Jun 22

Meandering Microsoft Dissing and a Public Service Message

Perhaps with a touch of maundering.

You see, trying for a few days to make sense of Microsoft instructions on how to do something induces maundering. And drinking.

All I wanted to do was download Windows 7, 64 bit and install it on hardware far exceeding the minimum standards. Now don’t go thinking I got to that point by any reasonable or common sense method. If I’d been able to get the same computer to connect to the internet running Windows XP, I’d have gone no further. What I didn’t have laying around were XP service packs that are probably available somewhere on the internet, but why go to that much trouble when it probably was time to upgrade to the latest and greatest anyway. (I’m a late adopter… sometimes.)

So, I’m using an old laptop also running XP. It hadn’t been booted in well over a year, so there were numerous automatic updates immediately downloaded (156 of them, if I remember correctly). OK… I can do some housework while waiting for all that. After all, it’s been a while since I’ve been offline when there was also electricity in the house.

Housework. Bah. I’d rather read about it, than actually do it. I suddenly remember I’ve got another laptop here and a netbook too. And my phone. And a Kindle. Alas, out of the 8 power supplies I eventually found, none of them fit the other laptop. I settle on the netbook because it’s got a bigger screen than the phone. Except… it refuses to connect to my wireless. At that point, I’m irritated enough to actually do the dishes and clean the stove.

I still have no idea what, if anything, is wrong with my wireless router. My phone connects to it with no problem. But when the old laptop was through updating, it wouldn’t connect either. AHA, the phone! I call and reactivate the hotspot on it. That call to Verizon is very informative. I’d heard they were changing their plans and data was going to be limited, but hadn’t looked into the specifics. Being the pessimistic sort, I figured it was going to cost more for less and I’d worry about that when I had to. Well… it’s going to be cheaper and the hotspot isn’t going to cost me extra. (After June 28.)

While browsing for information and trying to decide whether I wanted the Home version or the Pro version of Windows 7, the router starts working again for the laptop (it was set to prefer that connection). I even use live chat to talk with a Microsoft representative during which the specs of both the computer I’ll be downloading the file to and the one I’ll be installing it on are discussed. I decide on Pro and 64 bit. So, I go to download it. No problem… so far.

Next step: copy those downloaded files to either a DVD, a flash drive, an SD card, or a portable hard drive. DVD is my first choice since the only flash drives and SD cards I have were old and had probably been abused and I was reluctant to go digging through all those power supplies to find the one for the portable hard drive. I get an error message when trying to copy the executable — something about it was probably downloaded to a read only folder. Back to Microsoft and live chat. That Microsoft representative told me that it was because the drivers for my DVD software were out of date and I should use a flash drive.

Ugh… do I want to go surfing for updated drivers? No. So, I decide that a new flash drive is reasonable and I decide to go buy one the next day. During this trip I also buy wine and a bottle of scotch, which turned out to be the best decision I made that day. I download the files directly to the new flash drive, but when I try to open them on the computer I want to install Win 7 on, I get the same message about “read only” folders.

I’m going to leave out a few chapters here, on how I tried to use the Microsoft Store’s download manager instead of the browser, and how I had the same results trying to copy the ISO file and the storm and power outage… but I’m sure you can figure out now why the scotch and wine were such good ideas.

Now this message lead me to believe I could change a folder’s attribute to not be “read only”. Silly me — actually, I should have known… perhaps remembered it from way back in time when I used to be paid for helping people solve computer problems — that this pretty much impossible and that it’s a feature, not a bug. When you ‘uncheck’ that ‘read only’ box, it applies only to the files in that folder, not the folder. I tried changing the folder attributes as instructed (by Microsoft) here. Didn’t work.

At this point, live chat at the Microsoft Store is offline, and I’ve unloaded all my problems on my daughter who is a kind person and listened sympathetically. She’s also helpful and sent me a link to this page at the Microsoft store which explains that Windows XP users will need to upgrade and download some additional software to be able to successfully download a usable file. I wonder why the live chat people didn’t tell me those things.

The first software that needs to be downloaded and installed on an XP computer is supposedly .net 2.0. Remember that I’d just installed all the Microsoft updates on the XP laptop? It seems that .net 2.0 is “incompatible” with the version now on my laptop which was .net 3.? I think. Does Microsoft never update these pages? Does Microsoft think I’m going to uninstall a newer version of their software to install an older version so that I can download and use the latest version? And possibly screw up the one relatively full-featured computer I have working?

Hell no.

I poured three fingers of scotch and started reminiscing and… shopping. After a few moments of fond memories of Commodore 64s and the wonders of 1200 baud modems, I revisited my initial choice of PC over Apple some 20+ years ago and decided it no longer mattered since Microsoft Windows adopted the icon over text which was my initial objection. I still prefer text. It’s explanatory (unless written by Microsoft). Icons aren’t.

Theoretically, I could afford a Mac. In reality, I have more important things on which to spend the few discretionary funds available to me. Plus, I have all this PC hardware littering the house as well as one working laptop even if laptop keyboards cause me physical pain. A USB keyboard could solve that problem. It would be downright silly to spend $1000 or more to get a Mac. Even spending half that much for a new PC wouldn’t solve the problem of having a computer (with possible better hardware) that works just fine except it needs a new operating system.

Now I know that it’s a cliche that it’s men who won’t ask for help or directions, but I realized many years ago that it’s quite normal for females to also carry the genes responsible for that sort of behavior. I bit the bullet, poured two more fingers of scotch, and searched for local computer repair services. If you live around here, I recommend Paul DePringe. His rates are so reasonable, they are unreasonable. For example, for $10 he picked up my computer, delivered it back to me the next day with my software installed, and did all the bending and reaching behind the desk to hook it up. In addition, he took four hard drives and transferred all the data to the newly functional computer.

Oh yeah — that Public Service Message: No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7.

9 Responses to “Meandering Microsoft Dissing and a Public Service Message”

  1. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com says:

    Yikes! Given the amount of Scotch required, I’m sincerely hoping this all happened after, say, 10 AM. And my liver thanks you for the warning about trying to install Win 7 on an XP laptop, because that’s exactly what I’d been thinking of doing with my son’s laptop. (I figured if I screwed it up, it doesn’t really matter since I’d still have MY laptop to go online.) What a nutroll Microsoft is making of this, and just in time for Win 8, I hear.

    Also: thank you SO much for the link love! (Btw, did you see that I got rid of Disqus? ;)

  2. Gringo says:

    I have bought a new computer w Windows 7, and will be transferring my old XP-Office 2003 material to it, so it was good to read about XP-Windows 7 issues.

    Updating a computer that has been dormant for a while can take a lot of time.
    I put XP Service Pack 3 on a thumb drive so I don’t need to download it. A DVD would also serve.

    If MS hadn’t announced that it would stop updating XP in two years, I would be running my new computer on XP.

  3. Donna B. says:

    Kate – If you buy the disks, you probably won’t have any trouble. It’s creating bootable equivalents from the downloads on an XP machine that is dang near impossible and certainly not worth the trouble. If you have another computer already running Windows 7, there may be no problem at all with that. I am thinking that my daughter tried the download and creation on her Vista machine and ran into the same problem, but that was one of the evenings that I’d already started drinking so I can’t remember for sure.

    Very little takes place for me before 10 am, and this entire fiasco was spread out over 5 days. As just barely mentioned, part of the problem is that I’m stubborn. What made me so angry is that the Microsoft live chat people either did not know or did not tell me how difficult it would be to do what I proposed. And, as has been the case for years, Microsoft’s technical writers are experts in offering accurate, but useless verbiage. I also lack the patience and ability to concentrate that I had 10-15 years ago.

    Gringo – if you have Windows 7 Pro or better, you can download (maybe… :-) an “XP mode” for running older software. I don’t know if Office XP will run on 7 (32 bit) without that or not, but I’m fairly sure it won’t on the 64 bit version. I haven’t got the XP mode yet, but it’s the reason I chose the Pro version. I have several XP programs that I’m rather fond of.

  4. MuchYoungerSister says:

    So far I’ve read down to “At that point, I’m irritated enough to actually do the dishes and clean the stove.” and I’m scared to go any further. Because I’ve seen you mighty irritated, but I’ve *never* seen you THAT irritated.

  5. Gringo says:

    Donna B. your point about getting Windows 7 Pro in order to run XP Mode is well taken. That is why I purchased Windows 7 Pro- to have the possibility if I want it.

    I don’t know how Windows 7 will compare to XP in terms of ease of use, nor do I know how long it will take to get comfortable in Windows 7. I will find out.

  6. Donna B. says:

    I’m liking Windows 7 fairly well. Things aren’t in the same place, but once you find them it’s fine. One thing I do like is the default “download” folder being much easier to find than something called “temp” or whatever.

    It boots real quick like, but then it’s still a pretty clean installation too. I’m sure I’ll be able to “fix” that given sufficient time.

  7. Tina says:

    Glad to hear that Windows 7 is useful. My trusty old Dell is either comatose or has gone the way of all things so one of these days we will have to get around to replacing it. I was dreading the thought of coping with The OS Formerly Known As Vista (TOFKAV), but it sounds like it’s been tamed a bit since it was first introduced.

    I don’t know how long you’ve had a link to Pecan Corner in your sidebar but Thank you! :-) I have reciprocated. I saw Opining on Line come up in my stats today and am having fun reading your posts.

  8. Donna B. says:

    Hi Tina! I found you some time ago through “My Bossier”. I’m glad you found your way here because I haven’t kept up with visiting my local links lately. Heck, I haven’t really kept up with any of them. There are some I know are no longer active… but, hey! I’m Lazy.

  9. dustbury.com » Tech advice of the week says:

    [...] And it’s pretty simple, really: No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7. [...]