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Using HP Support Assistant (Windows 7, Windows Vista)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq Notebook computers with Windows 7 or Vista.
HP Support Assistant is a software program designed to help you keep your computer in working order, prevent potential problems from arising, and resolve problems quickly and easily. The program also provides valuable system information that you need when troubleshooting computer problems.
The features of HP Support Assistant are organized into four distinct groups, depending on the benefits they provide. The first three groups provide a variety of useful tips and tools to help you maintain, troubleshoot, and learn about your HP computer. The fourth group helps you get assistance for the problems you cannot solve on your own.
  • Maintain: Provides information about pending actions, including software updates, alerts, tips, and automated tune ups. HP recommends performing the actions as soon as they are recommended.
  • Troubleshoot: Provides information and resources related to diagnosing and repairing your computer. These troubleshooting resources are divided into categories, such as storage devices and audio/sound. HP periodically updates the categories and actions in each category to continuously provide you with more options.
  • Learn: Provides in-depth information on how to use your computer. You can also take free online classes from the HP web site, view Learning Centers stored on your computer, and view the specifications for your computer.
  • Get assistance: Provides a summary of the resources available to help you resolve problems by yourself, and offers options for contacting HP support agents for advanced technical assistance.
This document describes how to use the HP Support Assistant software to learn more about your computer and keep it running smoothly.

Downloading and Installing the latest version of HP Support Assistant

Before using the HP Support Assistant, be sure you are using the latest version. If you do not have the latest version, or you are experiencing problems with HP Support Assistant, Download and install the latest version of HP Support Assistant .
NOTE:To find the version of HP Support Assistant you are using, click the Settings button, and then click the General tab. The version is listed in the lower-right corner.

Opening HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

To open HP Support Assistant, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start .
  2. Click All Programs.
  3. In the Programs list, click HP, and then click HP Support Assistant.
HP Support Assistant is divided into the following four categories:
  • Maintain
  • Troubleshoot
  • Learn
  • Get assistance
Figure 1: HP Support Assistant
HP Support Assistant window
NOTE:Product Name, Product Number, and Serial Number are shown at bottom of window.

Changing the HP Support Assistant settings in Windows 7 or Vista

To change the settings, click the Settings button.
Select from the following tabs:
  • Health Analysis - choose to install the updates automatically as recommended, or choose which updates to install and when to install them. You can also choose to never install the updates.
  • Tune-up - choose to run Tune-up automatically and specify when it will run. You can also select what operations will be performed.
  • General - choose to participate in the HP Customer Experience Improvement program and check warranty status.

Maintaining your computer and installing the latest software updates using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

This section contains information on how to maintain your computer and how to install the latest software updates. You can select different pages from the Maintain menu. Specifically, you can do the following:
  • View your computer’s action history.
  • View postponed and completed actions.
  • Open actions that you have postponed and complete them.
  • Receive alerts or tips from HP to make sure that your computer is up-to-date.
  • Schedule periodic tune-ups for your computer to maintain optimal performance.
  • View the history of computer actions.
To access the tools to maintain your computer, click the Maintain button on the HP Support Assistant home page.
Figure 2: Maintain button
Maintain button HP Support Assistant

Performing a health analysis using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

  1. Open HP Support Assistant, and click the Maintain button.
  2. Click Refresh to run health analysis.
    The Health Analysis window displays showing the progress.
  3. When the analysis is complete, click the View analysis button to see the results.
  4. To apply an update, select the action and click the Apply button.

Performing a tune up using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

To use the Tune-up tool to keep your computer running smoothly, complete the following steps:
  1. Open HP Support Assistant, and click the Maintain button.
  2. Click the Tune-up button on the lower part of the main window.
  3. Click the Tune up now or Start tune-up button.
  4. In the confirmation window, click the Start now button.
    NOTE:Tune up might take several hours to complete. You might want to adjust some settings before running tune up.

Viewing health analysis history using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

Click the View history button to view completed actions, or review and complete postponed actions.

Troubleshooting your computer using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

You can troubleshoot your computer and gather system information by selecting different categories in the Troubleshoot menu. The following categories are available:
NOTE:If you are experiencing problems with HP Support Assistant, Download and install the latest version of HP Support Assistant .
  • Storage devices
  • General Specifications
  • Graphics, Video and Display
  • Network and Internet Connectivity
  • Audio and Sound
  • Warranty and Services
  • Performance and Software
  • Around the computer (keyboard, mouse, printers)
  • Power, Thermal and Mechanical
In each category, you can find information and resources to help you diagnose and repair your computer. HP periodically updates the resources and actions in each category to provide you with more troubleshooting options.
To access the troubleshooting categories, click the Troubleshoot button on the HP Support Assistant home page.
Figure 3: Troubleshoot button
Troubleshoot button HP Support Assistant
Click a category to find information and resources to help you diagnose or repair the problem.
Figure 4: Troubleshoot categories
Click a category button to open troubleshooting information. For example, click Storage Devices to find information and troubleshoot the hard drive, flash media, and optical drives.
Use the following steps to troubleshoot your storage devices such as hard drives and optical drives, and see the status of flash memory.
Click the Storage Devices tile to view the available diagnostics for disk drives.
Figure 5: Storage Devices tile
 HP Support Assistant Storage Devices tile
Follow these steps to perform the HP Hard Disk Check:
Figure 6: Hard Drives
Image of Hard Drives tab in HP Support Assistant
  1. The Storage Devices page opens to the Hard Drives tab. The Hard Drives tab lists the drives in the computer, the volumes on each drive, the free space on each volume, as well as the resources available to help you troubleshoot. You can run the Disk Defragmenter or check the hard drives.
    Click the arrows next to HP Hard Disk Check to open the HP Hard Disk Check tool.
  2. If the Welcome to HP Hard Drive Check screen displays, click Next.
  3. Select the drives you want to test, and then click the arrows next to Start the test.
    NOTE:This test can last up to six minutes per drive.
    Figure 7: HP Hard Drive Check tool
    HP Hard Drive Check tool in HP Support Assistant
  4. Wait while the drive is being tested. This screen displays the percent complete, and the time remaining.
    Figure 8: Hard disk drive testing
    HDD testing in HP Support Assistant
  5. When the testing is complete, review the test results. Click the X in the upper right to close the Hard Drive Check and return to the Storage Devices screen.
    Figure 9: Test results - disk drive OK
    Test results in HP Support Assistant
  6. If the drive failed the test, write down the Failure ID. Then click Action Needed.
    Figure 10: Test results - disk drive not OK
    Test results in HP Support Assistant
  7. To resolve the problem, click Get Assistance, click Contact HP, and select a contact option, and provide the failure ID to the support agent.
    NOTE:Use the Call with Data Transfer contact option if it is available.
    Figure 11: Get assistance for a failed hard drive check
    Get assistance for a failed hard drive check in HP Support Assistant
To see the status of any flash media, such as memory cards, memory sticks, or external hard drives, click the Flash Media tab.
Figure 12: Flash media status
Drive testing in HP Support Assistant
Follow these steps to check the optical drives:
Figure 13: Optical Drives
Image of Optical Drives tab in HP Support Assistant
  1. To check the optical drives (CD/DVD), click the Optical Drives tab. The Optical Drive tab lists the optical drives in the computer and the resources available to help you troubleshoot problems with them.
    To check the optical disc drives (ODD), click the arrows next to HP Optical Drive Check.
    NOTE:This test can take up to six minutes to complete.
  2. If the Welcome to HP Optical Disc Drive Check screen displays, click the arrows next to Next. Select the optical drive you want to test, and click the arrows next to Next.
    Figure 14: Selecting the drive
    Selecting the drive in HP Support Assistant
  3. Insert a disc for testing.
    If you want to do write testing, insert a blank, writeable CD or DVD, close the tray, and click the arrows next to Next.
    If you do not have blank media for testing, insert a CD or DVD that has data on it, and click Skip. Read-only testing will be performed.
    Figure 15: Inserting the disc in the ODD
    Inserting the disc in HP Support Assistant
  4. Wait while the media is identified. Then click the arrows next to Next to start the test.
    NOTE:The disc in this example is a data disc, so a Read test will be performed.
    Figure 16: Identifying the disc type
    Identifying the disc type in HP Support Assistant
  5. Wait while the drive is being tested.
    Figure 17: Testing the optical disc drive
    Testing the ODD in HP Support Assistant
  6. When the testing is complete, review the test results and take any recommended actions. Click the X in the upper right to close the Optical Disc Drive Check and return to the Storage Devices screen.
    NOTE:Since the disc in this example was not blank, the write check and the erase check were skipped.
    Figure 18: Optical drive test results
    ODD Test results in HP Support Assistant
To learn how to back up your computer or your files, to make recovery discs, or to see whether a recovery drive is available on the computer, click the Backup and Recovery tab.
Figure 19: Backup and Recovery
Image of Backup and Recovery tab in HP Support Assistant
The following options are available:
  • Backup and recovery. Open the Help and Support Center to read topics about backup and recovery.
  • Microsoft Windows System Restore. Windows System Restore can help fix problems that might be making your computer run slowly or stop responding. System Restore does not affect any of your documents, pictures, or other personal data. However, recently installed programs and drivers might be uninstalled.
  • Backup and Restore Center. Schedule a time to backup the computer or to restore files from a backup.
Use the tools in the Network and Internet Connectivity section to see if your computer is connected to the network, get technical information about the network, run diagnostics, renew your IP address, see all available wireless networks, and link to articles to help you better understand and troubleshoot networking problems.
Figure 20: Network and Internet Connectivity
Image of Network and Internet Connectivity window in HP Support Assistant
  1. Click the Network and Internet Connectivity tile to view the network and Internet information and troubleshooting tools.
    Figure 21: Network and Internet Connectivity tile
    Network and Internet Connectivity tile in HP Support Assistant
  2. The Network and Internet Connectivity screen shows the status of all the network devices installed on the computer, and whether they are connected to a network.
    Click the arrows next to Internet tools to open the Help and Support Center and view help topics about Internet connectivity. Click the arrows next to Visit the HP Support Forums to view the forums and post questions about Internet connectivity.
  3. To test the network and Internet connections, click the arrows next to HP Network Check.
    NOTE:This test takes about one minute to complete.
  4. If the Welcome to HP Network Check window opens, click the arrows next to Next.
  5. Wait while the tool gathers the information.
    Figure 22: Network Check is getting information
    Network Check is getting information in HP Support Assistant
  6. When the test is finished, the results display on the screen showing the network status, including IP addresses and MAC addresses. If a wireless network adapter is installed, the test detects and displays all wireless networks within range.
    In the Related Tools area of the results screen, you can click Test URL to check the network, renew the network (DHCP), perform Windows network diagnostics, and get help with the Windows firewall.
    Figure 23: Network Check results
    Network Check results in HP Support Assistant
The Performance and Software category provides shortcuts to performance information, common tasks that can increase performance, as well as a link to purchase HP Performance Tune-Up Service.
Figure 24: Performance
Image of Performance tab in HP Support Assistant
  1. Click the Performance and Software tile to open the category.
    Figure 25: Performance and Software tile
    Performance and Software tile in HP Support Assistant
  2. The Performance and Software category opens to the Performance tab.
  3. Use the following performance resources:
    • Performance
    • Clear Internet Explorer's temporary Internet files
    • Buy HP Performance Tune-Up Service
    • Empty Recycle bin
    • Clear Temporary folder
  4. Click the Software, drivers and BIOS tab to see the operating system, the system BIOS version, installed software programs and drivers, and to add or remove programs. You can also visit the HP Support Forums and purchase HP SmartFriend Assistance.
    Figure 26: Software, driver, and BIOS tab
    Software, driver, and BIOS tab in HP Support Assistant
The Power, Thermal and Mechanical window displays the power status and battery charge status. You can also view a Help and Support topic about power plans.
Figure 27: Power, Thermal and Mechanical
Image of Power, Thermal and Mechanical window in HP Support Assistant
To run a battery check, click the arrows next to Battery Check. The battery check starts.
Figure 28: HP Battery Check
HP Battery Check in HP Support Assistant
When you click the Around the Computer tile, the Keyboard, Mouse and Other Devices tab opens. This tab shows the keyboards and pointing devices (mouse, touchpad) connected to the computer. Click Pointing Device (mouse/touchpad) settings to open the settings window.
Figure 29: Keyboard, Mouse and Other Devices
Image of Keyboard, Mouse and Other Devices tab in HP Support Assistant
Click the Printing and Imaging tab to view the status of printers, scanners, faxes, and other devices connected to the computer. Click View Printers to open the Printers window. You can also visit the HP Support Forums.
Figure 30: Keyboard, Mouse and Other Devices
Image of Keyboard, Mouse and Other Devices tab in HP Support Assistant
Click the Audio and Sound tile to view the sound information and visit the HP Support Forums. Some of the information displayed on this screen includes the type of audio device, whether it is enabled, and the audio driver version.
Figure 31: Audio and Sound
Image of the Audio and Sound window in HP Support Assistant
Click the Graphics, Video, and Display tile to view the graphics information and visit the HP Support Forums. Some of the information displayed on this screen includes the type of graphics adapter, the screen resolution and refresh rate, and the graphics driver version.
Figure 32: Graphics, Video and Display
Image of Graphics, Video and Display in HP Support Assistant
Click the General Specifications tile to view the computer information, in case you need to contact support or want to upgrade the memory, for example. The General Specifications screen also provides shortcuts to the Ease of Access Center, the Support and Troubleshooting page on HP.com for your computer model, and the User guides.
Some of the information displayed on this screen includes the serial number, product name and number, the processor, system memory, graphics adapter, screen resolution, network, drives, and BIOS version. Be sure you scroll down to see all the information.
Figure 33: General Specifications
General Specifications  in HP Support Assistant
Use the resources in the Warranty and Services category to check the warranty status of your computer and get online information specifically for your product.
  1. Click the Warranty and Services tile.
  2. The Information Request screen displays. To have HP Support Assistant check the warranty status of your computer, click Yes, I agree to send data to HP to check my warranty status.
    NOTE:You must be connected to the Internet to have HP Support Assistant get information on your product warranty.
    Figure 34: Information Request screen
    Product information screen in HP Support Assistant
  3. Wait while the information is retrieved.
    Figure 35: Warranty status
     Warranty status in HP Support Assistant

Learning how to use your computer using HP Support Assistant in Windows 7 or Vista

The Learning Centers are a collection of documents, developed by HP and added into the Windows Help System on the hard drive. They help you discover, use, and maintain your PC, even when you are not connected to the Internet.
HP continues to add more learning centers and online classes, so you should periodically check for new classes and learning centers. To open the learning centers, click the Learn button on the HP Support Assistant home page.
Figure 36: Learn button
Learn button in HP Support Assistant
The Learn window displays.
Figure 37: Learn
Learn window in HP Support Assistant

Using the HP Support Assistant Get Assistance feature in Windows 7 or Vista

This feature provides help in solving computer problems. HP offers several different self-help and HP-help options. Some assistance options are free, but others might require a fee.
  1. To open the Get assistance feature, click the Get assistance button on the HP Support Assistant home page.
    Figure 38: Get assistance button
    Get assistance button in HP Support Assistant
    The Get assistance window displays.
    Get assistance windowGet assistance window in HP Support Assistant
  2. Select the type of assistance: Self-help assistance or Contact options assistance.
  3. To use the self-help options, select one of the following options:
    • To access the HP Forums and get help from other computer owners and experts, click the Visit the HP Support Forums button. Your web browser opens to the HP Support Forums.
    • To run a diagnostic program or to troubleshoot your computer, click the Run automated diagnostics and troubleshoot button. HP Support Assistant runs a health analysis program according to the diagnostic option you select.
    • To find your product specifications or to resolve common problems, click the Find product specifications and answers to common questions button. The HP Support Assistant learning center opens.
    • To open Internet access to HP resources, click the Access online resources for your PC button. Your web browser opens to the HP Customer Care page for your computer.
  4. To use the contact HP options, select one of the following options:
    • To call HP and allow your computer data to transfer to a support technician, click the Call HP and let your PC transfer data to a support technician button. A Data transfer terms window displays. If you accept the terms, the data transfers, and then you will receive instructions to call an HP support technician.
    • To chat with HP and allow your computer data to transfer to a support technician, click the Chat online with HP and let your PC transfer data to a support technician button. A Data transfer terms window displays. If you accept the terms, the data transfers, and then you will receive instructions to chat with an HP support technician.
    • To call HP, click the Call HP button. A Call an HP Support Technician window displays. This window contains the telephone number and operational hours for the HP Support Center. In addition, this window provides the serial number and product number for your product.

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