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November 21, 2013

Getting help and support with Windows 8.1

When we were developing Windows 8.1, we thought a lot about how to get you the help you need when you need it—quick tips as well as in-depth info.


When you run Windows 8.1 for the first time, there are some pop-up “stickers” designed to help you learn your way around. Keep an eye out for them—you’ll see tips about how to navigate and find things, which go away once you do the action they’re telling you about. For example, here’s a sticker that popped up when I was using the Food & Drink app, telling me how to switch between apps:

Food & Drink app

I definitely learned a thing or two from the stickers my first time using the new system.

Help+Tips app


The Help+Tips app is included in Windows 8.1. It’s got all the info you need to get going, along with links to more help and support on

The app is divided into six main sections:

  • “Start and apps” explains the Start screen and where to get more apps
  • “Get around” talks about how to do things like switching between apps and closing apps
  • “Basic actions” covers the charms and using apps side-by-side
  • “Your account and files” talks about setting up a Microsoft account and saving files to the cloud
  • “Settings” goes into personalization and quick settings
  • “What’s new” highlights the new features that come with the latest version of Windows

There are links to where you can get more details if you want them, but most of the essential info is right there in the app.

I really recommend checking out this app if you’re new to Windows 8.1—especially if you never used Windows 8 before either. It does a lot to help explain the basics of what you need to know to get going.

Help with apps

Windows 8.1 comes with some great new Windows apps, and many of them have support pages on We’ve tried to make it super-easy to get to those pages from within the app you’re using. To get help for the app you’re using, open Settings, then tap or click Help.


When you do this for built-in Windows apps (like Photos, Mail, or Reading List, to name a few) the help page opens up next to the app you’re using.


This way, you get the help you need without having to leave the app.

The old ways of getting help are still around, too—you can simply search for “Help and Support” (or hit F1 when you’re in the desktop) and get some help even if you’re not connected to the Internet. Which I appreciate, since I start to panic if I’m not connected to the Internet.

Have you gotten a chance to take a look around the help and support for Windows 8.1? Do you feel helped and supported? I’d love to hear about how well it worked for you.