Chris De Herrera's Windows CE Website

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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
 All Rights Reserved
A member of the Talksites Family of Websites

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My Perspective:
Getting Technical Support for Windows CE
(As Published in Enterprise Solutions for Microsoft Windows CE)
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000      [email protected]

 Version 1.00  Revised 3/27/2000

All Trademarks are owned by their respective companies

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Where to get technical support is a very common question for Windows CE users and Information Systems staff alike. Finding technical support for using Windows CE in the enterprise has been a challenge. Although Microsoft offers free support for their applications and end user operating systems, Windows CE is different than the rest of the consumer software. Microsoft does not offer free technical support for Windows CE operating system or applications. This article will help clarify how to prepare for a support call, who offers technical support, and how to contact your manufacturer and Microsoft. Also, you will find additional support sources you can research on the Internet listed as well.

Gathering Information

It has been my experience that most users are not prepared to answer basic questions about their problem. It is best that users be prepared to answer the following questions prior to contacting your manufacturer for support. The following questions will assist you in describing the problem and the support staff in understanding your problem.

Your PC Companion's model number and serial number and date of purchase Software installed on your PC Companion Your desktop PC operating system version Type of connection for synchronization Version of ActiveSync or Windows CE Services Description of what you are trying to do Description of the problem or error message and what occurred

Gathering this information prior to contacting your manufacturer make resolving your problem faster and easier. You will find answers to common questions and problems in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. You can search the knowledge base at http://search.support.microsoft.com/kb/c.asp?fr=0&sa=gn&lng=eng

Who can I contact for Support?

You need to contact the manufacturer of your PC Companion for assistance in resolving your problem. Your manufacturer agreed with Microsoft to offer technical support for your PC Companion. Microsoft does not offer free technical support for Windows CE. You can contact them for $35.00 per incident at (800) 936-5700. Microsoft can only assist users with questions about their Windows CE software. For hardware questions, please contact your manufacturer.

Please see the Manufacturer's Contact Information sidebar for a quick reference of the current manufacturers of PC Companions.

Manufacturer Support Options
Manufacturer E-Mail Telephone
Casio [email protected] (888) 204-7786
Compaq [email protected] (800) 652-6672
Hewlett-Packard not available (970) 635-1000
IBM not available (800) 772-2227
NEC [email protected] (800) 632-4525
Sharp [email protected] (800) BE SHARP
Vadem [email protected] (888) GO VADEM

Other Support Options

Your support options include posting questions on microsoft.public.windowsce newsgroup (news server msnews.microsoft.com), visiting keyword Windows CE on AOL or visiting the MSN Windows CE Forum at http://computingcentral.msn.com/topics/windowsce/default.asp. This newsgroup is where other users and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional volunteers will assist you with your question. Other websites offer message boards where you can ask questions about Windows CE include pocketpcfaq.com, HPC.Net,  and Smaller.com. These support options work well for basic and common questions.

Websites Offering Technical Information

If you want to do your own research, While there are many websites that offer information on Windows CE, very few offer technical information. For FAQs (frequently asked questions), I recommend that you visit my website, www.pocketpcfaq.com, which is the most complete set of FAQs on Windows CE. You will also find Microsoft's Uplink (Removed by Microsoft) site which has Howto articles and tips to be helpful for Palm-size PC owners as well. Other helpful sites include Craig Peacock's Website,   Windows CE Knowledge Center, Official Microsoft.Public.Windows CE FAQ, and Mike's Palm-size PC FAQ.

Conclusion

If you need basic assistance with your PC Companion, I recommend that you contact your manufacturer, read the FAQs and Howtos or post a message in the forums listed above. For more complex questions including implementing infrastructure changes to support Windows CE, I recommend that you contact Microsoft support for the application or system you are connecting to. Clearly Microsoft should consider offering technical support for all Windows CE questions, including integrating Windows CE into the enterprise. The current model places responsibility for all support on the manufacturer. From what I have seen, the manufacturers do a good job at answering basic questions. They are not equipped to address implementation strategies for Windows CE or resolving interoperability problems with other systems. Although this process is not as simple as it could be, it does offer multiple options for users and Information Systems Staff to ask questions and resolve problems.

You can to Enterprise Solutions for Microsoft Windows CE, a free quarterly publication for qualified users.


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