My name is Carmen Crincoli, and I am an Escalation Engineer in Microsoft’s Product Support group. Even for those intimately familiar with the typical product support experience, my title might be unknown to you. Escalation engineers are typically the end of the road for a difficult support incident before it is resolved, either from troubleshooting, or a bug being file and fixed. Specifically, I work with Microsoft’s hardware partners to help address issues with our currently supported operating systems on their platforms. This can range from an Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) with a problem with a specific device, to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) with one model of computer encountering a problem, to an Original Device Manufacturer (ODM) which may be engineering computers or devices for a whole range of companies. These partners are obviously very important because they ship more copies of Windows than Microsoft does, so ensuring Windows works well for them before they send a computer out the door is a high priority in our group.
I don’t really plan on my blog being about the product support experience however. I want to concentrate on my first true love in computers: Hardware. I know it might seem strange for someone employed at a software company to be obsessed with hardware, but what good is an OS without a platform to run it on? In my career here I have had my hands inside the whole gamut of the Windows world, from tiny SmartPhones, to barely imaginable 32 processor servers running our flagship OS, Datacenter Server. Through that time I have seen just about every kind of strange problem caused by hardware, software, and the inter-operation of the two. I plan on passing along some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned while troubleshooting, and hopefully give people out there an opportunity to ensure their PC’s are at peak health. Since I often spend a great deal of time doing my work in the kernel debugger, looking at the status of the hardware itself, you may see me refering to specs, registers, and bus behavior. I’ll try and provide links wherever possible, but I can’t always guarentee it. I’ll also try and keep some higher level information floating to the top, and explain why Windows behaves the way it does with some bits of hardware.