The introduction of Windows Vista has been plagued by many dysfunctional aspects, from licensing screw-ups and delayed OEM upgrades to hardware and software compatibility issues. But nothing better epitomizes these problems -- and indeed the inherent shortcomings of the way Microsoft distributes and supports Windows -- than the expereince of one reader with getting to Vista to work on his Averatec notebook computer.
Just getting Vista on his computer was something of a struggle, as the reader was one of the many thousands who had an interminable wait for the Vista Express Upgrade media he was promised when he bought the computer last fall. "I finally got my Vista Express Upgrade -- Moduslink mailed it exactly six months to the day after receiving my eligibility documentation and only three and a half month after Vista's retail release," the reader wrote. "But now it gets even more ridiculous. Although Averatec proudly announced their participation in the Vista upgrade program last fall as an inducement to purchase this PC, they now claim they have no responsibility for supporting it because I've voided the warranty by changing the software that originally came with the system."
When the reader installed Vista he encountered a problem with - surprise, surprise - a bad driver for his network adapter. Contacting Averatec as per the instructions that came the Vista Upgrade, the reader quickly heard back from the Averatec helpdesk that:
"This is an issue that falls outside of our scope of support as we only offer technical assistance for the original operating system that the system shipped with. To reset the system back to original factory defaults simply run the recovery CD's that came with the system."
The reader wrote back, pointing out among other things that the Vista Upgrade DVD had Averatec's logo on the label and stated specifically that "Support for these products provided by Averatec, Inc." Repeated attempts to get the Averatec techs to check this policy with their superiors and even the reader's warning that he would complain the California Attorney General's office yielded little change in the responses from Averatec:
"As been stated in emails all along this issue we only support original configuration not upgraded. We only provided a link on our site for the Microsoft Up Grade you are inquiring with. There is no promise of any kind as this would be against the Warranty. We will how ever give you the Toll Support Line to Averatec that will be happy to assist you with any out of warranty issues you are experiencing."