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The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey

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Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Office 2007 Trials

A word of warning. Microsoft does not provide "Technical Support" for Trial software. It's a bland general statement and difficult to complain about as such... but I'll try.

I've been using Microsoft Office since it came into existence. Once upon a time (and to be fair, this was a long time ago - early 90's I guess) I used to find fatal errors in Word and Excel at the rate of about 1-2/month each... but we've come a long way since then and they remain for me extremely powerful, flexible and reliable tools; I use them for hours daily.

So, having gone from an HP Pavilion laptop with Windows XP to this new Rock laptop with Vista Home premium I was keen to trial Office 2007. However, paranoia to the fore - and having done a lot of customisation with VBA, toolbars etc. etc. I thought I'd move my Office 2002 over and install Office 2007 alongside it.

This decision was leveraged by my first real irritation with Vista - the removal of Protected Storage functionality relied on by Outlook 2002 to store email account passwords. The result is that Outlook cannot remember passwords (XP's Protected Storage wasn't included in Vista), so every time I start it up I have to type in my POP3 and SMTP passwords - and I can find no workaround - so moving immediately to Outlook 2007 while I migrated Word, Excel and PowerPoint was a real incentive.

Downloaded Office 2007 Standard trial. Installed Trial. No Outlook 2007. Odd.

Tried to re-install it and looked carefully at the options - only to find that apparently Outlook 2007 wasn't in the installer! Of course this isn't true - it is in the installer, but the fun thing is that if an earlier version of Outlook is already installed on your system the installer says Outlook 2007 is "not available" to install. Not can't install over, or won't install over or alongside, just not available. Not that I was able to discover this without Herculean efforts.

(Apparently I could have discovered the key facts for myself - yes, I put my hand up to blindness/stupidity - but it took a lot of effort to find anyone who could tell me how I could and should have worked it out for myself. My thanks to Tim and Ben of Microsoft in Reading for helping eventually resolve the issue)

Anyway, the search for "pre-sales" support before I got to Tim & Ben. Try as I might, I couldn't seem to communicate the fact that I didn't want "technical support"
- I wanted to know why the package that said it included Outlook 2007 "patently" (my mistake) didn't.

Round and round and round we go on not inexpensive support calls routed to India. Eventually someone suggests online technical support - just enter the product key! Aha! But... Trial product keys are not valid for online support.

Et cetera et cetera et cetera.

My point being: finding out why the installer is apparently not working is not the usual sort of technical support, it's "pre sales support". Imagine going to buy a new car, you visit the showroom... that one looks nice...

"Can I take it for a test drive?"

"Certainly sir, here is the key."

"Oh... I can't start it."

(because it has that

Gearbox-Must-Be-In-Neutral,
You-Must-Have-Your-Foot-On-The-Brake Pedal,
I-Am-Not-Even-Going-To-Start-Until-You-Are-Wearing-Your-Seatbelt.
Did-You-Clean-Your-Teeth-This-Morning?

nannyism programmed into it)

"I'm sorry sir, we don't provide technical support..."

So, either provide some appropriate Pre Sales Support Mr Microsoft or stop offering Trial Software.

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