I had the unfortunate experience this last week of having to install Windows after several years of being Windows-free. I am installing on 2 new Apple computers for some friends. Windows is needed for some very specialised software that requires a 64-bit version of Windows. They have an older version of that software that is certified to run on Windows 7.
The first pain was trying to purchase a copy. Go to Incredible Connection… Ask for Windows 7: No longer available. 🙁 Okay lets try windows 8 then and hope it works… sigh. Only available as an upgrade, you have to have a previous version of windows in order to install it. WHAT??!!!
That is the most arrogant thing I have heard of since Ferrari made models that only previous owners were invited to buy…and I feel that Ferrari are sort of entitled to a little arrogance. Maybe this is more akin to when Renault did the same thing with their V6 Cleo.
…but wait Windows 8.1 is available, not physically in South Africa yet, but virtually for download, and THAT is a full product not requiring you to have a previous version of Windows! yay!
OK so I trot off home and purchase the 2 copies I need. The download link downloads a downloader, which requires Windows to run!!!!!!!!!!!! Wait, I thought this version does not require you to have a previous version of Windows? Sigh. I give up. I fire up a version of Windows 7 I have installed on my laptop that I bought with parallels 7. Download their blessed downloader and execute. It gives three options: Install now, Create media, and Install later (which as far as I can tell just exits the app :-). OK perfect, create media is what I want. Next page asks if I want to install to USB flash drive or ISO file. cool. this isn’t so bad. I select ISO and it starts downloading. Downloads in 1 hour… no problem.
Attempt to install. 40 minutes later finish install. But wait, it has installed the 32-bit version on this 64-bit computer. Hmmm….the ISO I downloaded seems to only include the 32-bit version??? I need the 64-bit version. Log back onto the Microsoft store, search for an alternate link. nope.
Call Microsoft support. First few times I made the mistake of mentioning that I was installing to an Apple and immediately they tried to transfer me to someone who could help with Bootcamp. Argh!! The problem is not Bootcamp, the problem is downloading a 64-bit version. Eventually after several calls I got to the point: “OH. no you need to download it from a version of Windows running the same architecture as the version you want to download. ” WHAT!!!???? Not only do you need to have a copy of windows to execute the downloader for this “Full Version”, but you also need to have a previous version running the same architecture that you want to download. It makes this decision for you with no consultation or notification whatsoever.
Nowhere on any of the screens I encountered (and I have now done this many many times looking for it) is there any warning or information to this effect. The only way to find out which version you are getting is to try to install it, and when you are finished with the whole install process you can check and see if it is the version you wanted. Neither the download page on the Microsoft Store, nor the screens in the Downloader Application, nor anywhere during the installation process are you given any option or warning about which version you are getting.
After 3 hours on the phone of trying to find an alternative, the only option available to the Microsoft staff was “We’ll give you a refund for the download version, and you must order the DVD media….5-7 working days delivery.” No way to download the 64-bit version of this full product unless you have a 64-bit version of a previous version installed and running somewhere.
WAKE UP MICROSOFT!!!!! This is the worst software purchase experience I have ever had. ever.
You can actually install the upgrade like the reg install, only once it’s installed you just have to install again over it – the “upgrade” part
…and you may have to try a number of those until you get the right one that works with the license key you purchased. For example the one you posted was for PRO, which would not work with the basic license key I purchased. In the end I re-installed windows 7 on Parallels in 64-bit mode, just so that I could download the correct 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, and now everything is working. My point is that if their screen prompts had just told me what to expect upfront I would not have wasted so much time, or even better, if the download had simply given me a choice 🙂
Easiest way to get a ISO for windows retail: http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/7828554/Windows_8_Pro_(Retail_64-bit_English)
You can then use your key from the online store purchase which makes the final installed product legal even if you had to pirate the disk.
Hardly an ideal solution though