Justin James forwarded me an e-mail this morning of a press release announcing Microsoft's Fix It Web site. This new help-and-support resource collates and automates many of the tips, tweaks, and registry hacks that Microsoft, TechRepublic, and countless others have published in the past.
The applications Microsoft includes a fix for on the Web site range from your basic Windows "how do I turn this feature off" tip to lengthy explanations on how to install the Exchange Server 2007 Hub Transport. For Windows alone, there are dozens of entries listed.
Most of the Fix It troubleshooting pages include two levels of information. You can have Microsoft fix the problem for you by downloading a Windows Registry change file or you can do the Registry edit yourself, following step-by-step instructions. Each page also includes some explanation of what the problem is, descriptions of how it was created, potential complications, and references to other sources of information like Knowledge Base articles.
Does it fix it?
OK, I know I am a bit of a technology curmudgeon when it comes to new "services," but I don't find the Microsoft Fix It site to be all that different than what was available before. My initial reaction is that the Fix It Web site is just a better laid out rehash of the tricks, tweaks, and hacks that were available from Microsoft before. The presentation may be cleaner, but what is presented is pretty much the same.
The only exception is the inclusion of Windows Registry edit files that can be incorporated into a user's local registry, which eliminates the requirement that they edit that important system file manually. As someone who writes tips for Windows on a regular basis, trustworthy Windows Registry edits can help make complicated hacks more palatable, especially for the novice.
Only time will tell if the new Microsoft Fix It Web site will be of any great benefit to the consumer-level user. For hardened veterans of Microsoft applications, the Web site is really nothing to get excited about. However, I will add it to my list of troubleshooting resources.
We are going to try and get a Microsoft representative to explain what the company is trying to accomplish with the Fix It site and perhaps shed some light on what the future of the project may hold.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.