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Ask Max: Help with HelpViewer

Asked on 05/26/2006:

Hey Jacob... I've had this problem before as many of the folks that have Macs seem to: When trying to use the HelpViewer it takes a year and a day to load. Sometimes it really never does until I start to quit the application. And sometimes I see the spinning beach ball, but generally I see nothing that suggests it's even looking. When it takes so long, I never know if I'm even connecting with my question. It seems futile to even try to find help with the HelpViewer. I was told by someone what to do to help with this on my old iMac but now have forgotten the drill. I have a G4 loaded with Panther 10.3.9. Can you help?


I once read a little tip on this that seems to help a slow HelpViewer. The tip is to create a network location without any ports. This can help by preventing HelpViewer from looking at Apple's site for additional information. HelpViewer will try to connect to to check for relevant support articles that match your question. Often this outbound Internet connection is what slows down HelpViewer.

Here is how you make this new, port-less, location. Open System Preferences and click on "Network." From the "Location:" pull down menu select "New Location…" and name it "Off-Line." Now from the "Show:" pull down menu select "Network Port Configurations" and uncheck every checkbox. Click the "Apply Now" button and you are now disconnected from the Internet. Close the preference window. You will now be able to switch network locations from the Apple Menu. Click on the Blue Apple and mouse down to "Location" and in the pop out menu will be your locations. Switch back to your previous location, the default location is called "Automatic." Now you should be connected to the Internet again.

Next time HelpViewer is painfully slow, just try a quick location change to "Off-Line" and see if HelpViewer speeds up.

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