Microsoft Windows

Windows 7 Foundation

Getting Help

Windows 7 has the most robust help system of any version of Windows to date. Unfortunately, in the past, Windows has been lacking a great help system which forced hundreds of thousands of users to find help online or from a friend or relative. Now, the Windows help system has a much better search system, step by step instructions for many of your common problems, and an occasional video resource online to watch how to do it.

Accessing Windows Help

There are two ways to quickly access Windows Help, the first is to press the F1 key on your keyboard while the desktop or a Windows Explorer window is active. The second way is to click the Start menu, then select Help and Support.

At the top of the window, you have several options: go to the help home page, print the current topic, browse help topics, learn about other support options, and the options menu for the help system. If you have an idea of what you’re looking for, type it into the Search Help text field and press Enter. We’re going to search for:

When you press Enter, you will see a list of help topics. Click on the first topic, 1. Turn User Account Control on or off.

The help entry for Turn User Account Control on or off includes a link to a video online (curiously in Windows media format and not in the more ubiquitous Flash or Silverlight format of a lot of online video), a link to the control panel for User Account Control Settings, and instructions for how to turn UAC on and off.

Finding Help Online

As we’ve mentioned before, there are many resources (not just!) for finding help online for Windows 7. We hope to be one of the resources you use often for Windows 7 help, but we know we cannot possible write a tutorial for everything, so we’d like to offer these resources for finding help for Windows 7:

Microsoft’s Windows 7 Help Site (

Supersite for Windows

Petri IT Knowledgebase (a little more technical)

Using Remote Support

Microsoft has leveraged their remote desktop technology to create a very capable remote support within the last couple versions of Windows, Windows Remote Assistance. Remote Assistance allows friends or support firms to connect to your computer over the Internet and allow them to control the screen to both fix your problem and show you how to do something.

There are a couple of ways to access Remote Assistance. The easiest is to click on the Start menu and then click Help and Support. Within Help and Support, click More support options at the bottom. Click Windows Remote Assistance.

You have two options available to you, Invite someone you trust to help you allows you to send a request to someone to remotely control your computer and assist, Help someone who has invited you allows you to connect to a machine of someone who has requested help from you. Let’s request help from someone we know:

  1. Click on Invite someone you trust to help you in the Windows Remote Assistance window.
  2. If you see an error message such as the one above, you likely have a firewall turned on. Click the Repair button.
  3. Follow the prompts, such as Try these repairs as an administrator. When the network troubleshooter is finished, click Close the troubleshooter. We had to restart the Windows Remote Assistance process after the port was opened in the firewall.
  4. You have three options and will most likely use one of the first to. We’re going to Use e-mail to send an invitation, so select that option if you have email locally installed.
  5. Your email client will load with a message to send the attachment to a friend. Enter the email address of your friend, edit the message if you’d like to, then send the message.
  6. Your friend will receive the email with the attachment and will start the Remote Assistance program with it.
  7. Give your friend the password in the Windows Remote Assistance application on the screen and leave the program running.
  8. With the password, your friend can connect to your machine and you can give him control of the mouse to allow him to help with your problem.

In this section of the Windows 7 tutorial, you learned how to access Microsoft help. You also learned a few great online resources for help and how to use Remote Assistance to have a friend assist you with any problems. In the next section of this tutorial, we will learn how to work with files and folders in Windows 7.