I have been working with Microsoft Enterprise Platform Support a lot lately on an issue I am experiencing. The term hot fix got thrown around, a term that I have a very strong opinion on.
First, how to obtain a Microsoft Hot Fix – go to http://www.microsoft.com/services/microsoftservices/supp.mspx and find the area that fits your current need. Call the support number, and select the option for hot fixes. Someone from Microsoft will answer; tell the support person you are calling for a hot fix. After you give your information and state your case, they send you a download link. It’s just that easy.
Why do you have to give them your information? Name, location, machine name, etc. They actually track all hot fixes, who has them, when they called, etc. Why? Cause a hot fix is a big deal, a very big deal. If you ever call in on anything else, whether related or not, they need to know if you have any hot fixes installed. And since most of us can’t remember what we had for lunch, let alone if a hot fix we installed 2 years ago, they keep track for us.
While Microsoft will indeed give you a hot fix, is it really free? Any change to the system can cause a chain reaction to other parts; these could be good, like fixing your issue. The change could also be bad, like causing other harm. I always make sure I have a good backup, one that I can actually restore from.
Why are they free? They are free because Microsoft loves you. No really, they are free because someday they will hopefully make it into a free service pack.
Should I get a hot fix? This is a very tough judgment call. I try to avoid them like I do paying taxes. If you can find a way around it, I do. Microsoft has helped me in the past avoid installing a hot fix; I just had to ask for a different solution. But, just like I do every year with my taxes, sometimes you can’t avoid installing a hot fix. I only do this as a last ditch effort.