Free first aid for a wide range of Windows ills

Fred Langa

Did you know that Microsoft offers over 500 automated, online solutions for common problems you might encounter with Windows software and hardware?

And that’s on top of the dozens of always-available troubleshooting tools built into Windows 7 and Windows 8.

I’m sure most Windows users are unaware of the breadth and depth of fix-it apps and troubleshooters available for free from Microsoft. As the LangaList Plus columnist, I thought I was on top of that topic. But even I had no idea that there are now over 500 solutions at our fingertips. Wow!

These extremely useful tools can provide 24/7 self-help fixes for problems with printing, audio, security, and networking along with many other hardware and software issues.

But (there’s always a “but”) not all fix-its and troubleshooters are easily found. In fact, following Microsoft’s system for searching for help can sometimes lead to dead ends, wrong answers, or missed solutions!

The information that follows will help you find the automated repair/diagnostic tools you need. Use it as a quick reference for what’s available, how Microsoft organizes its tools, and the best way to search for the solution to a particular problem. So let’s get started.

Under the covers: Microsoft’s SDP and MATS

Fix-its and troubleshooters are user-friendly implementations of two advanced Microsoft technologies: the Support Diagnostics Platform (SDP) and the Microsoft Automated Troubleshooting Service (MATS).



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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2015-06-11:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.