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How to Summon the Windows 8 Help Troubleshooters

When something’s not working as it should, the Troubleshooting section of the Windows 8 Help and Support center may sleuth out a fix. Sometimes, it works like an index, narrowing down the scope of your problems to the one button that fixes it. Then it displays the button on the Help page for your one-click cure.

Other times, it interviews you about the problem, narrowing down the list of suspects until it finds the culprit — and your magic button to fix the situation.

Sometimes, unfortunately, a magic button isn’t available. If your wireless Internet signal isn’t strong enough, for example, the Troubleshooter tells you to stand up and move your laptop closer to the transmitter.

To summon the troubleshooters, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Action Center icon in your desktop’s taskbar and choose Troubleshoot a Problem.

    The Troubleshoot Computer Problems window is ready to tackle a wide variety of problems, from general to specific.

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  2. Click the subject that troubles you.

    The window offers these four topics that mimic their counterparts in Control Panel:

    • Programs: This guides you through running older programs that initially balked at running under Windows 8. It also takes a look at your web browser and tries to fix any problems it finds.

    • Hardware and Sound: This area shows how to diagnose driver problems, the biggest cause of bickering between Windows 8 and things plugged into or inside your PC. It also helps diagnose problems with your printer, speakers, and microphone.

    • Network and Internet: Head here for help with Internet connections, as well as common problems encountered when connecting two or more PCs in your home.

    • System and Security: A catch-all section for everything else, this helps out with security and improving your PC’s performance.

    Click a topic, and Windows 8 whisks you to the page dealing with that subject’s most common problems. Keep clicking the subtopics until you find the one dealing with your particular problem.

  3. Follow the recommended steps.

    Occasionally, you’ll stumble onto numbered steps that solve your problem. Follow those steps one at a time to finish the job.

When you right-click on a misbehaving icon, you may see Troubleshoot Problems listed on the pop-up menu. Click it to fetch the troubleshooter for that particular item, saving you some time.

At the window’s bottom, be sure to select the check box called Get the Most Up-to-Date Troubleshooters From the Windows Online Troubleshooting Service. That feature lets Microsoft visit the Internet and grab any newly developed troubleshooters to beef up your computer’s troubleshooting arsenal.

As with many portions of Windows Help system, you must be connected with the Internet to run some of the troubleshooters.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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