It’s been a long time since I fired up the Windows Installation on my iMac at home. In fact it’s been several months. During that time I just haven’t had the need to use Windows as I am perfectly happy with the Mac in it’s native configuration. Because it had been months since I last ran Windows there was about 10 gazillion Windows Critical Updates to install and it was hours before I could use the machine!
When it finally settled down and let me use it, I quickly took care of the reason I fired up Windows in the first place (I needed to look at a website that I am developing to see how it looks and performs with Internet Explorer) and then started looking around at the assorted things on the desktop.
One of the things I found was a program called Microsoft Fixit Center. Apparently I installed this last October, ran it once and forgot all about it. At first I was thinking how bad does Windows have to be to merit a fixit center from Microsoft, but as I poked around inside of it, I realized that this was more than a fixit center, it is actually a way for the average non-techie Windows user to look under the hood and solve some very common annoyances.
It’s a free download from http://fixitcenter.support.microsoft.com/Portal. You’ll need a Windows Live ID from Microsoft, which is free, in order to access it. It’s a fairly quick download as it just downloads a framework. As you need to test various parts of your system it will offer to install them. Then you can run a diagnostic which reports any problems it may find along with suggestions to fit the problem.
If you are experiencing a problem that it doesn’t know about, it offers to take you online where there presumably is a larger database of information.
Unfortunately (Or fortunately depending on how you look at it) my machine did not have any problems. I installed and ran every one of the diagnostic tools but found no problems) I can’t tell you how well the suggestions work. But, I can tell you that it seems to have an answer for almost all of the problems that you might be tempted to call a technician about..
So, I have a suggestion of my own for you. If you are running a Windows machine (My virtual machine is a Windows XP machine) go get this and install it. It’s free, and having it on hand may save you some money later.
And another piece of advice if I may…restart/reboot your computer at the first sign of weird behavior. In my experience, that fixes a huge amount of computer “problems”.
Let me know how Microsoft Fixit Center works out for you. As for me, I am going to suspend the XP virtual machine and go back to Mac, because that’s how I roll these days.