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Tip for using SMS v4 Help

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You might have noticed we've just released SMS v4 Beta 1 Refresh on the Connect Web site for Open Beta. The Refresh is specifically to support Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 2, which in SMS impacts Network Access Protection (NAP) and Operating Systems Deployment (OSD). We've also updated the help content, which you can download separately from the Connect site.

I wanted to pass on a tip about making the most of the new help topics we've written for v4. At the moment our help content lives in 2 different places:

  1. "Help on the box" (HOTB) which is designed to ship with the product and displays when you press F1 in the SMS Admin console. When you download the documentation from the Connect site, this exists in the file SMSv4.chm
  2. "Help on the Web" (HOTW) which is our SMS v4 library on the Internet.  When you download the documentation from the Connect site, this exists in the file SMSv4_Library.chm

The idea behind splitting these was that HOTB should contain critical information you need when you're right at the server, configuring SMS. In comparison, HOTW should contain information you are more likely to research when less under time pressure, such as planning and technical references - and because it's published on the Web, we can keep it updated more often with new information and more quickly correct errors.

At the moment we're having technical problems linking help content from one location to another. When it's published in the two different places the links display in the chms as unlinkable help topics in bold format under Other Resources. If you access the SMS v4 library online in Technet, the links display as linkable but take you to a generic page that displays “We’re sorry, but there is no Microsoft.com Web page that matches your entry”.

I know that this broken link experience happens quite a lot with the NAP documentation since there is a lot of cross referencing between planning, concepts, tasks, the deploying checklist entries, and troubleshooting.  We’re aware that at the moment this gives a very disconnected user experience, and it's not intuitive that the help topic exists with content elsewhere. We're working on a solution!

In the meantime, here's my tip:

  • When you see a chm help topic reference in bold under Other Resources at the bottom of the See Also section, it exists in the other chm file. To find it, copy the exact topic title and paste it into the other chm’s Search option, using the option Search titles only on the bottom left.
  • If you’re accessing SMS v4 help topics on the Web and links to other SMS topics don’t work, copy the exact help topic title and paste it into the TechNet search or your favorite search engine to locate it on the Internet.

And if you have any feedback on the NAP documenation, I would love to hear it!

 

- Carol Bailey

 

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  • I wanted to pass on a tip about making the most of the new help topics we've written for v4. At the moment...

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