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How to effectively contact Microsoft?

Posted on 2016-08-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-09-22
I have an issue that I believe only Microsoft can address.  I would say it's a bug but it may be more than that.

I have a large number of computers that have been configured with firewall settings for a variety of purposes.
When recent Windows updates installed, some of the firewall setting were obliterated.  This calls for a lot of work to fix them.  It's not appreciated and viewed as damage.

Where would one go to create a meaningful input / dialog with Microsoft?
Question by:Fred Marshall
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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41775038
Here is a list of phone numbers


It may be better to use Chat. I have done this at no charge. Calling them on the phone will likely cost you for support.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Tapan Pattanaik
ID: 41775112
Hi Fred Marshall,

Please use the below link.

System will ask you for get Started--> Tell Your Problem and product which you are using--> After selecting your product you are using  and Support Category -->

You will get the for Options there
--> Call me back
--> Schedule a Call
--> Chat
--> Ask the Comunity
Need assistance with your Microsoft product:

Tapan Pattanaik
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41775406
I don't usually do this so I'm not sure if I should be surprised or not.  
My experience with other companies is that generally it's possible to enter a bug report.  
Instead I was connected to an Answer Desk.  I don't need an "answer"...
A support service was offered.  I don't need support in any normal sense.
I feel that I need to report an important bug.
So, I'm now supposed to be getting contact information for the Legal Dept.  ???
Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "damage" relating to the outcome of the current update process.  :-)
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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41775421
I suggest you start with a Chat. They can log into your machine and, if warranted, escalate the bug.
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41775465
John Hurst:

I did start with a chat.  That's where I encountered the Answer Desk.

How or why would one want to have them remote into one machine of MANY??
Am I to assume that MANY computers have a "bug".  That doesn't seem reasonable.
I remain of the opinion that the update *process* either by design or by accident is doing this.  So, I think the shoe is on the other foot.
LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41775471
I assumed that was one bug on a number of machines, so I would try from one machine with the bug.

If you have numerous bugs on numerous machine, call from the numbers posted earlier, ask for assistance and get someone, but you would probably need to pay.
LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41775474
Also, have you posted bugs here?

If so, please provide a link.

If not, post a couple and see if we can help.
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41775524
I've not heard of any such issues and between EE and about a dozen different mailing lists I'm on, some private with MS staff and other MVPs attached, I've not seen any issues like this for any Windows OS.  The proper way to do it is to open a support call.  It's expensive, but if you can prove it's a bug (they can't explain why it happened or show you documentation that it would if you did x, I've found them happy to refund the call.

If you want to post details, I'll see if some others can take a look and pass along the info.  But if you want direct feedback, call support, open a ticket, find out why it happened and how to fix it, then if it happened because of a bug, it will get escalated.

Of course, you could always set your firewall rules in a group policy and then you don't have issues like this - even if they get blown away, they are re-applied.
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41775653
Lee W:  Well, first of all, this is on a peer to peer network so a group policy isn't available is it?

Here are the details:
I set up firewall rules for WMI and, also, File and Printer Sharing to work across 3 subnets.
This is done by adding the "other two" subnets to the Remote Address Scope in addition to the default "Local Subnet".
When recent Windows 10 updates occur, the computers drop their remote subnet connections.
When I realize this has happened, I inspect the firewall rules and find the Remote Address Scope additions have been removed.

This is evidenced by file shares not being reachable from other subnets.  That includes our backup system.  So I see the results on the backups right away - which is monitored daily.

This is evidenced by our SIEM connections via WMI to stop working.  One day a workstation can be connected for monitoring and the next time we look, it's no longer connecting.  When I go through all the settings necessary for it to work, I find things are missing that *had* to be there previously.  The remote subnet scopes are the most obvious because if they aren't there, things aren't going to work.

There may be other things that are tweaked at the same time but I figure to focus on the one that I believe is clearly justified in raising.
Is this enough detail?

We've been using these settings for quite a long time and, like you, I too had never seen this happen.  But very recently indeed it's been happening.  Windows 7 was stable in this regard.  We added little experience with Windows 8 and a couple of months ago went fully into Windows 10.  Since then we've been seeing this happen.
I have no complaints about Windows 10 particularly.  All seems to be working well.  But these firewall setting deletions are disruptive and add work.
LVL 96

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 41775780
If this is something reproducible for you, contact support.  Consider taking a backup (or snapshot of a VM) and then demonstrate it to support.

Did you read EVERY KB article on the updates applied?  Perhaps this is expected behavior.  The problem is that MS is no longer really giving you the chance to read up on what an update will do (they do, but by forcing it, if you're not diligent, you don't know.

But if this isn't expected, then you contact support and demonstrate.  

I believe I said that in the past, when MS cannot demonstrate how I would have known to expect this behavior or that this behavior wasn't normal, I've ALWAYS had success requesting a refund of the call.
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41776659
Lee W: Without setting up a "field laboratory", there's no way to reproduce what's already been done by someone else.  And, even that's doubtful.  Is the environment provably the same as it was when the incident occurred?  Is the estimate of when the incident occurred correct?  Is my proposed process the same as theirs?  That's asking (and assuming) a lot.

It's not reproducible for me because I'm not doing it.

And reading every KB article isn't my role in life just to find out that the deletion of settings was intentional.  If one were to find that then that would be an altogether new discussion.  

All I want to be able to do seems normal business practice and reasonable:  
Report what appears to be a bug (not necessarily a software bug - maybe a process bug) and feel that the information has been effectively conveyed.
If what I report was intentional then they will know it (much better than I).  Perhaps they will reconsider doing that in the future.
If what I report wasn't intentional (which I suspect and hope) then they will know what to do about it.

I have never been one of those Microsoft bashers and I have no intention of starting now. Here, I have the feeling that the shoe is being put on the other foot.  The notion of asking users to put their money at risk just to satisfy a strange support model is contorted.  The notion of "if you've observed a problem then it's YOURS" ... is odd.  Well, I do understand it to a point.  If I'm doing something with one of their  products and it isn't working right then maybe I need support.  But, if I'm not doing anything but watching and I see their processes acting strangely and perhaps detrimentally then why is that MY problem to investigate and solve???  I'm not overly disposed to get sucked into that stylized scenario.

But, it appears that you did answer my question:
In order to provide feedback to Microsoft, you have to (at a minimum) pay them for the privilege and hope that maybe they'll refund the money.  If the conditions are right, they will.
I can't fault you for telling the truth even if I don't like it all that much.
LVL 26

Author Closing Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41777295
Thank you!
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41809879
If you think you deserve a refund, request it from the technician handling the case.  If they decline ask for a phone number and then speak to a human being.  As I said, I've never had a problem getting a refund when the issue is proven to be a problem with their product AND it was not PUBLICLY documented - tell them "show me how I could have known the resolution without contacting support" - if they can point you to public documentation then you didn't search well enough.  If they can't, demand a refund.  Dispute with your credit card company if you must.  And keep us apprised.
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41809901
LVL 26

Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41811402
Did you read EVERY KB article on the updates applied?  Perhaps this is expected behavior.
Well, I tried and didn't find anything very useful.  Maybe I looked in the wrong place??  What might be suggested to do this AND meet the original objective that was in mind?

I'm looking at one of the computers now.  It shows only 3 updates in its history - which really can't be!
So, I checked another.  It only shows 3 updates in its history - KB3188128, KB3176936, Update v.1607.  The first two on 9/21 and the last one on 9/20.
Interestingly, if one goes to "More Info" in Windows 10 Settings one gets: "This page doesn't exist".  So that's a dead end in this quest.
Further searching for Windows 10 Anniversary Update yields sales and marketing info but no technical info that I could find.
So it appears that Update v.1607 has wiped out all previous updates from the history.  Oh well, that's the one I suspect anyway.

Later, I did find https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12387/windows-10-update-history which appears to give as much information as one is going to get.  It's not very informative regarding what I might be looking for is it?

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