Had to install a Swedish XP under Parallels to test my product. I have MSDN Pro subscription, including operating systems, so I checked out my CDs and DVDs. No Swedish. Ok, so logon to MSDN Site for downloads. Um. The download link is greyed out for all products, with no explanation. All other links work. That’s under Safari on OSX, so I suddenly realize MS may not prefer to work anything under OSX and expecting them to tell you why it doesn’t work is probably too much asked. Ok, switched to an XP and sure, the links came alive.
Downloaded Swedish XP Pro with SP3. Tried installing under Parallels, but it ran into problems. Downloaded Swedish XP Pro, no SP, and installed it from a network share just fine. Tried to run update, got Windows Genuine Advantage (what a laugh), that couldn’t verify the legality of my totally legal copy and offered to sell me one. Or activate. Which, of course, it didn’t.
Tried to download just the SP3 to patch the XP locally, but meanwhile MSDN download services have stopped working for some f…ing reason. Couldn’t get it to work with any of my otherwise just fine XPs.
Erase. Write the Swedish XP Pro with SP3 to a real physical CD and installing from there, worked ok. Tried update. Windows Genuine Advantage. Could not verify I wasn’t a thief, assumed I was, told me to activate (even though I have a 60 day grace period on MSDN versions!), which, naturally, failed.
So I did what the thing recommends and started the phone activation procedure for the first time in my life. And, man, it’s gonna be the last one as well. Up pops a window with a phone number to call. Once there, you get to enter a code sequence using the phone keypad. Now, this is a little DECT phone with a little keypad and I’m asked to enter nine groups of six digits without fail. Yes, 54 digits… OMFG…
So I do. Guess what? My numbers can’t be verified. So I get a real human on the line. Thankfully I don’t have to enter everything again, the nice lady has the numbers already. Now she does some magic and hangs up, after which a robot reads out seven groups of six digits that I am to copy down then enter into the right fields.
For some inscrutable reason, this works.
Then I got a quiz, a “user satisfaction survey” which I couldn’t resist replying to. Questions like “Did you enjoy the activation procedure? (No!)”, “Was the customer representative nice? (Yes!)”, and more of that kind. The cutest one was: “How many times have you tried to activate, 1, 2-4, 5-10, more than 10? (5-10!)”, which shows a certain insight into how terrible this system is.
You’re supposed to answer with a 1 for terrible and a 9 for excellent, except they only say so right at the start and you’re expected to remember that. It’s entirely possible I got it backwards and thus expressed hate against the nice lady and unlimited adoration for the process itself. Too bad. Even though they’d never change the process because of customer dissatisfaction, the same may not be true for the representatives. (My apologies to the lady if I got it backwards.)
This entire process has cost me an hour. Now I need to do the same thing with a Norwegian copy and a Russian copy as well. And maybe even with Vista for the same three versions.
A few more validations like this, and I would have saved time by writing my own OS instead of using one from Microsoft. Productivity? Hah!