So let me get this straight.

If I buy a retail version of Vista, I pay several hundred dollars for the DVD set, but really the value is in the license.

If I buy a machine with Vista on it, I theoretically get a “deal” because the computer arrives pre-installed. I have a license — I have paid for the right to use the software.

However, if my disk dies, taking with it the operating system that never actually ran particularly well AND the recovery partition that took up 10gb of the disk space that was marketed as usable space when I bought the machine, and which sat there doing nothing until the day I was desperate to access it, the same day it became inaccessible to me (dim bulbs, the engineers that thought up this recovery strategy), SUDDENLY THE MEDIA MATTERS. And it isn’t ANY installation DVD, oh no, I can’t borrow my buddy’s Vista Ultimate installation disc that he paid for, oh no. I have to have the OEM version. For another $160.00 $200.00 CAD. I swear I’ve aged 10 years in the last 3 days. And I still am not able to run the Operating system I theoretically paid for.

Have you guys out there making these licensing deals ever heard of KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid.

No, I guess not.

9 thoughts on “So let me get this straight.

  1. This is a sound reason to switch to an operating system that does not impose this permission-to-go-to-the-washroom-or-install-additional-RAM mentality. Run Windows in VMware, with a more liberal host operating system.

  2. KISS? No, they operate on a somewhat different principle: PMSMMS (Pay Me Some More Money, Stupid).

    Quite a few companies are basing their business strategies on controlling their customers. That is, they try to fundamentally diminish the value of their products – though they do not perceive it as such. Why would I pay anything for a CD that I could not rip to MP3 format? Why would I pay for an operating system that I can’t transfer to a different computer?

    You aren’t Microsoft’s customer here, and it shows. They cut a deal with the OEM, and the OEM doesn’t want you using the OS on another computer either.

    I’m not going to buy Vista, or a machine equipped with it. I’m thinking seriously about a Mac. Either that or I’ll build my own Linux box. I’ve been developing for Windows since 1988, but this is just getting to be too much.

  3. Hmmm … I don’t know how it works in Canada but if You have bought Vista as a pre-installed OS You can buy a DVD media from your hardware vendor for much less then OEM version. In Poland it costs about ~30 USD. So call your hardware help desk line and request media set from them.

  4. @Tomek: I think I probably could go get a cheap(er) OEM cd from Dell. I wonder how long I would have to wait for it though? Why not charge $30 more and give me the CD when I purchase the computer? Or at *least* give me the option of buying the media at the time I buy the computer (at least, I don’t remember seeing that option, I’m sure I would have selected it had it been available to me).

    I already paid for the OEM version, it just let me get moving immediately, and talk to support later. I think what I’ll do is order the OEM cd at the time I replace the hard drive, then I’ll have a license/media set I can give away to somebody else who has the same problem.

  5. @Paul:

    I agree – Vista runs beautifully on a VM in my mac — not so much on actual hardware. Even if I could have restored the recovery image, I’m not sure I would — it literally took longer for the M1330 to boot than for my old Toshiba A10 with 512 mb memory and a 4-year-old cpu. The thing ran like a dog, and I’ve never ever been happy with it. I’m quite interested to see if abandoning the dell image will speed things up.

    The problem is the GPS software — the stuff only runs on windows. Maybe with a machine with 4gb+ of ram, the maps would load in a VM reasonably. Next time… :)

  6. @Pamela … I don’t know how about Dell but for example Fujitsu has an option to create install DVDs from partition which is installed when You are buying your laptop. So what You need in such case is bunch of DVD-RW and there is option to burn install media.

    I’m not saying that theres is everything OK with this process. I remember days when install media was delivered with every notebook I was buying – I even don’t know why they have dropped this. I’m just pointing for solution I’ve used when I have to deal with such problem.

  7. @Tomek – thanks for pointing that out — that is probably the right thing to have looked for when I purchased the machine, in hindsight. I think that from now on, I need to build an image at the time I purchase the machine, and put it away for a rainy day. No putting it off, no “later”.

    As it turned out in reality, however, whatever Dell did to the operating system in the making of their recovery image was horrific. The machine took 15 minutes to boot, I’m not kidding. As such, my enthusiasm over using any image that didn’t involve an OS reinstall wasn’t very high. This time around, I’m going to keep an eye on fragmentation, back things up, and generally be a good sys-admin :) I’m happy though that I can at least start from a known good state, and not from a crippled position.

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