Forward: Returns to the page you just backed out of. Disabled if you didn’t just back out of a page.
  • Help Home: Takes you to the same page that opens when you first open Help And Support.
  • Print: Lets you print whatever help information you’re currently viewing.
  • Browse Help: Takes you to the Table Of Contents.
  • Contact Support: Takes you to options for getting online help from a support engineer.
  • Online Help/Offline Help: Lets you choose between using online Help or offline Help.
  • Settings: Provides options for enabling or disabling online help and participation in Help Experience Improvement program.
  • Change Zoom Level: Use this button to zoom in or out.

You can point to any button in the Help And Support Center to see its name.

Using the Search box

The Search box at the top of Windows Help and Support is strictly for searching Help. It searches both the Help that’s in your computer and the more extensive online Help (if you’re online when you use the Search box).

Use the Search box as you would the index at the back of a book. It works best if you know the exact term you’re looking for and how to spell that term. But even if you don’t know how to spell it exactly, the Search feature works pretty well. For example, a search for desk top (wrong spelling) returns roughly the same results as desktop (correct spelling).

You can also phrase your search as a question: for example, What is a user account? or How do I create a user account?

Press Enter or click the magnifying glass button after typing your search term or question. The results will be a series of links to pages in Help that are relevant to your search phrase or question.

Online Help and offline Help

There are really two types of help in Windows 8. There’s offline Help, which you can access at any time because it’s stored on your device. There’s also online Help, which you can access only when you’re connected to the Internet. The online Help is more extensive than the offline Help.

In the Help window’s lower-left corner, you’ll see an indicator that tells you which Help you’re currently accessing (see Figure 5). Click the indicator to choose to use Get Offline Help (only), or Online Help (which includes both offline Help and online Help).

FIGURE 5 Online/offline options


Windows 8’s Help Is Only About Windows 8

It’s important to understand that the Help and Support in Windows 8 is only for Windows 8 and the programs that come with Windows 8. There are at least 100,000 other programs you can purchase separately. Windows 8’s Help And Support doesn’t cover any of those programs.
When you want help with some program other than Windows 8, you have to look in the Help for that program, not Windows 8’s Help. Typically, you do so by choosing Help from an individual program’s menu bar or by pressing F1 while that program is open and in the active window.
E-mail is a good example. E-mail isn’t really a component of Windows 8. E-mail is a service provided by your ISP (Internet service provider) or a third party, as with Hotmail or Google Mail. Your ISP or mail service provider is your best resource for questions about e-mail. However, the Help content included with your e-mail program (if other than a web browser, such as Microsoft Office Outlook) is the best place to learn how to use that program.
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