Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Spirited (Non-Political) Debate

Ok, this is a good sign.
Ivan, a support rep with Acronis, emailed me early this morning (about 4:30 am my time), and also posted an anonymous comment to my post titled "Splinter Of My Discontent." The comment is actually a tad more detailed than the email I received, probably because he had some time to edit it in the half hour or so gap between the sending of the email and the posting of the comment.
I sincerely appreciate Ivan's (and by extension Acronis's) courage in replying to me in a public forum. I don't want his comment to be lost should we change the layout of Phischkneght again, so I'll copy it here:

This problem is related to the functionality of Windows that can't boot if the letter of system partition is changed. Acronis Disk Director Sute did its work perfect. It did change the letters of the partition and then Windows 2003 Server wasn't able to boot properly. I would like to emphasize that this problem is not related to Acronis software, but rather to the way how Windows OS operates and to the limitations of assigning the letter to the system partition.

Acronis Support Team.
Thanks again for the quick reply, Ivan and Acronis. Unfortunately, your defense is really feeble.
First, Disk Director did not work perfectly. If it had, my server would still allow me to log on (and stay logged on). Who on earth would consider this perfect functionality?
Second, blaming the problem on Windows just isn't enough. The reason I buy third-party software is to add functionality to Windows, not to have its shortcomings amplified.
Suppose I had bought a software firewall from you, run it on my system and got infected by a worm through a port that was supposed to be closed by your firewall. Would you tell me that it's the fault of Windows for having so many ports?
You obviously knew about the problem already, because you replied so quickly. In my mind, it's not good that you know about this problem, but you haven't done anything about it.
Here's what I think you should have done already:
1. Make Disk Director smarter than the user. If I'm performing an operation that will kill Windows, have the program forbid the operation and stop me from doing any real damage.
2. Make Disk Director smarter than me but still respectful of my intelligence. Pop up a warning saying something to the effect of "ARE YOU SURE?? THIS OPERATION WILL BREAK WINDOWS!! Proceed with operation? OK/Cancel." See how easy that is?
3. Simply fix your software so that it knows what to do when changing a bootable Windows drive letter. It's obviously possible, you just need to change all the settings in all the right places. Partition Magic does this sort of thing really well.
So up to this point, I've been grading you on a test you've already failed. Here's how you can patch things up with me:
1. Promise to implement one of the above recommendations and make a peace offering. A free software license for True Image, for example, would be nice, and it wouldn't cost you anything.
2. Offer me a full refund and respectfully observe that we disagree on how software should be produced.
That's about it. If you make me go to my credit card company with a broken product dispute, I won't be happy with your service, and you won't be happy that I made you look bad by disputing a charge. If you take good care of me and admit that there's a problem in the software, you might get me back on board liking your company again, and you'll look good in this public forum.
The choice is yours.
Jake Wilcox.

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