Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
There are many ways to find information on the internet, and here are a few tricks of mine that can work for readers as well.
Where do you get your answers?
Unlike search engines such as Google or "natural language query" engines like Ask Jeeves, Ask Leo! is a real person: me, Leo Notenboom. That means when I get a question (and I get lots of questions), there are various steps I take to come up with the answers before I post them here.
Did I mention I get lots of questions? Unfortunately that means I can't answer every single one. However, I can outline some of the resources I use when I need them.
I can't stress this enough: Google is your friend. In fact, if you're willing to spend a little time learning how to use it well, Google can be your best friend. What do I mean by learning? Anyone can throw some words at Google and press Search. But there are several aspects to Google that most people overlook:
Knowing which words to search for to get relevant results.
Knowing how to interpret the results effectively.
Knowing how to use Google's advanced search, extended syntax, and additional features.
By becoming proficient at using Google and other web based tools, you can frequently get the answers you need very quickly on your own.
Rather than try and outline how to master web searching, I'll point you at two resources I think are invaluable for improving your search ability:
Web Search Garage is a new book by Tara Calishain, the editor of Research Buzz and an expert in research using the internet. It's a fantastic overview of using Google, Yahoo, and other web tools to ferret out the information you might want.
Google Hacks is another book that Tara Calishain co-authored that focuses on tips, tricks, and techniques specific to using Google.
Why so much space devoted to web searching? Because if I don't know the answer, and even sometimes when I do, it's the web I turn to. You see, Google is my best friend. (For this stuff anyway.)
Now that we've got general searching covered, let me get more specific. Here are some specific sites and tools that I find particularly useful when researching your questions:
Microsoft Support. Information isn't always that easy to find here, but there's a ton of information and answers in the Microsoft Support Knowledgebase. I recommend spending some time to learn some of its quirks; once you get a feel for how best to search this resource then you'll start seeing some good information pop up.
Microsoft. I know it seems redundant after having specifically mentioned the Knowledgebase, but if that's all you look at, you're missing another great resource. Technet, product whitepapers, MSDN ... these are all exceptionally comprehensive and valuable references.
Experts Exchange is a cooperative technical support forum. Searching their archives is a good resource, and I often find that the folks here are on top of newly discovered issues.
Google Groups encompasses the Usenet newsgroups and more. Usenet is considered by many to be either the internet's "wild side" or its gutter, depending on who you ask, but Google has made searching and accessing this resource a breeze, and again, there's a lot of timely information to be had here. Another reason Google is your friend.
Let me return to general web searching for a moment. There are techniques you can use to search even the specific resources I've mentioned using general purpose tools like Google. Sometimes, though not always, the general purpose tools are more effective than the search provided by the sites themselves. I'll once again refer you to either of Tara's books for the specific "how to" information that you can add to your own tool box.
Naturally, regardless of what information I find and where I find it, I use my experience and expertise to try to weed out the garbage from the really accurate and useful information. But even without having made your career in computers, you too can use the resources I've listed to get answers and solve problems.