Install Help Files from Other Operating Systems

Having this information at your finger tips will let you switch from one OS's help to any other.

One of the greatest features of Windows Server 2003 is all the information available for it. And while the information found on the Microsoft Web site and elsewhere on the Web gives a lot of details, in the end it serves more as a starting point than anything else.

Whether you’re working on the architecture phase of your Windows 2003 deployment or you’ve already deployed it and are now administrating it, you’ll want to have Windows Server 2003 information “at your fingertips,” so to speak. One of the best ways to do this is to install the Help files from the operating system locally on your PC. This option is available only on Windows XP and the Windows 2003 family, because it makes use of XP’s new Help and Support engine.

You can install Help content from different versions of the Windows Server 2003 family—Web, Standard and Enterprise—so that you can search for information on each directly from your PC. Once installed, you can switch from one OS’s help system to any other. While each edition includes much of the information contained in the others, you may want to install all the ones you’re working with because of the particularities of each specific edition. At the very least, the minimum you should install is Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, because it offers the most comprehensive content. Here’s how to proceed.

Step 1: Use Start Menu | Help and Support to launch the Windows XP Help and Support engine. Note the help version you’re using in the top right corner, in this case, Windows XP Professional.

Step 1
Step 1. (Click image to view larger version.)


Step 2: In the Help and Support toolbar, click Options in the top right portion of the window. A new menu appears in the left pane of Help and Support window.

Step 2
Step 2. (Click image to view larger version.)

Step 3: Click Install and share Windows Help in the left window pane. This displays the installation and sharing options in the right window pane. These options let you switch from one Help system’s content to another, install Help from another computer, from CD or from a disk image, share Help with others on the network, or uninstall previously installed Help content.

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Step 3. (Click image to view larger version.)

Step 4: Now, click Install Help content from a CD or disk image. Once again, the right window pane contents will change. Insert the Windows 2003 Installation CD from which you want to copy the help files.

Step 4
Step 4. (Click image to view larger version.)

Note that the Autorun feature of your CD drive will cause the Windows 2003 installation splash screen to open; simply click Exit to close this screen and continue with the procedure.

Type the drive letter of your CD in the drive listing or click Browse to locate it, then click Find once you’ve returned to the Help and Support window. Help and Support will read the CD and list the available Help contents in the bottom of the right window pane.

Step 5: Select the Help you want to install from the list in the bottom right window pane, then, click Install. Help and Support will perform the installation. Once finished, it will list the new Help as being Already Installed. You can repeat steps four and five if you want to install more than one OS’ Help content.

Step 5
Step 5. (Click image to view larger version.)

Steps 6 and 7: Click Switch from one operating system’s Help content to another in the middle of the right window pane. Select the OS you need, then click Switch. Help and Support will open the Help content you requested. Note that it lists the name of the new Help system in the top right corner of the Help and Support Center window.

Step 6
Step 6. (Click image to view larger version.)

From now on, when you want to switch from one Help Content system to another, launch Help and Support, click Options and select Switch from one operating system’s help content to another, select the OS required and click Switch.

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Step 7. (Click image to view larger version.)

This gives you access to valuable information on all aspects of the Windows 2003 operating system. Finally, you’ll truly have “information at your fingertips.”

If you’d like to see a particular procedure explained step-by-step, send e-mail to Editor Keith Ward at [email protected]. Put “Step-by-Step” in the subject line.

About the Author

Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest, both Microsoft MVPs, are IT professionals focused on technologies futures. They are authors of multiple books, including "Microsoft Windows Server 2008: The Complete Reference" (McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, 2008), which focuses on building virtual workloads with Microsoft's new OS.

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