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Chapter 4. Getting Help > Getting Help from Microsoft

4.4. Getting Help from Microsoft

If you run into trouble with the installation—or with any Windows XP feature—the world of Microsoft is filled with sources of technical help. For example, you can consult:

Figure 4-10. You, the guru, have just received a .MsRcIncident ticket—an invitation to help somebody whose PC needs troubleshooting. Lucky you!

And by the way: If the novice, a trusting individual, has sent you a Remote Assistance ticket that doesn't expire for a very long time (99 days, for example), keep it around on your desktop or in your Start menu. From now on, both of you can skip all of the invitation-and-response rigamarole. Now, whenever he needs your help, he can just call you up or email you. And all you have to do is double-click your ticket and wait for the OK from the other side.

  • The Microsoft Help Web pages. Direct your Web browser (if, indeed, your computer works) to www.microsoft.com/support . There you'll find a long list of help resources that handle many of the most common questions: a database of help articles that you can search, a list of known glitches that Microsoft has published, newsgroups (Internet bulletin boards) where you can post questions and return later to read the answers, and so on.

  • Free phone help. If you bought Windows XP (that is, it didn't come on your computer), you can call Microsoft for free phone help during business hours. The company is especially interested in helping you get Windows XP installed and running correctly—you can call as often as you like for help getting Windows going this way.

    After that, you can call for everyday Windows questions for free—twice. You'll be asked to provide your 20-digit product ID number, which you can look up by right-clicking My Computer in your Start menu and clicking the Properties tab. The not-toll-free number is (425) 635-3311.

    (If Windows XP came preinstalled in your machine, on the other hand, you're supposed to call the computer company with your Windows questions.)

  • Expensive phone help. Once you've used up your two free calls, you can still call Microsoft with your questions—but it will cost you $35 per incident. (They say "per incident" to make it clear that if it takes several phone calls to solve a particular problem, it's still just one problem.) This service is available 24 hours a day, and the U.S. number is (800) 936-5700.


If you're not in the United States, direct your help calls to the local Microsoft office in your country. You'll find a list of these subsidiaries at www.microsoft.com/support .

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