An Open Letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

I love you guys. I really do. I’ve spent most of my professional life working with your products. I love SQL Server so much, I read about and blog about it in my free time. I’ve even started a PASS chapter. I own 3 PC’s, plus an X-Box 360. I’ve owned 2 Windows Mobile devices. I program my websites in ASP.NET instead of PHP. Heck, I’ve even developed a Windows CE application. I think it’s safe to say I’m a big fan of yours.

So I have to ask… what the frilly heck happened with Vista? I mean, seriously.

I’ve tried. I really have. I first tried the 64-bit edition. Epic fail. I couldn’t install anything. What I did install, mostly didn’t worked. After only a couple of days, I gave up. I don’t think the world, or at least the average software vendor, is ready for 64-bitness. So I settled for 32-bit, which at least let me install most of my essential applications.

Now I’m trying to install SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition on my Vista laptop. I’ve installed SQL Server many times, but never before have I had so much trouble! I downloaded the ISO image from MSDN. Vista froze in the middle of the download, so I rebooted and tried again. Success. Now for the tricky part: mounting the ISO image as a virtual drive. I’ve always relied on your Win XP Virtual CD Control Panel in the past. It’s never once failed, until I tried to use it with Vista. Now, I realize I could have burned the image to a DVD, but the truth is, I didn’t feel like it. Call me lazy, but I’ve always liked the convenience of virtual drives. And really, if you’re providing an ISO image and you’re pushing Vista, you really should update your tool.

I then looked at your website, and you pointed me to Daemon Tools. This also did not work for me. You offered me a couple of other choices, but I didn’t feel like paying for what I used to have for free. Call me cheap, if you like. So instead, I had to Google for a solution. That’s right, I Google’d. I’d explain why, but I don’t really have the time to get into the issues with Live Search right now. Anyway, two wrong choices later, and I finally discover Virtual CloneDrive. This, at last, does what I need, and I proceed to install SQL Server.

First, the .NET Framework needs to be installed. No problem. I click “Install” and proceed to catch up on last season’s Heroes. When I next look at my laptop, it’s unresponsive. So, another cold reboot. I try again, and now it installs the latest patches with no problem. At this point, I finally get to the SQL Server installation screen, but it’s late, so I decide to come back tomorrow.

The next day, I boot up the laptop, configure my instance, and start the installation. And then… did you guess it? The computer froze. Again. So I cold reboot, and try again. This next time, the installation goes through smoothly.

I now have SQL Server installed on my Vista machine. So far, SQL Server appears to be running just fine. But I have to ask, did it need to be so painful?

I’ve tried everything I know. I’ve installed the latest patches, and upgraded all of my drivers. But I need to know, Microsoft… is it me? Did I do something wrong? Please let me know so I can fix it. Until I figure it out, I think I’m going to hold off on upgrading my other 2 PC’s to Vista.

Just so you know, I forgive you for wasting my time. And I still love you.