Article ID: 142865 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q142865
The Microsoft Windows Catalog (also known as the hardware compatibility list or as the HCL) is a compilation of computers and computer hardware that have been extensively tested with Windows for stability and compatibility. Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) uses the catalog to determine whether particular hardware is supported for use with the Windows operating system.
Before you install Windows on a computer, check the Windows Catalog to determine whether the computer is certified by Microsoft as Windows-compliant. To see the Windows Catalog, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=14201For more information about hardware that is supported in Windows, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
131303Note Small Business Server uses the same HCL.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/131303/ )Latest Windows 2000 and Windows NT Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314062/ )The latest Windows XP Hardware Compatibility List
A hardware device is unsupported if it is not listed on the HCL. In order for a computer to be considered an HCL-compliant system, the computer must be listed on the HCL. If a computer is not listed on the HCL, but is made up of hardware from the HCL (for example: motherboard from a reference system, SCSI controller, video adapter, and network card) it is not considered an HCL computer. Any computer that contains a device that is not on the HCL is not considered compliant. If a particular computer is on the HCL, it can contain any combination of devices listed on the HCL and still qualify for support even though the system as a whole was not tested.
Microsoft follows the guidelines and troubleshooting steps listed below on non-HCL equipment support issues.
Step 1: Hardware Configuration Inquiry
Step 2: TroubleshootingA 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 Professionals uses, which is also available to you:
If there is no solution to the problem, the support professional explains the reason and recommends constructive alternatives, such as one or all of the following:
Step 3: Alternative ResourcesEnterprise Customer Unit (ECU) policy, in regard to a Windows failure related to Non-HCL hardware, is for the support professional to fax the appropriate Knowledge Base Troubleshooting Guide article to the customer:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126690/ )Windows NT 4.0 Setup Troubleshooting Guide
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/139733/ )Windows NT 3.5x Setup Troubleshooting Guide
Alternatively, the support professional can provide information about 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 want to be charged for 1 incident), then the customer may try to resolve the issue without charge using the troubleshooting documents that are in the Knowledge Base. If the customer wants to continue with an incident charge even after completing Step 2, the support professional can inform the customer of the Microsoft Consulting Line at (800) 936-1565.
Server Down or Data Loss IssuesThere is a risk that an installation or upgrade of the Windows operating system on unsupported hardware results in loss of some operating system functionality or data. In cases where the previous operating system has been a Microsoft operating system (such as MS-DOS, Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and OS/2 1.3), the support professional determines if the issue is a problem with the operating system or non-HCL hardware related. If the problem is the operating system, the support professional will file a report and evaluate the problem to provide a fix. The support professional will also try to recover the system.
If the problem is related to hardware incompatibility, the customer must restore the previous operating system and data from backup. If the customer does not have a backup of the previous operating system, the support professional will help 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 support professional will then refer the customer to the Microsoft Consulting Line for any additional 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 help 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.
Article ID: 142865 - Last Review: December 3, 2007 - Revision: 5.11