Dell and HP customers are angry that they have not yet received the Windows 7 upgrades promised them when they purchased new PCs earlier this year, according to messages on the companies' support forums.
The grumbling is reminiscent of criticism in 2007, when Vista upgrades were delayed by weeks.
Last summer, Microsoft announced "Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program," which would deliver free or discounted Windows 7 upgrades to people who bought new Vista PCs between 26 June 2009, and 31 January 2010. The program is administered by computer manufacturers, which set the price and delivery dates.
"I honestly think that this whole windows 7 "FREE!!!" upgrade is total BS," said a user identified as "mdr322" in a message posted to a thread dedicated to upgrade complaints. "It took me 1 month to register my service tag and now my delivery date has been delayed by 2 weeks!!!!!"
"Dell is behaving very unprofessionally!" said someone labeled "Vlad G" on the same thread. "I am sure this will cost them customers."
On the HP support site, users were also frustrated by the delay.
"Inept does not do justice to this royal screw-up," ranted "littlewhizkid" in a message on an HP thread. "Total incompetence is closer, but without using language that would lead my message to being deleted I do not think I could adequately describe how poorly managed this process has been. HP has certainly lost any shred of loyalty I may have had."
A Dell representative explained the delay. "These are estimated ship dates," said "Jesse L," who was tagged as a Dell employee in the forum, referring to complaints from some users that the delivery date for their upgrade kept being pushed back. "The reason they keep changing is because [of] issues with the shippers' inventory. They got behind and are working to catch up."
Other users urged patience. "Did everyone forget that the copy is free, not including possible charges to shipping and taxes?" asked a post by "ravenneangelle". "And how high in demand this product is? I'm sure Dell is doing their best in getting it all out to us in time."
That argument didn't sit well with some.
"Really? This is Dell doing their best? Not having the software ready to go?" countered Jack Dusty. "Not having a functioning tracking system? Not providing a download link which would've been the easiest solution? This is them doing their best? When they knew Windows 7 was going to be in demand? When they knew before the 22nd the names and addresses of the people who needed the upgrade? When they had months to prepare? Their best? I don't think so."
Although several users on the Dell support thread said that they had received their Windows 7 upgrade, no one on the HP forum reported that they had gotten theirs. A user tagged as "oldmike" on the HP thread claimed he had emailed HP, and gotten a reply that included the line, "We have checked the status of your order. Arvato has received all the required information from your side. It will take some time to complete the process."
HP is using Arvato Digital Services to fulfill the Windows 7 upgrade orders.
"What a bunch of baloney!!" said oldmike. "I wrote back to them and asked if they had a clue what 'some time' meant. I haven't heard from them since."
The delays have exhausted the patience of some users. "I got tired of waiting and purchased a copy of Vista Ultimate with the Windows 7 Upgrade Offer," said "SpeedStep" on the Dell thread. "I purchased the software, logged into Microsoft and put the offer key in. Got the Win7 Ultimate Upgrade DVD in the mail within 5 days with no charge."
Dell did not reply to a request for comment about its Windows 7 upgrade delays. An HP spokeswoman, however, acknowledged that the upgrades were behind schedule. "There has been a delay in shipping consumer notebook upgrade kits due to extra efforts made by HP's consumer notebook business to ensure customers will have an easy upgrade experience." She added that HP would begin shipping upgrades this week.