Help from Microsoft in leaving Microsoft

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  • Updated 10 years ago
Can you offer an emigration scheme for Windows users who now feel, especially with the recent EFF warnings about avoiding Microsoft products entirely, they must leave the platform? Do you have any general guidelines for backing up data, etc? Thank you.
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Rick

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  • confused

Posted 10 years ago

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Ian

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This is my concern. How might I migrate a machine with many years build-up of data to an alternative platform?
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John Breakwell (ex MSFT), Currently working at a different company

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Hi Rick, Ian.

I would expect migration documentation for moving from Vendor A to Vendor B to be supplied by Vendor B as they will be investing in testing migrations to their own platform.

Rick, you mention recent EFF warnings. I've had a look at www.eff.org but can't find any specific press releases concerning Microsoft in this manner. Could you please share links so we can better understand exactly what the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning about?

Cheers
John Breakwell (MSFT)
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Rick

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Well Vendor B is easy as long as you have open formats. It's getting from Vendor A in this case - Microsoft - that presents the big problem. Of course this is only a very small part of a huge issue. But yes, for means of clarification: Vendor B is our friend. This works. We're not asking how to migrate to a platform - we're asking how to migrate from a platform. The original post distinctly says "emigration" and for good reason. It also uses the word "leave". I think the original post was very clear.
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John Breakwell (ex MSFT), Currently working at a different company

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Rick, I'm afraid I don't understand the difference. If you are "emigrating" from one vendor's platform then you must also be "emigrating" to another vendor's platform. Isn't the new platform going to guide and possiblty constrain how you bring in data from the old one?
As I've replied to Ian, this is really a question aimed at 3rd party solution providers with experience in Vendor A's and Vendor B's products.

Cheers
John Breakwell (MSFT)
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Ian

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Hi John,

Thanks for responding. I hear what you say about migration documentation; it is in the interest of vendor B to ease the process of migration and not in the slightest in the interest of vendor A. That aside though, it seems a responsible approach for any vendor to offer guidelines in performing platform-agnostic backups of data, simply in the interests of customer data longevity in the face of changing data formats. Do Microsoft have such data backup guidelines?

The warnings Rick is referring to comes as part of their new SSD (Surveillance Self-Defense) initiative. The appropriate comments are made here:

https://ssd.eff.org/your-computer/pro...

Kind regards,

Ian
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John Breakwell (ex MSFT), Currently working at a different company

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Hi Ian,

I haven't seen such data backup guidelines but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Maybe one of my colleagues has an insight into this area.
Personally, I don't agree that a vendor needs to provide such information - not because of the nature of the documentation (although that is a factor) but more due to the number of companies out there able to generate revenue from producing the guidelines themselves (partners, publishers, etc). That is, you should be able to find migration guidelines from a number of reputable sources.

I don't think it is appropriate for me to comment on the EFF recommendations themselves - there are better people at Microsoft than me to handle such things. I would, though, question how up-to-date the content is. Rick refers to the recommendations as "recent" but the undated web page contains a broken link to a safety study written in October 2004, itself referred to by the EFF as a "recent report". Also there is no reference to Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, leading me to place the EFF recommendations in late 2005, some time after the Mac Tiger OS came out. By all means consider the options for your platform of choice but ensure you have the latest data to base your decisions on.

Cheers
John Breakwell
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M3 Sweatt, Official Rep

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Just as Microsoft offers information (at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserve...) on migrating to Windows Server from Mainframe, Midrange, UNIX, and Linux systems, your vendor may offer similar support for migrating to another platform.
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Rick

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I think you're intentionally sidestepping the question. We're not talking about the new platform - we're talking about the OLD platform. We've pointed this out several times. The issues are not about getting user data on new platforms. Most of these platforms are rather easy to work with - once the data is in an "open format". The issues are about getting user data off *your* platform. Where most of the time the data is *not* in an open format.
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M3 Sweatt, Official Rep

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Every organization's needs are different, and I would refer you to your vendor for specific support and recommendations in migration strategies. As an example, I noted that Microsoft offers customers migration information at the site I noted above; some cross-platform support and interop information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserve....
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Rick

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*You* are our vendor. *You* are. We're therefore referring to *you*. And let the record show what answers we've got - essentially no answers at all.

Your link compares Windows to Unix. That's not what we asked for and you know it.

I think it's fair to say at this point you people at Microsoft are not going to lift a finger to help anyone emigrate from Windows. This has been a run-around for too long. What an unconscionable scandal.
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MelGrubb

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That would be like asking Ford to help you trade for a Chevy. Give me one good reason why it is at all in any company's best (or even casual) interest to help you leave for a competitor. Why would ANY company invest time and money in making it easier for them to lose business.

What is unconscionable is your expectation that Microsoft somehow owes you the time, money, and effort required to ensure that you are no longer their customer.

True, Microsoft *is* your vendor, but as soon as you talk about migrating to someone else, *they* are now your vendor, and it's *their* responsibility to help you transition... *if* they want your business, that is. Companies compete for your business, not to give it away.
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Rick

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So in other words not a single one of you has a direct answer to the question. Not a single one of you knows jack or is willing to offer any help. That's thanks for years upon years of buying your products for tens of thousands of dollars and being your steadfast customers. That's your way of saying 'thanks for your custom'.

As if it's our fault the EFF condemn your products as unsafe. And we haven't exactly heard any comments on that, have we? Despite the fact you've all been given the links a month ago. Microsoft's true colours.
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M3 Sweatt, Official Rep

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I'm sorry that you're not satisfied with the responses. As this is a third-party customer support community, many Microsoft employees try to provide answers to customers with questions about our products and services, and point customers to resources that may help them resolve issues reported on getsatisfaction.com.

If you have specific questions, I suggest that you contact your Microsoft partner/reseller, or visit the Microsoft Help and Support home page to get further assistance.
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MelGrubb

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How's this for direct? Microsoft doesn't owe you anything but the software you've been using... period. Is that direct enough for you? How you could come to any other conclusion is beyond all logic and reason. At no point did Microsoft ever guarantee, say, or even imply that there was any kind of emigration service at the end of the line. You find me the line in a EULA or the sticker on a box that so much as hints at this, and I'll concede the point. Until then, you are wasting everyone's time.
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Jason Miller

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See my post below. You should expect more for your money.
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Jason Miller

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Rick,

Since nobody else seems to actually care about the original question, here is a few simple guidelines to migrating your data.

First, it's important to remember the little things. You probably want to keep your bookmarks, and that's very easily done using Firefox. If you haven't installed Firefox, do so now and during the installation choose to import your old Internet Explorer favorites. In Firefox, just open Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks, and find the "Export to HTML" option. Make sure you remember where you save it to!

Once you have done that, you will want to back up your entire hard-drive. This is the case with any Operating System installation. You always want to have a complete copy of your data that you could potentially fall-back on if something goes wrong. Also, having a full backup means you can be very selective about what you dump into the new Operating System once you've installed it. It's always a good idea to move your data back only as you need it. You will probably find that most of your files are better off being stored on a drive somewhere, because you don't use them terribly ofter (or they are simply for back-up purposes).

In order to properly back-up your hard disk for a different Operating System, you should avoid using back-up software. This is because there may not be an equivalent restoration software for the Operating System you install.

Instead, just copy your entire hard-drive onto another separate (larger) hard-drive. This solves all of the problems related to migrating to another OS, because you have both a fall-back (boot your old Windows install from the back-up drive), and you have every tiny detail of your old data. Even if you were to forget to backup your bookmarks - they are still recoverable from that backup drive.

--

As for you, "MelGrubb", you obviously have not had to migrate from any one system to another, have you? What Rick is experiencing is something called "Vendor Lock-in", and it's simply a way to keep people using software they don't want to use long after they have decided to migrate to something else. It is a tactic and a trick used on consumers who are considered "too far-gone", and who the company is simply not concerned with.

It is all to clear you are not familiar with anything other than a "you get what you pay for" world when it comes to computing. I'm sorry to hear that, but you are one of millions of people who will probably never understand what they are depriving themselves of. Have you ever considered that some software vendors actually do care about what happens to your previous data at the end of their software's lifecycle? Many do! Microsoft is not one of them.

The problem here is, you have to choose your software vendors with data portability in mind. Whether you are looking for a word processor or an Operating System - you need to make sure the software is going to be storing your documents and data in a format that is universally known and recognized as a standard. For example, Firefox allows users to export their bookmarks to many common formats, including HTML and JSON. They go out of their way to make sure that you are not locked in to their way of storing bookmarks.

One of the flaws of GetSatisfaction is that anyone with a computer can post a response to someone's support request. In many cases, the person responding is only fueling the original poster's problem.

--

Finally, Rick: you are making the right move by looking at alternatives to Windows. I'm not going to guarantee that you will like any particular Operating System - especially considering how different Mac OS and Windows are. If you are interested in creating a similar experience to Windows without any of the security risks, you might consider trying a Linux-based Operating System. Here is a list of Operating Systems geared towards people migrating from Windows:

#1: Ubuntu - very polished, and most widely used.
http://www.ubuntu.com/

#2: Fedora - a very stable and compatible OS.
http://fedoraproject.org/

#3: PCLinuxOS - designed to be simple for Windows users.
http://www.pclinuxos.com/

Also, you should note that support for Linux-based Operating Systems is always (and will always be) free. The developers are always available via IRC, and Ubuntu makes it extremely easy to ask them questions. There is a "Get Help" icon on the desktop and that's all you need to know.

Of course, if you've been looking at Mac OS X for some time, perhaps wait until this September - that's when OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" will be released.
Don't worry if you buy a Mac before then, though, the upgrade is only $25. I think that says something.

You're often better off seeking support from genuinely concerned individuals. Large companies offer support because it nets them profit, but in this case you are outside of that area of support. Feel free to send me an email - you can find my contact information on my website:
http://jasonmillerdesign.com/

Thanks and good luck.
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MelGrubb

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Yes, you get what you pay for. A number of years of operating system and/or productivity software use. Yes, data portability IS something you have to have thought of beforehand, not something you can simply demand years later. If you chose a closed ecosystem going in, then you'll ay the price coming out. If you needed your documents to be usable outside Office, then you need to have saved the documents in a portable format to begin with. This could be as simple as saving as an rtf or csv file, rather than .doc and .xls. It could mean using something like OpenOffice. But the point is that you have to make that decision up front, and you will be limited to the features of the more portable format, and those features are probably more limited than the proprietary format or the vendor probably wouldn't have bothered inventing it, right?

You can let your vendor know that portable formats are soemthing you value and want, and if enough other customers are interested in the same thing, then the vendor would hopefully be more inclined to support that in order to remain competitive.

As for my having migrated files from one system to another. I've moved documents from my pre-teenage TI-99/4A system to my current Win7 system just fine, but I understand which files are and are not going to be portable, and I'm not going back and demanding that TI give me support for exporting my word processor documents and databases (such as they were)
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Kris Self

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I have many clients that are moving to the Mac platform. With the exceptions of a few unimportant data elements in Quicken, the transition is effortless. While I know that this is the right decision for my clients, it is killing my business. When a user switches to a Mac, they do not need my services. When they use a PC, I see them on a regular basis. Also the MS products on the Mac are so solid.

It may be time to reevaluate your databases. Everything is moving to cross platform compatibility.
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Patryk

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I suggest switching to mac on the way to a linux environment; open standards prevail a lot more strongly, and Office 2008 is handy for the odd legacy mess of a spreadsheet.