Currently, you may get a Microsoft hotfix easier via the Hotfix Online Submission process. Instead of contacting Microsoft Support via email or telephone and going through the verification steps, you may simply submit a request on the web when you read a hotfix KB.
For example, in KB842801, there is the following description:
"To resolve this problem, submit a request to Microsoft Online Customer Services to obtain the hotfix. To submit an online request to obtain the hotfix, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
This is the standard description in most hotfix KBs to enable you to perform the online submission. After you enter the necessary field on the "Hotfix Request Web Submission Form" and click "Submit request" button (Note: you need not provide the KB ID as you have to click the above link in a KB article), you should see:
"Your request was successfully submitted to Microsoft. A Microsoft Professional will respond to you via e-mail within 8 business hours."
Thenwait a few hours to get a download link via email.
From my point of view, the hotfix online submission provides an easy way to those users who have no Microsoft Support Service in hand. The user may get the hotfix much easily now. However, without the careful assistance from Microsoft Support Professionals, it is very possible that a user misunderstands the symptom and applies a wrong resolution (hotfix). We got feedback from customers about the Hotfix Online Submission; More than 20% of comments indicate that fixes do not resolve their problems. Even the hotfix KBs provide the necessary information about the symptoms, however, there may be different causes/resolutions for the same direct symptom which need further troubleshooting. My suggestion is: be careful when applying a hotfix to the problem you are facing and contact Microsoft Support if you feel confusing.