Microsoft extends Fix it, offers support app

Microsoft has extended its "Fix it" troubleshooting support for consumers and small business users.

New additions announced on Monday include a "Fix it Center Online Portal" and a free downloadable client-monitoring application, called "Fix it Center," to simplify problem resolution. The client app is designed to help users with automated fixes for their PCs, according to Microsoft.

"We created Fix it Center so users have an easy way to solve common issues automatically," said Lori Brownell, Microsoft's general manager of product quality and online support, in an e-mail. "It runs applicable troubleshooters and guides users to automated fixes and customized self-help in the cloud."

Fix it Center leverages support capabilities built into Windows 7. However, that same diagnostics model is now available for Windows XP and Windows Vista users via Fix it Center. Some of the same code used in the Windows 7 Action Center is used in Fix it client software for XP and Vista, according to Microsoft blog posts.

The Fix it Center software, still in beta, was introduced last year as a button in Microsoft's Knowledge Base articles to automate fixes. Microsoft also provides Windows Error Reporting tools via Microsoft Customer Service and Support.

The Fix it solution will "ease the maintenance load" for consumers and small-to-medium businesses, according to Microsoft, but the company is also looking to extend it to larger organizations.

"Fix it Center is currently targeted to consumer and small business customers to help them diagnose and resolve common issues," noted a Microsoft spokesperson. "However, we are considering how we might be able to provide similar solutions to our enterprise customers."

The Fix it Web portal offers a bit more support than the client application. The Web portal offers more than 300 solutions in 24 languages. It provides access to online tools that allow users to monitor multiple devices and find a richer set of solutions, according to the spokesperson.

If the Fix it Center doesn't solve a particular issue, then help can be accessed from Microsoft Support Services via phone, e-mail or chat. However, the Fix it Center client application does collect information that can help Microsoft diagnose problems.

"If a customer does need to escalate their issue, a Microsoft Support representative can access that customer's Fix it Center account to get details about the hardware, the problem, and the solutions the customer has already tried to ensure faster problem resolution," Brownell explained.

Fix it Center is free, and Microsoft's customers can download the application at the Fix it Web portal here.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is a freelance writer based in Southern California.

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