New Adventures of the Compassionate Curmudgeon

In which I tend to rant. A lot. But compassionately...

The Horror That Is Windows

I've been happily Windows-free ever since I retired a little over ten years ago.

But a few months back I started working at a part time job providing technical support for a software company, and as it turns out many, actually most, of our users are on one flavor or another of Windows.

So I decided that I ought to get a copy of Windows to run in a Virtual Box on my Mac.

The oldest version that Microsoft still supports is Windows 7, so I found a copy for about a hundred bucks on Amazon and ordered it. It arrived on a DVD on Monday, and I installed it without a hitch into a Virtual Box.

But then it came time to enter the Product Key.

I looked all over the packaging but couldn't find it until I realized it was covered with a gray seal, the kind one scratches off lottery tickets. The problem was that in trying to scratch it off, I also scratched off part of the Product Key itself.

I contacted Amazon and they gave me a number to call and said they would let me return it if I couldn't get satisfaction from the manufacturer. Alas, the number they gave was not valid.

So I found a web site for Microsoft technical support. After creating an account, and boy does one have to jump through some hoops to create a Microsoft account, I found myself in a chat with a support person who said he was happy to help me. He asked a lot of questions and when I explained that I couldn't read the Product Key after scratching off the gray, he said he could help me.

But when I said I had installed it in a Virtual Box on my Mac, our connection was broken. Coincidence?

I tried a couple more times on the support site and eventually I found myself on the phone with someone. He seemed pleasant enough, but when I told him that I was unable to read my Product Key because it was damaged when I scratched off the gray, he said he'd have to put me on hold.

When he came back, he said he couldn't help me, that I'd have to go back to the place where I bought it to get a replacement. Although he didn't use the word, he strongly implied that I had a pirated copy.

So I did a Google search on "Windows 7 Product Key", found a site called Product Key Downloader, and bought a $26 license from them. My Product Key arrived within a couple minutes, and I installed it in my copy of Windows without a hitch.

Now my only question is should I return the $100 DVD that I purchased from Amazon?