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Chapter 16. Troubleshooting and Recoveri... > Troubleshooting Using Online Resourc...

Troubleshooting Using Online Resources

The Internet is home to an astonishingly wide range of information, but its forte has always been computer knowledge. Whatever problem you have, there’s a good chance that someone out there has run into the same thing, knows how to fix it, and has posted the solution on a website or newsgroup, or would be willing to share it with you if asked. True, finding what you need is sometimes difficult, and you often can’t be sure how accurate some of the solutions are. However, if you stick to the more reputable sites and if you get second opinions on solutions offered by complete strangers, you’ll find the online world an excellent troubleshooting resource. Here’s my list of favorite online resources:

  • Microsoft Product Support Services— This is Microsoft’s main online technical support site. Through this site you can access frequently asked questions about Windows Vista, see a list of known problems, download files, and send questions to Microsoft support personnel: support.microsoft.com/.

  • Microsoft Knowledge Base— The Microsoft Product Support Services site has links that enable you to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, which is a database of articles related to all Microsoft products including, of course, Windows Vista. These articles provide you with information about Windows Vista and instructions on using Windows Vista features. But the most useful aspect of the Knowledge Base is for troubleshooting problems. Many of the articles were written by Microsoft support personnel after helping customers overcome problems. By searching for error codes or keywords, you can often get specific solutions to your problems.

  • Microsoft TechNet— This Microsoft site is designed for IT professionals and power users. It contains a huge number of articles on all Microsoft products. These articles give you technical content, program instructions, tips, scripts, downloads, and troubleshooting ideas: www.microsoft.com/technet/.

  • Windows Update— Check this site for the latest device drivers, security patches, Service Packs, and other updates: windowsupdate.microsoft.com/.

  • Microsoft Security— Check this site for the latest information on Microsoft’s security and privacy initiatives, particularly security patches: www.microsoft.com/security/.

  • Vendor websites— All but the tiniest hardware and software vendors maintain websites with customer support sections that you can peruse for upgrades, patches, workarounds, frequently asked questions, and sometimes chat or bulletin board features.

  • Newsgroups— There are computer-related newsgroups for hundreds of topics and products. Microsoft maintains its own newsgroups via the msnews.microsoft.com server (an account for which is automatically set up in Windows Mail), and Usenet has a huge list of groups in the alt and comp hierarchies. Before asking a question in a newsgroup, be sure to search Google Groups to see whether your question has been answered in the past: groups.google.com/.


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