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Microsoft Support Policy on Hardware Not On Windows NT HCL

Last reviewed: August 11, 1997
Article ID: Q142865
The information in this article applies to:
  • Microsoft Windows NT operating system version 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server version 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation versions 3.5, 3.51, and 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server versions 3.5, 3.51, and 4.0

SUMMARY

Microsoft provides the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for Windows NT products because Windows NT requires greater control of the hardware (when you compare it with other operating systems such as MS-DOS and Windows) for security, stability and efficiency reasons. This in turn implies a deeper knowledge and utilization on the part of the operating system of the computer hardware. Small incompatibilities and differences from industry standards of that hardware can have an adverse effect on the stability of the Windows NT operating system. For more information on Windows NT and hardware, please see the Windows NT Hardware Compatibility whitepaper in the September 1995 edition of Microsoft TechNet.

MORE INFORMATION

A hardware device is unsupported if it is not listed on the HCL. Microsoft follows the guidelines and troubleshooting steps listed below on non-HCL equipment support issues:

Step 1 : Hardware Configuration Inquiry

  1. The Microsoft support engineer asks about the hardware configuration.

  2. If the hardware device is not on the Windows NT HCL, the engineer informs the customer that 1 incident is charged from the customer's service agreement (prior to troubleshooting).

  3. Upon agreement, the engineer proceeds to Step 2 below. Microsoft does not guarantee a solution in cases with non-HCL devices.

  4. If there is no agreement, where the customer feels that an incident should not be charged, the engineer proceeds to Step 3 below.

Step 2 : Troubleshooting

A standard troubleshooting process is used to isolate the cause of the problem. The following lists some of the resources and steps that the Microsoft support engineers uses, which is also available to you:

  • Microsoft Knowledge Base is available to customers through Microsoft TechNet and Microsoft World Wide Web (WWW) site at:

          http://www.microsoft.com/kb/default.asp
    
  • Determine if the problem occurs on supported hardware device.
  • Check hardware and/or driver configuration by removing unsupported (or suspected) components (for example: adapter cards and video cards). Issues that relate to unsupported systems and motherboards cannot be approached in this fashion.

During the course of troubleshooting, if the problem is isolated to a non-HCL device, the engineer proceeds to Step 3 below and closes the call (incident).

If there is no solution to the problem, the engineer explains the reason and recommends constructive alternatives, such as one or all of the following:

  • The engineer offers the phone and Bulletin Board Service (BBS) number for the motherboard, adapter card or other device manufacturer, if available, so that the customer can ask for troubleshooting suggestions and possible updated third-party drivers.
  • The engineer may recommend that the customer request the hardware vendor to attempt the installation of Windows NT on the system or configure it in such a way that Windows NT becomes stable and functional.
  • The engineer informs the customer of BIOS or firmware updates. Some information on the update is available in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Step 3 : Alternative Resources

Enterprise Customer Unit (ECU) policy, in regards to a Windows NT failure related to Non-HCL hardware, is for the engineer to fax the following two Knowledge Base articles to the customer:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q163003
   TITLE     : Compatibility Tool for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Available

   ARTICLE-ID: Q126690
   TITLE:      Windows NT 4.0 Setup Troubleshooting Guide

   -or-

   ARTICLE-ID: Q139733
   TITLE     : Windows NT 3.5x Setup Troubleshooting Guide

Alternatively, the engineer can provide information on the location of the same file(s) and where they can be downloaded (Microsoft WWW server, FTP server, and Microsoft Download Library). If the customer elects to bypass Step 2 (does not wish to be charged for 1 incident), then the customer may attempt to resolve the issue without charge using the troubleshooting documents mentioned above. If the customer wishes to proceed with an incident charge even after completing Step 2, the engineer can inform the customer of the Microsoft Consulting Line at (800) 936-1565.

Server Down or Data Loss Issues

There is a possibility that an installation or upgrade of the Windows NT operating system on unsupported hardware results in loss of some operating system functionality or data. In cases where the previous operating system has been Windows NT or another Microsoft operating system (such as MS-DOS, Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, OS/2 1.3), the engineer determines if the issue is a problem with the operating system or non-HCL hardware related. If the problem is the operating system, the engineer will file a report and evaluate the problem to provide a fix. The engineer will also attempt to recover the system.

If the problem is related to hardware incompatibility, the customer will need to restore the previous operating system and data from backup. If the customer does not have a backup of the previous operating system, the support engineer will assist the customer in installing only the previous, working operating system. This does not include other drive file structures, data or security, or any other previous operating system settings. The engineer will then refer the customer to the Microsoft Consulting Line for any further file structure (not data) recovery, domain configuration (user accounts, trust, shares, printers, replication) recovery, as applicable.

In cases where the previous operating system is not a Microsoft operating system (for example: Power PC system with AIX, OS/2 or Macintosh operating system), Microsoft cannot assist customers in the recovery of their system. Requisite knowledge and experience to perform recovery on non- Microsoft operating systems do not exist in Microsoft Product Support Services.

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Additional query words: 4.00 prodnt
Keywords : ntgeneral nthw
Version : WinNT:3.1,3.5,3.51,4.0
Platform : winnt
Issue type : kbtshoot


THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.

Last reviewed: August 11, 1997
©1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Legal Notices.