EU shoots self, users in foot in MS feud

Brussels, Belgium – The European Union’s blind hatred of Microsoft looks to have backfired bigtime and millions of European users looking to upgrade to Windows 7 will now have to reinstall all their programs and data rather than a doing a simple upgrade from Vista.

As a result of the EU’s antitrust action – taken on the pretext of offering users more choice – Microsoft plans to ship special European variants of its new OS, scheduled for launch in October. The E version of Win7 has IE8 stripped out, while the N version contains neither IE8 nor Windows Media Player.

But because the upgrade path from Vista to the E or the N versions of Windows 7 won’t support an in-place upgrade, users will be forced to do a clean install, having backed up all their files and settings and reinstalling applications afterwards.

The whole procedure makes rather a nonsense of those simple ‘free upgrade to Windows 7 when it ships’ offers bundled with new PCs running Vista and now assumes that home users across Europe possess sysadmin-level technical abilities.

Microsoft says it will make step-by-step clean installation instructions available at , but the site isn’t currently in operation. The company adds that OEMs can choose which browser to preinstall, or ship a Microsoft browser pack with their systems to enable users to gain web access.

A call to Microsoft asking for clarification on the effect on users currently running Vista or the release candidate of Win7 wishing to purchase a shrink-wrapped upgrade version of Win7 revealed that the company plans to issue a statement at 2pm UK time tomorrow (Thursday) when more information on the situation and its impact on users will be made available.

Perhaps the simplest option for European users wanting to upgrade to Win7 would be to ask a friend in the US to buy a proper copy of the OS and mail it to them.

In a memo to OEMs leaked to Techarp Microsoft warns:

“A clean installation of Windows 7 is a technical process and end users should be aware of the following basic clean installation steps that are required:

End users must save their personal data and settings, including documents, pictures, files, programs, music and video. Microsoft recommends that users utilize an external hard disk for this task.

A clean installation does not keep any programs, so end users should make sure that they have the installation disks or setup files saved for any programs they wish to reinstall on their Windows 7 operating system.

All required PC software and drivers should be either saved to an external hard disk or should be provided as part of the OEM Program media.  OEMs should determine how to best message this to their end users.

End users may then install the Windows 7 Upgrade media and follow instructions for the clean installation presented.

End users should next reinstall PC drivers as required.  If some drivers are not present, end users should go to their OEM’s website and download the missing drivers.  At a minimum, end users need to have their network drivers supported after the clean installation so that they can download any other missing drivers.

End users should reinstall their personal data and restore the settings from their external hard disk to their PC running Windows 7. End users should then reinstall their desired programs.”