Microsoft Offers 'Fix it Center Pro' Beta Service
Microsoft today unveiled a beta of a new service for IT professionals that can scan Windows systems for problems.
The new Microsoft Fix it Center Pro service, which was developed over a year's time, has gone public after being first used internally at Microsoft. The beta test version of the service is available now worldwide in 18 languages, according to a Microsoft blog. The Fix it Center Pro site requires a Windows Live signup to access the service, which takes the user to an "analysis" page containing a list of diagnostic checks to perform.
In addition to that site, Microsoft also has a "Fix it Solution Center" support page, which directs users to Knowledge Base articles containing automated fixes. That site, which offers free remediation solutions, appears not to be associated (yet) with this new service.
Currently, there are 15 "analysis packages" on the Fix it Center Pro site that will perform diagnostics. Many are troubleshooters for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. There also are scans to address printing problems, system performance, memory dumps, failover clustering, Directory Services, Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV, Exchange Server, Lync 2010 and volume licensing activation problems, among others.
Fix it Center Pro has about four basic elements to it. The service will scan, identify and resolve problems. It will point the user to additional information, tools and forums related to the problem. As the user uses the service, it creates work items. If wanted, those work items can be escalated into support requests to Microsoft's online support personnel, which can entail a cost for the user. Lastly, the service will keep track of those support requests for users. The service is capable of linking analysis, work items and support requests, according to Microsoft.
A scan can take up to an hour to complete. The service appears to be offered at no charge from Microsoft, unless the user requests help from Microsoft Support Services or escalates a work item. More details about the service are described at this help and support page.
While the new service is aimed at assisting IT professionals, Microsoft has another help service, called "Answer Desk," aimed at consumers. Answer Desk, which was launched in December, appears to be a bit more interactive since users can chat with the technicians. Like the Fix it Center Pro service, Answer Desk offers free support services that can gravitate toward paid support offers, depending on the circumstances.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.