This blog continues on from part one and part two of my Microsoft Exchange nightmare…

Thursday morning

I received a call at 8am, which I to be fair, ignored. They said 9am and I really couldn’t deal with getting stuck on a support call as I had to shoot to a meeting. I’d also dialled into the system and saw a mailbox that had moved into the quarantine and around 8.30am I watched as the mailbox store went offline. I began to dread what was going to happen next.

Luckily, it restored and came back to life. As I had a meeting to go to so I asked them to call back in the afternoon.

Thursday afternoon

I eventually spoke to a new chap, I asked the question “are you a second or third line technician” the answer was “yes” I was expecting a little more qualification, but hey we live in a multinational global village these days and not everyone understands what I’m expecting implicitly to hear, like which level they actually are, so I decided to let that one slide.

I started having my doubts about this guy when after a while I got the impression he didn’t know what Exchange quarantine is and suspecting the virus checker. The quarantine works on a mailbox level – if there’s a mailbox that’s taking the whole Exchange database or datastore out of action, it can close off that particular faulty mailbox to save operability for all users. This is what was actually causing the fluttering effect I had.

I humoured him for a while, but we started getting into the inner workings of my virus checker and the exclusions in there for the Exchange database. I had never set these before – never needed to, over 12 months of operation no problem. I pointed this out and that I only had a problem when the database crash occurred. It became clear that the person the end of the phone wasn’t listening or wasn’t capable of understanding.

The exclusions in Vipre antivirus were actually pretty good – they used a wildcard, so “?” to signify drive letter, which meant as long as you kept the Exchange folder path that it creates by default, no matter what drive you put the store on, it would be excluded. It was fine. However I was being told to put new exclusions in place because he didn’t understand what a wildcard was. This to me had nothing to do with my problems, never did and never will.

I lost it.

There was only so much of my time I could waste. This was supposed to be a senior guy. I pointed out he clearly didn’t know what he was doing and my problem was the New-MailboxRepairRequest tool – quarantine mailboxes was no longer an issue for me. I pointed out that I opened the call on this basis and still did not have an answer.

There was several holds and pauses on the call. He eventually came back to me and I said there was no point getting myself further wound up, he clearly could not comprehend what I was asking, nor could I understand him. I’d put it in writing and raise a complaint as I don’t think my support call had been handled properly start to finish and wasn’t worth using a credit for.

Thursday afternoon (later)

I’ve learnt a few things about Microsoft in the last week. Number one, they are worse than Cisco in that nobody works for the company and number two, their support is worse than what you’d get out of a savvy Microsoft partner or IT manager.

I tried to raise a complaint. Twitter, no go really, just consumer stuff.

I called the Reading office phone number and got through to a British guy in Germany, turns out he was from Cumbria originally and we and a good chat. Anyway, I got the listening.co.uk email address for complaints that was run by Serco, that well-loved company along the lines of Capita and G4S because we all love those companies.

Anyway, decided I’d call the switchboard, the Serco staff told them of my issue all they could do is escalate my issue. They did – but to the same people in India. My support request is sort of sat there with no movement given I’ve kicked up a complaint, I ultimately have nowhere to complain to. Microsoft has few open doors.

I am still really annoyed that the support team that should be there for IT professionals just isn’t good enough. I just feel sad for Microsoft more than anything. There is clearly a horrible part of this whole scenario where bugs are not being sent back to Microsoft or even investigated because of the perverse way they’re paying their outsourcers for support.

If they have no or a poor payment route for bugs or are incentivised not to put things down as bugs all they’re doing is making unsatisfied customers, at best. At worst the crucial feedback that Microsoft’s own developers need is not getting back to the people who need it. Quality of Microsoft products will undoubtedly suffer moving forward.

Not surprisingly after my week, I was not too well. I wasn’t going to be working late again.

Friday

So the brain kicks back into action. And, well, the thing is, I do know a few people in the IT business and a couple of them work for Microsoft so I sent out a few messages and we’ll see where we go from there.

I tried to have a bit of a rest from Exchange databases and trying to ponder the eternal question why the New-MailboxRepairRequest tool doesn’t complete either on a corrupt or fresh database properly.

The weekend approaches and I have to migrate all the other mailboxes to the new database, just in case.

Would be nice if I could know this one thing… why does the New-MailboxRepairRequest tool not work properly?

 Update

After Beer O’Clock (and publishing this blog) on Friday 6.10pm I recieve a Washington number calling me.  I had no contact from Microsoft all day given I’d asked twice to raise an official complaint.  I didn’t bother answering as I knew what was coming.  I get an email shortly after from a Mr Manager (seriously, that’s what the email says, I’ll leave his firstname for anonymity, which is most likely his surname by the looks of it in the email “Firstname Manager” he announces himself as – you can’t make this stuff up.  I think I shall call it Inglish and see the funny side).

Still seems as if the late night teams serving the USA are dealing with my case and not the ones dealing with the UK time zone.  Anyway, they wanted to arrange a time to speak to me and continue working on the case.  I pointed out they hadn’t read my email and reiterated again I wanted to raise a complaint.

They do not seem willing or capable to respond to things in writing, I must have documented everything and yet when you get someone calling you they always start afresh and confused.  Oh the joys.  I’ve also noted something rather more troubling going on too… At least there’s probably going to be a part four to the blog coming…

Anyhoo, I said it was after beer o’clock, I’m actually ill so I’m having a cup of tea.  Microsoft has literally made me sick and I still have a stack of migrations to begin…

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