Export (0) Print
Expand All
Expand Minimize

Help and Support Features that Communicate Through the Internet in Windows Server 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

In This Section

Benefits and Purposes of Features Within Help and Support that Communicate Through the Internet

Overview: Using Help and Support in a Managed Environment

How Features Within Help and Support Communicate with Sites on the Internet

Controlling Features Within Help and Support that Communicate Through the Internet

Procedures for Disabling Features Within Help and Support that Communicate Through the Internet

Section Summary

This section provides information about the Help and Support feature (reached through the Start menu, through Control Panel or Windows Explorer, and several other ways) in Windows Server 2008. It does not describe the Help that displays from Microsoft Management snap-ins, because this Help does not communicate across the Internet. This section includes information about the following:

  • The benefits of the capabilities within the Help and Support feature in Windows Server 2008. These capabilities are Online Help, Help ratings and feedback (area at the bottom of a Help topic through which you can provide feedback, when Online Help is turned on), and the Help Experience Improvement Program. The links to the Internet that are displayed in Help and Support are also described.

  • How Online Help, Help ratings and feedback, and the Help Experience Improvement Program communicate with sites on the Internet.

  • How to control Online Help, Help ratings and feedback, and the Help Experience Improvement Program to limit the flow of information to and from the Internet.

Help and Support in Windows Server 2008 has the ability to display information that helps you understand how to accomplish some of the tasks performed by using the Windows interface.

noteNote
This section provides information about the Help and Support feature in Windows Server 2008. It does not describe the Help that displays from Microsoft Management snap-ins, because this Help does not communicate across the Internet. Microsoft Management snap-ins are the interfaces you use for administering most server roles and features.

The displayed information seen through the Help and Support feature can be local information built into Windows Server 2008, or it can be updated information obtained through the Internet. Help and Support also has the ability to ask users to send feedback or other data to Microsoft, which enables Microsoft to improve Help.

The features in Help and Support that communicate through the Internet provide the following kinds of functionality:

  • Online Help display: In Help and Support, when Online Help is turned on, you can see information about Windows Server 2008 that is more extensive or more recently updated than the local information stored within the operating system. Online Help is optional.

  • Help ratings and feedback: In Help and Support, when Online Help is turned on, you can enter feedback into a brief form at the bottom of a Help topic, and send that feedback back to Microsoft, where it can be used to help Microsoft improve that topic and similar Help topics.

  • Help Experience Improvement Program: Through this program, which is completely optional, customers allow data to be collected about how they navigate through the Help and Support feature: typing search queries, clicking links to local Help and Support topics, clicking links to information on the Web, and so on. This data is collected and associated with a non-descriptive ID value, which shows that the information is all from a single user, but otherwise does not collect characteristics of that user (for example, name or location). The collected data is sent to Microsoft, where it is used to improve the Help and Support experience (better responses to searches, better choice and placement of links, and so on) for future Help.

  • Links to the Internet that appear when Help and Support is opened: The display that appears when Help and Support is first opened offers a variety of links, including some that can help you find Web-based information about Windows Server 2008. For example, under Additional resources, you can click links to the Script Center or the Microsoft Knowledge Base. You can also click links in the display that appears after you click Ask someone or expand your search (or similar Help options that might appear, depending on how Help and Support has been configured by the computer manufacturer). These links go to Windows communities, Microsoft Support online, and similar Web sites.

You can access Help and Support in a number of ways, including:

  • Selecting Help and Support from the Start menu.

  • Pressing F1 in locations such as Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Computer, Documents, and Network. In some interfaces, such as Windows Explorer, you can also click the Help icon (round blue question mark icon) to view Help and Support.

From within Help and Support, by default, you can choose whether to:

  • Access Online Help content or only offline content.

  • Provide Microsoft with feedback about a Help topic (if Online Help is turned on).

  • Participate in the Help Experience Improvement Program (if Online Help is turned on).

  • Click a link to information that is online, for example, "Script Center" or "Knowledge Base."

By using Group Policy or the Windows user interface, you can disable Online Help, Help ratings and feedback, and the Help Experience Improvement Program for Help and Support. The links in Help and Support that go to Web-based resources such as "Script Center" or "Knowledge Base" are like other links to the Internet: they can only be disabled by blocking communication with the Internet.

More details on the methods and procedures for controlling Online Help, Help ratings and feedback, and the Help Experience Improvement Program are described in the following subsections.

Help and Support can display Help topics that are built into the local operating system, or it can display Web-based topics that are more extensive or more recently updated than the local information. This subsection describes how the Online Help feature communicates so that it can display Web-based Help information that comes from Microsoft.

noteNote
If this feature is disabled through Group Policy, Help and Support does not display banners or options for turning it on.

  • Specific information sent or received: To help determine the correct Help topic to display, certain information is collected from the computer and uploaded to a server (in a Microsoft-controlled facility) that hosts the updated Help topics. Following is a list of the information collected:

    • The search text string that you entered (if you are searching) or the unique identifier for the topic to be displayed (if you clicked on a topic link).

    • The language/locale identifier, for example, en-us for English (United States).

    • If you are searching, the edition of the operating system installed, for example, Windows Server 2008 Standard as contrasted with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise or another edition of the operating system. If you clicked on a topic link, this information is not sent.

    • A standard parameter that specifies that if the topic is available in compressed form (CAB file), this is the preferred form to download (instead of uncompressed).

  • Default setting and triggers: When you first open Help, a prompt displays asking, "Do you want to get the latest online content when you search Help?" After you make a choice, the choice is displayed on the menu in the lower-right corner of the Help display (Online Help or Offline Help). You can click the menu and change to the other option whenever Help and Support is running. The Online/Offline feature keeps track of the last setting selected and uses that setting the next time it is opened. If a connection to the Internet is not available, this is indicated by a yellow exclamation point icon next to the words Offline Help in the lower-right corner of the Help display, and a banner at the top with the same icon.

  • User notification: The first time you open Help and Support, a prompt appears, asking whether to display online content with Help searches. When you open Help and Support after the first time, the current setting (Online Help or Offline Help) is always displayed in the lower right corner. If a connection to the Internet is not available, this is indicated by a yellow exclamation point icon next to the words Offline Help in the lower-right corner of the Help display, and a banner at the top with the same icon.

  • Logging: You can view the event log related to the searching of Online Help by opening Event Viewer and expanding Applications and Services Logs\Microsoft\Windows\Help.

  • Encryption: The data transferred to Microsoft is not encrypted.

  • Access: Information about queries is held briefly on servers in Microsoft-controlled facilities to improve performance of subsequent online searches of Help content. After that, the information is discarded. The information from searches of Online Help content is not analyzed (unless you have chosen to participate in the Help Experience Improvement Program).

  • Privacy: Microsoft uses the information to return help topics in response to your search queries, to return the most relevant results, and to improve existing content. Information collected by Online Help and Support will not be used to identify you. If you type information that identifies you into the search box, the information will be sent, but Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

  • Transmission protocol and port: The transmission protocol used is HTTP and the port is 80.

  • Ability to disable: You (the administrator) can disable Online Help by using Group Policy. A user or administrator can turn off Online Help through the Help and Support Center user interface.

If you use Help and Support to view a topic while Online Help is turned on, the question "Was this information helpful?" appears at the bottom of the topic. You can click a response and after a short series of prompts, type a comment about the topic. After you click Finish, the information about the topic is sent to Microsoft. The information is used to help improve that topic and similar Help topics. This subsection describes how the Help ratings and feedback capability communicates through the Internet.

  • Specific information sent or received: The following information is sent when you provide feedback by responding to prompts at the bottom of a topic in Help and Support:

    • Your answers to the prompts at the bottom of the Help topic, plus any comment that you type

    • An ID code that identifies the topic that the comment was about and, if applicable, the search query that you typed before selecting that topic

  • Default setting: If Online Help is turned on after the prompt appears for the first display of Help, Help ratings and feedback is turned on (that is, the prompt appears at the bottom of each Help topic). However, Help ratings and feedback can be disabled through a Group Policy setting.

  • Triggers and user notification: Your feedback about topic in Help and Support is sent when you click Finish (after clicking and typing responses to a short series of prompts at the bottom of the Help topic). After you click Finish, a short statement is displayed thanking you for the comments.

  • Logging: Feedback that you send is logged on a server in a Microsoft-controlled facility.

  • Encryption: The data transferred to Microsoft is not encrypted.

  • Access: User Assistance teams can view the feedback that users send, but the teams receive no information about the identity of the person sending the feedback.

  • Privacy: Microsoft uses the information to develop new content and to improve existing content. Information collected by Online Help and Support will not be used to identify you. If you type information that identifies you into the feedback boxes, the information will be sent, but Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

  • Transmission protocol and port: The transmission protocol used is HTTP and the port is 80.

  • Ability to disable: You can disable this capability by using Group Policy. If Online Help is turned off (through either Group Policy or through the Help and Support Center interface), this also turns off the Help ratings and feedback capability.

Through the Help Experience Improvement Program, you have the option of allowing data to be collected about how you navigate while using Online Help: typing search queries, clicking links to Help topics, clicking links to Web sites, and so on. This data (which does not include a user name or computer name) is collected and sent to Microsoft, where it is used to better understand how to improve navigation (better responses to searches, better choice and placement of links, and so on) for future Help and Support topics.

noteNote
If this feature is disabled through Group Policy, Help and Support does not display menus or options for turning it on.

  • Specific information sent or received: Information about the following is sent when the Help Experience Improvement Program is enabled on the computer. This information is sent about actions taken in Help and Support only, not actions taken in the Help that is displayed from Microsoft Management Console snap-ins. The information is as follows:

    • Search queries

    • Choices of Help and Support topics (from lists in Search results or the Table of Contents)

    • Information that shows how you navigate through Help and Support, and how you view topics: clicking links to local Help topics, clicking links to information on the Web, using the Back and Forward buttons, printing a topic, and closing Help and Support.

    In addition, the following is sent when the Help Experience Improvement Program is enabled on the computer:

    • A non-descriptive ID value, which shows that the information is all from a single person, but otherwise does not collect characteristics of that person (for example, name or location).

  • Default setting and triggers: By default, the Help Experience Improvement Program is not turned on. If it is turned on, this triggers the process of collecting data and (from time to time) sending the data to Microsoft.

  • User notification: Turning on the Help Experience Improvement Program serves as the user notification. After the program is turned on, data is sent without further notification.

  • Logging: Data that is sent from the Help Experience Improvement Program is logged on a server in a Microsoft-controlled facility, but not logged locally.

  • Encryption: The data transferred to Microsoft is not encrypted.

  • Access: User Assistance teams can view the data that is sent, but the teams receive no information about the identity of the person whose Help navigation activity is recorded in the data.

  • Privacy: Microsoft uses the information to develop new content and to improve existing content. Information collected by Online Help and Support will not be used to identify you. If you type information that identifies you into the search box, the information will be sent, but Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you.

  • Transmission protocol and port: The transmission protocol used is HTTP and the port is 80.

  • Ability to disable: You (the administrator) can disable the Help Experience Improvement Program by using Group Policy. You can also turn participation in the program on or off through the Help and Support Center user interface. If Online Help is turned off (through either Group Policy or through the Help and Support Center interface), this also turns off the Help Experience Improvement Program.

The following list summarizes how you can control the features within Help and Support that communicate through the Internet:

  • Online Help

    • Through the Windows interface: In Help and Support, Online Help can be turned off through a menu in the lower-right corner or through Options\Settings in the upper-right corner.

    • Through Group Policy: In User Configuration under Policies (if present), in Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings, you can enable Turn off Windows Online.

  • Help ratings and feedback

    • Through the Windows interface: In Help and Support, you can turn off the Help ratings and feedback capability by turning off Online Help, which is controlled through a menu in the lower-right corner or through Options\Settings in the upper-right corner.

    • Through Group Policy: In User Configuration under Policies (if present), in Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings, you can enable Turn off Help Ratings.

  • Help Experience Improvement Program

    • Through the Windows interface: In Help and Support, you can turn off the Help Experience Improvement Program by clicking the menu in either the upper-right or lower-right corner and then clicking Settings. If Online Help is turned off, this also turns off the Help Experience Improvement Program. Also, in the Settings interface, you can turn off only the Help Experience Improvement Program and leave other Online Help features turned on.

    • Through Group Policy: In User Configuration under Policies (if present), in Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings, you can enable Turn off Help Experience Improvement Program.

The following procedures describe how to:

  • Turn off Online Help on an individual computer running Windows Server 2008. This also turns off the Help ratings and feedback capability and the Help Experience Improvement Program.

  • Turn off the Help Experience Improvement Program on an individual computer running Windows Server 2008.

  • Use Group Policy to disable any of the features within Help that communicate through the Internet.

  1. Click Start and then click Help and Support.

  2. In the lower-right corner of Help and Support, find the menu that says either Online Help or Offline Help.

    noteNote
    If the menu does not appear, it means that Group Policy settings are in effect that turn off the associated Help and Support capabilities.

  3. Confirm or configure the setting:

    • If the menu says Offline Help and it does not have a yellow exclamation point icon, Online Help is already turned off.

    • If the menu says Offline Help and it has a yellow exclamation point icon, Online Help is turned on but there is no connection to the Internet. To turn off Online Help, click Get offline Help.

    • If the menu says Online Help, Online Help is turned on and there is a connection to the Internet. To turn it off, click Get offline Help.

      noteNote
      When Online Help is turned off, the Help ratings and feedback capability and the Help Experience Improvement Program are turned off.

  1. Click Start and then click Help and Support.

  2. In the upper-right corner of Help and Support, click Options, and then click Settings.

    noteNote
    If the Settings command does not appear, it means that a Group Policy that controls these settings is in effect.

  3. Make sure that the Join the Help Experience Improvement Program check box is cleared.

  1. See Appendix B: Resources for Learning About Group Policy for Windows Server 2008 for information about using Group Policy. Using an account with domain administrative credentials, log on to a computer running Windows Server 2008 (with the Group Policy Management feature installed) or Windows Vista. Then open Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) by running gpmc.msc and edit an appropriate Group Policy object (GPO).

    noteNote
    You must perform this procedure by using GPMC on a computer running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista.

  2. Expand User Configuration.

    ImportantImportant
    For these settings, do not click Computer Configuration. The settings under Computer Configuration that relate to Help do not affect Windows Server 2008.

  3. Expand Policies (if present), expand Administrative Templates, expand System, expand Internet Communication Management, and then click Internet Communication settings.

  4. In the details pane, double-click Turn off Help Ratings, click Enabled, and then click OK.

    For all settings in this procedure, you can also click the Explain tab to view information about the setting, then click the Setting tab again.

  5. In the details pane, double-click Turn off Help Experience Improvement Program, click Enabled, and then click OK.

  6. In the details pane, double-click Turn off Windows Online, click Enabled, and then click OK. (When you turn off Windows Online, you also turn off Help Ratings and the Help Experience Improvement Program.)

    ImportantImportant
    You can also restrict Internet access for this and a number of other features by applying the Restrict Internet communication policy setting, which is located in User Configuration under Policies (if present), in Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management. For more information about this Group Policy and the policies that it controls, see Appendix C: Group Policy Settings Listed Under the Internet Communication Management Category in Windows Server 2008.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft