Solutions for Upgrading from Windows 2000 Preview Code

As I reported last week, many readers have discovered the hard way that Microsoft's upgrade from Windows 2000 (Win2K) preview code requires the full $300 version of Win2K; the $150 upgrade-only version won't work. Yesterday, Microsoft admitted that this situation is indeed a problem.

Microsoft's Director of Windows Public Relations Keith White told me that Microsoft has heard from customers that this upgrade path is a problem, but it affects a limited number of users; the company has had about 50 calls. He offers these three solutions:

  1. If you work for an organization with a corporate, open, select, or enterprise license, then you should have full, packaged product code that will upgrade from the preview without a problem—whether you paid full price or an upgrade-only price. The problem affects only retail shrink-wrapped code that's marked "Upgrade Edition."
  2. Microsoft will make a utility available in the next 2 weeks that will patch the upgrade code to properly upgrade from preview code. I'll provide more information on this tool when I learn more about it.
  3. If you can't wait 2 weeks for the utility, call Microsoft's Product Support Services (PSS). You'll need to have the preview CD-ROM and jewel case in front of you, and the prior OS (Windows NT or Windows 9x) media or package—PSS might ask for product serial numbers to verify that you have legal copies. After you've provided the necessary information, PSS will ship your replacement media.

I want to thank White (and Microsoft) for acknowledging the problem and providing a solution. It's a pity Microsoft took so long to address the matter (White admitted the company was blindsided by this problem because it didn't show up during testing of the release candidates), but I'm glad Microsoft is finally dealing with it.

The root of the problem, in my opinion, is the company's practice of having an upgrade version that's different from the full-packaged product. Like most of you, I expect a price break when upgrading from one version of a system to another, but not at the cost of installing an upgrade-only version of the product that causes me additional setup problems. I've run into this situation with Win9x, and I hate to see it happening with Win2K. I also find it interesting that corporate customers don't have to put up with this problem—they get full code regardless of whether they're paying full price. I told Keith that I would rather pay full price and receive a rebate for sending in my old media. How do you folks feel about that?

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