Customers Get Best-Ever Help from Microsoft this Holiday Season for Windows XP, Xbox, PC Games and More

“Support for the Holidays” Web Site. Click for a high-resolution image.

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 17, 2001 — It’s holiday time and your spouse just gave you the Microsoft Windows XP software you’ve been eyeing for your home computer. Or the two of you gave the kids a new Xbox or one of the new PC games out this year, like Flight Simulator 2002, MechCommander 2 or Zoo Tycoon. Now comes the moment of truth: On the off-chance that your family needs some help installing or using any of these gifts, how are you going to get that help over the holidays? How are you going to keep frustration from spoiling the family festivities?

“Our holiday gift to customers is an unprecedented range of no-charge services and support tools that make it fast and easy for them to get up and running right away over the holidays with their cool new Microsoft products,” says Matt Fingerhut, marketing director for Microsoft Product Support Services. “Most customers will install and use their new Microsoft products without the need for support — but we know that for those who do need some assistance, trying to get that help over the holidays can seem intimidating. Our new range of no-charge support services, including unlimited installation support for Windows XP and Office XP, should help ensure a very merry holiday.”

The new, consolidated Help and Support Center built into Windows XP enables customers to access a variety of self-help and assisted-help tools right from the Start menu. For customers who can’t access these features because they need help installing Windows XP, there’s a no-charge telephone hotline, (425) 635-3311, available seven days a week (for calls from within the United States only; toll charges may apply. For customers outside the U.S., see next item).

Microsoft is also providing:

  • A comprehensive, no-charge “Support for the Holidays” Web site at that provides an easy, convenient starting point for support of all Microsoft products, available now through February 2002. The site also lists support options for customers outside the U.S.

  • Innovative no-charge support options, including a collection of online support Webcasts at that provide multimedia tips and guides to using Microsoft products, and online communities and newsgroups at that enable users to get free support from a global community of expert users.

  • A dedicated Web site for Xbox support at and one-click access to the Xbox user community at .

  • A completely redesigned online Support site at that provides one-click access to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base and access to software updates, Product Support Center, support Webcasts, newsgroups, Microsoft support professionals, frequently asked questions, and more. The redesigned site is already winning rave reviews from customers and independent publications including Windows 2000 Magazine.

“This holiday season, it’s all about options,” says Fingerhut. “We’re offering the broadest range of no-charge Microsoft support options ever available.”

Windows XP Includes New Help and Support Center

When customers need support with Windows XP, they can access that help right on their desktop, via the new Help and Support Center integrated into the software. With one click, customers can find comprehensive self-help resources, diagnostic tools, troubleshooting, tutorials, and assisted support services. The Help and Support Center puts the most useful tools and information in one convenient location — on the Start menu.

Customers can save links to Help information in their Favorites folder, run programs that maintain their computers’ health, and search to learn about specific topics. The search tool not only retrieves information from the Help files built into Windows XP, but also over the Internet from Microsoft’s Knowledge Base, which contains more than 250,000 articles — the same resource that Microsoft’s own support professionals use to deliver support.

Remote Assistance and Chat Provide Fast Access to Online, Assisted Support

When these self-help tools aren’t enough, Windows XP also makes it easier to get online support, via two new assisted-support features, Remote Assistance and Chat. These features, which take advantage of the new Windows Messenger integrated into Windows XP, allow users to contact a friend, co-worker or a support professional over the Internet for help.

Users can grant anyone they designate permission to access their computer remotely to directly solve the problem. The feature includes multiple security controls to protect against unauthorized access. Customers retain full control of their computers; they can watch all of the actions that their helper takes, and they can end the session at any time.

“I received outstanding technical assistance from the XP support team over the Support Chat link,” says Joe Johnson, a customer who used Remote Assistance and Chat earlier this fall to help install Windows XP on his home PC. “My support professional analyzed the problem, started a remote session, cleaned up the mess, and eliminated the errors.”

Says customer Greg Kelsoe, “This was the first time that I used the Chat support and I was very impressed with this service.” Kelsoe used the support service over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in November. “Microsoft certainly continues to be on the leading edge of technology. My support professional was patient and very helpful and had a great ‘chat-side’ manner. I was comfortable with him chatting me through my issue and excited to let him take charge of my machine and solve my problem.”

Microsoft customers have already made Remote Assistance and Chat highly popular support features, choosing them to solve more than one-third of all support queries submitted to Microsoft since Windows XP’s October 25 introduction, according to Denise Rundle, general manager for Global Support Automation at Microsoft. “The online assisted support features are also far more effective than traditional phone-based support, enabling Microsoft support professionals to solve the typical online assisted support incident in half the time of the typical phone-based incident,” Rundle says. “That means customers can get back to their holiday fun much faster.”

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