Windows

Microsoft Windows 7 upgrade program an absolute fiasco

Nicole Bremer Nash has a bone to pick with Microsoft, Lenovo, and Mentor Media concerning Windows 7 upgrade fulfillment and broken promises.

Until last month, I had a relic of a computer on which I used Windows XP Professional. I liked XP; I found it reasonably easy to use. Of course, I learned most of my computer skills on XP, so I admit that I am partial to it for that reason. When I replaced that computer, I purchased a Lenovo that came with Windows Vista installed and the promise of a free Windows 7 upgrade. My husband replaced his relic PC at the same time. We had heard terrible things about Vista, so we sent away for our free upgrades as soon as the computers were unpacked.

Immediate problems

The first problem we had with Lenovo's Windows 7 upgrade program is that it is not entirely free. We had to pay about $24 USD for materials (discs, I presume) and shipping for two upgrades. Alright, but why couldn't we just do a totally free download? I mean, Microsoft sells downloads of all their software, why not just give us a code for a free download? Of course, it's nice to have discs, and we still wanted our sort-of free upgrades, so we paid it.

Which is interesting because Mentor Media, the company that Lenovo has contracted to handle distribution and fulfillment of the free Windows 7 upgrades, charged our card a few days after we placed the order, but they didn't send us shipping information. So we checked our order status and for nearly a month it just said "Fulfillment in progress." For a month, Mentor Media has had our upgrades and our money.

Editor's note: I tried to reach the Mentor Media Web site in Singapore, but it was down. Not a good sign.

Run around

So we checked with Lenovo, because Lenovo is the company that we, the customer, understood we were dealing with. They referred us to Mentor Media. We tried to contact Mentor Media, but, alas, it is based in Singapore and many of the phone numbers listed for the company are out of service. We started investigating and found that the problem is not limited to Lenovo customers -- Acer's customers are also facing the ordeal of getting their goods from Mentor Media. Like Lenovo, Acer doesn't seem to be doing much to help their customers either.

Lenovo's Mark Hopkins tried to update customers on a Lenovo discussion board. It seems that in early January they thought they had the situation under control, but then a lot of orders came in from people who got computers for Christmas. Now the best information that Mr. Hopkins can give is that Lenovo hopes that by early March, Mentor Media will be on top of the order shipping. Some people have received their orders, but for many, paying the fees has not equaled getting the goods.

Empty handed

Many people experiencing this Windows 7 distribution problem have one major concern -- that we've been ripped off by Mentor Media and the companies that we were told we were doing business with either aren't bothering to help or are simply inert to do anything. People who have tried to cancel their orders and get refunds have been unsuccessful. So, like a sneaky drug lord, Mentor Media now has the money and the goods. In short, we've been handed an empty briefcase.

Editor's note: I am curious, how many people are in the same boat as Nicole -- waiting for a Windows 7 upgrade that they have already paid for but has, as of this publication date, gone undelivered? Vent your frustration in the discussion that follows this post.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

82 comments
pikeman666
pikeman666

I hope you used the ability to reject the charge. Any reputable card will back you up on a fraudulent transaction. I'd have bounced it within 48 hours without a tracking number verified to a carrier.

aaaaaa!
aaaaaa!

I received my new Gateway machine this week and found that it has Windows Vista installed. I went online to request the free upgrade to Windows 7 and found out that this isn't possible anymore (since 1st of February!). *Which Microsoft operating systems will qualify for the Upgrade Program? To be eligible for the Program, you must have purchased a new PC between June 26, 2009 and January 31, 2010. I bought the PC to get away from Vista and this is not the new PC experience I was expecting!

zacker71
zacker71

I think lenovo should use more thrustable business instead of cheapest one. I dodin't remember the business was in charge of this with vista but I never got my Vista Business for Lenovo, instead I got Vista Home for gateway (I throw it away) but thank god they never charge my credit card. But when the upgrade program is end don't try to have any contact with them they are close. Try to follow up every week and try to force lenovo to do something.

eearle52
eearle52

Guess I was very fortunate indeed. Bought a new Fujitzu system at Christmas. They said the WIN7 upgrade would arrive in 6 weeks and indeed it did. Also got a $100.00 rebate from them that also arrived right on time. G.Earl// Atlanta GA.

Chug
Chug

My mom bought a Toshiba laptop from Best Buy back in late September. We registered on Toshiba's web site for the free uprade right away (before Win 7 was even released). Toshiba did not charge anything for shipping, it was totally free. I forget exactly when the upgrade DVD arrived but it was before the end of the year. My only complaint is that it required downloading a TON of updated drivers and software to be compatible with Win 7. I can understand why that stuff is needed but I would have preferred to receive a second CD or DVD with that stuff. My mom has broadband, but it's not very fast broadband and added about 2 hours to the upgrade process to have to download all that stuff. Then there's no way to make a new "recovery disc" with the updated Win 7 compatible drivers and software. But other than the upgrade went smoothly.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Next time you will know not to buy from Lenovo. You could actually complain to some US agency as Lenovo promised a free upgrade. If it did not stipulate that there was an a fee, it's probably illegal. Additionally, you could of complained to your credit cared company for unauthorized usage of your card - but I guess you didn't think of it.

joehroy
joehroy

I understand the gripe, it is impossible to deal with companies outside the United States. Windows 7 is not very network friendly anyway. I have 2 Windows 7 computer and an XP computer. Both of my Windows 7 computers have one way communications with the other computers, meaning I can save to them but I cannot open documents from the over the network. When accessing either windows 7 computer over the network, and not using 'Home Group', the windows 7 computers restart. To make matters worse, Microsoft support tried for a week to solve the problem by retracing my steps then gave up on resolving the problem. I am beginning to thin that open source is the way to go. Joehroy@yahoo.com

micheldufrenoy
micheldufrenoy

Had my worries, but totally unwarranted. Now, if my girlfriend would just let me install it.

tcrom2
tcrom2

Should have bought an HP. Our upgrades were free and we had our disks within two months.

r-2
r-2

We have several business systems purchased later in 2009 from Dell and "signed them up" for the upgrade as they were received - all came in from Mentor media shortly after Win7 upgrade was released (November?). We added another Dell system in January and had the upgrade disk in about a week from Mentor. And, BTW: They were all FREE. Not a penny for the disks, the shipping or anything. Lenovo is not IBM.

pat.floyd
pat.floyd

people should build there own computers and they would not have to put up with these rip off companys

parnote
parnote

Undoubtedly, Microsoft cannot afford any more negative press or negative customer relations, after dealing with the Vista FLOP of the last 3-4 years. Although it's not directly their problem, it impacts their customer's image, since the customer is going to ultimately blame MS for their lack of a promised upgrade. The RIGHT thing for MS to do would be to a) fulfill the upgrade those customers who were promised an upgrade, and b) file suit against Mentor Media to attempt to recoup some (if not all) of the cost of fulfilling those promised upgrades. MS had $6.6 BILLION of NET profits in the past year, even with Vista as the "cornerstone" of its offerings. So, it's not as if MS can't afford to step up to the plate here. Plus, it would be an absolute public relations coup. But will MS step up and provide those promised upgrades? I wouldn't hold my breath! If MS's previous track record with such matters holds true, and given how WGA just randomly chooses to invalidate users' authenticated Windows installations (just happened to me ... again ... this past week) and Microsoft puts forth a "who cares -- pay up again" attitude, the chances of MS doing the RIGHT thing is somewhere between none and nil.

rwbyshe
rwbyshe

Purchased online a very well equiped HP dv7t laptop on 6/28/09. Called HP and "registered" it immediately after I got it. Waited about a month after release of Win 7 to check on the upgrade disk. Finally checked HP site and I had to do an online registration and provide a copy of the packing list as proof of purchase. Once that was done, I got the upgrade disks within two weeks. Overall: I pretty satisfied all in all. The HP upgrade disks worked perfectly with no glitches whatsoever and have no problems since the upgrade which has been about 3 months now. My issues with the Win 7 upgrade is the "process" the the manufactures put customers through to get their "free" upgrade. I don't consider the frustrations of jumping through their hoops as "free" since it cost me my sanity at the least. A simple registration of their computer with them should be all that is needed since they have all that info and your personal info in their computers. Here's the killer!!! When I first tried to register it online, their computers wouldn't recognize the s/n of the laptop I purchased. The reason the HP rep stated was this: "Because the laptop was a custom build it's not recognized by our computers until you call and register it with an HP Representative." DUH!!! The Win 7 upgrade was fine. The HP registration to get the disk was a bit ridiculous.

networknanny
networknanny

I bought a Sony laptop and received the upgrade in just two weeks after applying for it.

keithsheard
keithsheard

A complete fiasco! Acer updates took from 20 October 2009 credit card charge to 20 December 2009 for delivery by standard mail from Budapest! No assistance from Mentor Media after numerous emails to MM with calls direct to Acer South Africa who where more than user unfriendly, absolutely useless! Until I found Vincent Ma in Singapore who was Mr. Fixit for me! The whole upgrade process is a prime example of incompetence from Microsoft, the computer manufacturer (don't care Acer) and especially Mentor Media.

rondack
rondack

I purchased my new computer from Dell in Sept. I got my free upgrade from them within 2 weeks after it's official release.

johnc
johnc

I bought an HP desktop applied for my free Win7 upgrade and received it within 6 weeks with no problems at all.

boultonbill
boultonbill

Last October I tried to get an upgrade for an ASUS laptop & after five emails & a fax Mentor Media hasn't even replied yet. The Microsoft upgrade support gave me a fax number in France for a product of Taiwan? The listed phone numbers for ASUS in Australia don't even exist. Anyone want a a laptop with Vista?

peterfv
peterfv

Now why did I buy an Apple?

itadmin
itadmin

I didn't buy one of these computers, so I don't know. First question, who promised the free upgrade to buyers of the computer? Look at the printed matter carefully. If it's Lenovo, they are accountable. The contract is between the buyer and Lenovo. If Lenovo uses a third party to fulfill their obligation to the buyer, there is another contract between Lenovo and the third party - Mentor Media, in this case. In this case there is no contract between the buyer and the third party. If the worst comes to the worst, the buyer will be able to successfully sue Lenovo, not Mentor Media.

bwallan
bwallan

I ordered a HP Smart-Touch with the promise of a Windows 7 upgrade. Now HP claims my order was placed three days too early for their "free" upgrade! I went as far as contacting their president, got some "wonderful" support on VISTA but still no Windows 7 upgrade... Fabulous PR for a "reputable" company!?

dgerrold
dgerrold

This problem was known last year. Gateway, Acer, Lenovo, Dell. The companies started promising free upgrades in June. But most of the customers did not receive their upgrades on Oct 22nd when Windows shipped. Despite promises that all orders would be handled by the end of November, some were delayed as much as 2-3 months. Mentor Media was just as unresponsive then and a lot of forum discussions centered around what unhappy users had managed to find out. None of the companies involved (Acer, Gateway, Dell, Lenovo) took any real steps to deal with the situation. Not even an apology. One Gateway employee did admit, however, that Microsoft pretty much told the companies to do their free upgrade programs through Mentor Media, so it is Microsoft who is to blame here. They didn't plan well the first time around and they didn't learn their lesson from the first mess. IMHO, don't trust free upgrade programs; it's just another opportunity to get screwed.

fatmann
fatmann

I bought an HP laptop in late august, registered it through HP's site, and 3 weeks after the release of Windows 7 I recieved my upgrade. I have to say, I had no issues witht the upgrade proccess a it didn't cost me a dime.

info
info

Alas, watching this is quiet amusing. First, you buy a computer without the stuff on it you want... i.e Windows 7. You buy from a distant and foreign company... I realize Lonovo used to be IBM and there used to be Indians here (Apologies to the Cherokee Nation). If you wanted to... (smarts aside) within 60 days of a purchase with a credit card, you can put the charge into dispute until they ship. I once did that to a company that did not have it's shipping in order and American Express shut down the Company's ability to accept the AE card until it was resolved and 45 days after as punishment for not following the rules! Finally, I really like Microsoft. I use XP Pro and Office 2003 Professional. I waited through the Vista mess and will wait until Win 7 is common. Who wants to be first on the block with an empty charge on their credit card. Finally, what can you do on Windown 7 that I can't do on XP-Pro, and needed to do yesterday.

abc123a
abc123a

I completely agree with Nicole. I made the mistake of getting an HP and they promised an upgrade to Windows 7 with my machine. To this day I have sent in the paper work 3 times and never received the upgrade. I think both MS and HP SUCK big time.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

Although with a different company the same thing happened when I purchased a Gateway computer with XP installed and Vista upgrade rights. Took forever, well past the general availability of Vista before they shipped the upgrades. At least they did not charge shipping . . .

ssheldon01
ssheldon01

Ordered a new laptop from HP a week before 7 released.. Filled everything out BEFORE 7 released and CC was charged.. Got my media around Jan 15th because some idiot didn't put my full shipping address on the envelope when it was shipped. You know, a suite number is USUALLY important, that's why I included it when I typed my shipping address out. It stayed in la-la land until I realized it though and called to get another disk shipped to me.. Maybe they just don't have suite's in Singapore office buildings.. If so, they aren't the morons I currently think they are. I think they probably are though.

david
david

I paid ?81.00 for a downloaded ISO File containing Windows7 Home Premium to replace Vista Home Basic. And I recieved 2 CD's 32 64 bit. As I asked for. But I did not recieve the free upgrade as upgrades cost ?79.00 for Home Premium, but I needed it so I paid the price.

consulting
consulting

This is NOT a Microsoft upgrade program fault. It is a Lenovo upgrade problem.

rbramlet
rbramlet

Bought new HP laptop with Vista. No problems with getting Windows 7 upgrade, no cost! Handled by Arvato, received status messages, shipping notice.

memartin2
memartin2

One word - Ubuntu. No problems, ever.

Glenn_Ertel
Glenn_Ertel

I would have much rather have had a code provide at the time I purchased my Acer and a URL given to Microsoft's or Acer's website to download a ISO file to save to the DVD/CD burner for installation.

donaldshaw
donaldshaw

Got mine from Dell: two major problems 1. could not validate order online - had to get Dell rep to do it on their end. 2. Ability to eject CD was disabled by Windows 7 install program. Had to research how to do a hardware eject (F2 during boot-up). Then I could remove disc during requested re-boots during install.

ifallsguy
ifallsguy

This isn't Microsoft's problem. You bought the computer who handed the WIN7 upgrade to a third party. Microsoft didn't sell you the computer, Levono did. They dropped the ball and since they already sold you the laptop, don't seem to care. Take it up with Levono and don't blame MS. But thanks for the heads up. This did kill any thought I had to purchase a Levono, especially when there might be any possibility of their supplying an upgrade to an OS.

gkeramidas
gkeramidas

from acer, got about 8 windows 7 pro ugrades from mentor media. all were free and all came within 2 weeks.

rodgar_z
rodgar_z

I have a friend here in Mexico which purchased it's laptop with HP and got it's upgrade discs in a month or so from the US (It's contact vendor was in Argentina, and he told him that their discs will be coming from the US). Just to note, a delivery non-express from the US takes around 3 weeks to get here, so I think it was quick.

lucvdv
lucvdv

The title of this post drew me in, because I though it would be about windows 7. I even expected somethig about upgrading from XP to 7 being a pain. Turns out it's got nothing to do with windows in se, just bad experiences with a supplier. Sorry if it wasn't intended that way, but it leaves me with an aftertaste of "yet another one who aims titles at attracting more readers, instead of representing the subject". I do sympathise, but the title should have mentioned Lenovo and/or Mentor, not Windows.

Linda80
Linda80

I got my Windows 7 upgrade from HP, but it killed my computer. Now I have to pay to ship it to HP! It's still under warranty and it's their upgrade! Why do I have to pay anything????

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

I'm not blaming Microsoft, I am blaming Lenovo and Acer for not taking care of their customers. Microsoft's name is in the title because that is the name of the software in question.

plav
plav

That's probably it. Bought a pre-configured Vista box from HP for my kid on 1 October 2009, which carried the promise of a free Windows 7 upgrade. I placed the order for the upgrade on 28 October and received it 6 December. Sure, it took a while but it was free - no hidden charges for shipping, media or anything else. What's more, it was a full install which doesn't require anything to be pre-installed - a bare drive is fine. (The way to accomplish the clean install wasn't obvious, but wasn't hard either.) The icing on the cake was that the clean install included all the necessary drivers but absolutely *none* of the shovelware that usually accompanies a pre-configured commodity machine. The vendor subcontracted by HP for this fulfillment was "arvato digital services llc" and they apparently did it right. Slow, but right.

nwilt
nwilt

This site is full of misleading titles. C,mon editors or moderators, whoever you are, start playing fair....

zclayton2
zclayton2

Its about the upgrade program. the Windows 7 upgrade program. The title is exactly on topic. The question I have is why did Lenovo and Acer go thru a thrid party instead of having the upgrade go to Redmond?

gmbaker130
gmbaker130

But here is a way you may be able to get your money back, if you paid by credit card you can contact the card company and ask them for help like you paid for something but never recieved it. The credit card company can step in and request your money back from who you made the payment to. I know they will help you, It happen to me about 4 months ago and I got a full refund back. You just need to call.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Since I wrote the title, I would like to know exactly how it is misleading?

jaymikelt2
jaymikelt2

Why does Hewlett Packard have India do it's service work? C'mon now.....because it's cheaper, they don't have all the "inept human installer" call to deal with, and, most importantly, they can abdicate their responsibility! 'Nuff said?

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

OEM means that the manufacture supports the product. If you want support from Microsoft then buy the software from them and pay the extra money it will cost. Companies do this because they get a discount on the software which makes their product more competitive. Microsoft lets them because it decreases their support costs. This is not a Windows 7 problem. It is a problem with Lenovo and Acer. Bill

seanferd
seanferd

Or even "Lenovo". Everyone is well aware who produces Windows, so some may easily take "Microsoft" to be modifying "upgrade program" rather than "Windows 7". Such is the English language. Or, the title may have been prefaced with "a", or "one". Now, I easily determined what the article was about right away, and I did not assume it was necessarily Microsoft causing the fiasco, as many articles and advertisements do refer to any MS product as "Microsoft (product)". And, I do not assume you did this intentionally at all, however, many article found in various media do use misleading titles to get attention (readily admitted by certain bloggers at one of TR's sister sites, even), so you really should not be surprised if a reader wants to accuse you of this, either. (Rather than asking first.) Just to be clear, I don't mean the tone or content of this post to be anything other than explanatory, aside from the two possible alternative suggestions. Even these are actually explanatory as to what might have been expected, as I do not suggest you actually change anything at all. Because you'll get nothing but respect from me. :D

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Nothing in the title says Microsoft did anything but make Windows 7. There is no finger pointing. The product name is Microsoft Windows 7. Microsoft Windows 7 is the thing being, or not being in this case, upgraded.

bdfrazier
bdfrazier

Your title points the finger at Microsoft. Lenovo and Mentor Media clearly are the stars of Nicole's rant and should have gotten top billing. Microsoft was a bit player in this drama, but was clearly used as the bait to get us here. Based on the comments, the fiasco is not in the upgrade program itself, but in the 3rd party vendor(s) used by some of the hardware manufacturers and the title should have reflected the actual situation.

srcharp
srcharp

That you think they made you wait 8 months to receive your upgrade as Windows 7 only launched just a tad over 3 months ago...lol Sure perhaps you waited close to 8 months after you purchased the pc to receive the upgrade, but it was plainly stated the upgrade would not be shipped until after the official launch which turned out to be late October) I sent in my request to HP a week after the launch and received my free upgrade disk 10 days later.

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