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Upgrade Hell with Windows Anytime Upgrade

Last response: in Windows Vista
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March 29, 2007 4:49:35 PM

I'm posting this to see if any other users in similar circumstances have run across the problem I'm to describe and see if this is has happened to others...

I built a new machine after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. General specs are:
680i eVGA motherboard
850W power supply
Core 2 Duo E6600
2 x 1GB memory
2 x Raptor 74GB in Raid 0 boot drive
4 x 320GB drives in Raid 5
Dual TV Tuner card
2 x DVD burners
I bought Media Center 2005 w/coupon to upgrade to Home Premium for that intended purpose.

After running the web-based system analyzer as well as the one on the Vista installation DVD, I was informed that my system (except for an older version of Symantec AntiVirus) was completely compatible with this upgrade.

This was the first bit of misinformation.

It turns out that as soon as I installed (via upgrade) Vista Home Premium, It was immediately apparent that this version of windows did not support dynamic hard drive arrays (e.g. Raid 5).

Although microsoft clearly states on its website and knowledge base that XP Home does not support dynamic arrays (Media Center is on top of XP Pro) It offers no indication anywhere that any of the Home versions of Vista are crippled in this respect.

So, I was forced into upgrading on the Anytime Upgrade site to Vista Ultimate ($159.00). This is done with a downloadable digital license (managed by several different independent third parties, a fact which is not given to the customer).

This upgrade went smoothly and I was off and running--for a few days. Then one of my aging Raptors died.

Fortunately, I am a backup freak and backed up using the new version of PC backup built into Vista. I did an equipment swap, popped in the Vista disk and did a PC restore of the boot drive from an image on an external drive.

This put me back on track and everything worked great until I was notified that windows needed to be activated (again) within the next 30 days. So I enter in the product key and told that the product key from the original Home Premium disk is not valid.

O.K. So I go the the new "digital locker." website and click on the Ultimate digital product key. I get an error message and am directed to call a telephone number.

This number is to a company (one of several) which issued my upgrade license--Avanto.

Avanto plays the pass the buck game for about 30 minutes and tells me that this is a fault with windows and, since they are not associated with Microsoft, I would have to talk with them. Additionally, the manager I spoke with said they are not able to generate new product keys for Anytime Upgrades, as that was not part of their contract with Microsoft. Their official position is to wipe the hard drive and start the upgrade path over again with XP.

I then spent three evenings for a total of 8.5 hours on the phone with Microsoft and (I kept track) spoke with 24 different personalities in Tech, Customer, and Licensing Support.

We had conferences with Avanto, the Digital Locker (another subcontracted enterprise) and managers from the Research support. None of them could solve the problem and all pointed fingers at each other's departments.

Finally, number 24 says that Microsoft cannot generate a new product key for the product issued from Anytime Upgrade sales and I should just wipe my hard drive and start over with XP.

Why do backups?

I'll await the "final" decision tomorrow night when they call back with their decision on my request to mail me a new Ultimate DVD.

Anyone have anything like this happen to them?
March 31, 2007 6:18:08 AM

I haven't had any problems with anything on my system. But man, I've got to say your situation sounds like a _really_ bad nightmare.
Raid 5 doesn't work in Home Premium, is there more to that story?

My setup is very similar to yours but I'm using Intel's matrix raid with 4 500G drives. They are setup as 500G raid 0 and 1T as raid 5. I did start out with Ultimate (64-bit). Whew! I guess I did that part right.

I hope you get your worked out... If not, we should continue to discuss this in Tom's Hardware forum and keep this world-wide thread going for a long time.

You are saying that Avanto is not helping to resolve this problem in any way? Surely Avanto wants to build a good name so that their customer base will grow.

So when you get a final answer, please tell us how this worked out and what part Avanto played in the final resolution.
!