So it’s been far too long since my previous post, but keeping up with the anti-Microsoft sentiment in my previous cautionary tale, here’s an addendum to the way things turned out with my Vista installation.
All the horror and angst of those experiences were riding high when I was going through trying to install a new PC game on my Vista machine. Battlefield 2142 is a high-end first-person-shooter. For Windows XP.
I installed the game. It ran for about five hours. Then I shut the computer down, went away for a while, and tried to play again when I came back. No go. I spent the next three days troubleshooting, sinking ridiculous amounts of time, trying to get this game to run again.
I contacted Electronic Arts, the game manufacturer. They gave me a few troubleshooting steps, honestly trying to help. Still no go. Finally, after a week of back and forth emails, they said, “Uh, go to Microsoft. This game is for XP.”
So I went to Microsoft. When I purchased this machine, which you may remember from my last post is one I built myself from a box of parts, I ordered an OEM version of Vista, because that’s what was offered.
Here’s why. If you use an OEM version (Original Equipment Manufacturer, i.e. NOT retail version) of Windows Vista — now, make sure you read this carefully — YOU DO NOT RECEIVE ANY TECHNICAL SUPPORT FROM MICROSOFT. If you need any kind of technical support, every instance that you contact their technical support department, you must pay $59. That’s right. Did you get that? Tech support = $59/pop. Of course they make it clear that you should contact your PC manufacturer (ie Dell or HP) for any Vista issues.
How’s that for passing the buck? “Here, you guys find all the bugs in our crappy software for us, then report back.”
What does that mean if you built your own PC, like moi, for instance?
This means that Microsoft expects everyone to buy their PC from HP or DELL. They expect the USER or some other third party to find the bugs in their crappy software. And the kicker is, YOU HAVE TO PAY TO HELP THEM FIX THE BUGS.
I must admit, that is absolutely brilliant. Microsoft has the users of their crappy software PAY THEM to find the bugs in their crappy software. That absolutely staggers the imagination, and whoever thought of it should probably be promoted to Vice-President in Charge of Consumer Pillaging.
So, here’s what happened when I broke down and finally decided to go through with it. (From this, you can discern just how badly I wanted to play BF2142. The Microsoft tech support cost more than the game itself.)
I contacted their tech support department, paid the $59, and was given a very polite and helpful Indian man to step through the troubleshooting process. To be fair, the tech support guy was pretty decent to work with. I’m pretty sure he’s about ten times smarter than everyone above him in the chain of command.
Over the course of about four hours, we went through the same series of steps about three times, without success at getting the game to run. We were mystified. And we were just as mystified, when suddenly, inexplicably, the game started to work. I am 100% certain that the tech had no clue why. But it started working, and it’s still working. So I thanked him, and he sent me over to his manager for a customer service review.
I told the manager that the tech had done a fine job in fixing my problem, but I made it abundantly, politely, unequivocally, crystal clear just how angry I was about having to pay them to fix their problems.
And guess what? The guy gave me my money back for the tech support.
So rather than stomp off in huff, I thanked him and went about my merry way.
In the two months since then, I haven’t had any problems with Vista, to my knowledge. But then I haven’t bought any new games or hardware, or done any major software installations either.
So don’t buy Vista. Wait until it comes on your new PC and you have no choice. And if you build your own, be prepared for the worst.