If only I could strike a lottery each time I encounter such hurdles to simplistic computing activities, I would be richer than Bill Gates.
So Windows 7 is looming near. I hear nothing but praises for it, so I thought I ought to give the beta a drive around the neighbourhood to see how it handles the road. The only real
guinea pig candidate is my Dell XPS M1530; it is still a "production" machine but presents a good test scenario to see how it transforms Windows Vista Ultimate and adapts the other installed software. I took the route of OS upgrade; the road less travelled. Folks typically format the disk and install the OS clean, be it beta or not, because common experience has shown that upgrade installations leave plenty of debris lying aorund. How far has Microsoft matured with their upgrade procedure?
This is not the first time I go through such an operation. I was "forced" to upgrade my company laptop from Win XP to Vista just as it was released nearing the end of 2006. The entire upgrade procedure was awfully long. Hours long. Like, go-to-bed-and-pray-everything-went-through-smoothly-the-next-morning long. The Win Vista-to-7 experience is just about the same; I decided to put my own body on hibernate for the evening after waiting four hours.
I was disappointed with Windows Vista's boot splash screen, and was not expecting much with Windows 7. Therefore I have say this version's is pretty classy the moment I saw it. Sleek. However, first impressions do not fool me. I am interested in how the windowing experience is like. And then, here is exactly why I question myself why I bother with beta software...
My first activity? To open up Outlook 2007, because I simply "had" to synchronise my mail folders with Exchange server. What do I see?
No matter what I do, Outlook simply cannot get a connection to the Exchange server. I see various errors reported in the Windows Application event log, and thought this was a fine time to use that "convenient Send feedback tool" provided on the Windows 7 desktop specifically for testers to report problems or feedback to Microsoft. And what happens? I cannot even logon to the Live ID servers to authenticate and make reports.
And that sums up my first experience with using Windows 7. Isolated from my company email server, unable to communicate. I cannot even report the problem since I am also "disconnected" from the first-level means for communication with Microsoft.
For the record, I am able to hook up to the web-based OWA interface to access the mailbox (same address as the Outlook proxy configuration).
Was there some complicated or obscure activity that I was trying to perform? How is it that I am always stumbling over the most basic of tasks in beta, or even RTM, software? I do not understand how other folks proceed to work and analyse the software to advanced levels of activity, when I am repeatedly chained down by the failure of everyday computing activity. I really do not understand.
As always, glad I have a complete harddisk image backup prior to such drastic overhauls.