Hello and welcome

I guess that I should start by saying who I am and what I do.

My name is Mark Long (marklon@microsoft.com) and I have worked for the company for over 10 years now. Before then, I was a developer for a small independent solution vendor.

I work in customer support services (CSS) in EMEA. EMEA is the name that we use for the region that contains Europe, Africa and the Middle East although it also contains all of Scandinavia and quite a lot of the former soviet states. We handle everything south of the north pole, East of the US, West of Moscow and North of the cape of good hope. About 1/3 of the world falls in to our patch and the languages spoke include English, French, German, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Swedish, Icelandic, Arabic, Dutch, Afrikaans and over 1000 others just in Africa. We don’t have people who speak all of those languages but we can handle most of the main languages for most technologies. We have offices in Les Ulis (near Paris), Reading (near London), Munich (Bavaria), Milan (Italy), Madrid (Spain), Stockholm (Sweden) and a bunch of other places.

My team handles support cases raised by developers using the Microsoft development tools from this region. Most cases involve Visual Studio.NET and typically the sort of problem scenario that we are looking at involves multiple other technologies, some of which will be third party. I am an escalation or CPR engineer within that team.

So, what does a CPR engineer do? Well, lots of things but mainly

1.      Handle critical cases. If your business is in serious trouble because of a failure in the software then your case is critical and it will get some attention from a CPR engineer. We will work with you to get a solution. We may also involve the developers if we need to do so.  

2.      We handle hotfix requests. Some of these will be new bugs that we need to get fixed. Some will be older bugs that we need to get localised for customers who are running non-English systems. Some of these will be requests for licenses to redistribute existing hotfixes that have not yet been released as part of a service pack.

3.      We assist other engineers. CPR engineers tend to have a lot of experience (read “We are all old”) and we have quite a lot of experience in solving cases. We share the love whenever we can. Sometimes we assist each other. No-one knows everything and sometimes it can be valuable to get another engineer to look at a problem

4.      We debug stuff. We spend a lot of time doing that. Our main tool of choice is WinDbg which is a low level debugger available at the great price of zip, ziltch and nothing. You can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx. It is not the easiest tool in the world to use until you get used to it but it is amazingly powerful and you can watch the code running instruction by instruction, look at any part of the process memory and generally poke around with low level stuff.


As a result, we work with our developers quite a lot, normally in our sustained engineering teams. If you would like to learn about them, I would suggest that you have a look at the blog of my esteemed friend and colleague, Tony Pacheco at http://blogs.technet.com/tonypa

So, when we get a support case, our goal is to find a solution. I will talk about the sort of solutions that we typically reach in a later blog. However, it would probably be helpful to look at a typical case so that will be the topic of my next blog.

Until then

Signing off... Mark

The views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of Microsoft Corp.

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