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We have briefly touched on some advanced help topics such as Remote Assistance. In this lesson we will finish our foundation examination of Windows 7 by exploring some of the advanced help options.

At-a-Glance: Windows Remote Assistance

Click Start > All Programs > Maintenance > Windows Remote Assistance
This program lets you invite another user to share your computer and help you. You can also provide help to another person.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance is like a virtual link between two computers. The host sends an invitation to another user who in turn connects to the host's computer. The other user then has full control over the keyboard and mouse on the host computer. You can ask for help from another Windows 7 user or offer to help someone else.

Let's examine the steps needed to invite someone to help you. First, launch Windows Remote Assistance by clicking Start > All Programs > Maintenance > Windows Remote Assistance:

Figure 1: Windows Remote Assistance under the Maintenance folder in the Start Menu.

Click the top option to invite someone to help you:

Figure 2: Windows Remote Assistance dialog.

You now have the option to send an e-mail invitation in one of two ways. You can send an invitation file to another person using a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail or you can send it via a third-party e-mail client you have installed on your computer.

Remote Assistance invitations are capable of being accepted and used by people who use Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The third option is to use Easy Connect. This is a new protocol that lets two Windows 7 users share information more easily, but this feature is beyond the scope of this manual.

We will click the first option to continue with this example. This will open a Save dialog that asks you to save the invitation file somewhere on your computer. You can save it wherever you like but we recommend the Desktop because it is probably the easiest place to find a file:

Figure 3: Save invitation dialog.

Click Save to save the file.

Once the file has been saved, Windows Remote Assistance will open and present you with a password, like this:

Figure 4: Windows Remote Assistance Password.

Windows Remote Assistance will wait until you have e-mailed the Invitation file to someone else. Don't close Windows Remote Assistance! If you do, you'll have to follow this process again to create a new invitation and password.

When they open the file, they will require the password that Windows Remote Assistance has given you. You can send the password via e-mail, call them on the phone, or use some other method (such as Windows Live Messenger).

Setting Help Options

In the upper right-hand corner of the Help and Support Center you may have noticed one final menu: the Options menu. This menu offers options to make using Help and Support easier:

Figure 5: Option menu.




This option will print the currently displayed topic.

Browse Help

This option is a link to the table of contents for Windows 7.



Text Size

If you are having trouble reading the help file because the text is too small (or too big), use the sub menu to adjust the text size:

Figure 6: Text size options.


If you have used the search bar to look for a particular keyword, use the Find option to easily pinpoint the place in the help topic where the keyword was found. Every instance will be highlighted.

Figure 7: Find dialog.


You can choose to browse the online help file as well as the local Windows 7 help file for answers to your questions. You can also opt into the Help Experience Improvement Program, which is designed to anonymously send information about your search topics to Microsoft. This data is then used by Microsoft to better suit the help file to the types of questions people are asking:

Figure 8: Help Settings options.

Online vs. Offline Help

Figure 9: Online or Offline Help.

At the very bottom of the Help and Support Center is a combo box used to select whether you would like online or offline help. Online help requires an Internet connection, but will contain the most up-to-date information. Offline help is faster to search, but you might not be getting complete or accurate information if changes are made to the Windows 7 operating system and Help file in the future.

The Settings link prompts you for the same information as the Settings option in the Options menu.