Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Upgrades Operating Systems Software Windows

Vista Upgrades Require Presence of Old OS 561

Posted by kdawson
from the recovery?-disaster dept.
kapaopango writes "Ars Technica is reporting that upgrade versions of Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Starter Edition cannot be installed on a PC unless Windows XP or Windows 2000 is already installed. This is a change from previous versions of Windows, which only required a valid license key. This change has the potential to make disaster recovery very tedious. The article says: 'For its part, Microsoft seems to be confident that the Vista repair process should be sufficient to solve any problems with the OS, since otherwise the only option for disaster recovery in the absence of backups would be to wipe a machine, install XP, and then upgrade to Vista. This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Vista Upgrades Require Presence of Old OS

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#17794130)
    I thought Windows Vista was the most stable and secure version of Windows ever! Surely there will be no need for disaster recovery!?
  • Are you surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#17794132)
    Respectfully...So? This isn't really surprising. MS has always tried to have UPGRADE versions require a previous MS OS already installed. Their allowing you to use a CD key from a previous OS version to do a fresh install of the new was somewhat of a kindness on their part. It is an UPGRADE version. If this is a pain in the ass, then buy a full version. Better yet...go Ubuntu.
    • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:55PM (#17794220)
      And what about EVERYONE who bought a computer since last November or so who purchased their PC because they got Vista with it, even though they had to wait for it? Is this really an upgrade for them? They are already dealing with the inconvenience of having to find tune XP before upgrading to Vista and fine tuning again. Only to find out that this is the process for every subsequent format.

      I am sure a good many of them do not consider this an upgrade, but rather final delivery of the OS they were promised when they purchased their hardware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pinky3 (22411)
        I bought a computer 2 months before XP came out. It had ME on it, but came with a coupon for the upgrade, which I got and installed. Later, when the hard drive died, I bought a new hard drive and had to install ME, then do the upgrade to XP again.

        This is nothing new.
  • How long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _merlin (160982) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#17794134) Homepage Journal
    I honestly can't see them holding out for long with this policy (like the one about only being able to transfer the license to a new machine once that they dropped). Besides disaster recovery, there are times when you just want to re-install because it's the simplest way to get rid of all the crap you've put on your system, or that has been left behind by badly behaved apps that don't uninstall cleanly. No-one is going to put up with having to install an old OS first and then upgrade.
  • by Jhon (241832) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#17794150) Homepage Journal

    since otherwise the only option for disaster recovery in the absence of backups would be to wipe a machine, install XP, and then upgrade to Vista.
    I just don't see this as a huge deal. It's just one more of many many countless reasons to keep backups -- and in the case of VISTA -- it sounds like keeping an HD image of the OS partition is of particular interest.

    I don't think we'll find a very large corporate install base of "upgrade" versions of Vista. This will affect home users the most.

    I'm more concerned with the "'per device' obsession" TFA mentions. I'm in no hurry to swap out XP/2k workstations at my shop for Vista -- and this just re-enforces that. I doubt I'm the only IT professional who feels that way.
    • by EvilSS (557649) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:11PM (#17794364)
      Vista will even do the image for you. In the new backup utility included with the OS there is an option for a full system backup. Vista creates a VHD (Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk format from their virtualization products) file of the entire disk and saves it where you tell it to. It's easy enough to boot up to restore mode and drop that image back on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Alphager (957739)

        Vista will even do the image for you. In the new backup utility included with the OS there is an option for a full system backup.
        Of course, the backup-utility is only available in Vista Ultimate (which is th emost expensive version of Vista).
        • by DrYak (748999) on Monday January 29, 2007 @05:51AM (#17797232) Homepage

          Of course, the backup-utility is only available in Vista Ultimate (which is th emost expensive version of Vista).
          And which will also be the most pirated version of Vista, and therefore the most widely available version on home computers*.

          And suddenly there's a huge rush of virus with the ability to both infect the OS running on computer and the VHD file containing the backup.
          Every time the user try to reverts to the VHD backup, in fact he re-installs the virus.

          Thank you, Microsoft ! By leveraging your monopoly to push your own backup solution to every user, you've made it an easier task for virus writers to circumvent backups.

          * : specially the clueless "My nephew installed my computer, he's a computer genius, you know !" -kind of users.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by orin (113079)
          This is simply untrue. Check http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windows v ista/features/details/backup.mspx [microsoft.com] Some versions of Vista do not allow for AUTOMATED backup, but the backup utility, including the ability to make system image files, is present in all editions. Recovery is straightfoward. Make an image file (you can even span optical media in writing it). If your hard disk does the firework, you boot off your upgrade disk, select Repair and then select Full Recovery. You then provide the media
      • by LazyBoy (128384) on Monday January 29, 2007 @08:30AM (#17798082)

        Vista will even do the image for you. In the new backup utility included with the OS there is an option for a full system backup. Vista creates a VHD (Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk format from their virtualization products) file of the entire disk and saves it where you tell it to. It's easy enough to boot up to restore mode and drop that image back on.
        And if your problem is a dead hard disk?

        LB

  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by babbling (952366) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#17794152)
    Microsoft is crippling Windows and making life harder for their customers? Good. I welcome this change and hope to see more changes like this one!

    I'd really like it if Microsoft could deny OS updates to anyone running an unlicensed Windows, too. Does anyone know if Vista does that?
    • huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by macadamia_harold (947445) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:17PM (#17794438) Homepage
      Microsoft is crippling Windows and making life harder for their customers? Good. I welcome this change

      what do you mean "change"?
  • Disaster recovery (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AlHunt (982887)

    install XP, and then upgrade to Vista. This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.'"
    It sure will. Especially after you've lost/ditched the old XP disk.
    • by Ekhymosis (949557) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:00PM (#17794260) Homepage
      Indeed, or if you have a comp from large retailers that don't give out os disks, only the 'recovery cds' or have a recovery partition on the hard drive, you are in trouble. However, as mentioned above, this has been done for ages since 3.1 (I bought the windows for workgroups upgrade) and dos 5 (6.22 upgrade. god i loved 6.22) days.

      Trouble is, as windows gets more 'advanced' it gets more 'stuff' that makes an upgrade go 100% smoothly. Hell, even upgrading between version updates from any linux distro you see many people have problems, just look on the forums (especially the ubuntu 5 to 6 update, gentoo during the major portage change,etc.)

      Like the forums always say, it is better to install a clean version of the newest OS instead of upgrading from old, if you can that is =)
  • by JavaPunk (757983) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:49PM (#17794172) Homepage
    This is just to keep people from buying the upgrade for new equipment. Everyone I know has been doing that (unless they buy the OEM). It's always fun to go searching around from my Windows 3.1 disks everytime I need to reinstall. (Actually that was windows 98, but you get my point.)
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:50PM (#17794178)
    Who is going to use Vista?

    Media companies: Heh heh, if you like 520p.
    Regular companies: 2000 is good enough for them.
    Small businesses: Whatever looks good to pirate (not vista).
    Gamers: PS3 and Wii, and XP (no game co's will make for one OS only)
    Media users: 2000 or Linux. Both play things good enough.

    "I just bought a Dell": Vista.

    Well... I think that sums it up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by norman619 (947520)
      You haven't a clue do you? Most home computers are used for email, internet, and playing video games. Gamers will be moving to Vista if they want to play the coming Direct X games. The first crop of Direct X (Vista Ready) video cards were released this past November with more on the way. MANY of the game development houses are already working on Direct X games with the first few due out this qurater. Direct X is the next big thing to happen to games. It makes the stuff you see on the new consoles alre
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lonewolf666 (259450)
        You mean Direct X 10, right?
        Because Direct X 9.0c already exists for Win2000 and XP. Direct X 10 promises more beautiful graphics, but it will take a long time before the majority of games is Direct X 10 only.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smash (1351)

      Gamers: PS3 and Wii, and XP (no game co's will make for one OS only)

      Maybe not for the first 6-12 months, but if you think that no game company is going to embrace directX 10, you are mistaken. How many current directX 9.0c only games are there? Like... most on the shelves released within the past 12 months...

      Media users? You mean the ones who buy shit on iTunes? They're going to use Linux? Right....

      Regular companies? Running Win2k? Maybe those with less than 30 employees - any bigger than that

  • Sounds Annoying (Score:2, Insightful)

    by saxoholic (992773)
    Well, I don't know how good Vista's repair is, but I know I usually reformat my computer once a year or so. That would make things extremely irritating. I don't see what real purpose this serves though. Will it stop people with pirated versions from updating? That I could understand, but still, wouldn't using a pirated liscense key from XP do the same thing then? This decision just doesn't make sense to me.
    • by LO0G (606364)
      If you're reformatting your machine once a year, then the upgrade edition isn't for you.

      The upgrade edition is for people who are UPGRADING their machines. That's why it's less expensive than the full edition.

      If you're too cheap to pony up the cash for the full product (which allows clean installs), then you should switch to *nix.
  • How many lusers will buy the upgrade edition, then after it crashes buy the full edition? I think MS will get a lot of bad press from this.
  • Ghost (Score:4, Informative)

    by adambha (1048538) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:54PM (#17794204) Homepage

    This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.
    Not if you ghost the drive after doing the upgrade.
  • by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@Nospam.gmail.com> on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:56PM (#17794226)
    Screw Upgrading, I finally have the hardware to allow my Windows XP install to boot as fast as my Amiga used to.
  • do we really care? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bill Dog (726542)
    Ya know, for an online community where almost everyone wishes Windows would just go away, there are sure an awful lot of articles here picking at MS for every little thing that they do. It's like we don't care a whit about Vista, practically no one here's going to install it, and yet we want to give it the anal exam and scrutinize every nook and cranny.
  • Fresh Install Woes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kraegar (565221) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @09:59PM (#17794250)
    I decided to take the plunge and give Vista a go at work. We have a volume license deal with MS, so I grabbed a brand new, unformatted hard drive, and tried to install Vista. Nada. I couldn't even boot from the CD. Tried this in 3 machines.

    Out of morbid curiosity I decided to install XP, worked like a charm. I then put in the Vista CD, and it booted and installed a fresh copy of Vista without problem. (Complete overwrite, not upgrade).

    So, from my experience, Vista won't even install on a totally fresh hard drive.

    A co-worker had a very similar experience, but had to go with installing XP, then upgrading - which leaves you with some decidedly annoying problems with the admin controls.

    Overall Vista isn't as bad to work with as some stories would lead me to believe, but there are definitely days where it's easy to see it is not fit for prime-time.

  • by Ancil (622971) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:00PM (#17794266)

    This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.
    If your idea of disaster recovery is to install the OS from scratch, I hope to hell you don't work in my company's IT department.
    • Many companies only backup irreplaceable data. Have you priced LTO3 drives, tapes, or autoloaders recently? Those damn things are expensive. Why backup operating systems and consume precious, expensive backup space?

      Most companies have hot/warm redundant systems off-site for mission critical systems. System images don't usually help in the event of a Katrina type disaster. After all, how can you guarantee that you'll get the exact same hardware you had? DR companies like Agility only guarantee that you
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No, I don't. I do, on the other hand, have the pleasure of supporting myriad computers for small business and residential customers. The disaster recovery process is as varied as my customers and it's sad to say, this will only add to how much it costs to own a computer. Whether you reinstall(and pay extra for the xp image loading) or decide to just buy a new computer, both will cost more than what it does with XP or 2000.

      At this very moment, I have a Gateway with no recovery partition or disks, virus dam
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:34PM (#17794618)
      If your idea of disaster recovery is to install the OS from scratch, I hope to hell you don't work in my company's IT department.

      Your company must not use Windows as its OS. I have learned a lot about how Microsoft's gift to the world works by troubleshooting the various fatal errors it can throw. I am glad my company pays me for my time and not results. I can say after 5 years in the business that in many cases more time is saved by doing a fresh install than attempting to figure out and neutralize the cause. It is fun to do the latter, but generally wildly inefficient when it comes to Windows. Other operating systems behave better in this regard.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        Absolutely. IT departments don't have the time or manpower to be farting around with configuration of MS's latest disaster. SOP for *every* IT department I've ever worked in has been to wipe and reinstall rather than trying to 'fix' a broken configuration.

        The format command is the best spyware remover there is.
    • by Guspaz (556486) on Monday January 29, 2007 @03:00AM (#17796460)
      Did you ever consider that many companies centralize the important data into shared user directories? A redundant centralized server with proper backups are much simpler than setting up dedicated backup solutions on EVERY workstation.

      So, reinstalling the OS from scratch on a workstation certainly is a good way to perform disaster recovery; the workstation is borked, and all the user settings are server-side, so why NOT nuke the workstation?

      Of course, such a company would probably also install the workstations from a ghost image. However I work for a company that does go the centralized route and yet doesn't use ghost images (we have an instruction list of what to install and how to set the machine up).
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:08PM (#17794334) Journal
    I don't believe that repair will always work, especially on a system that has had a few service packs installed. I've seen a "repair" turn a system that was malfunctioning into one that would not boot.

    Secondly, what does repair do to security? In my experience, after a repair, the system does not require all the security patches to be re-installed, yet the repair must have overwritten some files that had been patched for security fixes. In other words, some of the security patches have been rolled back, yet the system does not apparently detect this.
  • by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:09PM (#17794340)
    I always assumed that getting an "upgrade" version for cheaper was to reward you for loyalty: since you bought their previous OS versions, the new version is only an incremental extra amount of features, so you shouldn't have to pay as much.

    In my opinion, an "upgrade" version, says NOTHING about how you actually install it. It's just the same thing but cheaper because you bought the old one.

    I see a bunch of people suggesting that it only applies if you're "upgrading" your machine. That seems like a complete non-sequitur, given the usual rationale (as above). Are we seriously to believe that an upgrade edition is only an "install once and that's it" version? Completely ridiculous.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rjstanford (69735)
      That used to be the case. Vendors (this was in the early 90s) used to require you to actually bring in your old media if you wanted to buy new product at the "upgrade" price. This was required of them by Symantec/Microsoft/etc if they wanted to sell their products.

      This totally sucked.

      That's why in the mid-nineties companies switched to selling upgrade-install media instead. Really, its much better. But if you want upgrade pricing, you have to prove at some point (purchase or use) that you own the older
    • I did the 'upgrade' yesterday.
      Yes I was annoyed that the upgrade would not install on a 'clean' system.
      So I had to install a copy of XP. I didn't authenticate it.
      Then I started the upgrade from within XP and chose 'Overwrite existing system'
      About an hour later and several (3+ I think) reboots I have a Vista System running.

      M$ Could have done this better by not only asking for the original CD Media for XP but also the Key for that version of the OS.
      Then you would not have to waste an hour with the XP Install
  • I love it (Score:3, Funny)

    by rolyatknarf (973068) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:14PM (#17794406)
    I love Microsoft. I don't care how difficult they make make it for me. I will pay as much as they demand to get Vista. I will do anything they ask. You must all realize that it is not just an operating system - it is GOD. It is the only reason to live. It is more important than air, food and water. Without Microsoft there is simply no meaning to life.

    Now just be quiet and send them money.
  • Scumbags (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zerofoo (262795) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:16PM (#17794424)
    I can't tell you how many times I've seen people buy new computers because theirs was filled with spyware, viruses, and tons of crapware. I'm sure Microsoft is aware of this trend....especially with $500 computers.

    Now that consumer versions of Vista are not bootable, this trend will only increase. More people will say "fuck it....i'll just buy a new one".

    I can't think of any other reason for Microsoft to do this nonsense.

    -ted
  • by Klowner (145731) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:16PM (#17794430) Homepage
    But I think I speak for everyone when I say, boy oh boy, I can barely wait until Tuesday to get my $300-something Windows Vista Ultimate Bill Gates Limited Edition... ...BAHAHAHAhahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahaha
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      But I think I speak for everyone when I say, boy oh boy, I can barely wait until Tuesday to get my $300-something Windows Vista Ultimate Bill Gates Limited Edition... ...BAHAHAHAhahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahaha

      The Ultimate Edition is already a best-seller at Amazon.com. #6 on the list for the Upgrade, #17 for the Full Version.

  • by Raven42rac (448205) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:17PM (#17794442)
    This OS must be some sort of practical joke just to get all of us talking about it. No company that respects its customers... oh wait, nevermind.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:25PM (#17794508)
    All that requirement will do is force everybody doing a disaster recovery to use a pirate copy of Vista, since it will be much less trouble.
  • it's a good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:26PM (#17794522) Homepage Journal
    For its part, Microsoft seems to be confident that the Vista repair process should be sufficient to solve any problems with the OS, since otherwise the only option for disaster recovery in the absence of backups would be to wipe a machine, install XP, and then upgrade to Vista. This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.'"

    Well, it's a good thing the only real reasons for a reinstall nowadays is a massive virus or spyware infection.

    Oh, wait... vista is windows right?
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:42PM (#17794684)
    Somebody made a conscious decision to do it this way. You have to wonder what they were thinking.

    "We're Microsoft and we can do as we damn well please because few of our customers know they have options?"

    I do wish that more people would move to Linux and/or that Apple would port their OSX to PCs. (which I believe Apple has expressed no or little interest) If Microsoft had more real competition, they wouldn't be so smug and willing to hang their own customers by the short and curlies.
  • by FliesLikeABrick (943848) <ryan@u13.net> on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:52PM (#17794770)
    Umm two things:
    1) No shit, it is an upgrade disk
    2) the XP upgrade disk required the same/similar. It required either that you had a windows OS installed or that you had the disk and could insert it.

    My main argument lies with (1).
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Monday January 29, 2007 @02:58AM (#17796452) Homepage Journal
    I'll tell you what's an irritating experience. I went to Best Buy Sunday afternoon to buy a new HP desktop similar to one I purchased in August. I walk in and what do I find? NO COMPUTERS IN THE STORE. The sales guy tells me that they have systems, but they can't sell them until the 30th when Vista debuts. Well what if I don't want Vista? I wanted an XP box because you can't yet virtualize Vista in Linux. No dice. They aren't selling XP boxes anymore. So much for MS not being a monopoly. I went to a few other stores and all with the same answer. I finally lucked out at CompUSA because they still had one floor model that I could buy as well as a copy of Windows XP Pro in order to accomplish what I wanted (A Linux box with Xen virtualization running Windows XP Pro). I suspect that things are going to get really sticky for people like me who want to do whatever we feel like with OUR PCs. MS + Vista + a PC = You don't own your machine.
  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday January 29, 2007 @06:36AM (#17797418) Homepage Journal

    Holy crap. Did I miss anything? Really, I'm working with OSs from M$ for last decade and half - and not yet encountered the aforementioned "disaster recovery" functionality.

    Simple broken driver with couple of dependencies brings Windows down - try to recover that. Spending N days cleaning registry of all the crap installed along with driver (often automatically w/o even asking for user consent) - or spending one day on new installation? Choice is all yours. And not that M$ gives you tool to repair borked Windows - you have to buy them separately.

    Windows doesn't have any "recovery" - all it has some excuses M$ made up so it can blame all on user later.

    P.S. Compare that to Linux which I (without any backups) have been routinely brining up from totaled hard drives in under two hours. Not that Linux does have any dedicated tools for that - standard one do the job perfectly. My last record (with backup) was 15 minutes: copy all data to new hard drive (tar -C $oldroot cf - | tar -C $newroot xf -), repair installed software (rpm --verify --root=$newroot), validate checked out source code (cvs update). All was done by N-liner shell script I wrote before going to lunch. After lunch I just rebooted system and went on working as before. Duh...

  • by robosmurf (33876) * on Monday January 29, 2007 @07:34AM (#17797748)
    Taking a strict reading of the licence agreement, doesn't this mean that if you have the upgrade version, you can't EVER reinstall it?

    To use the upgrade, you need the previous version installed. However, the licence agreement for Vista says:

    13. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible
    for the upgrade. Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software
    you upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from.

    The last part seems to indicate that you are not allowed to reinstall the previous version. Thus, if your hard disk gets trashed, you can't install the previous version in order to do the upgrade.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

Working...