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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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