Back in the “old days” when I was on a team supporting hundreds of servers we would occasionally encounter an issue that we just couldn’t figure out. We were lucky then to have a third level team we could call who had a direct link to Microsoft for support, no questions asked, no credit card required.
We would call them up, or fill in the form on the support website, and a triage tech would call to take some information and then a tech would call. The tech would send us a link and have us download a tool that we would run on the server. The Microsoft Product Support Report Tool would run and gather up, into one tidy package, all of the many logs and settings found on the server and wrap it up ready for delivery to the tech for analysis. We would then be provided with a temporary ftp address where we would send the package. The tech would take a look, stir with whatever magic diagnostic wands they had at their disposal, and provide us with a summary of what they had found. If the results didn’t tell us exactly what the problem was it would often give us a pointer to the direction we should be looking for a possible solution.
That’s gone now.
What you have now is something equally useful and interesting. The Microsoft Support Diagnostics portal gives you pages and pages of typical items that might require diagnosis ranging from Baseline analysis, Exchange Server, IIS diagnosis, Windows Server diagnosis and almost everything else under the Microsoft sun.
So it works like this. You browse to the portal and login with your Microsoft Live ID. Now that you’re logged in browse through the pages of options to find the diagnostics selection you need. You run through the diagnostic process and upload the results. The upload is analyzed and you get feedback that gives you an idea of what is wrong and how to go about fixing it. A handy resource.