Quality of MS developer support

| 2 Comments

Alex Lowe asks what Microsoft could do to improve their developer support.

In general I think they do a reasonable job given the huge surface area of APIs and products that need support; I think some of the MS staff blogs are helping too. But they could do more...

What I'd like is more information, all of it, every scrap. :) Don't bother cleaning it up, just make it available somewhere and let Google index it. I don't want to have to open a support call in December to discover that the problem I have was known about since September. I want a chance of finding that out myself at whatever time of night it happens to be when I fire up Google and search... I don't want to have to rely on the fact that some MVPs might know the answer, I want to be able to find it myself if I look hard enough. So dump it all on the web, bug lists, open support issues, snippets of emails between MVPs that discuss non-NDA relevant technical issues ;), the works (I'll leave how as an exercise for the reader) ;0

This doesn't affect paid for developer support in any way. Those who want to pay can do so and have trained support staff do the research for them and present the information in a more useful way. Those that don't want to pay or can't afford to pay would most probably take longer to find the information but at least they have a chance...

I think Frans and Scott have good points; it does seem that Microsoft spends too much time focusing on the next wave and not enough time dealing with the 'issues' that arise from the last release. I guess everyone's excited about the next big thing and happy to blog about it and nobody wants to own up to being a maintenance monkey ;)

The thing with technical information is that seemingly useless little scraps of relatively old info can be surprisingly useful if they happen to cover the one thing you're searching for... Oh to have known what {A9645971-91EE-11D1-9251-00C04FBBBFB3} was for back in '99, or to know what the bug report for my recent .Net 1.1 socket bug says; there may not be a fix available but seemingly useless information might help me come up with a workaround...

This is one of the reasons I post stuff on my blog and write articles for CodeProject or MSDNAA, etc. Someone, somewhere might find a small part of my blatherings useful, they may save someone a few minutes; and what with my memory sometimes that someone may be me...

Oh and Alex, with regard to this; "I'm NOT looking for "fix this bug" but if you want to post it then I can check to see if it is a known issue." I'd really like to know what the deal is with that .Net 1.1 sockets thing...

2 Comments

Len,

My understanding after a bit of research is that the root cause of the problem you've seen is actually documented in this KB (http://support.microsoft.com/?id=826757).

Now, I know this drives people crazy but the fix for this problem is not downloadable. You can call support (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;[LN];CNTACTMS) to get the hotfix for free. The reason this fix (as well as the others) is not downloadable is that some hotfixes are released before we have had time to do extensive testing to ensure that the fix doesn't break something else. So, it is good to work with PSS to resolve the issue because they can also help you if there are other issues.

I don't believe that this has been reported by very many developers based on what I've seen in my research.

Alex

Alex,

Thanks. How did you find the article ;) I don't believe that I actually have 50+ bound protocols (I have one network card, one firewire port and the usual number of things bound to each...) but perhaps there's some wierdness going on. I'll give the support people a call and see what they say...

Thanks for helping.

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