Even Softies get the Vista installation blues

Even Softies get the Vista installation blues

Summary: This is one for all of you readers who've had trouble installing Windows Vista. Don't feel bad. Even some Microsoft developers -- who have the Vista team on premise -- can't manage to upgrade to Vista.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

This is one for all of you readers who've had trouble installing Windows Vista. Don't feel bad. Even some Microsoft developers -- who have the Vista team on premise -- can't manage to upgrade to Vista.

Microsoft developer Andy Pennell wanted to install Vista at home. (Pennell is a developer on HDi, the interactivity layer for HD DVD.)

He bought a copy of Vista Ultimate. And then all hell broke loose -- as he blogged this week in a post entitled "Installing Vista: My Personal Hell." Trouble started for Pennell early, when he tried to get the media out of the new, curved Vista packaging:

"I was seriously considering a trip to the garage and to smash the box open with a hammer, when I discovered another transparent sticker that was holding two parts together. With that gone, the box moved a few more millimeters, until I realised the thing opens sideways, and boom: Vista was opened. I've installed entire operating systems more quickly and with less stress than opening this box..."

From there, things only got worse:

"Short story: installing Vista for me was a catalog of problems, some mine and some not. ... (Things) went downhill to include weekend-long unsuccessful installs, bricking my PC, and exercising my Dell warranty to get a replacement motherboard, hard-drive and secondary hard-drive. And after all that, guess what: I still haven't installed it."

Pennell's conclusions:

* "Vista cannot install to Dynamic discs (which is the default when you add a new drive to XP): switch them to Basic before attempting a Vista install

* "Only update your BIOS if you have good warranty cover on the motherboard, or are feeling lucky

* "Unplug memory card readers before installing

* "Dell's warranty and support organization rock

* "My particular hardware cannot install Vista, and no-one knows why."

Bring on Windows Seven!

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Interesting

    I wonder if he'll get into trouble for being so honest about it. Employees sometimes get it in the neck from the employer for having the nerve to blog and tell the truth.
    • Gosh! Vista was easy to install!

      I think I understand why people would have trouble installing Vista. However, I never had trouble. Here is what I did: I went out and bought the latest Asus motherboard, the latest Intel processor and other stuff I knew would be Vista compatible. I did my homework first. I too was perplexed by the Vista DVD box, so I gave the Vista package to my 4-year-old granddaughter and she opened it right away. After that, installing Vista was a piece of cake. Not bad for an OG!
  • Refreshingly Honest

    Hope it's an indication of a change of mindset in Microsoft (we'll know it is if he hasn't resigned or been retired "for personal reasons" this time next month).
    • Agreed. While my experiences with Vista have mostly been positive,

      the fact the wretched thing loses its activation code*, and claims the same code is already in use when attempting to re-activate is embarrassing. Or should be.

      * I've made no major hardware changes in the last 3 months.

      I do dual-boot, and there is a MSKB incident #. But, you guessed it, Microsoft's own solution did not work. :( Pity, but at least they were nice when reactivating it.

      I've encountered a few amusing "oversights" in Vista and WGA and if Microsoft wanted to open up a new QC division - the US, India, the North Pole - I'd happily tell them and even relocate to work for them - I'd love to do my part to make them a reputable company delivering solid products again.
  • I had troubles with the box too

    I got a copy of MS Office Home/Student (with Best Buy discounts and rewards I wound up paying only $3.71, so I figured what the heck), and I had the same exact problems with opening the box. What really had me pissed was that the proof of purchase sticker was one of the things holding the box together, and I had to rip through that to get the box opened. I know I don't have any immediate need for it, but you never know.
    Michael Kelly
    • Those boxes are tough as shit to open

      I have to say that the boxes for Office and Windows Vista are hard as hell to figure out how to open, and I wasn't too pleased either when I found that one of the stickers I had to violate in order to get it opened was one that I needed to send in for a rebate.... really pissed me off grandly.
    • The box is a test

      If you are smart enough to open the box, you are smart enough to install Vista.

      For me the box was tough but the installation went smoothly so far.
    • Severe Cut On Hand

      Fortunately, I was able to get by without stitches.

      After some observation, thinking, twisting, etc. I got the box on my MS Office Home/Student open, took out everything I thought I needed, and sort of "accidently" closed the box. Then upon looking through all the printed material, noticed there wasn't an installation key in the pile. Then I found one bit of instruction that showed where inside the box it could be found. You probably can guess -- this time I could NOT get the box open. After 15 minutes of frustration, the fist came down on the box -- shattering shards of plastic everywhere -- including my hand. At that point, blood joined the shards of plastic everywhere. I swept up the mess, took photos of everything, and sent the photos to MS along with the remaining piece of my mind. I didn't get a direct response, but now you can find a multitude of websites that tell you how to open the Vista (and other MS products) box -- just Google "Opening The Vista Box" .

      BTW -- I had absolutely NO trouble installing Vista Ultimate (fresh install --- no "upgrade" waste of time) and MS Office, and they continue to work flawlessly -- much better than my various Linux installations.
  • Have to question this individual's motives...

    It is unheard of for anyone within Microsoft to question the power, elegance and robustness of Vista. One has to seriously question if this individual actually works for Microsoft or is a mole placed there by the Green Screen crowd to spread FUD about the WOW. The Vista box is a work of art. I took my digital camera to Best Buy and took several pictures of the Vista display case. I made sure to only get snapshots of the Ultimate Edition so as not to violate my license with Microsoft. I also spend some money on a WOW button. Every time someone stops me to ask about Vista, I pull out my WOW button and press it. It then says "WOW, go run Vista NOW BROWN COW".
    Mike Cox
    • 9.0!

      Mikey you are back!:) I generally read the commentators name after reading the comment. But, when I read this line "I took my digital camera to Best Buy" I knew it must be you!
    • 9.0

      :-) Keep up the good work!
    • 8.5 Not bad.. but...

      ONLY the ultimate edition..? Puleese.. Mike, if you were truely the MS diehard you've always been, you would have only taken pictures of the Limited Edition SIGNED version only..!
    • Whose the mole?

      Sorry, not mole, tool. That is the most ridiculous response I've ever read. However "robust" the os is, if it won't install, it's useless. Open your eyes and you'll plainly see Microsoft's sole purpose with Vista is to get people to go out and buy new hardware. For a few measly updates that should have been fixed years ago and a pretty interface (stolen from Linux and Apple) they expect everyone to run out and buy a whole new system. It's a marketing scam, like the box. Oh and advertising is not art. Not in any way ever.
      • WOW. Caught a big one this time !

        He grabbed hook, line and sinker, then added the kitchen sink.
        Yamust B. Kiddingme
      • Why are the stupid fish MS haters.

        Ha! I guess that should show you something. You think once and a while you would catch a pro Windows person who was a moron and actually jump on the Mike Cox bandwagon, yet all the dumb fish are Windows/Microsoft haters. I guess if having such hatred for a company and its products takes over that much of your life, you just cant take the chance that, what should be an obvious joke to anyone, is actually a serious post and running the horrible risk of actually making someone think Windows is good.

        So Mikey reels in another fish. I wonder if Mike Cox ever wonders why the only morons he catches actually hate Microsoft like he does.
  • What is the purpose of this blog?

    Is there some reason to think that Microsoft employees would be exempt from problems when they use incompatible hardware/software?
    • It's dishonest

      For me, it's dishonest to wrap up BIOS upgrade issues as the biggest part of your Vista installation experience. Complaining about your "Vista hell" in this case is somehow trying to make BIOS or other hardware issues be an indicator of the quality of Vista specifically, rather than OS upgrades in general.

      If the title of the blog was "OS upgrade hell", and it went on to warn people that changing OS (any OS) may require a BIOS upgrade which can play all sorts of havoc with your PC, then that would be host. But, the implication is that if you choose some other OS rather than Vista, that you wouldn't have these problems. And that's just a lie.
      • Wha??!

        Acording to the Posted by: jcg_z Posted on: 06/22/07,
        "If the title of the blog was "OS upgrade hell", and it went on to warn people that changing OS (any OS) may require a BIOS upgrade which can play all sorts of havoc with your PC, then that would be host. But, the implication is that if you choose some other OS rather than Vista, that you wouldn't have these problems. And that's just a lie."

        If Pennell was actually saying the things you implied him as
        saying, then it is a lie. But I did not get the interpretation
        of Pennell's experience the way you did. Where in his article
        did he say these things?
        What you said he was implying was not what he said.
        So you are actually calling your 'implication' a lie.
        Not what he said.

        All Iam saying is that his experiences were what they were.
        If you all are commenting that Pennell lacks OS and general IT
        experience, ok.
        But if you don't cite why Pennell is off-base with Vista
        instalation examples of your own, then WHAT is being
        bandied about?

      • Wha? (pt 2)

        I've installed a myriad of operating systems hundreds of times over all sorts of hardware and a BIOS upgrade has *never* been required. If Vista requires it then that most certainly becomes a Vista issue.
      • Yep! BIOS Upgrade is a biggie

        This happened to me once years ago with Win 98. I installed a Win update and some system devices stopped working. I reflashed the BIOS, and Bam!, it was up and running again. And, guess what? The PC was only 6-months old and the BIOS was 3-years old. I learned my lesson. I don't buy ready-made PCs from any manufacturer because although the PC was new, its motherboard sat on a shelf somewhere for 3 years. Because of this and other problems I experienced with "bargains", I now build them myself.