Obtaining a hot-fix from Microsoft is far from easy, even if you work for the software giant. That's what Microsoft Developer Solutions group manager Josh Ledgard discovered when he tried to obtain a software patch for Visual Studio 2005 to correct performance problems he was experiencing.
The subsequent trail of woe - documented in full by Ledgard in a blog posting here - saw him embark on a four and half hour odyssey of poor online customer support. At points during the journey, Ledgard was erroneously asked to submit credit card data and forced to deal with broken links, incomplete advice, and failed downloads. The problem took 260 minutes to resolve from start to finish and an estimated 90 minutes of Ledgard's time, not including the time it took to write-up his problems.
Hopefully Steve Ballmer won't see the article since Ledgard writes that he was only able to find the Microsoft knowledge base article relevant to his problem using arch-rival Google's search engine.
It's only fair to point out that Ledgard's colleagues who called up Microsoft product support were able to resolve the same issue within 30 minutes. Still, the frustrations experienced by Ledgard give a salutary lesson that Microsoft's online product support is mediocre, at best, and will surely strike a chord with many long-suffering sys admins.
As Reg reader TJ (who we're grateful for giving us the heads up on Ledgard's hot-fix woes) notes; "I wonder how many don't apply hotfixes simply because of the hoops and turns we have to go through online." ®