Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 12:04 UK

Microsoft debuts 'fix it' program

Computer problems, Eyewire
Many PC problems can be very frustrating to find and fix

Microsoft has launched "Fix It" software that keeps an eye on a PC and automatically repairs common faults.

The software basically adds the automatic diagnostics system in Windows 7 to older versions of Microsoft's operating system.

The software, currently available as a trial or beta version, is intended for users of Windows XP and Vista.

The package also tries to anticipate how security updates will affect a PC before they are installed.

Bug watch

Once installed, the software gets updates about known issues with Windows or any connected devices, and regularly checks to see if a host machine has fallen victim. Once fixes become available it will tell users they are ready or attempt to apply them.

The software has onboard fixes for about 300 of the most widely encountered problems that stop Windows working as it should.

The software also maintains a list of the hardware and software on a machine so if the automatic fix does not solve a problem, it will be able to help users supply detailed information to Microsoft's support staff about what has gone wrong.

Those signing up and downloading the Fix It software can use it on several different machines.

The free software can be downloaded from Microsoft's support pages. Windows XP users wanting to use it must have Service Pack 3 for the operating system installed.

The Fix It service began in late 2008, when Microsoft began using the logo to highlight automatic fixes on its support pages that dealt with very common problems.

Anyone clicking on the logo kicked off a download that tried to fix that problem automatically.

Microsoft, like many other software firms, has built a vast database of faults and problems as technology built into Windows reports back about crashes and other bugs that machines encounter.

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