Saturday 14 July 2007

A back door to Microsoft PSS so to speak...

We have a number of clients where their servers are buried in a large closet or back room area with no phone access and a dead cell signal.

When we need to talk to Product Support Services, this can be a real problem as the nearest office with a phone can sometimes be further down the hall than the bathroom!

So, in some cases we bring our own 5.8 GHz wireless phone with us. Never bring a 2.4 GHz wireless phone with you. Why? Because the base station is powerful enough to disrupt your client's wireless B/G which is also running at 2.4 GHz. That means dropped network sessions for the client, and scratchy signals for the support person you are trying to talk to.

During a client's peak season, this may not be possible as they won't want their fax service interrupted.

So, what to do?

When Windows Server 2003 was introduced, Microsoft introduced a neat web service called the Windows Server 2003 Online Concierge.

The service was intended to help those upgrading to Windows Server 2003 as mentioned in the Web site's description.

During one of those times in the closet where we had no means of communicating with Microsoft, we took a chance on the Concierge service. We needed a hotfix to fix a troublesome server situation.

After connecting, the situation was explained to the attendant - a real person by the way - and they got us to hang on a minute. When they came back, they had the Knowledge Base entry before them, and they made sure that we were both on the same page so to speak.

The concierge then e-mailed a set of links to download the hotfix and made sure that we could get access to the hotfix and unlock it. Sometimes the PSS e-mail may get caught in the spam filters, so it is important to watch for it in the Junk Mail folder.

All in all, this extra door into Product Support Services can be a huge help. Keep it in mind if you are in a location where there is no phone or cell coverage and are in need of a hotfix.

Link: Windows Server 2003 Online Concierge.

We suggest bookmarking it, and getting to know the title so that it can be accessed by a one click search.

The IEEE 802.11 wireless specification on Wikipedia.

UPDATE 2007-07-21: We needed the hotfix for the post W2K3 SP2 install on SBS for the broken Help and Support. PSS via phone was a holder's nightmare.

So, off to the Concierge and within 10 minutes the hotfix was in my Inbox!

It works! :D

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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