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Microsoft Offers Free Vista SP1 Support

Microsoft offers partners free phone support for Vista service pack 1, while other Vista SP1 users can obtain free SP1 help via email and live chat.

Windows

Free phone support for Vista SP1 is available to members of Microsoft's Partner Program, TechNet, MSDN, and Software Assurance subscribers, and signees of professional contracts, according to Microsoft's Help And Support website.

Brandon LeBlanc, a spokesperson for the Windows Vista team, says all users with PCs running Vista are eligible for free support. "You have a variety of options you can choose for support -- all of which will NOT cost you any support fee. I repeat: Support for SP1 will NOT cost you anything -- as long as you choose the correct option for support," he wrote late last week on the Vista team blog.

Microsoft says it will respond to users of its free email support option within one business day, but the wait time for the free live chat support was listed as over 60 minutes as of Monday afternoon Pacific time. The Website also notes that phone support wait times "will vary."

Ron Perkes, vice president of product marketing at Tangent, a Burlingame, Calif.-based system builder, says resellers usually prefer that their customers contact them directly for support, but he welcomes the move as a means of allaying users' fears over migrating to Vista.

"It's really a mechanism for providing comfort for those who've made the decision to go to Vista, but I don't expect there will be a stampede to Microsoft's tech support lines," said Perkes.

Offering free support to customers downloading service packs is standard procedure for Microsoft, a spokesperson for the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said in an email.

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