Tecnical Information Resources

After you gather information about key symptoms, check internal and external technical information sources for ideas, solutions, and similar or related symptoms reported by others.

Information resources such as Windows XP Professional–related newsgroups and the Microsoft Knowledge Base can save you time and effort. The ideal situation is that your problem is a known issue, complete with solutions or suggestions that point you in the right direction. See sources of information shown in Table 26.1.

Table 26.1   Help and Information Sources

Source Description
Diagnostic Solutions Guide (DSG) A Microsoft Web site that helps you search TechNet articles pertaining to your problem. For more information about the DSG, see the Diagnostic Solutions Guide link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
Help and Support Center Provides access to troubleshooting tools, wizards, information, and links that cover a wide range of Windows XP Professional–related topics including:
  • Hardware devices, such as modems and network adapters.
  • Networking and the Internet.
  • Multimedia applications and devices.
  • E-mail, printing, and faxing.
  • Working remotely.
  • Remote assistance and troubleshooting.
  • System information and diagnostics.
  • Troubleshooting tools and diagnostic programs provided by Windows XP Professional.

To do a search using this feature, on the Start menu, click Help and Support.

Help Desk, Problem Management Department Technicians who have access to a wide range of information and history, including common problems and solutions.
International Technology Information Library (ITIL) and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Web sites Sites that provide information for developing, troubleshooting, planning, organizing, and managing information technology (IT) services. The ITIL Web site provides an online glossary of commonly used industry terms used in IT-related documents. For more information, see the ITIL and MOF links on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
Internet newsgroups Technical newsgroups offer peer support for common computer problems. You can exchange messages in an appropriate forum to request or provide solutions and workarounds. Newsgroup discussions cover a wide range of topics and provide valuable information that might help you track down the source of your problem. Viewing newsgroup messages requires newsreader software, such as Outlook Express.
Manufacturers' Web sites Web sites offered by manufacturers of computers, peripherals, and applications to provide Web support for their products.
Microsoft Knowledge Base An extensive list of known problems and solutions that you can search. If you are unfamiliar with searching the Microsoft Knowledge Base, see article 242450, "How to Query the Microsoft Knowledge Base Using Keywords." To find this article and for more information about the Microsoft Knowledge Base, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
Microsoft Product Support Services A Web site that contains technical information, useful links, downloads, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). To access the support options available from Product Support Services, see the Microsoft Product Support Services link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
Microsoft TechNet A subscription-based service for IT professionals that enables you to search technical content and topics about Microsoft products. For more information about TechNet, see the Microsoft TechNet link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
Other online information Web sites. Many Web sites maintained by individuals and organizations provide troubleshooting information for Microsoft® Windows® 98, Microsoft® Windows® Me, Microsoft® Windows NT® version 4.0, Microsoft® Windows 2000, Microsoft® Windows 2000, and Windows XP Professional. Some of these Web sites specialize in hardware issues; others, in software.
Readme files Files that contain the latest information about the software or driver installation media. Typical file names are "Readme.txt" or "Readme1st.txt."
Reference books Reference books such as the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit provide helpful information for diagnosing problems.
Technical support Technical support can help you solve a complex problem that might otherwise require substantial research time.
Training Instructor-led or self-paced training can increase your troubleshooting efficiency.
Windows Update Web site A site that contains downloadable content, including current information about improving system compatibility and stability. For more information about Windows Update, see the Windows Update link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.

Before you apply a solution or workaround, or test an upgraded or updated application, use Backup to back up your system. Backups allow you to restore the computer to the previous state if you are not satisfied with the results. For information about backing up your system, see "Backup and Restore" in this book.

If your organization has test labs to use, consider testing workarounds and updates in a lab environment before applying them to multiple systems. For more information about software compatibility testing, see "Avoid Common Pitfalls" later in this chapter.