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XP "Help and Support Center"

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Hello - Does anyone else have this extremely annoying problem?

Windows XP Professional SP2 "Help and Support Center" has a recurring problem. I say recurring as these issues originally surfaced for me (and others, check the Microsoft news groups) many, many months (over a year) ago, and has now returned. I have reapplied the simple fix I used last time it quit working, but to no avail, it and many other fixes I've found on the Internet cannot correct the problem.

PROBLEM 1: Upon opening / launching Windows XP "Help and Support Center", it cannot detect my DSL connection. In the lower right hand corner of the window under "Did you Know" the following message in displayed.
“When you are connected to the Internet, this area will display links to timely help and support information. If you want to connect to the Internet now, start the New Connection Wizard and see how to establish a Web connection through an Internet service provider.”

PROBLEM 2: All searches performed within "Help and Support Center" consistently return: Microsoft Knowledge Base zero (0) results. In Help and Support "Options", "Set Search Options", the "Microsoft Knowledge Base" is checked.

I do not have and never did have any download manager (MS newsgroup solution) applications which may latch on to and interfere with my internet connection.

I've completely uninstalled and reinstalled "Help and Support" e.g. c:\windows\pchealth.inf

I do not use any "Group Policy" settings to tweak my computer settings for "Help and Support."

I've tried several other suggestions, enabling or disabling the http 1.1 check boxes in Internet Explorer - Advanced Settings, adding a new connection under the "connections" tab, "Dial-Up and Virtual Private Network settings" where the connection type is a "Broadband Connection" with "Automatically detect settings" enabled.

I checked two other laptops having "XP Home" and each have the identical problem.

I've also checked a few PC's at work and all have the same issues related to inability to identify the presence of an internet connection and failure to find any MS Knowledge Base (0) results.

I am using a wireless 802.11g NAT router at home.
At work they are using a standard T1 with cables.

I successfully synchronized my PC clock using the "Internet Time" tab contained within "Date and Time Properties" of the system clock. I next deleted the files below and opened "help and Support", then verified the existence of and timestamps on the file names below which are updated to the current time which proves that these files are being refreshed / downloaded.



I enabled the "show icon in taskbar" for my DSL connection (as well as my NIC and plug that NIC into the DSL router via a CAT5 cable.) When I open "Help and Support" depending on which connection I am using, the icon in the systray lights up! If I double-click on the icon I can see the send and receive packets incrementing, further confirming that there is (at least partial) activity when opening "Help and Support" and it attempts to update "Did you know?"

Also tried enabling and starting the "Messenger" service, which did not help.

Any suggestions or links to proven fixes will definitely be appreciated!
Thanks in advance
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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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This problem can be caused by the appropriate service being stopped or disabled.

To check, right-click My Computer, select Manage. Click the Plus button next to "Services and Applications" and select Services from the entries that appear.

In the right hand side, look for the entry "Help and Support". Look at its Status and Startup Type in the columns along the name. The Status should say "Started" and the Startup Type should be Automatic (though this can be set to Manual with no side-effects). If these are wrong, double-click the Help & Support entry and adapt the Startup type or start the service.

But having said that, having just looked at my Help & Support, I also get no entries from the support database. So it's more likely a Microsoft problem or an upgrade somewhere.
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The "Help and Support" service is 'Started' and 'Automatic'.
Thanks for the 'post' - advice.

By the way, you can press the Windows key+R to open the run prompt and type: services.msc
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