When you create a complex product, you will have complex support issues.
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This is why it is very important to engineer complex products so they are easy to use.
Microsoft seems to have forgotten how to address this customer service issue properly, as evidenced by a recent technical problem with Microsoft Vista Ultimate.
My brand new Dell XPS 1530 came pre-installed with Vista Ultimate.
I have done all the Windows updates and have updated McAfee VirusScan on the computer. Other than that, the system is effectively new.
I paid extra to Dell to get Vista Ultimate on the laptop because I wanted to avoid the hassles of having to install an operating system. I am an MSDN subscriber, which gives me access to Microsoft operating systems at no charge – but there is a value to my time, and, hence, I opted to let Dell install Windows Vista Ultimate.
This is my first experience with Vista Ultimate. I had read tons of Vista Ultimate bad press, but decided to go with Vista instead of Windows XP Professional because I figured that enough time had passed that Microsoft would have worked out the Vista bugs.
Turns out that was a really dumb decision. I should have stuck with Windows XP Professional.
My problems with Vista Ultimate started when I decided to turn on Microsoft IIS in Vista. I researched how to activate IIS in Vista and it seemed pretty simple: just go to Control Panel > Programs; then click on "Turn Windows features on or off"; then activate IIS by checking the checkbox for Internet Information Services.
I proceeded with these instructions to install IIS on Vista.
Microsoft Vista flashed up a message: "Please wait while the features are configured. This might take several minutes."
However, the status bar did not indicate any progress. It stayed all white.
Minutes later, Windows Vista informed me that it had had some troubles installing IIS on Vista: "An error has occurred. Not all of the features were successfully changed."
That's it. Just "I couldn't do it" and no helpful debugging information or fix info.
So I had two options – 1) call Microsoft for technical support help; or 2) try to fix it on my own. To me, calling Microsoft for tech support is something that would likely take hours and possibly not result in any solution. So, I of course opted to try to fix it myself.
Usually, when I try to troubleshoot a computer problem myself, I do pretty well. I put the error message in quotes and search Google. Typically, there is somebody out there who has had the exact same problem and identified a fix.
So I searched for various things
how to access iis in vista "please wait while the features"
"error has occurred. Not all of the features" vista
I find this post at http://forums.iis.net/t/1149736.aspx from a Microsoft employee in IIS deployment who says:
What has happened here is that an internal component of the Windows setup engine (the component store) has somehow become corrupted. We have reviewed potential causes for this and the way the IIS component setup works, there is nothing IIS is doing that will lead to this. There is also no way a user could induce this situation by setting up something incorrectly. In the instances we know of where this problem has been seen, it has occurred randomly during install or uninstall of some component. The specific component does not matter. Unfortunately, once the machine is in this state, the Windows installer is broken. It cannot add or remove any Windows components and it cannot apply updates to the system. We have reason to believe that the OS repair may correct the problem, as it rewrites the component store. It should also preserve the configuration of the machine. Note that you will need to re-install any OS updates after doing this, since the nature of the repair is to restore OS files from your media. Two things to try:1) OS repair – insert OS DVD media and start setup.exe, then choose Upgrade 2) if that does not work then you will need to clean install OS.
I read a few more posts and it seems that people are saying the same thing: reinstall Microsoft Vista Ultimate to fix the problem.
So, I pull out my Dell Operating System Reinstallation DVD for Windows Vista Ultimate 32Bit SP1 and start the reinstall.
I'm dreading doing this but it starts off fine. Then I get a Microsoft OS BlueScreen of Death. The whole system has crashed right in the middle of the Windows Vista Ultimate installation.
Here are the details:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.0.6001.2.1.0.256.1
Locale ID: 1033
Additional information about the problem:
OS Version: 6_0_6001
Service Pack: 1_0
Files that help describe the problem:
Crap. I try to restart the system and it tells me that the Vista install failed and allows me to boot up to the old instance of Vista Ultimate. I tried the OS install again, and it fails again. OK, I give up on reinstalling Vista. I decide to go back to the drawing board with my current installation of Vista Ultimate.
Of course, now, every time I boot I am (annoyingly) given two options: Windows Setup or Windows Vista. So I have to be sure to boot to Windows Vista, not go back into the defective Windows Vista install.
I go back to Google looking for a solution and find this post: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/itprovistasetup/thread/b3544c0b-6637-4a7e-9cd8-2669c626b778/
Well, based on this, it seems that others are having the same problem. A Microsoft employee named Robbin Meng is working the thread. My hopes go up that they have posted a fix.
My hopes immediately fall back to earth when I see that Robbin Meng gives really dumb advice in her first post, clearly indicating that she did not thoroughly read the guy's post, where he writes:
I'm a new user of Vista and when I try to install the IIS7.0 in windows features I got a error message : An error has occurred. Not all of the features were successfully changed. I've never installed IIS before and I have to update it to run ASP for my work. I found somebody who has the same problem but nobody has a solution. My OS is Vista Business.
I read through the thread and find a few suggested solutions: uninstall all unnecessary language packs, change the rights for security settings, etc.
I look at whether these might be causing my problem and it's clear that they are not. I don't have any extraneous language packs. I try setting the user rights and still get the same error message.
It's at this point that I remember I am an MSDN subscriber. Maybe I get to cut to the front of the line for tech support and not have to pay any fees for really good support. Sure enough, I research MSDN support and find that I am entitled to 4 support incidents at no charge.
So, I call up MSDN support. They ask me a few questions: is this problem occurring in a production environment? Will it cause a work stoppage if this problem is not fixed? Will it cause business problems if the problem is not fixed?
I answer No to all of these questions, even though this problem is causing ME not to get much work done. I'm told at the end of this initial Microsoft tech support call that my problem has been given a Priority classification of C, which means a Microsoft support person will call me within 8 hours.
8 freaking hours! That's really pathetic.
I'm writing this during those 8 hours. Mainly because I'm kind of pissed that I am not getting better support. I paid a lot for this laptop and extra for Vista Ultimate. I paid a lot for the MSDN subscription. I've been loyal to Microsoft for decades and have given them untold amounts of business through my various tech startups. And they tell me 8 hours…thanks for nothing.
Of course, now, in the interim since I called Microsoft Tech Support, I've realized that this is not just an IIS on Vista problem. I cannot install or uninstall any Windows Vista programs. I try to uninstall my games (i.e. the games that come preinstalled) and I get the same messages: "Please wait while the features are configured. This might take several minutes." followed by "An error has occurred. Not all of the features were successfully changed."
A quick note to anybody else who is getting these same errors installing IIS on Vista: try isolating whether it's a problem with IIS on Vista, or whether you are having trouble doing any kind of install. Seems like pretty basic troubleshooting, but I didn't do it.
OK…I guess I will take a break now from writing this and resume it when the #@!#?! Microsoft tech support person calls. They better be good, and they better not waste my time.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Read more about our customer service experience as it relates to trouble installing Microsoft Vista components.