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Using the Internet to Find Solutions to Problems

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You’re never alone as long as you have an Internet connection. Whatever problem you face with your computer, you’re almost certainly not the first person to encounter it. A great many websites exist to help with computer problems, and technical experts can be very generous about sharing solutions to problems they’ve encountered.

The major search engines are extremely good at recognizing search queries and providing relevant results. Searching for network driver for dell laptop, for instance, brings up a whole page of results, all offering appropriate drivers to download. Sometimes, however, your search entry is more imprecise and returns too many results. This means you might not immediately find the information you need. In these instances, there are some simple search techniques you can use in all the major search engines to improve the results you get.

• Searching “in quotes” Putting text into double inverted commas (as in “text”) is a useful way to make certain that the search engine treats the text inside the quotes as a string and not as separate words.

• Adding a plus (+) or minus (–) sign Adding a plus (+) or minus ( –) in front of a word or phrase will ensure that term definitely is or is not in the search results. For instance, if you are searching for a driver for specific hardware but don’t want search results advertising the item, adding –shop could help filter consumer sites from the search results.

• AND, OR, and NOT These are other terms you can use in search entries to tailor your results (although I find the plus [+] and minus [–] signs easier to use). For example, if you are looking for a driver and know the name of your hardware but not the name of the generic driver you need, you might search for connexant OR dynamode BT878a driver (where BT878a is the name of your hardware). Adding the qualifiers linked with OR narrows the search more than just searching for BT878a.

Of course, you first need to know what to search for when trying to find a solution to a problem. Try to pick up clues from the information provided by anti-virus or anti-malware software, the Windows event log, or a Windows or other software error message. If you notice a code or the name of a program, virus, or service, write it down right away. You never know when that onscreen message might disappear accidentally or otherwise.

Try not to use irrelevant words in your search terms; keep things short and to the point. If your search item includes characters like periods or forward slashes (common in virus names), enclose the term in quotes, for example “Win32.Gattman.A”.

Finally, use plus (+) signs before specific terms to ensure that they appear in the search results. For example, the search phrase +”win32.Gattman.A” +”windows 7” +remove provides only results that include the terms win32.Gattman.A and Windows 7 and remove.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

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