Is there a Microsoft service where you have them help you develop a program?

I have this really tough nut to crack. I need to write a program that will configure secure wireless connections without user interaction. These may be username / password or certificate based connections. This will need to work on XP SP3, Vista, 7, and 8.

Anyway I have been working on this for weeks and made some progress on Vista, but have hit a brick wall. I have also tried testing some of this on Windows XP and none of it works at all.

This is all dealing with a system Microsoft wrote and very poorly documented. I am googling some things that get like 6 or 7 hits on google grand total. When was the last time you had queries like that? Let alone having stuff like that happen regularly. I have been asking in various technical forums and nobody can help me.

So why not ask the people who actually came up with this system I am supposed to use. I have done some looking so far I haven’t found anything like “Pay us for our expertise and we will solve your development issue”.

I know some people at MS post here, so where is the “start page” for me to formally ask MS for help?

I haven’t looked, but the first place I’d think of looking is the MSDN site and see what’s available there or if it can point you to a community that might be able to help.

Microsoft Services perhaps? For mid-market IT or for developers?

Now, even that might not be immediately helpful – the Contact Us page North America link just gives Microsoft’s main phone number and address, which is weird. And the fees may be transcendentally exorbitant – they certainly aren’t publicly visible, so you’ll have to find someone in Microsoft Services to talk to, and then see whether what you’re looking at is anything they can cope with. It may well not be, I have no idea.

The people who invented much of this stuff (particularly the XP-era stuff) may or may not still be with Microsoft, and if they do they are scattered throughout the company by now. So it’s not guaranteed that MSFT has full legacy knowledge here internally, let alone in the services team.

There’s also the Microsoft MVP community (of external consultants who’ve made a career in the MSFT ecosystem), but I don’t have links for them at the moment.

I am not even sure whether what you are proposing is theoretically or practically possible on all those OSes, FWIW…

I would imagine it starts with a service contract, which is going to be very (highlight, bold, italicise, etc that word) expensive.

I have been posting on the MSDN forums asking for help there, but I do not get any responses. Maybe Ill have to start asking on those forums for references to some kind of paid MS service to help me find the answers.

If your company has a contract with MS isn’t it possible to just call up MS and speak to engineers with technical questions?

I hate when you have a really cool question, and theres nobody on the internet with a answer, and theres only 2 or 3 hits on the internet (or zero) that are useless.

(Link is not related)
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/

The question is what number or email address to use? I suppose I could start at the front desk by calling their 1-800-number which is what Ill do if I do not find a more direct route to the department I need to talk to.

If you have an MSDN subscription, look at your MSDN info for how to initiate a support incident. From there, if your stuff is larger in scope than what they can support, they’ll steer you into their paid services stuff.

In my experience with them (trying to figure out why our IIS server kept flaking out in a particular way), they didn’t have any real super-magic insights, but you can definitely get them talking.

RepoMan linked to the right spot, developer support. Check with the management of your organization to see if it has a Prem support contract and if so if you can have permission to open a case through that channel.

The other possibility is if you’re working for an ISV. Then check this: http://www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices/en/us/partner_advantage.aspx and click the ISV link.

I don’t have much insight into specifics of developer support but since the subject came up here’s an overview of technical support options:

Microsoft support is split into several layers. First layer is free, publicly available info like TechNet, MSDN, KB articles, forums, and official blogs. Second is consumer support but of course this doesn’t match.

Beyond that is business support which is further split into tiers. First tier is called Professional (aka Pro) support which is a flat fee. I think a lot of support tickets opened with a MSDN subscription land there, although possibly on support teams devoted to MSDN tickets… not too familiar with that tier.

Tier 2 and higher are “Premium” (aka Prem) support typically for mid to large organizations with a support contract. Prices vary based on contract and are billed hourly rather than flat fees. Premier contracts also have personnel at MS who monitor the relationship between MS and the customer to help ensure things are going smoothly.

But even if you have access to a contract I wonder how long it’d take to get traction when working with what sounds like a very esoteric subject.

Oh, btw you’re all out of luck on Win XP support from MS because Mainstream support for Win XP (finally!) ended April 8th. You’d need to pay extra to get support for XP right now and if you’re in a company that’ll do that instead of investing in upgrades to 7 I suggest considering a new job.

i can vouch for the Premier service. We’ve pitched some pretty esoteric stuff at them and they’ve been very responsive, usually getting back with an answer ( the right answer, yay!) within a day or two. Our rep stickhandles most of this, so we don’t need to worry about which path to take. Surprisingly, this is one service MS absolutely gets right.

DeepT, it might be worthwhile asking tolwyn to PM you their MS rep’s details so he can put you in you in touch with his local counterpart. Might be quicker than trying other means.

Ok, Ill do that. One of my messages got picked up by some Microsoft people in the forums and they have directed me to [email protected]. That doesn’t seem to be working out. I still haven’t gotten to express my problem to they yet and it seems they are more like sales support or something. They are asking me about things like competing products and what product versions I am having issues with. None of which is relevant to my problem.

On that site that was linked, the Premier Support page, I didn’t see a contact or a way to get started with it. However Ill PM tolwyn about it.