How Many Hours On The Phone Does It Take For Microsoft To Fix A Simple Problem?

Meet Tim. Tim has a simple request. He’d like to run Windows XP on his new laptop and Windows Vista on his old laptop. This requires him to switch the operating systems. Sounds easy. It’s not. Tim writes:

So, I’m running XP on the new laptop and Home Premium on the old laptop. I have the Dell OEM Home Premium disk and the Windows Anytime Upgrade disk with a CD key.

Now, the Home Premium on the old laptop says it is not a genuine copy. It has locked me out and it won’t let me upgrade to Ultimate until I validate the Home Premium. I called Dell about this, and they said this is probably because when I upgraded to Ultimate on the new laptop, it invalidated the key for Home Premium and I need to call Microsoft.

I called Microsoft today, and they told me that I cannot switch OS’s (at least with Vista). The Vista that I purchased with the new laptop can only be run on the new laptop.

Not only can Tim not get his laptop running, he can’t even get a straight answer about which company he should be talking to… Microsoft or Dell? Read his email inside… if you have a punching bag nearby.

Tim writes:

Hi,

I am hoping you or some of your readers can answer this question. Back in March, I ordered a new Dell laptop with Vista Home Premium. I really wanted XP, but they were not selling it at the time. I decided to give Vista a try, and actually ordered and installed the Ultimate upgrade (ordered direct from Microsoft for $179).

Soon after that, I decided I wanted to go back to XP, so I swapped OS’s with an older Dell laptop that was running XP Pro. So, I’m running XP on the new laptop and Home Premium on the old laptop. I have the Dell OEM Home Premium disk and the Windows Anytime Upgrade disk with a CD key.

Now, the Home Premium on the old laptop says it is not a genuine copy. It has locked me out and it won’t let me upgrade to Ultimate until I validate the Home Premium. I called Dell about this, and they said this is probably because when I upgraded to Ultimate on the new laptop, it invalidated the key for Home Premium and I need to call Microsoft.

I called Microsoft today, and they told me that I cannot switch OS’s (at least with Vista). The Vista that I purchased with the new laptop can only be run on the new laptop.

I have always thought that the rule is you may run one copy of an OS at a time, but it doesn’t matter where you run it. Microsoft says this changed “6 – 8 months ago”.

Is this true? If so, I cannot even put Home Premium back on the new laptop because it has been invalidated. Help!

Tim

We wrote Tim back, thanking him for his email. He responded:

Thank you for following up. An update since my last email:

* Found Vista Eula online, which says I can transfer Home Premium to another
“device”, and I can transfer my Ultimate upgrade to another device only
once.
http://tinyurl.com/y9h6js

* Called MS Tech support again, they say I can move Vista to another computer
(I didn’t mention what I found in the EULA). They ask for my Ultimate CD
Key and I gave it to them.

MS: “OK, we can fix this now, are you at the computer?”
Me: “No, the computer is at home, I’m at work.”
MS: “No problem, call back this afternoon and we will take care of it.”

* Microsoft gives me a Case Id.

* Called MS tech support back after I arrive home. I give them the Case Id.
They say I cannot move Vista to another laptop. I ask to speak to
supervisor. Supervisor says I can move Vista to another laptop. He transfers
me to Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) dept.

* WGA says they cannot give me the key, tech support must do it. They transfer
me back to tech support.

* Tech support transfers me to “Vista” tech support (I thought I was already
talking to Vista tech support).

* Judy, the latest and most helpful MS support person, says I need to talk to a
group that generates the key, but will stay on the phone with me. (It takes
45 min. to reach the next group.)

* Person from product key group asks for Home Premium product key on bottom of
new laptop. He says it is an invalid product key. I said yes, Dell told me
it would be invalidated after I upgraded to Ultimate. Person from product
key group says I must contact Dell to resolve this issue (Dell already told
me I must contact MS).

* Judy from MS calls Dell while staying online with me.

* Dells says their product key office is closed.

* Judy and Dell person both say they will follow-up with me tomorrow.

The last call lasted 1 hr., 50 min. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tim

You know, we get a lot of these “Sorry, call Dell.” and “Sorry, call Microsoft.” complaints. Something to work on, guys? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo:Sailor Coruscant)