Windows

Microsoft wants to help you fix Windows

Microsoft has added a new Web site to its online support resources called Fix it. Troubleshooting common problems with Microsoft applications and operating systems is theoretically just a few clicks away.

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.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

84 comments
pconsite
pconsite

They seem to be just in it for the money. I attempted to use the Fixit site but then they asked for a payment. I felt that they should offer this service for free. The problem that I have encountered is that I upgraded from Vista Ult 64Bit to Windows 7 Ult 64Bit and now many of my Icons have changed to the Windows 7 Default icon. The programs do still work but, like I said, they have changed to the Default Icon. There must be a way to fix this issue without having to format and reinstall.

planecents
planecents

Computer will not load new programs. Refers to windows installer unavailable What should I try

frankjg
frankjg

Fix-It needs a look at real life. It assumes the user is using only Microsoft approved programs and is not intelligent about basic computer use. This seems like but one more Bloat that Microsoft is inserting into a already confusing series of complicated end used operations

DJNafey
DJNafey

Come on Microsoft - there must be more fixes available than that?! A good concept though - I ran one of the fixes and a nice user-friendly wizard popped up and did it all for me in a very comforting way. This could be very good if it gets updated with more content. Slightly contradicting that, though, I'd say that the group of Windows fixes was rather long to read through as it has all operating systems in one list - perhaps they could be sub-categorised?

crp
crp

Well, I just visited their new site, and all of the text is scrunched over to the left side of the screen, and the first parts of the words on each line are hidden behind the edge of the screen. Someone needs to take a look at their code to see what's wrong. OK, I figured out what was wrong. I have the Stylish add on for Firefox which allows adding CSS definitions to sites, and I had previously used it to add text size rules for Microsoft. I deselected the Stylish add on's CSS rules for Microsoft, and now the page is displaying properly. I do still have one small complaint. Most of the text on the page is within links, which makes it a light blue, and against that white background it is almost impossible to read. What black text there is consists of headings for each section, and then a number for each article link which reveals nothing about what the link is to, so I'm left squinting real hard to read the link text to figure out what the articles are about. I don't think I'd spend much time doing that before I went somewhere I could read long descriptions in black with small links near them. Later, Ray Parrish

AllGeek2Me
AllGeek2Me

It's about time there was an MS solution to their OS problems. It's just a shame that they have had tohave users figurre out how to fix them. MY 2? CDN

seanferd
seanferd

and not IE, as the previous response assumed. Jacky knows what he means. ;)

sborsher
sborsher

What u$oft and other cos really need is better support for the uncommon problems. I never call or email any support as I never get a useful answer. Many tough questions are just a Goggle away; others require the more personal approach. All tech cos should get together and have one universal website for postings where staff will investigate complaints, maybe even, perish the thought, as a cooperative effort.

jhouse
jhouse

just found site:Troubleshooting common problems with Microsoft applications and operating systems. hope it really is effective. Have an outlook question re attachments. Have turned off all known places in outlook and firewall and isp apps. Still get messages that attachments have been removed or blocked. These are usually ones i am sending to myself at different computer or from trusted family who are sending to me. these include personal & work related. still blocked even if i turn off firewall when trying to be sure an imprtant attachment can be rcvd. still blocked. thank you.

monzonc
monzonc

Hi all, I have a question and maybe someone has some idea on how to get working if there is such a thing.. As I open an Explore and I get a bunch of files and want to sort them by file name.. I have notice that this XP doesn't sort them correct all.. Is there a way to fixing that? Carlos monzonc@hotmail.com

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I thought google was the Microsoft Fixit site. It seems to me that lately the MS support site can't find my problem/answer. But google it and there is a link to the correct KB article on the MS site. The fixit site looks nice, but sparse. There must be literally millions of issues/problems with MS software. I think their fixit site isn't finishted. Probably will never be. Think about the development that goes into creating a system that can present fixes for all levels of users over all the different software MS has.

craiglane
craiglane

They broke it, we bought it, WE FIX IT!!! They want to "help"? If windows was a car..........

ralphsabean
ralphsabean

It is possible that it may solve your problem if you have one with windows but it has to be broke before you fix it. Mine is broke but not seriously busted. When I reboot after installing or if I shut down because of storms or for whatever reason. When I get back up to my desk top, windows looks for documents to start into. It doesn't find any so leaves a loud beep and error message about the path not being there. It must be caused because when I got a new PC I had saved all my pictures and a few programs I like along with Office and possibly some others then I transferred them from the old Hard Drive to the new folders and all so I ended up with two My Documents, two My Pictures etc. With out formatting how do i fix it. I don't want to lose any of my programs like Office. Everything I have is registered online and legal but I don't have back ups except a few and My Windows XP was on the system when I bought it and it has the key words on the sales slip where i am supposed to be able to get fixes if needed. I repaired a system a week ago with a crashed HD and got drivers from that site but I think she had a Disk too for formatting. I need a little help if someone knows a quick fix. I think that the problem is in the start up registry and to get rid of the error message I do stop it from running in the startup registry each time but it always comes back in reboot.

paulscrolls
paulscrolls

It might help someone that wants to learn how to fix a computer problem but only has a little experience. Someone that is not sure how to word the problem doing a search using Google.

reisen55
reisen55

There are, in theory, only a few "versions" of Windows released by Microsoft to the general public. Anybody who receives the technet stuff knows better of course, but in general we have a few selected flavors and variations of Windows 2000, XP and Vista out there right now. Right? WAY WRONG ANSWER. There are literally millions of variations out there. I contend that each individual computer with it's own set of software install, patches and god knows what else constitutes it's own little universe. To assume that a web side can fix problems on this scale is crazy. Also would put most of US out of business if they actually did it right. Hey, these clowns cannot even release a good operating system these days so why should we assume they can FIX ONE TOO.

Dennis.Keeling
Dennis.Keeling

If M$ had done the job right first time when developing Windoze and its cruumy apps, then maybe this site would not be needed.

chaynes33
chaynes33

Sameo - sameo Just a different coat of paint.

Jacky Howe
Jacky Howe

there doesn't appear to be a fix for Vista. It has stopped working 13 times since the 18-12-2008 with 13 reports sent. I couldn't be the only one experiencing this problem. So it hasn't helped me.

pconsite
pconsite

I can't believe it. At first my Shortcuts were changing to the Windows 7 Default icons and now they're disappearing all together.

thefactiontech
thefactiontech

Just run msconfig.exe, make click on the tab Services organize by name then scroll down to Windows Installer and make sure that windows installer is checked? anything else you would like to humor me with?

frankjg
frankjg

Fix-It needs a look at real life. It assumes the user is using only Microsoft approved programs and is not intelligent about basic computer use. This seems like but one more Bloat that Microsoft is inserting into a already confusing series of complicated end used operations

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

...in both IE6 and Firefox. At least this looks like an attempt to put the information in one place.

mackay_723
mackay_723

Chances are if you've got an issue, someone else has had the same thing happen to them and found a solution

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

that's what TechRepublic was going to be at one time. Instead, it has turned into a Microsoft bashing, Apple love-fest site that is barely worth reading. If it wasn't for the security tips from Chad and Michael and other things of that nature, I would have written TR off as useless drivel a long time ago, like so many before me have.

seanferd
seanferd

What are you doing to sort files by name, and what is the unexpected behavior? ** Never post you email address in a forum, unless you like spam.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

The Fix it Website just isn't very deep. Perhaps if they'd done something like that from the very beginning...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

unfortunately, they've done a lot of marketing to insure that the "norm" now is an expectation of a broken product. Any engineering firm outside of software development couldn't get away with the product quality the market accepts for computers.

ITCompGuy
ITCompGuy

I read through your post ralph, and my response "or fix" would be a change in computer user behavior. Problems sometimes arise because most people are looking for a quick fix. What I mean by that is that everyone who uses a computer, whether they are computer proficient, a computer technician or other working in IT, or a complete computer novice has a way or a method of daily operation. I suggest changing it. You say that your problem could be caused from the time you purchased your new PC and transferred applications and settings over from the old computer to the new. That is your theory and I will not question it. What I suggest is that you start creating a computer behavior that will help you in the future with recovering from some problems that occassionally happen to most computer users. Whether you have a paid backup application, use the built in backup in Windows, count on Window restore points, or have a systematic personal backup process, you need to have some type of backup. Next, if you have programs and applications that you hold the license for, keep the disks/CD/DVD's and the license codes in a safe location. Finally, user settings, favorites, links, backgrounds, and other user preference type stuff in my opinion should never be transferred. I always set my settings manually along the way all over again everytime I get or build a new computer. Like driving a new car. You slowly break it in and learn about it. You don't try to make it look or act like your "old car". Personally, I backup all of my pictures, files, documents, etc. (meaning anything that I find important) to DVD media to keep in a fire proof safe or other offsite location, and to an external hard drive. You should install programs or applications like Office, etc. cleanly and install your legal license codes. You install a good solid Anti-Virus program, then perform all updates and patches BEFORE finally placing your photos and personal files back on the new system from your backup. Then make sure to perform a complete FULL SCAN of the system. I think that this may help you in the future (and possibly now). Let me know if this helps you.

chris
chris

It's why apple has had a "better" go at that piece of it. our software on our hardware. I can't even imagine how MS has done it till now, really. I just wish they'd admit the errors/shortcommings/etc instead of almost making it seem like it's always someone else's fault.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

"To asssume that a web site can fix problems on this scale is crazy." Plase refer to the second sentence in the article: "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." It isn't saying the website will fix EVERY problem that arises in Windows. It is saying it is a good resource for common issues and tweaks. You should probably try getting your head out of the sand once and a while. There's a big world out there and you're missing a lot of it with your narrow field of vision.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

Because everyone knows nothing ever goes wrong with Lamux or Crapintosh computers... *sarcasm*

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

While users can find quick fixes on the site, I suspect some analyst and MS will have to summarize the issues for the execs and development teams. Let's hope MS takes some consideration of the issues that keep coming back up in the next design cycle.

CameronY
CameronY

Have to agree - rebadged/restyled with no added value.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If you use msconfig, it does not always check for dependent services. It's better to enable and disable service through the mmc module: right click My Computer -> Manage I prefer the command line once I know the correct service name personally. I have a nice serviceson.cmd and servicesoff.cmd which strip my system back to what services I want running then enable/disable Windows Update related services so I'm not constantly giving up resources to that outside of patch tuesday.

tlccomputers
tlccomputers

And how could you possibly have written off TR a long time ago? According to your profile, you've been a member of TR for less than two years. I've been with TR over eight years now, and as long as I've read them, they've always been about Windows and how to make the Windows experience better. Granted, there has been a fair amount of Windows bashing ever since Vista's release, about two years ago. But that bashing has been well earned, IMHO. And the bashing comes exclusively from techs out in the field who have had to deal with Vista's quirks daily, not from the pros at TR.

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

What articles are you reading? I read TR on a daily basis, at least 2 articles a day, and have rarely come across Apple-loving articles. Most everything talks about Windows, whether it is features that the author likes/dislikes, in any case it is about Windows.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Where's the Apple love-in.. someone pass me the fruit pipe!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I spend most of my time cursing Apple and its futile attempts at preventing me from Cracking Open their products. I also host the Windows Blog, which tries to help with tips to make the OS work better. The discussions that follow tend to be bashing, but the blog posts themselves are fairly neutral.

kkopp
kkopp

You're expecting a company that can't "get it right" after 2 service packs to get their help right at the first try? Next you'll be expecting them to make the operating system easy to fix or something. (in case you didn't read it: tongue planted firmly in cheek)

reisen55
reisen55

I recall Microsoft released a product to help me solve ALL OF MY WINDOWS PROBLEMS in one sweeping gesture.......... Vista!

reisen55
reisen55

"You should probably try getting your head out of the sand once and a while. There's a big world out there and you're missing a lot of it with your narrow field of vision." Ok, some facts since you have gone silent and your comment is irritating. And I would never be so insulting to you. 15 years in IT 10 years in international sales prior. IBM AS/400 sales 2 years Sys Admin for Aon Consulting (101st Floor, 2 World Trade Center) Thus Involved in largest Disaster Recover op of our time with Aon. Outsourced to CSC in Aon 2004. Bad. CSC fired all 140 emps to save contract. Bad. Independent Consultant 2 years, long had this as a background job for 12 years running. 2009 - Assistant Network Admin now for a large not for profit 10 minutes away from my home: 54 servers, most virtual, Lotus Notes, etc. So I don't think my head is in the sand.

reisen55
reisen55

Why go personal with an insult????

chris
chris

I got a big kick out of Macs update that caused their own bluescreen of death recently. I bet Billy and Balmer were having a toast to that one :-D PS Some Linux users may be smug jerks, but Linux as a community knows better (in my experience anyway)

Jacky Howe
Jacky Howe

and this is after I had problems with Task manager. Error message: Windows Task Manager has stopped working Windows Task Manager has stopped working in Vista A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available. "Close program" Scanned for Malware and it didn't find anything. HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies\ System In the right-pane, no value named "DisableTaskMgr" Group Policy Editor User Configuration / Administrative Templates / System / Ctrl+Alt+Delete Options / Remove Task Manager The policy is Not Configured. There was no luck with a system restore and I tried two restore points. Discovered that a Repair Install was out of the question as I could only do a new install and it would save the old iinstall and rename it. Problem Reports and solutions originally said the the problems started on the 14 jan 2009. Now it is saying that it started on the 23 dec 2008. Installed updates are showing 20 dec 2008 as the most recent. System File Checker tool found errors taskmgr.exe MpEvMsg.dll wevtsvc.dll dbghelp.dll Solution as I didn't have access to a working Vista System. I had to go to a Tech PC that had the Vista AIK installed and mounted the install.wim from the Vista DVD to copy the needed files to a USB Stick. I then booted with the Vista Recovery CD and replaced the files. Edit: I may have to try the same with explorer.exe and I posted in the wrong spot.