Fix it Center is a new Microsoft service currently in public beta that provides a set of online and offline tools for diagnosing and fixing common PC and device problems. It may be a beta but it’s already a useful and highly usable product that offers a support lifeline to many average Windows users with PC problems.
Fix it Center consolidates into a single product a whole range of trouble shooters, wizards and other support resources currently scattered throughout the Microsoft site and Windows itself. It works with any Windows version from XP through to Window 7
The program will not only solve known problems but will also scan your PC for potential problems and suggest fixes.
The nice thing about this product is that it requires little technical input from the user. All the user needs to do is indicate the broad kind of category describing the problem and then the program will launch a diagnostic program for that category. So if the user is having an internet connection problems he/she just needs to select that category and from that point on diagnosis and correction is largely automatic.
Anyone who has used Microsoft troubleshooters will be familiar with this approach though Fix it Centre is more advanced in its implementation than most MS Wizards and troubleshooters: it’s easier and less intrusive to use and has broader diagnostic capacity. But it is still far from perfect and users need to be realistic in their expectations what this program can achieve.
How it works
To setup Fix it Centre you need to go though a three stage setup procedure:
- Go to http://fixitcenter.support.microsoft.com/Portal/ and click the “Try It” button. This will download a small 437KB program.
- Run the downloaded program and accept the licensing agreement. This will then initiate a download and installations of the full Fix it Centre product. No download file size is given but it appears to be around 10MB.
- Fix it center will install a number of troubleshooters based on your PC configuration but to tap into the full power of the product you need to setup an online account. There you will not only have access to a full range of troubleshooters but access to other support resources as well such as the Microsoft knowledge database. Additionally you can store the support history of your PCs on line.
Using Fix it Centre is a snap. Just click the Fix-it Centre icon installed on your desktop, select the broad area where you are having problems and the appropriate troubleshooter will be launched which will step you through the problem detection and correction procedure.
I tried it on a PC with a known printer driver problem and it correctly identified the cause. What it couldn’t do was fix the problem as no driver update for Windows 7 is available for that printer.
If the troubleshooter can't resolve the problem automatically Fix it Center at least gives you easy access to a variety of online support resources.
As I said, this is a useful service but you need to be realistic what it can achieve. That said it’s a “must have” product for average users.