Microsoft Cripples Vista Upgrade

The Inquirer calls this policy “Preinstall to Reinstall”. Microsoft calls it “Closing a Loophole”. Ars Technica says that it’s indicative of Microsoft’s ‘per device’ obsession.

PoliTech calls it one more reason to consider moving to Open Source alltogether.


Vista “upgrade” drops compliance checking, requires old OS to install

Microsoft’s quest to closely control the way Windows Vista can be used on PCs has taken a turn for the worse as new information indicates that the company is breaking tradition when it comes to Windows Vista upgrades. With Windows Vista, users will not be able to use upgrade keys to initiate completely new installations. It is a change that will affect few users, but enthusiasts will certainly be amongst those pinched.

Upgrade versions of Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Starter Edition will not install on any PC unless Windows XP or Windows 2000 is already on the machine in question. In years previous, upgrade versions of Windows could be installed on any PC. If a PC did not have an older version of Windows installed, users could provide an older installation CD of Windows for verification. After dropping a qualifying CD in the CD-ROM drive, the installation routine would verify the disc and you’d be on your way. With this approach, one could use an “upgrade” copy of Windows to lay a new Windows install on a computer.

One again, Microsoft appears to have made licensing decisions without considering how people actually use their products. Last fall the company trotted out changes to its retail licensing that would have punished users who frequently upgrade their PC hardware had the company not relented. Now Microsoft seeks to complicate our ability to start a crisp, new install with an upgrade version. Why?

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  1. First of all, who is going to try to upgrade to Vista from anything other than XP or 2000 anyway?

    Secondly, why are people in a huge hurry to upgrade to an OS that was just released one week ago? Surely there are as many bugs as any other new OS release.

    But I do not see FOSS solutions taking over the desktop anytime soon. Face it, multimedia sucks on *nix OSes.

    I’d say stick with XP for now –like the next year or two, until you are forced to find an alternative. That, or until multimedia and hardware support vastly improves –whichever comes first.

    I’m not the only one who prefers editing videos with Windows Movie Maker, rather than the command line. Multimedia applications in Linux suck, at least so far. There are a couple of exceptions, but there are no breakthroughs large enough to make me abandon Windows altogether.

    I hear and see all of this hype about eye-candy and 3D desktops. Who cares? That would be one of the first things that I turn off, so I can reserve power to do the productive things that I use my computer machine to do in the first place. Why would I want to waste resources on something so useless? My computer machine is a tool, not a toy.

    Just a rant. I’ll stop now. Your thoughts, Politech?


  2. Brent,

    The Redmond gang closing the so-called “Upgrade loophole” in the Vista Upgrade pack means that users must have a previous version of Windows installed on the machine before the upgrade key will work. In other words the upgrade license key won’t allow you to install a clean version of Vista, as it did with older versions of Windows.

    This is important, because an over the top upgrade is inherently unstable. Especially on a well used Win2K or WinXP OS. The only clean way around this roadblock is to first do a complete clean install of XP (or Win2K) then upgrade over the top with Vista. That’s just something I would never do. It’s simply not a “Best Practice”.

    As to why one would move to Vista, there are actually some nice new features included in Vista, I personally had to upgrade to Vista just to “get to know” the OS. In my line of work I must continually keep just ahead of the upgrade curve, so I suffer along with first gen code. But it’s not all bad.

    Performance wise, Vista 64 bit is a significant improvement over the 64 bit XP and blows 32bit Win2K 32bit XP and even 32bit Vista out of the water. It is fast, without a doubt.

    ‘Nix can be a viable alternative for some users but, as you pointed out, Applications are why you operate a computer in the first place. ‘Nix is still wanting in some aspects software wise. The more vertical your industry, the less likely you will find the specialty apps you need on any other OS besides Windows. So for many businesses, like it or not, Vista is where they are eventually going.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree about ‘nix multimedia software. It’s out there, lot’s of it is really good, it’s all free, but it’s not always easy to find it and actually get it installed and running.

    Software availability can bite you in the Windows world too though. Heck I was deploying DOS apps on windows 2000 just a couple of years ago. Believe me I would never have done that were there a 32 bit app that even came close to the functionality of that old DOS app.

    You hit the nail again with your own upgrade plans. At this point most engineers I have talked to are recommending migrating to Vista in about three years. That timeframe may shorten a little, but not a lot, and service pack 2 will likely be the sweet spot for most managed networks.

    As for eye candy, I like eye candy, but I too always turn it off to save recourses. That just means that we’re “no nonsense” utilitarian types.


  3. I find multimedia creation in ‘nix to be far from user-friendly. I suppose I should have added that. People just want to edit their videos without having to figure out configuration. I can’t see how any application could possibly be easier to use than Windows Movie Maker. I think it is one of Microsoft’s best engineered applications ever. That may sound silly, but the level of user-friendliness should be a model for all desktop user applications. I figured it out, as I was going along, and had to resort to tutorials and/or Googling for answers, not one single time. It was just that simple. I mastered it immediately, the first time having used it. All applications need to be this way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that Linux totally sucks. I have used it for years for many critical tasks, especially for serving files.

    As far as upgrades, look at how long it took for people to upgrade to XP. I happen to know some people that are so far behind, that they are still using 98, if you can believe it. But it works for them. In fact, I know a guy that has never had to format and reinstall his 98 system, and he has never had any problems with it and has never had security problems. The first line of defense is your own common sense. The second line, is of course, a router.

    People will ultimately choose what they are most comfortable with. I feel that I am not the one to convince them which is best, but instead try to understand the fundamentals of all of them, so that I can charge money to repair that which ,those who don’t understand these things, ruin. Make sense?


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