MSKB Nonsense

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The nonsense begins

I purchased a DELL Dimension XPS Pro 200n in 1996 with Windows NT installed.  I tried to install CompuServ, I tried to install AT&T, MSN as ISPs none would support Windows NT using dial-up access.  You might be able to use an existing account but you could not start an account with WinNT.  Got the AOL diskette in the mail and it install right away.  That was the reason I started with AOL, it was all that was available, so I had to use 16-bit software on WinNT.  Remember WinNT was the best operating system that Microsoft had available and you would not sign up with Microsoft using WinNT.

The nonsense continues with the MSKB

Microsoft has obviously gone to great efforts to Destroy  the MS KB search interface with a slow to load full screen in your face substitution.  Microsoft personnel do not and cannot use this interface effectively, and especially not with a dial-up, you know it and I know it, but it appears that is our only real choice.    The Product option used to stick but now you have to fill it in each time.  Suggestion: do what a Microsoft Help Desk person covering several products would do  include    XL   within your  keywords to limit the search to Excel -- this is the only professional usage feature, but you have to know the keywords.  Fortunately the keywords are again appearing at the bottom of the articles so you can add others as well..     AND is assumed (professional usage, I guess),  OR must be included there are no parens.

If you have a specific id to look up use something like:
  2) specific id
  3) Q61941

If you have a problem with the link above in your browser (fails more than twice in a row), I have additional links to the MS KB on my INDEX page look for MS KB.

OLDER INFORMATION relating to the MS KB follows:

Access Microsoft's Knowledge Base, Troubleshooting Wizards, and downloadable files

Microsoft Technical Support--Support Options (

  1. Search for is about:  Excel for Windows
  2. I want to search for:  excel and XL95 and toolbars

For non MS browsers   (#notIE)

This article was originally written for Jan, 1998 startup, things have changed since, but fun and games with the interfaces continues to this day.  Microsoft purposely, in everyone's opinion, denied access to those not using the "correct browser", etc.    I am currently using Excel 2000,  Windows 2000, and Outlook Express 6.0  so I am using all of the "correct" now.  As I indicated this was for Jan. 1998 through the end of July 1999.  When a CEO can't use his own products in a court room some improvements are made quickly.

I am using 16-bit browsers both AOL 4.0 and Netscape 3.0 (sometimes NetscapeŽ Communicator 4.06 ) because I am also using Win NT 4.0, AOL dial-up requires access at Windows 3.1 (16-bit), and for the past 3-6 months the above link no longer works for me, though it works for others typically on Win98.  Note the .asp extension indicates Java.  MS Java is not particularly compatible, but the following link will allow one to search the MS KB and some other areas, even if the links on the page do not function.   

Now suddenly links are working.

Now suddenly links are working (if typical 5 minutes or reload, reload, reload is considered working) Jul 1, 1999, after not functioning for several months.  I installed Office 2000 and IE5 -- the regular 32-bit stuff.  Remember my browsers are 16-bit, anyway it appears to work much better.  I guess installation of Office 2000 "fixed" the problem because I can now also access to a site which told me yesterday that I did not have Java, not true, but more informative than just having everything as dead and missing pages at  Anyway the MS pages with time-consuming Java probably make the right-side brain people, and marketing types happy.

The NetscapeŽ Communicator 4.06 now also appears to stay up at MS and similar sites.

Update - it was MS site changes that relieved problems not IE5
Unable to open The site reports that the item you requested could not be found.

Try one of these, it may be slower but it does get through, for now.

The following may hold a key to problems experienced or helpful hints at getting to support pages.  Somewhere along the line the date July 1 came up for recent changes, before which I had a lot more problems for the last several months trying to do a search. (use SEARCH item)

Quoted material from site:   [copy of the article]

Personal Support Center Is Now Personal Online Support
On July 1 [1999], the Personal Support Center became Personal Online Support.  The site has its same look and feel, same Quick Links, and same Related Services & Resources. We are continuing to tailor the site for our home customers, customers who use Microsoft consumer and home productivity products at home, at work, or in school.

October, 2000

2002 - articles in MS KB cannot be accessed on a weekend

Without notice the MS servers would not pick up referenced bookmarks to the MS KB articles.  Had to change all links over the weekend.

After the weekend MS allowed old links to work, for awhile anyway.

2003 - new format for URL links

Correct syntax for URL's to access a specific article;EN-US;kbnumb
    where kbnumb is strictly numeric, the recognizable "Q" prefix has been dropped.


The information on this page was removed from xlnews.htm on 2003-07-10.
This page was introduced on July 10, 2003. 

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