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Windows 8 : Security and Updates - Help, Support, and Troubleshooting (part 2) - Help from People

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When you can’t figure something out by guessing, usually your next thought is to call someone on the phone. Whether that strategy works depends on whom you call. Many of the larger companies charge for telephone support, and it can be quite expensive, especially if you don’t know all the terminology. When you don’t know the terminology, it’s hard to ask the question and even harder to understand the answer.

You have some online alternatives to using the phone that enable you to get help from another person without spending a fortune. Clicking the Contact Support link in Help And Support shows these alternatives (see Figure 6). Click the link in each section to get more information about the selected option.

FIGURE 6 Resources for live help

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Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance is a technology that allows another person to see what’s on your computer screen and operate your computer with his or her mouse and keyboard. The idea here is to turn control of your computer over to a trusted expert to resolve your problem.

We’re not aware of any companies that will connect to and fix your computer for free, but your company may have an internal support group that provides that service. For home computers, your trusted expert will likely be a knowledgeable friend or family member.

Microsoft Answers website

The Microsoft Answers website is a community site in which other users hang out, ask questions, and answer questions in various forums (topic areas). Nobody gets paid to work on the community site. It’s all done on a volunteer basis so there’s no charge to access the site.

The Microsoft Answers site doesn’t provide instant gratification. No one is standing by waiting for your questions and ready to answer on the spot. It’s more like a newsgroup: People post messages, and other people reply at their convenience. This is another option that you can add to your list of resources when you’re looking for information.

The easiest way to get to the Microsoft Answers site is to open Internet Explorer and navigate to http://answers.microsoft.com. To get to the site from Windows, first make sure that your computer is online. Then, open Windows Help And Support as explained previously and click the Microsoft Answers Website link. Your web browser opens to the home page for the Windows forums. We can’t say exactly how it will look because it’s a web page, and web pages change all the time. But you should see a Search box and some basic instructions, as shown in Figure 7.

FIGURE 7 Home page for online communities

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It’s important to understand that when you type something in the Search box and click Search (with the Find Answers options selected), what you get is a list of all the previous newsgroup posts that contain the word or phrase for which you searched, similar to the example in Figure 8

FIGURE 8 Results of search for Windows 8 requirements

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The idea is to scroll through all the messages to see whether one looks as though it might help. Then click its message header (the text in bold) to expand the thread. A thread consists of the original message and all the replies to that message. To read any message in the thread, click its header in the left pane. The message text appears in the right pane.


Tip
The Microsoft Answers site returns two types of results. The Results From Answers tab lists the search results from forum postings that match your query. The Results From Microsoft Support tab lists search results from Microsoft Support articles and resources that match your search query. So, if you don’t see what you’re looking for in the Results from Answers tab, click the Results From Microsoft Support tab to see if the answer to your question is there.

To post your own question to a group, you need to set up an account. Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up any personal information. Nor will there ever be a charge. You need to set up the account only once, not every time you use the newsgroups.

To post a question start by clicking Ask A Question. If you haven’t set up an account yet, you’ll be given the opportunity to do so on the next page that opens. Otherwise, if you already have set up an account, you can sign in by entering your username and password. After you do so, you’ll be able to create a new post, as shown in Figure 9.

FIGURE 9 Post a question.

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Microsoft customer support

Clicking the Contact Support link in Windows Help And Support takes you to a web page that provides still more support options. There, you’ll find a ton of links to different kinds of support for different kinds of questions. Take a look at all your options and decide what’s best for you.

 
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