Using Microsoft Fix It Center To Troubleshoot Problems
It is compatible with XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32bit or 64bit). There are many Fix Its available but some of the most common include: Windows Update, Aero, CD/DVD Reading and Writing, IE, Printer and Audio Playback
The easiest way to use Fix It Center is to install it on your computer whilst you still have internet access:
- Visit the online portal here and click ‘Try It Now’ then run the small ‘Fixit Center_Run’ program to begin installation.
- After you accept the terms of agreement, the program will download and install the Microsoft Fix It Center (it also saves a shortcut to Fix It Center on your desktop).
- Once installed, choose to run it Now or Later as shown below – choosing Later will help you set up and personalize it on next startup.
The program first gathers information about your computer so it can display possible Fix Its based on your particular hardware and software – it found 27 troubleshooters for my test laptop but you may have more or fewer.
- Click on the ‘Troubleshooters Selected’ if you want to see a full list as shown below. Note that the full list may include some troubleshooters that are not relevant now but which might be in future e.g. my list of 27 included troubleshooters for MS Office, Exchange Client and Windows Phone/Zune, none of which were installed yet.
- You can un-tick any troubleshooters which you don’t need (you can install them later if required) but, as they don’t take up much space, it is easiest to just accept the default selection and include them all.
- Click Next to continue – you are asked if you want to set up a Fix It Center Online account (for free – additional help and support via sign in with a Windows Live Id) but just choose No – you can sign up later.
All the selected troubleshooters are now downloaded which may take a minute or two depending on the speed of your connection.
- Click Next to continue then Finish to start MS Fix It Center
Using Microsoft Fix It Center
The Fix It Center now opens with a list of all the Fix Its available as shown below – if you chose the default selection they will all be available to ‘Run’ in the Action column. If you un-ticked some troubleshooters earlier they will have a status of ‘Install’ – you can install them now or at a later stage.
Clicking on a Fix It displays a basic Description – click ‘More Information’ to open a web page describing what it fixes in more detail (together with a link to find other automated solutions from the online MS Support Fixit site).
- If you are sure that the Fix It applies to your problem, click Run to begin
- The Fix It now offers a choice as shown below – detect problems and fix them automatically (this is recommended) or choose the fixes you want to apply. Some Fix Its also ask you which kind of problem you are experiencing – a basic check list
- The Fix It now tries to fix any problems and indicates at the end if it has been successful or not
Results Of Microsoft Fix It Center
In my testing on several Fix Its, most worked very well and provided an easy one click solution to common Windows problems.
For example, running the CD/DVD Reading Fix It successfully solved the problem of not being able to access the CD drive. This problem was due to incompatible registry filters – I have previously reviewed here how to fix it manually but the MS Fix It is certainly an easier solution for the average user than diving into the Windows registry.
Other Fix Its weren’t quite so clever – I purposely disabled Aero Glass on a test Vista Home Premium laptop by changing the Color scheme to Vista Basic and then ran the Aero fixit. After a minute checking that the laptop is indeed Aero capable, the Fix It claimed that the Desktop Window Manager was disabled but was unable to fix it.
In fact there was nothing wrong with Aero files or configuration, it just needed to change the Color scheme back to Aero. To be fair I think that the MS Fix It Center is rather conservative in what it attempts to fix – it may have decided that as there were no corrupt files/settings, and Aero had been disabled by the user, this was not something that needed fixing. However, if that was the case, a suggestion to change the color scheme would have been welcome!
Microsoft Fixit Center is a useful tool to have installed on your computer – preferably before it goes wrong (in case you can’t access the internet after you have problems).
Although many of the same fixes are offered by other tools (or manual tweaks) the fact that they are from Microsoft gives some assurances to those nervous of making things worse than they already are. The fact that the changes appear to play on the safe side may also help avoid causing further problems.