How to open a Cisco TAC case

So your're setting up the UC500 in your lab for a future deployment and you've run into a roadblock with the configuration. You post questions in this forum, googled every question you can think of, read the config guides till your eyes bled, yet do not have an answer for your problem. What do you do? Open a TAC case!
Your new UC500 is covered by a limited warranty, so you do not need a SmartNET to get technical assistance. Although, because you did not purchase a SmartNET, your technical assistance is limited.
For those who have never dealt with Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Center) I will describe below how to open a TAC case and get assistance.
First things first, you have to have an account to log into Cisco's website. Cisco calls this your "CCO." You can sign up for a CCO by going to this link:
If you work for a partner or reseller you are going to want to associate your CCO with the company you work for. Associating with a partner will give you privlidged access to other tools, documentation, support and software downloads, depending on the partner's level and associated SmartNET contracts.
If you do not work for a partner or reseller, you still need to accociate your SmartNET contracts with your CCO. This will give you privledged access to the documentation and software that is associated to the hardware and software that your SmartNET contract supports. Plus, this will give you the ability to open a TAC case for tecnicial assistance with better response times.
If you do not have a SmartNET contract, you can still open a TAC case with the device's serial number (if it is still covered under warranty.) You can find the serial number on a sticker on the back of the device or type "show version" from the command line interface in exec privledged mode:
Cisco 1760 (MPC860P) processor (revision 0x200) with 147456K/16384K bytes of memory.
Processor board ID VMS06220UZP <----------------------- Serial Number
MPC860P processor: part number 5, mask 2
1 FastEthernet interface
32K bytes of NVRAM.
32768K bytes of processor board System flash (Read/Write)
When you open the TAC case with just the serial number, tell them that this is a new install. You will not be able to view your TAC case online because of no SmartNET. To associate a SmartNET to your CCO, just request assistance from the rep that answers your call. He/She can have them associated in a mater of minutes as opposed to waiting six hours or more when doing it yourself online.
Call 1-800-553-2447 and press "3" then "0" to talk to a rep fast, unless you like listening to a legnthy speach about opening a P3 or P4 case online. The rep will have very little, if any technical expertise so be prepared to be specific about the problem you are having. The rep will rifle through a preconfigured set of categories so that they can route your call to the correct TAC team to put your Service Request in their queue.
TAC cases are services based on Severity. If you open a Severity 1 or Sev1 case, then your network is fubar and you need assistance NOW!!!! The TAC engineer will stay on the phone with you until a workaround is in place or the problem is resolved. If the problem is difficult to troubleshoot, be prepared to be on the phone for 4 to 6 hours or more. A Sev2 case will be handled until the end of the business day and immediate contact is not assumed, so the TAC engineer will contact you within a 1/2 hour. For Sev3 cases, an engineer will contact you within an hour, if TAC is not swamped.
If your problem is related to a configuration issue that is not a best practice or is an unsupported configuration, then assistance is given at "best effort" or not at all, depending how generous the TAC engineer feels.
I hope this has been informative for you, and I thank you for viewing.