Here, I’ve condensed Walt Mossberg’s latest column for you:
Microsoft will finally release a new version of Windows [to replace] the deeply disappointing Windows Vista [and] the sturdy, 2001-vintage Windows XP …
[For XP users] the upgrade process … will be frustrating, tedious and labor-intensive … painful … you will have to undertake a long, multi-step process … And the pain doesn’t end there …
[Y]ou’re likely facing a painful process should you choose to transition it to Windows 7.
OK, we get it. Painful. It’s pretty predictable Vista-bashing, although calling Windows XP “sturdy” is a nice rhetorical flourish. For some reason the column doesn’t include the usual exhortation to buy a Mac. I’m sure it was just an editing error.
For years, Walt has been bad-mouthing Windows Vista and counseling people to stick with XP if possible. So anyone who followed his advice is stuck with the “frustrating, tedious, labor-intensive, painful” upgrade process. Whereas those who purchased Windows Vista can expect the following experience, as narrated by Mossberg:
By contrast, if you’re using Vista, the upgrade to Windows 7 should be a fairly easy, straightforward process. Because the new version shares most of the underlying guts of Vista, it installs itself on your current machine relatively quickly and smoothly, preserving all your files, folders, settings and programs. In a test of this process earlier this year, using a pre-release version of Windows 7, I upgraded a Vista laptop with no problems and little effort in about an hour.
“No problems, little effort.” Imagine that.
51 thoughts on “Mossberg on upgrades”
Wouldn’t it be nice to compare the Mac OS upgrade process from OS 10.1 (which came out in Sept. 2001, about a month before XP)? Well, you can’t, because upgrades only work from Intel Macs (10.4 and above) from 2006 on 😛
I read the original article and had two thoughts:
No one who has ever actually used Windows Easy Transfer has found it tedious, painful, or labor-intensive. It’s offensive that Mossberg presents his uninformed speculation about WET as fact.
In the original article, Mossberg laments that those who don’t already have external storage will have to purchase or borrow it in order to migrate from XP to 7. Well, with no external storage, you’re not backing up your current XP system. If one cares that little about the data to begin with, I guess there’s no reason to be overwrought about the supposed difficulty of moving it to a new PC.
With WET you still have to reload your applications and that is tedious. MS could have made an easy XP to 7 upgrade, avoided the bad press, and had a good solution for the <5% of people who end up doing that. We're not talking a lot of extra engineering required.
Considering the differences between Vista and XP, I don’t think an upgrade from XP to Vista that didn’t involve re-installing apps would be all that easy to engineer and give anybody satisfactory results. Performance wise you are much better off with a clean install. I have dozens of apps installed under XP but I’m using the the W7 RC to see just which ones I really need and what can be discarded. I’m finding that I hardly ever used most of what I installed. I just like trying new things. I’ve found that except for a few utilities and Photoshop Elements, I’ve hardly had to install anything new.
If your first Mossberg quote above went one more sentence it would include “…It will give Apple’s (AAPL) long-superior Mac OS X operating system a run for its money (though Apple might maintain its edge with a new version, called Snow Leopard, due in September).”
Mossberg comparing OS X to Windows is like, well, comparing apples to oranges. I stopped reading the remainder of his WSJ column after that statement.
By now it is clear to all that Mossberg prefers lambasting Microsoft. I can only think that he must have been “slighted” by Microsoft in the past. There is no other reason for a “journalist” to be so biased.
Par for the course from Mossberg. I’ve come to expect this kind of low quality effort, and generally ignore whatever he says. He is a small bit of blight in an otherwise great paper.
Upgrade process? Who upgrades their operating system? Clean installs are the only way to go. If he did upgrades, no wonder he’s so “deeply” disappointed. (FWIW, I’ve been extremely happy on my 5 Vista machines and don’t understand what everyone’s problem is. Likewise, when I sit down to my XP machines, I think it feels outdated, but not grossly.
I said it way back when that Mossberg would still continue to try to peddle FUD about Windows 7. I just loved his initial review of Windows 7 Beta which he did via a VM in his favorite Novelty OS on his Mac. That’s just classy.
His logic train will of course be that since Win7=Vista=Blah people shouldn’t bother and just go buy a Mac. It’s beyond me why people still pretend he’s objective.
A friendly reminder: off-topic posts get deleted without notice. If you want to post links to or argue about topics unrelated to this post, go start your own blog.
Right on Ed!
You’re the trusted source for all things Windows in my book. I was exposed to you a few months ago on a Computer America (podcast for me) show, and you so impressed, I immediately subscribed to your blog via RSS and have never looked back. You the man, bro!
The only painful that user is going to feel is the Windows 7 upgrade price
Vista SP2 is fine in fact I’m sticking to it.
uprading is always painful no matter what OS user use
Walt often criticizes Apple as well…Ed just never mentions it.
Besides, his audience is different from the audience of this tech-savvy blog. The common man on the street is likely to see it more from more perspective that from ours. If his writing didn’t, he’d find himself writing somewhere else, for a different audience. Spots in the journalism world like his are rare today…if someone could do it better, they get a perch at major daily too.
I’ve never understood why he evokes such anger. If you don’t like him or often disagree with him, then don’t read him.
Anger? Where do you see “anger” in this post?
And please supply me the links to all those posts where Walt criticizes Apple. In researching this, I went back and read three years worth of Mossberg columns. I found virtually nothing but praise for everything that came out of Cupertino. I would seriously love to see some actrual criticism.
I wasn’t speaking about you specifically, I was speaking about the reactions he arouses in the pro-MS camp — you, Thurrott, etc.
You didn’t touch on my allegation that he’s a generalist for the man on the street, not a writer for the smaller tech-savvy audience that you write for. Surely that influences his writing, no?
Criticism of Apple:
“I’ve been testing the new Safari on both operating systems, comparing it with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. My verdict is that Safari 4 really is significantly faster than its rivals, but that its user-interface changes are a big disappointment. They either add relatively minor eye candy, are catch-ups to features introduced by rivals, or actually make the browser harder to use.”
“I still like and recommend iPhoto and iLife. But, in my opinion, the new face-recognition system isn’t up to Apple’s self-proclaimed high standards, and isn’t reliable enough to justify an upgrade all by itself.”
The five of the last six paragraphs of this review all tweak Apple over flawa in the Macbook: http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20081022/apple-polishes-popular-macbook-for-a-higher-price/
“after a week of intense testing of the service, I can’t recommend it, at least not in its current state. It’s a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises.
I am not referring to the launch glitches that plagued MobileMe earlier this month, such as servers that couldn’t keep up with the traffic and email outages that, for some users, persist as I write this. Those were bad, but they have eased considerably. Apple already has apologized for them and is giving customers an extra 30 days on their subscriptions to make up for the poor start. The problems I am citing are systemic.”
You call that criticism? The article that supposedly “tweaks Apple over flaws in the Macbook” starts out with this: “I like it a lot, despite a few downsides…” Wow, what tough criticism!
And a few negatives about Safari and MobileMe don’t make up for the unabashed, unrelenting lovefest toward all things Apple, all the time. You must have missed the takeback on MobileMe six months later, which was a freakin’ love letter: http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20090415/latest-mobileme-takes-out-glitches-and-eases-syncing/
Yes, Walt writes for a more general audience. He told them to skip Vista and stick with XP, and now he’s telling them that was a bad decision and a bad recommendation. That’s my point.
You can’t say “supply me the links to all those posts where Walt criticizes Apple” and then critique the quality of the criticism. Your inferred point was that he’s an over the top Apple backer, when in fact there’s evidence that he writes from both sides of the fence.
As for MobileMe, if Apple addressed his concerns, what is he supposed to do? Continue to slam the product?
At your link he said “The only problem was that MobileMe, which costs $99 a year after a 60-day free trial, and is available at MobileMe.com, was so buggy and ragged that I couldn’t recommend it. Apple (AAPL) pledged it would fix MobileMe…”
and then he said “Apple’s $99 price may seem high, given that you can get some features for much less, even free. And MobileMe lacks some obvious features, like online backup or automatic syncing of all files. Also, there’s no way to create limited access to allow an assistant or family member to use just your MobileMe online calendar.
But MobileMe finally does give consumers the main email, contact and calendar convenience corporate users rely upon daily.”
Hardly a love letter there.
As for your claim that there’s a “unabashed, unrelenting lovefest toward all things Apple, all the time” I’d invite everyone to look at his archive and see if he’s covering Apple every week in his weekly column:
Oh, and “As for MobileMe, if Apple addressed his concerns, what is he supposed to do? Continue to slam the product?”
That’s exactly what he did with Vista, even after Microsoft addressed his concerns with SP1 and SP2. He continues to repeat the same tired, unsupported criticisms to this day.
I can’t wait to read Walt’s column on how much Windows 7 sucks on a Sony VAIO.
Ocean, I don’t know why you’re being so … insistent here. Go read the original post. It’s about a specific column and a specific issue. You’re the one who wants to turn it into a full-fledged defense of Mossberg’s honor. Aparently something Paul Thurrott wrote has pissed you off. Go take it up with him.
“That’s exactly what he did with Vista, even after Microsoft addressed his concerns with SP1”
We must be reading two different Mossberg reviews. First he notes that SP1 would benefit mostly corporate users, not the average joe’s…and then he gives it the thumbs up anyway:
“Many of its benefits are aimed at corporations and power users, or are under-the-hood fixes that are hard to discern. For mainstream users, it adds no significant, visible features to Vista, and changes little or nothing about the way the operating system looks and works.”
“Vista SP1 is a step forward, at least after a few days of use. But it’s not a big step.”
“It’s about a specific column and a specific issue.”
I’m just trying to discern why you made Mossberg a punching bag. It’s not the first time, neither does the criticism stand up when bright light is shined on it.
It was you said “For some reason the column doesn’t include the usual exhortation to buy a Mac. I’m sure it was just an editing error.” It has nothing to do with Thurrott.
You really need to understand the difference between “damning with faint praise” and “throwing in a few critiques to create the illusion of balance.”
The headline is “Big Update for Vista Leaves Little Changed for Mainstream Users” – and here’s the nut graf: “On balance, the update is probably worth installing, especially since Microsoft will deliver it automatically. But I wouldn’t rush to grab it and I wouldn’t expect much from it.”
How in god’s name is that a “thumbs up”?
“Even in beta form, with some features incomplete or imperfect, Windows 7 is, in my view, much better than Vista, whose sluggishness, annoying nag screens, and incompatibilities have caused many users to shun it.”
What am I missing?
I believe you just proved my point.
“How in god’s name is that a “thumbs up”?”
A thumbs down would be what his first review of MobileMe was.
So, if it were your column, what would you tell America?
Vista’s most vocal critics are people who don’t use it, and don’t know anything about it. Apple Fanboy Mossberg fits that description.
I use Vista SP1/SP2 every single day, and it works just fine. I would never, ever, go back to Windows XP.
The point is that there is no pro-Apple / con-MS bias.
Ocean, you obviously aren’t a regular reader here or at ZDNet.
Anyway, this has been fun, but this tangent is over for me.
“Vista’s most vocal critics are people who don’t use it, and don’t know anything about it.”
You know you just described 95% of the American populace, right? They click start and select an app, or they click it off the desktop. And that’s the audience that Mossberg writes to. They don’t buy books that describe OS’s inside and out, and they don’t read tweaking guides, and they don’t care about the OS wars.
You’ve got the other 5% (which kinda makes you a Mac, not a PC) 🙂
Actually, a lot of what I do is written specifically for the people you describe. You obviously have never read my books either and are simply inferring from the title.
I’ve got to say that I resisted Vista until purchasing a laptop last year with Home Premium preinstalled. Thought about downgrading, after all the boo-boo press, but I’m glad I didn’t.
Aside from the nagging and slow shutdown times, I think it’s an improvement over much of the functionality that I was accustomed to in XP — granted that, as a writer, I usually just stick with Office and MSIE.
I tend to think, though, that once a product has been painted a certain way on its debut, it’s hard to lose the stain, regardless of incremental improvements. That’s why I’m hoping that Windows 7 ultimately has no “gotchas” on its public release.
“a lot of what I do is written specifically for the people you describe.”
I do a fair amount of technical support for friends and family. Almost none of them own any technical books. You may write for them, but its the more technically interested that are buying your books.
“I tend to think, though, that once a product has been painted a certain way on its debut, it’s hard to lose the stain, regardless of incremental improvements. That’s why I’m hoping that Windows 7 ultimately has no “gotchas” on its public release.”
I hear Apple is working up something new for this release.
I use Vista every day, on my Macbook Pro. I have no need to upgrade. It works rather well.
Mossberg is a famous “friend of Jobs” name dropper. Typical NY Times type writer.
“You may write for them, but its the more technically interested that are buying your books.”
And you conclude that on the basis of some friends and family? Sheesh. I get a lot of feedback from readers. You might want to acknowledge that I actually know a little more about them than you do. But I doubt you will, as you seem to be taking perverse delight in disagreeing with even the most obvious statement.
“And you conclude that on the basis of some friends and family?”
Small sample AND common sense. But I will bow to your superior knowledge of your audience.
“I hear Apple is working up something new for this release.”
Not interested. Sorry.
My move to Vista was painless.
My move to Win 7 was more painful.
What? Yes, here’s why…
When I moved to Vista in the November when I was released for Business use, I was ready. I knew that drivers would be different, I knew not all hardware was ready and I was very picky of where and why I installed Vista. One year later I started the move on my business machines for all my employees to Vista, because by then most of the machines they used had matured drivers and were 100% ready.
Now, testing the RC for Windows 7 has actually had a somewhat opposite effect. First, I understand the differences that Windows 7 has brought to the UI. But, I don’t agree with them all. Sure, it’s flashy and has some interesting changes, but some of them require a relearning process, and some flatly don’t work as before. In some cases, Vista was more like XP than Win 7 is. That and I’ve run across and interesting number of drivers that are Vista only, but simply do not work in Windows 7. I’m sure by the release date these drivers will be updated. But since the move from Vista to Win7 was supposed to be much less, it’s very frustrating that it’s been this bad for me.
Anyway, my move to Vista so far has been much more satisfying than this move to Windows 7 RC so far. Anyway, that’s my take on it.
So the guy wrote the whole article to point out one fact: You’ll have to do a clean install of windows one day.
Wow, that’s like, news. I couldn’t care less about what he thinks about it.
You must’ve really wanted to ridicule him. No problem, just that while doing so, remember to ignore a few guys like Ocean. You must know what kind of species I’m talking about. It takes away the fun, and doesn’t make you look more mature.
Mark, “the guy” wrote this article for the Wall Street Journal, one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the United States, indeed the world. He is not just some random guy.
Sturdy? XP? That statement alone gave me goosebumps! 🙂
““the guy” wrote this article for the Wall Street Journal, one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the United States, indeed the world. ”
And thus, I suspect, the reason MS fans get so bent out of shape by his work…they’s rather see him use his influence and reach to promote their platform…even if it meant compromising his journalistic standards. That he dares put Apple on level playing field with MS is galling.
You don’t just disagree – you’re an “Ocean” apart 😉
I think Mossberg has some good points. What I don’t agree with in the article is the presentation. He turned what could have been an informative piece into a back-handed smear of W7.
You might get a kick out of my twitter conversation with Mossberg. I go by geektonic on twitter: http://twitter.com/waltmossberg
I guess I feel pretty good about about avoiding the two years of constant pain all my other friends and clients using Vista have experienced.
Two years of hell versus maybe a single, long Saturday reinstalling a system while I watch a game on TV anyway? I think I come out ahead.
The prospect of eventually rebuilding on Windows 7 when I want to, or can’t avoid it, seems like a more than fair trade to me.
Puppet Mossberg is more honest.
I love Puppet Mossberg. The excellent thing about Walt Mossberg’s columns are that most of the XP computers he’s talking about pre-date mid-2006. That’s when Apple switched from IBM to Intel Chips, rendering all of their prior products dead enders.
Walty Walt, of course, saw that as a feature, not a bug. At least old PCs can get an upgrade, and don’t get bricked.
Part II is up.
“Unlike migrating from XP—still the most common version of Windows, despite its age—moving up from Vista is designed to be relatively straightforward. It’s a direct upgrade process that preserves all your personal files, settings and programs.
However, even this easier transition involves some choices and limitations that can be confusing for mainstream, non-techie users, so I will try to sort them out here.”
I haven’t taken Mossberg seriously for a long time. He’s part of the old media and losing relevance daily. The fact is an in place upgrade from Vista was excellent and was remarkably uneventful. True enough the upgrade install from XP requires a clean install, from a 8 year old OS.
You can’t install Snow Leopard on top of Tiger much less what ever they were shipping in October 2001, does Mossberg mention this, no the old media guy talks about how amazing Snow Leopard is because its so much smaller, its smaller because they dumped support for the poor saps who shelled out for Power PC based Macs even though you could buy one not that long ago right off the Apple site.
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