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Old 4th September 2008
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diw diw is offline
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Default The man from Microsoft.

I had an issue with Windows (surprise). It was one of those issues that unfortunately was uncommon or at least undocumented.

Being a valuable MS consumer I decided to escalate my issue to some personal help. After all, I paid about $150 for this CD and have only been using it for about 6 years. :]

I remember when "Windows Updates" kicked off. A revolution in Microsoft world. Over the years whilst for the majority of folks it has gotten easier and easier - intravenous patching by default - for us folks who go to the trouble of hardening Windows and IE, the Microsoft spoonful of sugar approach becomes harder and harder. The more services and the more browser goop needed to use WU means time spent by me unhardening - to access a site in order to patch. Kind of a paradox.

It has gotten worse. At first it was ActiveX. Then it was the new "Automatic Updates" service. That requires many other services.
Have a look:
Recently I found I could not get a list of WU's. I tried many times to access the updates. I relaxed security incredibly and enabled all kinds of processes and widgets to no avail. So for the last six months or so I have had no WU fix.
In the back of my mind I figured some day I would contact MS. I put it off knowing that with my well used, well app'd install it would be a large flowchart. Of course I could get another hard drive and do a vanilla install.

Yesterday was that day.
I installed Windows 2000 and Service Pack 4 (from a MS Security CD).
Went to the Windows Update site and was asked to install IE6 and the Automatic Update service which I did. Still no updates.
I rang Microsoft.

To cut a very long story short, I rang the local call number for Microsoft Australia, listed on their webpage. It took about a minute to lodge a ticket.
Three questions - name (I gave my first name only), phone number, email address (which I did not give). I was given a ticket and put on hold pending transfer to "tech support".
Within a few minutes I was chatting happily with the man from Microsoft.
Over the course of about two hours on the phone more than once he went off to "confer with colleagues". The tech was very polite, patient but unfortunately unhelpful. We had tried all the usual suspects (things which I had tried myself). He suggested we call it a day. He checked my phone number and gave me his call back time.

He rang today, early. He sent me a file, we tried some other stuff and after about half an hour we (he) found the problem.


It doesn't surprise me that a vanilla install of Windows should not be able to access the major Microsoft support site. I might raise an eyebrow, that's about it. They are renowned for their love of widgets and proprietary protocols and curious combinations.
That I should be able to access it all is unexpected, especially since 2K is EOL. So, I suspect is IE6 for that matter.
Still, MS keep on pumping out the patches and provide free support for all WU issues. That's right folks. Now that is surprising.

The WU site spat an error code at me. It seems that no-one at MS had bothered to put it in their database. Two and a half hours on the phone could have been a few minutes. Better yet I would have found it on the net.

It is to be expected that during a support call with MS that following instructions will give a demonstration of a popular flaw.
I rebooted my machine and was greeted with an advertising pop up.

Microsoft have some of the best IP addresses on the web.

Best wishes.

Last edited by diw; 4th September 2008 at 05:25 AM.
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