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Windows 7 Update Advisor: Why can’t someone take responsibility for the end-to-end customer experience?

by Tom Austin  |  November 2, 2009  |  Comments Off on Windows 7 Update Advisor: Why can’t someone take responsibility for the end-to-end customer experience?

I downloaded this tool from Microsoft. According to Microsoft, “It scans your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and installed programs, and recommends what to do before you upgrade.”

Nice idea! Kudos.

I installed it and ran it on my Lenovo X61 tablet. It chugged away for a while and then produced a nicely formatted report.

Lo and behold, among other things, it said that “Lenovo has a website that might give you more information about getting Windows 7 to run on your PC” and provided a link (“Visit the Lenovo website”) which dumped me onto Lenovo’s home page. Hmmm. Where’s the kit of W7 drivers packaged up for my X61 for an upgrade from Vista? Nowhere obvious, that’s where.

It was obvious Lenovo wanted to sell me a NEW notebook with Windows 7. But it wasn’t clear they were in on any plan by Microsoft to make upgrading my existing Lenovo computer to Windows 7 any easier.

Maybe Lenovo’s just “different”? I installed the upgrade advisor on my 18 month old HP minitower. Same process. Same nice report. Same useless link to the HP home page. I’m noticing a pattern here.

Now onto my Dell. It was a little better. No pitch to buy a new machine. Just a link that dumped me directly on a generic support page from which I could download drivers. Uh…which ones?

It seems to me that the top 10 hardware OEMs could provide a driver pack for Windows 7 upgrades, tailored to the machine model you have. And the upgrade advisor could dump you onto a hardware vendor’s special Windows 7 upgrade page where you’d OK an agent to determine what machine you had (or type in the exact model number) and, voila, there would be a nice driver upgrade package presented for your download.

But do the hardware vendors care? If one of them gets a lot of traction in the market for this class of customer support, they’ll all be falling over themselves to emulate that one. (Just like the Apple iPhone AppStore has driven dozens of firms to try to emulate that model.)

Or, better yet, Microsoft could incent the vendors to want to support their customers by paying the hardware OEMs a bit of a vig on every upgrade they (help) sell.

As it stands, despite the elegance of the advisor, it feels to this consumer that the upgrade is going to be a painful and tedious crapshoot (this is not a Gartner position; only my personal reflections as a consumer). What drivers have changed? I don’t know. What drivers will I have to upgrade? I don’t know. Which should I download? I don’t know. Is there a kit with all of them for the X61 tablet? Doesn’t appear to be.

This isn’t rocket science here. What’s needed is an end-to-end focus on quality of customer experience.

The upgrade advisor doesn’t hack it.


Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio

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