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#$%& Windows 7!!!

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OK I have to admit it – I really like Windows 7.  Installing it, however, is a completely different story.

I’m not a fan of the installation or upgrade process.  It took me 3 days to get my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate running.  THREE DAYS!  I spent 1 day alone on the phone with customer service.  Totally unacceptable.

Sometimes I wonder how the boys and girls in Redmond come up with these ideas!

So here’s the story…..

As a Microsoft Partner and a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber, I got Windows 7 Ultimate and Professional as part of my subscription.  When I attempted to install it on my 4 year old Dell laptop, I found that the free space on my hard drive was severely limited and I needed to do some upgrades to run Windows 7.  So I upgraded my memory to the 2 GB max, bought a new 360 GB hard drive (which Dell assured me was compatible), and upgraded my CD ROM to a CD/DVD ROM.  Everything worked fine except the hard drive.  I was already at the maximum hard drive size for my laptop – 40 GB.  The 360 GB drive was not compatible after all. Dell was really good about it and allowed me to return the drive with a full refund and they paid shipping.  A minor inconvenience.  I bought a 1 TB external hard drive which I plan use it for most of my storage needs.  I had to remove a couple of seldom used applications, but again – no biggie.  I was ready – or so I thought. 

After a few minor issues, I installed Windows 7 Ultimate on the Dell.  When I launched it for the first time, the first thing I noticed was really low screen resolution.  No big deal I thought, just increase the screen resolution.  So off I go to the Device Manager where I find the video is set to Standard VGA – the default – and it was set at maximum resolution.  Again, no big deal.  Frustrating but no biggie.  I just need to install the updated video driver.  Unfortunately, since my 4 year old laptop was considered “end of life”, no updated drivers were available.  Again, frustrating, but in the back of my mind I was afraid this would happen.  Time for a new laptop.  I begged and pleaded with my wife until she finally relented and let me buy a new one.  So off I went, like a kid at Christmas to buy a new toy. 

I find the laptop I want, at a really good price.  It had lots of memory and was expandable to a bunch more.  It came with a huge hard drive, really high resolution video, high quality sound, a built in web cam – the works.  The best part – it came with Windows 7(Home) already installed.  A simple upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate and I’m back in business!  Here’s where the fun starts.

The next day we had a major snowstorm and the office was closed.  Cool – a whole day to play with my new toy.  Step 1 – upgrade Windows 7 from the Home version to the Ultimate version.  The first glitch – you can’t upgrade from the Home version to the Ultimate version (or the Professional version either for that matter).  I was shocked!  Why wouldn’t Microsoft let me upgrade to a higher version!?  If a customer wants to pay the money and upgrade to a higher version of your product, why wouldn’t you let them? I would have love to have been in the room when they worked that one out!  So I was forced to do a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate which of course wiped out all of my existing files to include the device drivers.  I do the clean install and start it up.  Again, low resolution video.  No biggie – I’ll reinstall all the device driver files that came on the DVD included with my new laptop.  Nothing came with the laptop. I’m getting a little frustrated, but still keeping my cool.  I went to the vendor’s website to find the drivers – nothing for Windows 7 (well nothing obvious anyway).  Crank up the frustration.  I called the vendor’s customer service line.  After being passed to 3 different people I was finally told to contact Microsoft.  Crank it up a bit more.

So I call Microsoft Customer Service (and I use that term loosely) where they promptly tell me to call the vendor.  I told them I called the the vendor first and they told me to call you.  “Just a minute sir, I’m going to put you an hold for a minute.”  Like I have a choice.  After 10 minutes on hold, I am passed off to a customer service rep who is obviously reading from a customer service manual.  After 30 minutes or so she declares that my device drivers appear to be missing or out of date.  A blinding glimpse of the obvious!  Again, I’m put on hold.   15 minutes pass this time until someone finally picks up.  Once again I explain the whole scenario, only to find out this person I’m talking to is in marketing and has no clue what I’m talking about.  I’m put on hold again, this time when someone picks up I find I’m talking to sales.  You have GOT to be kidding.  I have now gone from frustrated to downright p%^&ed off!  I was passed off to a few others who had no clue how to help me.  They eventually sent me to Technical Support.  Finally!  Someone who speaks technical.  Right!  Not so much.

I get to Technical Support where they assure me they will not let me off the phone until I am completely satisfied that the problem is fixed.  Only 1 little thing – it was going to cost me like $200!   That is where I lost it.  “You want me to pay $200 to be able to use your product!”  At this point I’m thinking return the laptop and do like the commercial says and buy a Mac!  Which I not-so-politely to the person on the phone.  “Hold please!”

The next person on the phone is from Networking I think.  Definately a technical person!  For like the 10th time I retold my story.  I also reminded him there was absolutely NO WAY I’m paying a dime!  No problem he said.  Within 10 minutes he had found the driver set I needed, walked me through the download and installation, and stayed on the phone with me until my new laptop was finally up and running.  Whew, I’m going to bed.  So much for my day off!

Day three – With Windows now working I start reinstalling my applications.  I reinstall Office, transfer over all of my documents, pictures, and other personal files, and set up my email in Outlook.  Everything is going fine – until I get to Microsoft Project.  It tells me I can’t install it because it can’t find an installed version of Office.  I verify that I did indeed install Office.  I did and it appears to be working fine.  It must be a glitch I thought…so restart and try to reinstall Project.  Same error.  That’s it – I’m so done!

So moral of the story – three weeks later, I’m finally back to where I was with the exception of Project.  I called Microsoft, but again they want to charge me $200 to fix the problem, to which,  I’m still adamant that I WILL NEVER PAY!

As a QA person and life-long quality advocate this is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!  I’m guessing they don’t want me for one of their Windows 7 commercials.

Where are my heart pills!

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