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Favorite Microsoft instructions of the day

My Windows Vista Ultimate 64 installation is now telling me that my license will expire in 14 hours. This is confusing since the Control Panel tells me that Vista is activated and gives me a product number.

I tried to use the Windows support chat, but when I entered the n-digit product number, it told me the support period was up…yet another indication that my product is indeed activated.

So, I called telephone support, hoping they wouldn’t charge me the required $59. After asking me too many questions, they transferred me to Windows Activation, with the instruction — and this is the part I like — to answer the telephonic robot’s questions:

Transfer me
Transfer me
Transfer me anyway

That worked fine, except after telling me that it was transferring my call, the robot hung up on me.


So, I tried to get the Activation Support center’s phone number, but for that you have to use the Windows Activation program on your PC … which isn’t where it’s supposed to be … because I already activated my product.

Another call to Windows Support, another round of answering questions, and they actually gave me the number for U.S. Windows Activation: 866-740-1256.

Unfortunately, that group was unable to help. They gave me the phone number for the first tech support group.

I only use my Vista machine for home accounting and for games. Is Microsoft purposefully trying to discourage casual users like me?

Eventually, a tech support person told me that the problem is that I installed Service Pack 1 in January or February. If you did, you have to uninstall it (find Windows Update and click on Installed Updates. Select the service pack and uninstall it. Then, when that doesn’t work, you’ll have to uninstall it by hand.) I’ve spent two hours uninstalling and trying to reinstall:

– Don’t forget to run the System Update Readiness Tool.
– Don’t forget that the System Update Readiness Tool doesn’t have a file name that’s intelligible by users
– Don’t forget that when you run the System Update Readiness Tool, it will call itself something else. I think.
– Don’t forget to run sfc /scannow. (Didn’t work? Run it as admin.)
– Don’t forget to run msconfig and turn off the right start-up programs.
– Don’t forget to yes, transfer me, transfer me, transfer me anyway.

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The next day, someone called from Microsoft to make sure that my problem was resolved satisfactorily. Ten minutes later, his manager called to make sure that the guy who checked on whether my problem was resolved was himself courteous and thorough. I told both of them that Naveen – the tech support person who solved my problem – was fantastic, but the first five people I talked with ought to be taught what Naveen knew about diagnosing my problem.

8 Responses to “Favorite Microsoft instructions of the day”

  1. Was this why Bill retired?

  2. Anti customer DRM crap, is the entire reason that I’ve been weaning myself and my wife’s business off microsoft since XP. Each version’s DRM crap increases the possibilities, getting screwed despite being a legal, paying customer.

    Our next windows machine will be a mac, or ubuntu box. Ironically, Open Office is more UI and document compatible with Office XP than my work version of Office 2007.

  3. […] Feingold’s FISA Strategy – TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  4. Why would anyone want to leave an operating system that can steal as much of your life as Vista does?

  5. Windows is the quintessential abusive relationship in slow motion. The hostility towards customers that almost every decision in that product exhibits is so deeply embedded in the product architecture it’s surprising it just doesn’t degenerate into uncontrollable swearing and bursting into flames. While there are sometimes games only for Windows that I wish I could play, no game is worth that much pain.

  6. I dearly love my MacBookPro

    That is all

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