Microsoft has started an interesting and important new initiative to automate its online help so that it can “Fix It” for you automatically. What a great idea.

Here’s the word from Microsoft:

Microsoft’s new “Fix it” solution is the industry’s first automated support solution that helps customers diagnose and fix problems with PC problems with the click of a button. 

Microsoft customer feedback has indicated a strong interest in online tools and solutions that provide users with self-help support options, allowing them to reduce the need to rely on traditional telephone support.  The “Fix it” tool is in direct response to this feedback and has already been used by more than 75,000 customers since its debut in December.  Of these customers, more than 95% have successfully resolved their issue without needing further assistance.

“The “Fix it” button moves automated solution assets directly to the point of need,” says Lori Brownell, general manager, Product Quality Online, Microsoft Customer Service and Support.  “Moving forward, ‘Fix it’ will not only provide the first step in delivering diagnostics and solutions, but it will also allow consumers and IT professionals to create a case online for resolution.”

Customers can find the “Fix it” button in more than 100 Knowledge Base (KB) articles and click a button to automate steps that customers have manually performed in the past to resolve their issues.  For example:

  • An error message pops up when you try to use Street & Trips 2008.  A problem overview, the Fix it button and steps to test the fix can be found here.
  • You receive “Runtime Error” messages when you view Web pages in Internet Explorer.  Again, the problem, diagnoses and test can be found  here.
  • If you have a printing job that is stuck in the print queue in Windows XP, you can find the problem overview, diagnosis and solution here.

Microsoft is adding “Fix it” to KB articles in all languages and across a range of products.  Additionally, an internal site now allows Microsoft employees to submit recommended automated fixes for problems their friends and families experience.  Microsoft is working with partners including MVPs and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to release “Fix it” solutions.   Customers can visit the “Fix it” Web site (http://support.microsoft.com/fixit) to find information, view user suggestions and links to provide direct feedback to Microsoft.

Additionally, “Fix it” is evolving to include solutions for Windows Error Reporting, which pops up when customers experience an application hang or crash. Along with the new “Fix it” button, customers can still access traditional support channels, including submitting a standard support incident.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this. Quite a few people apparently stumbled onto this feature today on their own.