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  • Do some research first...
    • Consult the online Help and the manual.
    • Search the Internet, put key words about the problem into a Search Engine like DTS-L Fast Search.
    • If you still can't find the answer, post to Microsoft Product Support Newsgroups.
    • First use the "Find" function on the newsreader to locate other messages about the problem.
    • Or use this Advanced Group Search Utility designed to filter the vast amount of information found on the WWW.

  • Decide where to post...
    • Post to one general group if you are not sure which group applies, ask where the best place is to ask your question.
  • How to compose your post...
    • Create a new message, don't post a question of your own in response to another question.
    • Make the "Subject line" a short, relevant synopsis of your problem.
    • Before going into detail, clearly summarize the problem.
    • Make a concise, clear description of the problem.
    • Unless multiple problems seem related, do not mix them together, make separate posts.
    • If you are getting error messages, include the exact text in the error message. If there is a "Details" button, click it and copy/paste the error message itself into the post. If you are using Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) press Atl+D to bring up the detailed error message. For XP, if there is an Event ID and Source, include it as well.
    • Tell if an error occurs when doing some action or using some particular software.
    • What changed in your system shortly before the problem occurred?  Knowing about a setting change or added software or hardware may be helpful in solving the problem.
    • Briefly describe your machine, video card, CPU, amount of RAM, hard drive size and amount of free space.
    • Identify clearly the steps and procedures you have already used to try to fix the problem.
    • Proof-read and spell-check the post before sending.
  • After you post...
    • Be patient waiting for a response, it may take a couple of days or more before the right person sees the question.
    • You should carefully assess any advice you get. If there is bad information in a posted response, someone will almost always correct it. Ask for clarification if you aren't certain.
    • If you don't get a response, it is probably because either the answer is unknown, perhaps your question was not understood or the information originally provided was not clear enough. If this occurs, posting an amended question could produce a better result.
    • Once your problem is solved...
      •   It is useful to post back to the group afterwards, saying thanks and that a suggestion worked (or not). That tells the group if it is a useful solution.
    • Survival Camp: posting errors to avoid...
      • Don't ask for an email reply unless absolutely necessary, and then follow up to the group with a summary.
      • Avoid cross-posting, unless your problem clearly fits the category of more than one group.
      • Never post separate identical messages to several newsgroups. This wastes respondents' time, and may result in you being ignored.
      • Don't attach screen shots or files. If you believe a screen shot or file is critical to understanding your problem, advise that it exists and offer to send it.
      • Don't post in ALL CAPITALS, it's too hard to read
      • Remove unnecessary included text from replies.
      • Use punctuation.
      • Stick to plain text, use html format only if necessary to explain your problem. The stationery groups are exceptions to this.
      • Avoid poor subject lines like these:
        • HEEEELLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • any experts around here?
        • <Name of person> EMAIL ME!!!
        • need help please
        • Bill Gates is the Devil
        • idontknowwhattodomycomputerquit
        • Read the Microsoft Rules of Conduct

 

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

 

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