A new blog from Microsoft (News - Alert) offers a quick but handy overview of several of the company's support options. Though Microsoft is clearly using this as an opportunity to toot its own horn, and even include a dig against Google (News - Alert) for its more limited support, this blog does a nice job at uncovering a few of the support offerings available for both individuals and businesses.
For individuals, the company starts off with Microsoft Fix It, a free Web service that tries to detect and offer solutions to common problems in Windows, Office, and other Microsoft software. Fix It starts off like a conventional support site by listing various technical issues and pointing you to pages with potential solutions. But it goes a step further by offering a Fix It button that you can click on to run a diagnostic of your PC to further investigate any glitches. You can run diagnostics on specific errors or install Fix It locally to look for a range of issues. Fix It then displays a list of any problems it finds and lets you decide whether or not to apply its automated solution.
Another support option mentioned in the blog is Microsoft Answers, a forum that lets you find answers from other users to common questions and of course post your own questions. Microsoft Answers covers Windows, Office, Security Essentials, Windows Live, and Windows Phone (News - Alert). I've used Microsoft Answers myself and have received some very helpful responses from other people. Those of you using the new Office 2010 can also find help online at Microsoft's Office site, reminds the author of the blog. At this site you'll find answers to common issues and links to blogs and MVPs with tips for resolving technical issues.
Business and enterprise customers can certainly available themselves of all of the resources above. But the blog also touts Microsoft's consulting services if you need to tap into certain external expertise. IT admins can also take advantage of Microsoft's Premier Support and Professional Support services.
The blog doesn't cover all of the support solutions available through Microsoft. But I think it provides a helpful glimpse into just some of the resources you can use, either personally or professionally, whenever you need technical help with any Microsoft product.
Lance Whitney is a journalist, IT consultant, and Web Developer with almost 20 years of experience in the IT world. To read more of Lance's articles, please visit his columnist page
Edited by Erin Monda