Vol. 23, #32 - August 13, 2018 - Issue #1194

WServerNews: What has happened to tech support?

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Editor's Corner

Earlier this week I was browsing through recent posts on the Microsoft Tech Community website to see what I could "learn from experts" as the site's home page says in its subtitle. If you use Microsoft software and services but you're not familiar with Microsoft Tech Community you should take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the site:


Being basically a sponge when it comes to trying to soak up technical knowledge, I enjoy browsing through posts on sites like this. It kinda reminds me of the 90s when I used to get a box in the mail each month from Microsoft. The box contained the CDs for my monthly TechNet subscription, and the result was endless hours of fun by popping that month's Knowledge Base CD into my PC so I could read all the new KB articles that had appeared that month for the Microsoft products I worked with. 

Anyways, what struck me this time when I visited the Microsoft Tech Community was this post:

Why I will never buy another windows machine. Microsoft Case Nr 1435885127


In it the poster tells how he tried to use the Microsoft Store to upgrade his machine from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional but he ended up with a non-functional Windows 10 Enterprise instead. He comments as follows about his experience trying to resolve his problem with Microsoft Support: 

"Their employees seem totally disengaged, no one seems to care. I can not begin to tell you how different my experience is with Apple employees. They solve the problems and follow up."

If that doesn't sound bad enough, someone replied to the original post with a transcript of his live chat session with Microsoft Support trying to resolve a case involving a problem with Office 365. If you read the transcript you'll find the support person repeatedly expressing empathy for the user by saying things like "I understand this is super frustrating" and "I completely understand I know this can be frustrating" and "I'm very sorry about this whole mess, I'm sure it's incredibly frustrating" and so on. 

Now I don't know about you but I don't appreciate this kind of a response from a tech support person. When I use some of my precious valuable time to open and pursue a support case for a problem I'm experiencing, I don't want a therapist trying to echo my feelings, I wantsupport that's concise and technical. I'm not on the phone to try and make friends with someone at helpdesk, I want my problem taken seriously and dealt with clinically. 

And that's exactly what I've gotten over the years when I've contacted the support desk of software vendors like Microsoft and hardware vendors like HP and Dell. Most of my tech support experiences with these companies have been positive. Some have even been outstanding, especially when the support person was female. 

Fortunately the problems I can't fix myself usually get escalated pretty quickly to Tier 2 after my initial call to Tier 1 support, and I've used various tricks over the years to escalate my case more quickly to a higher level if the support person I'm dealing with doesn't seem to know much.

But these recent stories on Microsoft Tech Community worry me because they suggest that Tier 1 helpdesk staff are receiving too much sensitivity training and not enough technical training. Have any of you experienced something similar happening with Microsoft or other vendors you deal with? And do you have any tricks of your own for pushing helpdesk to escalate your problem to someone who can actually give you some help? Send your comments, stories, and suggestionss to me at [email protected] to share your expertise with half a million other IT pros around the world. 

And please tell others about WServerNews. Thanks!


Tip of the Week

Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Export SCCM task sequences to Excel

The TechNet Gallery has a couple of nifty Windows PowerShell scripts you can use to export your ConfigMgr task sequences to Excel:



Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without 

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Win a free ticket to VMworld 2018 – Veeam gives away full conference passes to 10 lucky winners! 


Using VMware or Hyper-V? Grab your FOREVER Free copy of Altaro VM Backup!


Spybot +AV is the all-in-one anti-malware, anti-spyware and antivirus software solution:


Highcharts makes it easy for developers to set up interactive charts in their web pages:


Everything lets you locate files and folders by name instantly:




Ask Our Readers - Office 365 client crashes sending large attachments (a response)

Last week we shared a question from Albert in Ontario, Canada that arose from a previous issue of our newsletter that dealt with Office 365

Regarding Office 365, a client of mine has had real problems since migrating to O365 because they send a lot of emails with large attachments. The Outlook client just plain crashes if the user tries to do something after pressing "send" on an email with a large attachment or if they see something come into their box and the attachment is not yet fully downloaded, they also crash.

Microsoft has said that they are throttling the overall tenant to 10Mb and that this is the cause of the problem (no resolution after a dozen calls). They said this "might change" in the future. The customer is now considering to move their email back in-house (it was on Domino before) to an Exchange server.

So...noticing the article on O365 throttling on send queues, I looked through that blog but could not find anything on general throttling for the tenant as a whole and if there are any settings built in that could be changed (most likely if anything, something not exposed through the O365 admin UI).

Anyone else have this problem and were they successful getting past it?

A reader named Bob responded though not to the throttling issue but concerning the problem of sending large attachments by recommending as follows:

I train our users to put the attachment into a folder that is OneDrive enabled. Then they can share a link to the file and then the sharing email is rather small.

Which just goes to show of course that many if not most technical problems can be solved by focusing on the user instead of the technology.


Ask Our Readers - Need good PDF compression software (a response)

A couple of weeks ago we shared this email we received from a systems administrator named Susan in Minnesota, USA: 

Due to process changes in the company, we now have a lot of users scanning and saving PDF documents, and as you can imagine, they're chewing up space at a fast rate. I've been looking into options, but thought another tech might know of a good PDF compression software we could use. Something that could run as a scheduled task that I wouldn't have to babysit would be awesome. Looking for opinions and options.

John, a Systems Administrator for a security company based in Massachusetts, USA responded as follows:

We have had the same issue with PDF Files and do not have any PDF Compression Software but have found a solution. We tested various settings in the PDF Software and or PDF Printer Driver to get the best viewable and printable image with the smallest size. Usually 200dpi or smaller will work fine, Gray Scale if you still want some Color but don't need to save or Print all of the Colors and if available use the Compression built into the PDF Software or PDF Driver. Test your settings and then add the PDF Printers to the Users or change the Defaults in the PDF Software.

That's probably more a workaround than a solution though it could still be helpful. But we'll leave Susan's question open in case any more of our newsletter readers can offer a better suggestion. Email me at [email protected]

Book Corner

>> Have you written and/or published a book you'd like us to review? Send us a free copy and we'll review it in an upcoming issue of WServerNews! For more info contact us at [email protected]

Windows Server 2016 Automation with PowerShell Cookbook, Second Edition (Packt)

This book by IT veteran Thomas Lee lets you quickly and easily use Windows PowerShell to automate common administrative tasks in environments running Windows Server 2016. The book consists of a series of concise and to the point chapters dealing with management of Nano Server, WSUS, Hyper-V, IIS, networking, performance, backup, and more. Each chapter provides easy-to-follow recipes  for using PowerShell to perform various management tasks you can perform with PowerShell scripts. For example, Chapter 3 Managing Windows Updates covers the topics installing Windows Server Update Services, configuring WSUS update synchronization, configuring the Windows Update client, creating computer target groups, configuring WSUS auto-approvals, and managing updates. For each of these topics the author shows how to construct a script that will accomplish the desired task, and he often includes sample command-line output to show what different cmdlets do in the script. You do need to have some basic PowerShell competency though to be able to benefit from this book. For example, you should know something about PowerShell syntax and remoting as well as familiarity with Active Directory and WMI. The key take away though is that with some basic PowerShell competency you can customize the scripts in the book to meet the management needs of your environment. Buy the book here:



Factoid - What old programs are you still using on Windows 10?

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

Why do some people throw away old PCs instead of recycling them?

We did receive one response to this question from a reader named Doug but we're not publishing it because it's political in nature and we try to keep a distance from such stuff in our newsletter so we won't offend any of our readers on the left or right (or bottom or top for that matter). I'll leave you with a hint though: it has to do with emails :-P

And two weeks ago we asked this question:

Does rebranding have any value?

I cited the rebranding of Office 365 as Microsoft 365 as an example, and a reader in the UK named Kris corrected me:

Hi Mitch, I was reading your latest newsletter and then coincidentally ran into this article while researching a different issue:


The article on TechConnect that Kris cites is called FAQ: Microsoft 365 explained. The article explains that Microsoft 365 is a bundle consisting of user-based licenses for Windows 10 and Office 365 plus some management tools. So maybe strictly speaking Microsoft hasn't actually rebranded Office 365 as Microsoft 365, but my thinking is that they might be heading that way in the future and the bundling is merely the first step in this. Expect to see Microsoft 365 receiving greater prominence in Microsoft marketing while Office 365 slowly passes from their marketing vocabulary. Or so it may turn out in a few years. What do you think? Email me at [email protected]

Now let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Most people in Brazil find it easier to throw away old PC hardware than to recycle it.

Source: The following story was sent to us by Howard from Brazil:

"When I arrived in Brazil in 1999, I started working in a shop downtown to keep busy doing something until I could establish my brand here. The shop did recycling and reselling old unwanted stuff. I walked in the door, made a deal with the owner to take all the computers in pieces I could find and make working units the store could sell back to the public. In that time, there were lots of old 386s which I was very familiar with, and I learned allot of about the brands and equipment sold here. I had a good time! I had a brilliant idea (or so I thought). I stuck free ads in different international online forums (including AOL, etc.) and garage sale list advertising that I would take all your old computer related throwaways and make them working again and donate them to charity and schools. At this time, computers were too expensive for the schools here and they'd be happy to receive them. I would also be developing my reputation and brand as the Computer Doctor. I never got a single response. I concluded people did not care, it's too easy to throw away and buy new without thinking of the consequences or helping others."

Question: Why do you think people act this way?

Email your answer to [email protected]


Conference calendar

North America

>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

SharePoint Fest -- Aug 20-24 in Seattle, Washington USA


VMworld -- Aug 26-30 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA


Microsoft Ignite -- September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA


IT/Dev Connections -- Oct 15-18 in Dallas, Texas USA




>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

VMworld Europe -- Nov 5-8 in Barcelona, Spain


Cybersecurity Leadership Summit -- Nov 12-14 in Berlin, Germany


European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference -- Nov 26-29 in Copenhagen, Denmark




>> Got an IT conference happening in Australia or Asia that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

No conferences listed at present.


New on TechGenix.com

Cloud migration: Yes, there's always some measure of risk involved

Moving to the cloud has real benefits. Yet as this story illustrates, risk is something you can never eliminate entirely when dealing with cloud migration.


Avoid traffic jams with Microsoft's Windows Server QoS Policy

What happens when different forms of network traffic compete with each other? To prevent such congestion from occurring on your network try implementing QoS Policy.


If not now, when? Taking your IT career to the next level

Feeling stuck or bored in your job? You can stay there and be miserable or you can look for a new challenge. Here's advice from those who have made a change.


HOW TO: Ways to fix Outlook error 'cannot open your default email folders'

The Outlook error "cannot open your default email folders" is more than annoying, it is a productivity killer. Here's some ways to fix it.


Exchange Web Services to no longer get feature updates, Basic Authentication to be decommissioned

Microsoft says there will be no more updates to Exchange Web Services. Here's what's behind the decision and the impact on EWS users.



Fun videos from Flixxy


Magic Japanese Style - Taijyu Fujiyama

Taijyu Fujiyama performs magic in classical japanese style for the television show 'Penn and Teller - Fool Us':


Bicycle Acrobatics - Troupe Hebei - The World's Greatest Cabaret

The acrobats of the Hebei Troupe perform their amazing bicycle acrobatics at the French television show 'The World's Greatest Cabaret.'


Dog Dance World Championship - Freestyle

Ludmila Eibogina and her border collie Larry wow the judges and audience with their captivating routine at the Dog Dance World Championships 2018:


Rescued Goose Refuses To Leave The Guy Who Saved Her Life

Mike Jivanjee, of Oregon, rescued a young gosling and she's been by his side ever since:



 More articles of Interest

Manage Switch Embedded Teaming in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V

You can create and manage a Switch Embedded Team in Hyper-V using just a few PowerShell commands, but there are specific requirements and limitations you should be aware of.


VMware's strategy includes container integration, VM management

Containers have grown in popularity, but containers and VMs aren't an either/or proposition. VMware aims to integrate PKS with vSphere so customers can use both instance types.


Four mobile app testing tools for enterprise developers

App testing ensures that users have a good experience with a mobile app and searches out bugs. Tools make it easy to integrate this process as part of mobile app development.


How to create a VDI test deployment with VMware Workstation

It's a good idea for IT pros to test out their VDI deployment before they move users to virtual desktops. They can use VMware Workstation to do just that.




Need help from the IT pro community?

WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected]


Send us your feedback!

>> Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]


WServerNews - Product of the Week

Get #1 granular recovery Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots


Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots lets you perform granular recovery for VMware vSphere VMs directly from the world’s leading storage vendors: HPE, Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM & Lenovo. Avoid human errors during mounting snapshots and make it in 10x time faster compared to manual processes. 

Download Free.

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.