Sunday, January 11, 2009

Windows 7 Download Frustration

The danger in posting this blog entry is that I will be counted as a anti-Microsoft person... which is just not true. I happen to like using the best tool for the job which is not all the time from Microsoft (and sometimes it is). In 2008 I switch my primary system to an Apple Mac. There were many factors as to why and frankly I love it! But I'll always be a technical junkie.

With a number of friends (such as Denny Boynton and Ted Neward) posting about their experiences with Windows 7, I thought it was time to take a look. I thought it was going to be a matter of download, get key, start up vmware fusion and I way I go... but I was wrong.

First I went to the public beta site: and selected the 64-bit version in english and got this. WTF?? Repeated attempts resulted in the same. An oops page with a pre-canned search. Where did I go wrong? Well as you can tell, I'm on my Mac. So I pulled out fusion to launch Windows XP for round 2 of the attempt.

I thought this is just wrong, but determined to get a look, I switch to windows and my suspicions were confirmed when I got one page further. I got the download page with a couple of large buttons on the bottm of the page and one read "Download Now". Hey, that's what I want... I want to download now. I clicked the button and... nothing. Click... Nothing... No way... they didn't. Round 2 was in XP, but with firefox.

Round 3 as you would expect is XP with IE. That combination was successful and I'm now 29% into my download.

BTW... In the process of testing a few more times in writing up this blog, the round 1 mac failure was fixed to the point where you will get download page (nice response time msft), however the download button fails.

Why is it necessary to be like this? Why is it so hard to put up a link to a download which is platform neutral? Wouldn't Microsoft want to attract customers from other platforms? Does it always have to be all or nothing?


Mike -- Chicago, IL. said...

You ask "why does it have to be this way?" as if it's a problem.

You are supposed to say, "gee, I'm glad my Mac... or my XP machine still works".

Who among us hasn't done an MS upgrade of some sort and clicked on the appropriate button that save files and what-not for a fallback then found that the install AND the fallback failed?

Again, among the people who have been around, who has not had some version of this scenario - you get a spread sheet that was created with a newer version of Excel and you have to download something in order to open it. But, instead neither Excel or Word worked after the download!

I'm not even anti-microsoft, it's just part of the deal. In your case though I think the answer is that they implemented this with an ActiveX control which is incompatible in in the first two scenarios you tried. But they do it anyway since it allows them a level of control of your machine that they are not willing to give up.

Dave Lundgren said...

I'm traveling the same road today, Ken, currently downloading W7 onto my XP virtual machine on a MacBook Pro with Fusion.

It's downloading with Firefox, which is something...

How has the rest of it gone? Should I keep going or start drawing pentagrams in the snow?

Ken Sipe said...


The install of W7 was very easy and the OS seems to be good in general. I did have the OS lock up when I tried to check out the new provided chess game. I didn't know if it was a video / VM issue or a Win7 issue. The only way to find out is to install Win7 on a machine (outside of VM) and I haven't done that.

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