I went to Microsoft's site for support, to Microsoft.com/Windows and the support link. It was actually a string of links. When I got past the license agreement (I am not supposed to distribute the code for any fixes they give me),. I got to a page that asks for my Product ID.
The page offers to find my ID. I tried that, and the same page came back, with the option deselected, but no error or other message.
I then entered my Product ID (it's listed in System Properties, at the bottom), and this time I got a message, "The product ID provided could not be processed because of a system or network error. Please try again in a few minutes."
Then I logged into my Microsoft account, via the link provided on the page, and tried again. This time the automatic method gave me a message, "We could not find your product ID number automatically. Please enter a product ID number below." Ummm, the System Properties lists my Product ID; why can't your ActiveX control find it? I tried the manual method again, with the same response.
And for what it's worth, for the support anyway, I am using IE8, with all updates installed. And my Internet connection is working fine, as demonstrated by this blog entry.