Vista Upgrade Edition is lame by design

Vista Upgrade Edition is lame by design

Summary: Arstechnica is reporting that Windows Vista Upgrade edition will not permit "clean" installs like all previous versions of Windows Upgrade editions.  Will Microsoft pick up the extra hour tab from Geek Squad?

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TOPICS: Windows
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Arstechnica is reporting that Windows Vista Upgrade edition will not permit "clean" installs like all previous versions of Windows Upgrade editions.  Will Microsoft pick up the extra hour tab from Geek Squad?This is another one of those "what were you thinking" moments for Microsoft management similar to their bone headed decision to lock the retail version of Vista to one hardware migration.  Microsoft backed out of their ridiculous license change after Ed Bott sounded the alarm and others picked up on the story.  So Vista Upgrade Edition should really be called Vista "Not Clean" "time waster" Edition.  [Update 4:10AM - A reader clarifies that you can technically do a clean install by telling Vista to wipe the hard drive before installing after it confirms a full copy of Windows XP is installed.  This however is still lame because you can't just install Vista on a freshly formatted hard drive and it will still be a huge time waster.]

In the past, Microsoft has always respected their customer's time and allowed upgrade versions of Windows to install on a fresh machine so long as the customer could provide proof of possession of the old software.  These new Vista Upgrade DVDs which I'm assuming have already been stamped out will lack the ability to install on a system unless Windows XP or 2000 was present.  This means anyone looking to do a fresh install for any reason will not be able to.  Someone who is doing disaster recovery after a hard drive failure or a virus infection won't be able to wipe their hard drive and install Vista, they'll have to install XP first and then install Vista on top of XP.  That could easily mean nearly an hour wasted.  If you're paying someone to rebuild your computer, this will mean an extra hour of labor that will be billed to you for the installation of Windows XP.  Will Microsoft pick up the extra hour tab from Geek Squad for everyone?

Some might just say tough; you don't have to buy Windows Vista Upgrade Edition if you don't like the terms of the agreement.  But the problem is that there are probably already millions of people who bought in to the promise of Vista upgrade coupons during this last holiday shopping season with their new computers or their copy of Windows XP and they weren't told that the upgrade terms have been changed.  The Vista Upgrade coupons were used to lure people in to buying brand new computers for the holiday 2006 shopping season when many people would have probably opted to wait until after Vista launches at the end of January had they known about these new restrictions.  Now these people are going to be in for a big shock after they wipe their computers and find out that their copy of Vista won't install without XP on the computer.

So why is Microsoft making a bone headed decision like this?  One possibility is that Microsoft is afraid that people might try to keep running XP or Media Center on their existing machines and use Vista on a new computer.  This would mean that Microsoft would be giving away two copies of Windows for the price of one.  While I realize that a company has to make money off of a commercial Operating System, surely Microsoft could have worked out a better arrangement.  Why not ask people to turn in their old Windows XP serial number when they get their Full Vista DVD and then blacklist that serial number from Windows Genuine Advantage.  This would be a fair free trade-up from Windows XP to Windows Vista and no one should expect to get two versions of Windows for the price of one.

But it could be too late for Microsoft to avoid a backlash because Vista is launching at the end of today and all those copies of Vista Upgrade with no way to do clean installs have probably already been manufactured.  If Microsoft wants to set things right for people who want to do clean installs of Windows Vista especially those who bought in to the promise of Vista coupons during this last holiday season, Microsoft should allow these people to opt for a trade-up to the full version of Vista where the old XP serial number is blacklisted on WGA 30 days after the Vista is shipped to them.  That would seem to be the least they can do.  [Update 1/30/2006 - Microsoft apparently ALREADY invalidates your old XP key once you use the upgrade.  If that's the case, why torture the users even more?]

[poll id=13]

Topic: Windows

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  • The easiest way to install Vista?

    I have this nagging memory of ZdNet bloggers talking about their experiences installing Vista on various machines over the last few months. Wasn't the consenus that a clean Vista installation was far less problematic (i.e. more likely to work) than upgrading a machine from XP?

    Oops.
    Zogg
    • I will NEVER upgrade any OS

      I don't care what anyone says, I will ALWAYS do a clean install of Windows. Most technicians will tell you that they don't trust upgrades even if Microsoft claims they can do it cleanly and even if it's in a different folder. My preferred method is to nuke the drive with a full format before any install.
      georgeou
      • Then that's a "Yes"?

        Not that it [i]really[/i] matters; I'm just a bystander in this one. ("Doctor, it [b]hurts[/b] when I install Windows!" etc.)

        Can you pass the popcorn, please :-) ?
        Zogg
        • That's a big YES

          And yes, the install of Windows Vista Upgrade will hurt BIG. This will NOT go over well with Windows users at all. You've got millions of people who bought PCs during the holiays with the promise of Vista but what they're going to get is a raw deal.
          georgeou
          • I don't get it ...

            "You've got millions of people who bought PCs during the holiays with the promise of Vista but what they're going to get is a raw deal. "

            So they bought PC's that have XP installed on them, when they get the upgrade DVD they run the install and wipe the drive doing a clean install in the process ... and they're gettinga raw deal how?

            It appears to me by definition that the upgrade disc is capable of a clean installation, just not on a new drive. But how many people who just bought a new PC are adding new drives?

            On the other hand if the drive crashes and they have to replace the bad drive it gets more problematic.

            Can I vote for both options in the poll?
            Oknarf
          • You show, right away, that you "get it."

            "On the other hand if the drive crashes and they have to replace the bad drive it gets more problematic."

            It becomes impossible, actually, and your original Vista Upgrade disk becomes absolutely worthless.

            In the past couple of years, the failure rate for brand new SATA drives for my clients and my own office is running about 10%. If this continues to hold true for 2007, for all of these machines with the Vista Upgrade coupon, how many people are going to be SOL?
            OButterball
          • call 911 ...

            "In the past couple of years, the failure rate for brand new SATA drives for my clients and my own office is running about 10%. If this continues to hold true for 2007, for all of these machines with the Vista Upgrade coupon, how many people are going to be SOL?"

            That depends on how many people don't make an emergency recovery disc or disc image, right?

            For users of Biz, Ultimate and Enterprise Complete PC backup and Restore is built in. Voila.

            http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/features/details/backup.mspx

            For users of Home boy and Home boy primo ... not so much, apparently.
            Oknarf
          • Oknarf, "Voila?!?

            How many XP/2000 users out there know that, or will get a chance to learn that, before "infant mortality" kills their hard drive?
            OButterball
          • Your absolutely right.

            I have to laugh at people who take time and effort to crab and complain about Microsoft and Windows, pertaining to very minor issues that nary effect the smallest percentage of Windows users, and even then usually solvable problems, when there has always been more then enough genuine concerns that could have significant and long term effects on a broad number of Windows users like this.

            I have some pretty significant sympathy for software manufacturers who are getting ripped off by pirates who sell cheap copies of genuine software. I have no sympathy for software manufacturers who produce a product in such a way that it puts the usability of that product at any kind of serious risk for a genuine purchaser. Root kits, disabled installation functions, draconian licensing agreements and questionable verification processes are all methods the software industry seems to think are reasonable methods for preventing software piracy, yet from what I am lead to believe there is still no software that hasn't been pirated and there are genuine purchasers who have suffered from these bizarre piracy prevention methods. Something is definitely wrong somewhere.

            In law you are not allowed to operate a business in a hazardous way just because to do otherwise would be significantly less profitable. The theory goes; if you cannot operate a business safely at the profit margin you want, your only other choice is to not operate the business at all, or get used to making less money then you would like to. I suggest that if Microsoft and other software manufacturers are not happy with their profit margin producing software thats not subject to user unfriendly anti piracy methods they should either get out of the software business and leave it to those who would do it for free or accept the fact that they are working in a business of choice that is subject to some pecuniary loss due to the inherent weakness in the product that allows for piracy.

            Either suck it up boys and live with the losses that come from producing software that wont unfairly become useless in the hands of a legitimate purchaser or come up with anti piracy methods that are foolproof and do not risk screwing your customers in the process.
            Cayble
          • Lemmings

            It's amazing that people will fork over $200 bucks for such a precarious rental. Why does Microsoft do it? Because, they can and because they have brain washed the majority into investing in a single company. Welcome to slavery!
            ajv123
          • Please read the original post again.

            You clearly missed the point.
            slim-01
          • Upgrade over hosed system is a hosed install

            Not being able to do an upgrade on a clean install is a train wreck. If you do an upgrade over any OS that has some wrecked settings, those settings will be saved to the current install. The purpose of a upgrade is to give current OS licenser's a discount on licensing. If the upgrade doesn't give folks the option of renaming their OS and Program Files and profile directories then there is no point in using the upgrade option. Then later on just delete the old data system files. I always do a clean install because I know what customers do and it is safer. Besides I would hold off until SP1, applications are rewritten to run on it shimless, and the political fallout on certain restrictions.
            osreinstall
          • I even find that it usually takes less time to do a clean install

            Even doing a wipe first.

            By the time you run an anti-virus, anti-spyware and defrag.

            You would need to use an different Windows Update tool like AutoPatcher.

            Windows updates can take 3 times the time that the OS install does otherwise.
            slim-01
          • Might as well buy the OEM version

            Sounds like the upgrade will be installed once, even on the original machine and be full of previous mistakes. At least an OEM version will install on a hard drive replacement and then a few WGA hoops. Not only that, the OEM will be the same or less in price. I wonder how MS was going to let the user migrate the upgrade version to a new machine like the past upgrade versions of Windows. They should go with a hardware USB dongle or a TPM chip.

            http://www.sapros.com/tmiaw/train_wreck.jpg
            That is the only Vista (scenery) I see out of this. A Casey Jones moment.
            osreinstall
          • True the OEM could be much cheaper in actual use

            .
            slim-01
          • Could? I always got OEM licenses cheaper than the upgrade.

            The fact that the upgrade can be used once, makes OEM the only choice. Also how about all the useless applications that come on a restore disk if you have one or burned one from the original computer that will not run on Vista, if you decided to reinstall the original OS so it is fresh. The uninstaller probably will not work for that has to be shimmed too, being an application.

            Go get the OEM for Pete's sake. The upgrade is a no go.
            osreinstall
          • Should go over very well with Windows purchasers.

            Somebody buys a computer with XP and a Vista upgrade. He uses it for a while, and follows the ancient tradition of not making backups.

            He upgrades to Vista.

            He decides "Clean install" sounds good. Or he brings in an adolescent from the neighborhood, who knows one should always do a clean install.

            Remember those pictures of those he cares about?

            Gone forever.

            Unless he can afford approximately $2 million for an effort with no chance of success.



            Think of this disk restriction as one of Microsoft's best safety features.

            I would consider it a mistake to allow a clean install too easily.
            Anton Philidor
          • You are joking right.

            First a person that does not know how to back up working files and/or does not know the difference between a upgrade and a clean install most likely will stick with what they already have.

            It would be even better if people without basic computer skills got them. Either by reading books or with training.

            Would we blame a car maker if a person blew up their car because they didn't know they needed to check the oil.

            On the other hand as long Microsoft continues to take control away from their user base, they will continue to send people over to Mac, Linux & BSD.

            No company can survive doing things like this to their customers not ever Microsoft.
            slim-01
          • Preventing disaster is a sales point.

            You ask:

            "Would we blame a car maker if a person blew up their car because they didn't know they needed to check the oil(?)."

            If the car reminds people that their cars need oil, that could be a sales point.


            People are pleased to give attention to their cars. One group carefully washes and waxes the car frequently, but changes the oil every 10,000 miles, with fail...

            But comparatively few people gain satisfaction from computer maintenance. Sometimes people seem happier complaining than with the thought they might do something about the problems.

            So saying that people should be trained about maintenance has the difficulty that you would have to overcome resistance.


            No, Micropsoft has definitely done the right thing here by making the error more difficult.
            Anton Philidor
          • Geez Anton you can't really believe what you are saying.

            To say this is a good thing puts you right up there with No_Axe & Loverock.

            I thought you had a bit more common sense.

            Updates only go well when the system has zero problems.

            The chance of that is zero.

            Updates also take much longer by the time you check for virus, spyware and defrag.

            Even if I thought Windows was great this would still be a bad idea.

            I think this is just a Microsoft can do no wrong condition you have.

            Are you a Windows Tech with a financial conflict of interest in supporting Microsoft in everything they do or say?
            slim-01