Monday, October 26, 2009

Windows 7 upgrade paralyzes some PCs with endless reboots

"Some users trying to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 have seen their PCs crippled by an endless series of reboots, according to reports on Microsoft's support forum.

A Microsoft engineer writing on the same forum said the company was investigating users' problems, but he downplayed them as 'isolated issues.'

Users began posting messages about the endless reboots Friday, saying that the Windows 7 installation would hang two-thirds of the way through the upgrade. They reported a message on their machines that claimed the upgrade had been unsuccessful and that Vista would be restored. Instead, their PCs again booted to the Windows 7 setup process, failed, then restarted the cycle."

I have one thought about this. While Windows 7 was thoroughly beta tested and the RC had wide public usage, the upgrade version did not. Indeed, Microsoft has kept, up until release, the details of a clean install using upgrade media top secret. So too were secret the other details of the upgrade media. Are these just bad media burns from downloads as MS seems to be contending, or this there a distinctive flaw or incompatibility in the upgrade process? Only time and testing will tell. This is testing that I contend should have been done more widely pre-release.

As most of you know, I do not advocate upgrading even from 32 bit Vista to 32 bit Windows 7. Of course I have to clean install because all the computers I will be upgrading will be going from either XP to 64 or 32 bit Win 7 or Vista 32 bit to Win 7 64 bit. I'm not letting MS off the hook here if they are to blame, but users also have a responsibility to back up their data (or perhaps image their drive if they want to be able to start back at square one) before upgrading. I will be doing both before I do a clean install of course, but it should also be done before an upgrade.

No matter how well designed the Windows 7 upgrade engine is (and I have a question about it in my mind at this point in time) things can go wrong. After all, we are talking about upgrading an OS. It is great when it works, but it should not be all that surprising if it doesn't.

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