This is NOT the typical Microsoft bashing rant, nor is it intended to be.  Indeed, the 500 pound gorilla from Redmond, for all its faults and flaws, was instrumental in developing the tech revolution during the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s.

That history has helped to give Microsoft the stellar rep that it currently enjoys with novices.  And that’s the problem I saw recently when a friend called me and said one of his add-ons was missing (it was WOT, a link trustworthiness checker.)Microsoft Fix It

So I fired up my team viewer RA and took a look at his problem.

Come to find out the add-on had been disabled, and further that the Microsoft Fix It Center utility ( recommended disabling it “to speed up IE”.

Disclosure:  I’m a ‘nix kind of guy and not a Windows user and not a Windows fan, nevertheless as I said this is not intended to be a Microsoft bashing frenzy.  Browser wars and OS wars are a waste of time to debate.  The OS and browser you use is just a matter of personal preference.  I happen to prefer ‘nix and FF, but I’m not about to argue my preference is “better” than someone else’s.

My main caution with Microsoft Fix It, and other utilities of that kind, is directed to novices.  Very often these utilities have a “recommended” remark, and novices take this as “gospel”, especially if it’s from Microsoft.

Experienced users can and do make their own judgment.

But, my friend, who is a novice, commented that “If it’s from Microsoft, I just assumed it was right even though I had no idea what I was doing.”

(Of course I advised him that the Microsoft logo can be a fake sometimes.)

But my overriding concern is that, even if it’s a legitimate Microsoft product (which Fix It is), novices take it as something cast in stone.

In the example I detailed above, with my friend, it led to him disabling an add-on that enhanced his security (Disclosure #2:  I installed the add-on for him.) . . . and he did it because “Microsoft” said to do it (even though he had no idea what he was doing.)

So my message to novices:  Check with an experienced user BEFORE you take a Microsoft “recommended” action if you have no idea what it’s going to do.