The endless reboot is among the top active threads on Microsof's Windows 7 installation support forum. Only the thread that outlines the problem college students have had upgrading using a discounted $30 download has more messages and views.
According to Microsoft's head of support, however, the endless reboot problem isn't on the company's top list of concerns. "It's very early in the process," said Ben Bennett, the director of Microsoft's Windows consumer global support group, in an interview Monday afternoon. "In terms of the top issues of customers who choose to upgrade, the XP-to-Windows 7 [upgrade] is up there on the list for lots of reasons. The netbook upgrade scenario -- how do I upgrade my netbook to Windows 7 -- is also a big one. And another is, 'Where are my applications?' after people have upgraded. They wonder what happened to e-mail and photo editing, for example. Those are the top issues so far."
Overall, said Bennett, the volume of support calls and queries for Windows 7 is lower than Microsoft expected. "With Vista [in 2007], sales were not quite what we expected, but Windows 7 is very different," Bennett said, as he declined to quantify the difference between Vista and Windows 7 support volume, saying that it was in part reliant on sales. "But on the pure support side, Windows 7 is similar to our lower volume expectations. It's still very, very early, but volumes are lower on the support side with Windows 7 while volumes are higher on the sales side."
Microsoft's long-term expectations are that it will field a smaller number of support calls and questions for Windows 7 compared to Vista, Bennett said.
Some users whose PCs are constantly rebooting disagreed with that rosier outlook for Windows 7.
"I have to say that my system is a very generic Windows Vista Home Basic install that I've done nothing to," said someone nicknamed "tjtull" in a message posted around 2 p.m. ET today. "I haven't added any fancy video cards or drivers to it. The machine I'm trying to upgrade is a notebook computer that has nothing special about it and no peripherals attached to it. Not to grouse continually about this, but I find it inexplicable that a vanilla upgrade from the same software company would not work on my vanilla install."