Microsoft's Fix It Center in Beta

Microsoft is releasing "Fix It Center", a tool that allows users to quickly solve their PC problems by letting Windows do everything for them. This tool, currently in beta, will be available to anyone using Windoes XP SP3 or higher, including Server 2003 and 2008. It builds on the already implemented automated troubleshooting tools found in Windows 7, and allows for a three tiered troubleshooting system. If the solution isn't found in the local database, it goes online and searches for any updated information. If it still can't find a solution, it provides contact information for the relevant Microsoft support departments. Small business users are given an option to run Fix it Center centrally, allowing one Fix It account to be used across multiple PCs. 

This is another step in Microsoft's push to take troubleshooting, diagnostics, and repairs of basic PC problems out of  the hands of the oft-overwhelmed user, and to let the PC fix things on its own. In 2008, Microsoft started putting links in certain help documents that run the commands necessary to repair the issue. The Fix It Center will use the same branding and logo as those buttons, and will be an extension of the same technology.

While this is a beginning for Microsoft's initiative to automatically repair issues, Lori Brownell, Microsoft's general manager of product quality and online support, isn't deluding herself into thinking that it will solve all the bugs and errors that arise. "We'd love for our customers to never have problems," she said. "We'll never ship bug-free software as hard as we try." Her goal for the Fix It program is to enable it to spot problems before they happen, and to suggest fixes. It's much easier to see when your disk space is low and notify the user then it is to recover from an application failure due to insufficient disk space.

As of now, the system is in beta, and not very many things are being fixed automatically. For Microsoft, this is only the beginning of a broad project that will address some of the basic functionality and reliability concerns many users have with the ubiquitous operating system.

View: Fixit Center beta 

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24 Comments

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These utilities are great when it comes to challenging issues along the lines of - reinitialize tcp/ip stack, repair a completely non-functional windows update. Reset things that don't have any direct access or require a long series of complex processes. Especially nice since a lot of cases you could be doing this over the phone where the end user is not skilled to accomplish things like unregister / reregistration dll's.

I think it is funny. They broke it in the first place. It's about time they try and fix it. I know i wont be out of a job any time soon.

This has been around with some KB questions since XP, just was not wide scale at all. Cool to see it coming to an actual center website.

windbreaker11 said,
Takes money out of my paycheck a little since I fix computers. Even the little ones are welcome if I can charge for it.

This is more for the simple and annoying things, like if someones computer says the page file needs to be increased, but they don't know how (and for some reason isn't on automatic). One click fix, leaving you time to fix things it can't, like hardware and other software.

windbreaker11 said,
Takes money out of my paycheck a little since I fix computers. Even the little ones are welcome if I can charge for it.
Eg, one example from the news article was a "Fix it" for getting the browser icon back on the desktop.
(It says IE, but that's incorrect. It shows whatever the system default is. It's the "browser" shortcut from the Start Menu)

Windows 7 troubleshooting system can be resumed as:
a) update your program (or upgrade).
b) disable aero.
c) use compatibility mode.
d) will not work, don't bother.

Magallanes said,
Windows 7 troubleshooting system can be resumed as:
a) update your program (or upgrade).
b) disable aero.
c) use compatibility mode.
d) will not work, don't bother.

+1

meshiga said,
So its gonna put all those so called geeks out of bussiness & the real geeks will only deal with tough cases

Good point. So long fake geeks!

meshiga said,
So its gonna put all those so called geeks out of bussiness & the real geeks will only deal with tough cases

Nah, there will always be room for everyone - she said it herself their software would never be completely bug-free, common sense strikes again I think. These un-auto-fixable problems are what's left for us, after the troubleshooter fails. Its a good thing, kinda clears up the "did you turn it off and on again?" question and PEBKAC a bit. Hopefully!

Edited by pasty2k2, Apr 16 2010, 7:06pm :

meshiga said,
So its gonna put all those so called geeks out of bussiness & the real geeks will only deal with tough cases

It's only going to make it worse because now all the fake geeks will run this to fix the persons problem.

meshiga said,
So its gonna put all those so called geeks out of bussiness & the real geeks will only deal with tough cases

Depends, you only "fix" and that's it, technology is always moving to be simpler so a computer would evolve in to an "appliance that just works". A lot of support role is also education and translation geek speak on issues, or perceive issues.

freak180 said,
I love the idea! Great work MS!

Yes but I'm wondering how many people are going to work on this service. I hope they will make it a 'full' service that can solve a lot of problems AND it should be easy explained how to solve a problem as only 'noobs' (sorry cant find another word) will use this service.

(btw spelling mistake: 'Windoes' on the second line)

bdsams said,
cool idea, hopefully the implementation is as good as the intentions

Though, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.....

Yes, good to see microsoft finally implementing some new features that the CONSUMER wants for a change.

I wonder what they aren't part of the basic O/S, and hopefully it records everything it does, so the changes can be reversed it they cause a bigger problem.