In last week's newsletter, I asked readers how they would feel about Microsoft eliminating the separate upgrade-only version of Windows 2000 (Win2K), and instead giving a rebate off the price of the full version. Evidently, this topic struck a nerve because I received considerably more mail than usual. By a margin of almost 3 to 1, readers agree that a rebate is a better way to go.
Those readers that prefer the Win2K upgrade version have two concerns: the length of time and complexity involved in the rebate process, and the need to send in original media (or some other proof of purchase) to qualify for the rebate. Two readers suggested that Microsoft couple the rebate with online product registration, and I think that approach is a good idea. Not one reader likes the current system. Microsoft, are you listening?
Other Upgrade Concerns
A rumor is circulating that the Win2K upgrade-only code will format your hard disk if you try to use the code to upgrade the preview version. The rumor is false. As I reported last week, the upgrade fails, but it doesn't damage your existing installation.
One reader wrote to tell me that after discovering the upgrade-only version won't work with his preview code, he traded the upgrade in on a full version. He wants to know whether he can get a refund. I think that's a legitimate question.
Another reader said that his notebook PC came with Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) preinstalled, but no CD-ROM. Instead, the i386 directory was copied to a partition on his hard disk. That's the first case I've heard of so far, but undoubtedly, more cases will surface. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft requires vendors to provide copy protection so that an OEM CD-ROM can be used only on the machine the CD-ROM is delivered with. No copy protection? No CD-ROM! I heard last month that users will be able to get a CD-ROM directly from Microsoft, but I haven't been able to get any more details. Another reader asked what effect the OEM CD-ROM will have on future upgrades. Good question—and another reason to replace upgrades with rebates.
Several readers were kind enough to thank me for pushing Microsoft on the topic of providing a proper upgrade to Win2K from preview code. Once in a while, I can do some good in this job, and that makes it worthwhile. You're all very welcome.