RealTime IT News

Windows 7 Launch Hits Some Snags

Windows 7's first big weekend went smoothly for most buyers, but that wasn't true of everyone -- particularly for those who took advantage of a special offer for college students.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) officially launched Windows 7 on Thursday and, while there were no lines around the block at midnight the night before, uptake of Windows 7 appeared to be fairly strong, according to anecdotal accounts.

The company's Windows 7 support forums were relatively quiet as well. Most of the threads had one or two posts, far fewer than normal when Microsoft launches a new version of Windows.

That was not the case for users who jumped on the $30 student discounts that Microsoft announced in September.

On Microsoft's support forums, under the topic "Windows 7 -- Install Message -- Upgrade Unsuccessful," users posted 112 replies and 32 users indicated they "need an answer" -- although many of those replies were posted by only a few users.

Microsoft's college promotion, which costs $30 in the U.S., lets students with a valid college e-mail address choose from two higher-end upgrade editions -- Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. Pre-orders began in the US on September 17 and in the UK October 1. Both promotions will run until January 3.

Problems upgrading to 64-bit version

Microsoft officials admitted that there are some student users experiencing problems, but that most of the problems have to do with trying to upgrade from 32-bits to 64-bits, which is not supported for the promotion's upgrade versions.

"A small number of customers who purchased the Windows 7 upgrade through the Student Offer have reported challenges in completing the download and/or installation of the product. These challenges are being experienced largely by students running an existing 32-bit version of Windows who have ordered the 64-bit upgrade to Windows 7 through the offer site," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

Microsoft, the spokesperson said, is working with online retailer Digital River, which is providing product fulfillment for the offer, to resolve the problems.

Many of the affected users complained about the installation starting a cycle of continuous reboots.

No surprise that many of the affected users are angry and panicked:

"Microsoft HELP NOW! I now have an unusable laptop that I am in desperate need of," said one post by a user who logged in with the screen name tmanpikos.

"My upgrade failed in [the] last step. And now it is in [a] continuous loop," complained another user with the screen name Manjigani.

"I want to return Windows 7 already !!!! …," chimed in another frustrated user named Bryan9.

Among the steps the two companies are taking to resolve the problems are to provide an ISO file option for on future purchases, which will allow customers to install more easily.

"Customers that contacted Digital River with this issue will be proactively contacted with the details on how to download the ISO," the Microsoft spokesperson added.

Additionally, customers can purchase a back up DVD that supports custom installations "for a nominal fee," ($13 in the US).