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Quickly Reach MS Knowledge Base Articles

Daniel Petri


How can I quickly reach specific MS Knowledge Base articles?
As of November 7, 2002, prefix letters were phased out of all Knowledge Base (KB) articles worldwide making it easier for you to request an article in a language other than the one set in your browser. Today, KB articles are published in 21 languages, but each had an unrelated number scheme and a prefix letter. By eliminating the prefix and changing the numbers of some articles, all translations of an article will have exactly the same content number. Customers worldwide can view localized versions of articles by passing an Internet standard for language locale and the content identification number.

The new way to reference KB articles

The new method to reference KB articles is with the URL
or even better:
where n is the identification number of the article. This interface will automatically detect your browser’s language settings and show you the right article.

Method #1

You can utilize the Internet Explorer address bar to quickly reach a specific KB article. Simply write “kb 123456” (without the quotes) to reach KB article 123456.

Method #2

Sometimes, for unknown reasons, IE won’t take you to the proper place when performing the above tip. You can configure IE to use a specific URL whenever it sees the word “kb” followed by a 6 digit number.
To configure this tweak do the following:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Locate the following key in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\KB

  1. If you do not see a KB sub key, click the SearchUrl key. On the Edit menu, click Add Key, and then add a sub key with the name of KB.
  2. Click the KB sub key. In the right pane double-click the Default value, and then enter the following value:
  3. Close the registry editor.
  4. No reboot is required.

You can also download this KB Registry Hack, unzip it and double click it. You will then be able to open Internet Explorer, and in the URL box type “KB” (no quotes) followed by the MSKB article number to go directly to the article (Script updated to reflect the November 7 changes stated above).

Method #3

Another neat trick you can do with Internet Explorer is type a “?” (without the quotes), followed by the word “kb”, and then the KB number. For example:
? kb 310497
will take you to the MSN search engine, where you’ll see the specific KB article listed on top of the search results.

Method #4

You can use the Internet Explorer 5 Quick Search Web Accessory, which is a part of the Web Accessories for Internet Explorer 5. Download the whole package (which is quite small – only 134kb) and install it. Although MS says it’s not designed for IE6, it will work on IE6 with no known problems.
After installing the package you’ll have a new Quick Search shortcut in the Links folder in your Favorites. Running the tool will enable you to customize your own search strings. Add a new search string and use Method #2 to set it up.


Recent Changes to Knowledge Base (KB) Articles
Web Accessories for Internet Explorer 5 (134kb)

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