A different type of post today, this is my personal story.

On Friday 20th August I went to my local store for a new base unit after “old faithful” finally gave up.  I have to say before I go any further that Acer products have always been in my opinion, rock solid and built to last.  I had no issues replacing a machine which served well and I consider had value for money.  Its a shame then that the purchase was tainted by me having to spend money on software I neither wanted or needed.  More on that later though.

With my trusty debit card in one hand and dreams of a weekend tinkering with a new toy, I entered my local store – Comet.  Before I go any further I have to say that the service I received was excellent, the salesperson was polite, friendly and knew what he was talking about.  The price was also very reasonable and I ended up parting with £399 for a AMD Athlon II Quad Core, 750gb HD, 3gb of DDR3 ram, Nvidia Gforce 9200 (and of course the compulsory installation of Windows 7 )

It was whilst I was being told the spec’s of the models in-store that I noticed the tech sheet for the model I was buying, which came with Windows 7 Home Premium.  On the sales sheet for this model it clearly stated that it was not suitable for video/picture editing.  Excuse me? I was performing these tasks very well with a machine many years older and with considerably less power.  Of course I was doing it with Linux so maybe that’s the answer.  I questioned this “fact” with the store to which I was told that the spec requirements of 7 meant that this was the case.

I’ve had the opportunity to play around with Windows 7 for about a month earlier in the year and was very underwhelmed, but that was on a high spec’d machine.  I never thought to question performance on your average desktop PC.   What on earth will Windows 8 require to edit video’s? Skynet?😉

After the shock of that revelation subsided I asked how I would go about getting a refund on Windows 7.  I was directed to Microsoft customer services and so my quest began…..

Before we move on though its worth noting that I have not even booted into Windows once on this new machine.   I had already downloaded the 64bit version of Sabayon 5.3 (Gnome) and burnt to disk.  Sabayon was booted to the LiveCD environment and installation began as soon as the machine was switched on for the first time.

The Quest for the Refund

21/08/10

My first port of call was Microsoft customer services for the UK.  After one of the all too common automated lines, I discovered that on a Saturday I was not going to get any human customer service on this number (unless, apparently, I am a Onecare customer – presumably paying more money to Microsoft.  What I did find amusing whilst looking for the customer services number was that Microsoft has a sponsored link that will answer your questions online.

After getting no joy with the phone I was confident that my question could be answered quite simply, after all it was merely “How do I go about getting a refund on an unwanted Windows 7?”.  After entering the question I was told there were advisors waiting to answer my question….for a price.  Typical.  Whilst it was a 3rd party company offering this “service” I should have known – when it comes to Microsoft products, you can never spend enough money.

So since it was a Saturday and all other avenues had been exhausted, I decided upon sending a quick tweet to “Microsofthelps”.  You can see that here, but since they have an out of office notice on their Twitter status, I suppose I will have to wait until monday.  Where it says:

MicrosoftHelps will be out of the office this afternoon starting at noon PST. We will return on Monday 08/23. Have a great weekend!

Thanks Microsoft, I will.  I’m using Linux.  I’ll have a good week too if I can get my refund and prevent my money lining your pockets (and have you claim another Windows 7 user stat).

Conclusions

I won’t delve into issues of Microsoft Tax.  The subject has been covered enough.

I feel rather resentful that I have to buy a product with no choice as to if Windows is pre-installed.  If that in itself was not bad enough, the fact that it’s not obvious on how you go about getting a refund.  I wonder if Europe should have been looking into the OEM issue instead of messing around with browsers and ballot screens?  Lets get our priorities right eh?

I am unsure when/if I will get a refund, but I will continue this quest until I get an answer (and update in future articles).  Should I be successful I will be donating the refund to the FSF and at least then it won’t feel as if my great purchase has been slightly tainted by having to pay for unwanted Microsoft software.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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