★ My IE 7 Beta Experience: Great Customer Service!

My experience with Microsoft’s next version of their Internet Explorer product has been long and a little troublesome.
However, I am glad to report they are doing their part in getting people the help they need with the beta product they released. Of course, I know I brought on all this myself for installing beta software and that is why I haven’t bitched about it. What is great and why I am writing this post today is that I feel Microsoft, specifically the Internet Explorer 7 development and support teams went above and beyond the call of duty to help me with my problem using their product.
The story all started when I attended the Business Blogging Conference in August of last year in San Fransico. Where someone from the IE product team handed out CD’s with IE 7 beta 1 product on it. Being the curious type, and not wanting to be left behind by letting another one of my co-workers be the first to have it installed, I put that shiny new disc in and went for it. Installation went fine and things were great because I had the next version of IE before anyone else in my office.
The problem started when I wasn’t able to view web pages I needed for work. Some of our internal applications wouldn’t display in it and lots of other sites just looked bad. Since part of my job as a product manager is to make sure the web sites I am in charge of appear correctly and are available for our customers to use, this was an issue – I needed to uninstall it. The real issue is once the new version of IE (IE 7) is installed the old version (IE 6) isn’t avialable anymore – I am sure there is a good reason for that, but what the exact reason is I don’t know. I went to the IE 7 blog and read what the procedure should be for uninstalling the application.
Of course, I wasn’t able to locate the update file Microsoft indicated I needed to remove from the add/remove programs folder. This lead me to take measures into my own hands and, of course, mess things up beyond my repair. I started deleting files and just made a general mess of things. All of this lead to no satisfaction and wasn’t accomplishing much. I still had IE 7 beta 1 installed, however, I had Firefox installed so I wasn’t totally without a web browser.
Time went by and I dealt with the fact that I wasn’t able to get this fixed, until I read that IE 7 beta release 2 was available. I tried installing it and nothing happened, I was hoping it would fix the problems I was having with the first version or at least allow me to uninstall it – neither worked out. I had to uninstall the first version before I could install the second, drat!

More time went by and then I read IE 7 beta 3 was released so I thought maybe I’d give it another try and see if I could fix my IE problems. I went to the IE 7 product blog once again and this time I found the information I was in need of.

The short version is this: I had deleted the uninstall files in my attempt to fix the problem myself. The IE 7 blog listed an 800 number to call if you had my particular problem so I called expecting to get the run around. To my pleasant surprise I was greeted with a human voice on the other end of the phone. Jay was there to help me. We looked around for the uninstall file again and he confirmed that I had indeed hosed things up. Anyway, Jay said they’d need to create a custom uninstall file for me to run. I was to wait to hear back from them, and I did the next morning.

Jason called and got IE 7 beta 1 uninstalled. After we ended our conversation I went and installed the new IE 7 beta 3 which, of course, is in much better shape and isn’t giving me the problem the first beta release did. This has been a long story which ends in me being happy that Microsoft has the resources to support a dumbass like me who installs beta software on his primary machine.

My first complaint about using IE 7 after using Firefox for a few months straight is, why don’t you let me decide how my bookmarks are ordered in the folders instead of forcing them into alphabetical order for me?

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