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MS Money: Old Financial Data May Not Be Accessible on Vista

You’d think at least Microsoft’s own products are compatible with Vista.  Well, sort of.  MS Money users who converted from Quicken may be out of luck.

I have a lot of financial data in Microsoft Money and prior to that in Quicken files. Both  applications used to recommend you keep the data files small by archiving earlier years. With today’s faster computers archiving is no longer an issue, but if you’re  a long-time user like I am, you probably have a few old archive files.

Every time you “upgrade” Money (hardly any new value, but if you use online services, MS forces you to upgrade every 2-3 years) your current data file is upgraded to the new formats, too. But what happens to the archive files?

I decided to convert all my older Quicken files to Money, just in case… after all, Money supports Quicken conversion.  Or not: crash.  Crash again.. and again.  I tried several data files, even rebooted the system, to no avail: Money consistently crashed at all conversion attempts.

This is where Vista’s Problem Reports and Solutions comes handy, and yes, a few days later it shows “solution found”. Hm… if they found it, they certainly are not sharing it.  Here’s the user-friendly stuff I found:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-16″?>
<DATABASE>
<EXE NAME=”MSMoney.EXE” FILTER=”GRABMI_FILTER_PRIVACY”>
<MATCHING_FILE NAME=”adapt.dll” SIZE=”109360″ CHECKSUM=”0x24BD92C0″ BIN_FILE_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.00.1303″ FILE_DESCRIPTION=”MSN Money Adaptation DLL” COMPANY_NAME=”Microsoft(R) Corporation” PRODUCT_NAME=”Microsoft(R) Money” FILE_VERSION=”16.00.1303″ ORIGINAL_FILENAME=”adapt.dll” INTERNAL_NAME=”adaptation” LEGAL_COPYRIGHT=”Copyright © Microsoft Corp. ” VERDATEHI=”0x0″ VERDATELO=”0x0″ VERFILEOS=”0x4″ VERFILETYPE=”0x2″ MODULE_TYPE=”WIN32″ PE_CHECKSUM=”0x25BFE” LINKER_VERSION=”0x60000″ UPTO_BIN_FILE_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ UPTO_BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ LINK_DATE=”01/04/2007 07:49:53″ UPTO_LINK_DATE=”01/04/2007 07:49:53″ EXPORT_NAME=”Adapt.DLL” VER_LANGUAGE=”English (United States) [0x409]” />
<MATCHING_FILE NAME=”adaptres.dll” SIZE=”13104″ CHECKSUM=”0xA99DDA54″ BIN_FILE_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.00.1303″ FILE_DESCRIPTION=”MSN Money Adaptation DLL” COMPANY_NAME=”Microsoft(R) Corporation” PRODUCT_NAME=”Microsoft(R) Money” FILE_VERSION=”16.00.1303″ ORIGINAL_FILENAME=”adapt.dll” INTERNAL_NAME=”adaptation” LEGAL_COPYRIGHT=”Copyright © Microsoft Corp. ” VERDATEHI=”0x0″ VERDATELO=”0x0″ VERFILEOS=”0x4″ VERFILETYPE=”0x2″ MODULE_TYPE=”WIN32″ PE_CHECKSUM=”0x4855″ LINKER_VERSION=”0x60000″ UPTO_BIN_FILE_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ UPTO_BIN_PRODUCT_VERSION=”16.0.0.1303″ LINK_DATE=”01/04/2007 07:00:04″ UPTO_LINK_DATE=”01/04/2007 07:00:04″ VER_LANGUAGE=”English (United States) [0x409]” />

This looks like the problem report sent to Microsoft, not the solution.  There’s one hint though: the filename is AppCompat.txt.  Perhaps it’s a Vista compatibility issue?   Luckily I still have an XP laptop around, the data files are there thanks to Foldershare sync (more on synchronization in the next post), all I have to do is install MS Money on the XP machine and try conversion there.

Voila!  Half an hour later I have the Quicken files converted to Money on the XP computer.  Money’s import/conversion routine is incompatible with Vista!   The whole exercise, including search on the Money Group took me about 2 hours, so dear Microsoft, here’s my invoice for lost productivity:

Oh, wait, we’re in the US, perhaps I should have presented a properly Americanized version. smile_wink

My poor experience was with MS Money 2007, but with Money Plus, the 2008 version of the product line Microsoft shows true ignorance to users’ legacy data needs.  Money Plus comes in four editions: Essentials, Deluxe, Premium, and Home & Business.

Microsoft offers a nice comparison chart, which neglects to mention a small detail, available only at the footnotes:

* Important note – Microsoft Money Essentials will not be able to open previous Money or Quicken files. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Money or Quicken, Money Plus Deluxe may be the right solution for you.

Not opening Quicken … well, it’s their decision. But not opening data from their very own previous releases? And this is hidden in the small print?

I rest my case.

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Windows 7: Multi-touch and Salt in the Wound

Today the world is raving (not really) about Windows 7’s multi-touch capabilities. Yet the overwhelming feeling I have about the latest Bill & Steve show is disappointment. I feel betrayed…abandoned. They created this turd Vista, then instead of fixing it they move on to the next thing. I’m left behind with this piece of junk. Incidentally, here’s another telling Vista screen, captured today:

You know, the famous Vista copy problem supposedly fixed in SP1. (OK, I realize this is deletion rather than copy, but it’s file manipulation nevertheless … I assume it’s the same problem)

I really wasn’t kidding when I said:

Windows 7, whenever it comes, should be released as “Vista Final”, free to all Vista victims along with Microsoft’s letter of apology.

Read more here: Between the Lines, ParisLemon, CNET News.com, All about Microsoft, InfoWorld, InformationWeek, Gizmodo, GottaBeMobile, VentureBeat, Outside the Lines, WinExtra, Scobleizer, TechCrunch, The Inquisitr, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs …etc…etc.

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Windows 7 = Vista Final

I like Jason Hiner’s prediction @ TechRepublik: Microsoft will leapfrog Vista, release Windows 7 early, and change its OS business:

And that’s why Microsoft will ultimately try to quell the embarrassing Windows Vista debacle by making a bold move with Windows 7 to win back customer loyalty and generate positive spin for its most important product.

What will happen next?

My prognosis is that Microsoft will use smoke and mirrors to conjure up an early release of Windows 7, the next edition of the world’s most widely-used operating system. Then they will quietly and unofficially allow IT departments to migrate straight from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Yes, we’re almost there. Except that it doesn’t take care of customers (including yours truly) royally sc***ed by Vista. I wasn’t kidding when I said:

Windows 7, whenever it comes, should be released as “Vista Final”, free to all Vista victims along with Microsoft’s letter of apology.

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Failed SP1 Update: Vista Still Sucks

Pardon my French.. it’s not exactly my style, especially not in the title, but enough is enough. I’ve long given up detailing Vista’s countless failures, but somehow, unconsciously I still hoped things would get better after installing SP1.

Not that I could get it – I was one of the “few” who had an offending Intel graphics chip in my HP PC, so I could not get it for a while. Then today it showed up on Windows Update, so off I went to a spare laptop (XP) since I knew the update would take about an hour or so.

Checking it an hour later:

Service Pack did not install. Reverting Changes. Do not turn off your computer.

WTF? So now it’s gonna spend another hour, a total cost of two hours to get back to where I was in the first place? And they wonder (?) why everyone says Vista Sucks.

P.S. Windows 7, whenever it comes, should be released as “Vista Final”, free to all Vista victims along with Microsoft’s letter of apology.

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The Microsoft Vista Fiasco: Who is Evil Now?

Yes, it’s a harsh title. Yes, I’ve long been critical of Vista. But so far I thought it was just incompetence, the Behemoth having lost their edge. Naive me… this piece in The New York Times is a true eye-opener.

It starts with what appears to be average users’ stories (bare with me, it gets better):

  • Jon upgrades two XP machines to Vista, only to find none of his peripherals work anymore
  • Steven confirms drivers are missing in the entire ecosystem
  • Mike buys a “Windows Vista Capable” laptop which turns out to be a $2,100 email machine, as it doesn’t run his favorite programs, and only can handled the castrated version of Vista that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

If these users didn’t know better, I wonder who should. They are all senior Microsoft Execs:

  • Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member.
  • Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft senior vice president responsible for Windows.
  • Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management.

They and several other Microsofties warned about the consequences of reducing the original strict hardware requirements and labeling underrated computers as Vista Capable:

The decision to drop the original hardware requirements is accompanied by considerable internal protest. The minimum hardware configuration was set so low that “even a piece of junk will qualify,” Anantha Kancherla, a Microsoft program manager, said in an internal e-mail message among those recently unsealed, adding, “It will be a complete tragedy if we allowed it.”

That this would result in disaster was foreseeable:

“It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

He and others were not listened to. Now Microsoft is facing a class action lawsuit: nothing new to the Redmond giant, just a calculated risk. “Where does Microsoft go to buy back its lost credibility?” asks The New York Times.

Nowhere. They stopped caring a long time ago. The Monopolist does not have customers: they have loyal subjects used to pay their taxes to Microsoft. Except that they are not that loyal anymore, and there are visible cracks on the walls of the empire. There is Linux, Mac OS, Web Applications – customers are slowly realizing they actually have a choice. Choice is the end of all monopolies, it’s just a matter of time. The Borg could slow the process by trying to be user-friendly, at least pretend to care about customers. Deceptive behavior like this shows they don’t care. They are digging their own grave.

(Please, don’t get me started on how profitable Microsoft is doing – I am talking about a trend, and it takes time….)

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The Vista Copy Story: Perception *IS* Reality

Windows Vista’s file copy performance is actually faster than that of XP – tells us Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror. He cites Mark Russinovich’s extensive analysis of Vista’s file copy algorithm, and comes to the conclusion that “perceived performance is more important than actual performance.”

…perception is reality: if users see file copying as slower, it is slower. Despite all the algorithmic improvements, in spite of the superior file copy benchmark results, Vista’s file copy performance is worse than Windows XP.

I can’t dispute the quoted analysis, am simply not competent enough, but here’s a key part:

…for copies involving a large group of files between 256KB and tens of MB in size, the perceived performance of the copy can be significantly worse than on Windows XP.

So the problem is with large number of files. My question: how large? Is two considered large? As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Yes, I know, this is “delete”, not copy, but it’s a file operation nevertheless, and I suspect the same problem. Perception *is* indeed reality… and I suspect we have more than just perception here.thumbs_down

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Proof that Vista is Slooooow

No comment.smile_angry

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Windows XP Twice as Fast as Vista?

Ouch. This hurts. Devil Mountain Software, the outfit that had previously declared Vista SP1 a Performance Dud came to the conclusion that Windows XP SP3 Yields Performance Gains – about 10% compared to XP SP2. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the very same tests show the outgoing operating system, XP twice as fast as Vista, the “flagship” OS. No wonder Forrester Research says Vista’s biggest problem is XP. smile_omg

Of course most users won’t notice it. Why? Because very few upgrade their existing computers from XP to Vista. We don’t buy operating systems, we buy computers: try to get one without Vista. (Fact: most of Microsoft’s Vista Revenue comes from the OEM channel.)

The Vista-based new screamer clearly runs a lot faster than the 3-year-old laptop running XP, but in reality it’s running at half-speed – the other half eaten by the Operating System. Which proves my earlier argument abut this being a pointless arms race: buying faster and faster machines only so they can maintain themselves and barely let us use basic applications.

Unless those applications are in the cloud. smile_wink

Related posts: PC World, Hardware 2.0 and TECH.BLORGE.com

Update (12/14): Coding Sanity has found a solution.

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Blinded by Vista Sales Success

It turns out someone does like Windows Vista, along with Office and the other stuff Microsoft sells.

– reports the New York Times, quoting Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson:

Customer demand for Windows Vista this quarter continued to build with double-digit growth in multi-year agreements by businesses and with the vast majority of consumers purchasing premium editions.

(emphasis mine)

…lot of folks spend so much time bitching about Vista and Office that they overlook one key point: Folks are buying this stuff.

– says Between the Lines. Donna Bogatin goes on in her “the-blogosphere-is-all-wrong-except-me” style:

The disconnect between tech blogosphere negative Microsoft hype and positive Microsoft reality continues to astound. Yesterday, Microsoft reported 27% revenue growth, fastest first quarter since 1999

Typical Vista gloom and doom blogger headlines: “No one is lining up for Windows Vista in San Francisco,” “The top five things about Windows Vista that still suck,” “Is Windows XP too good for Microsoft’s own good?”…

If Vista were truly the nightmare it is made out to be in the blogosphere, wouldn’t there be a massive consumer Microsoft revolt?

Time for a reality check. Product quality, customer satisfaction and market success have very little to do with each other when you have a monopoly.

The Vista problems are real, they are not fantasies created by bloggers. But how exactly are consumers supposed to revolt? They still need computers, and despite Apple’s respectable growth, they still represent a fraction of the consumer PC market. Try to buy a PC today, it’s hard to NOT end up with Vista (even I got one)

Customer demand for Vista? No, it’s customer demand for computers, in a market with no choice. I’m not “making this up”, Donna. It’s all in Microsoft’s 10-Q:

…Client revenue growth correlates with the growth of purchases of PCs from OEMs that pre-install versions of Windows operating systems because the OEM channel accounts for approximately 80% of total Client revenue. The differences between unit growth rates and revenue growth rates from year to year are affected by changes in the mix of OEM Windows operating systems licensed with premium edition operating systems as a percentage of total …

The increased “demand” for premium versions comes from another well-documented fact, i.e. Microsoft’s new segmentation, castrating Vista Home Basic and essentially making Home Premium the equivalent of XP Home – a hidden price increase, by any measure.

A true measure of “demand” for Vista would be corporate licenses and retail sales, and both are behind. But not for long: eventually, after the release of SP1 corporate IT will give in, too – who wants to be “left behind”, after all.

This isn’t liking Vista at all – it’s assimilation by the Borg.

Related posts: Between the Lines, Insider Chatter, Seeking Alpha, All about Microsoft, Tom Foremski: IMHO, Silicon Valley Watcher, Mark Evans, Computerworld, Gaffney3.com, Seeking Alpha Software stocks, Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog, Alice Hill’s Real Tech News, Paul Mooney, Between the Lines , TechCrunch, All about Microsoft and Parislemon (who, like me, did not overdose of $Kool-aid$)

Update (1/11/08): A UK Government report advises school to avoid upgrading to Vista, or deploying Office 2007.

See further update here.

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Angry Mom Spanking Ballmer Over Useless Vista

Well, it’s not the Microsoft CEO’s mother – it’s analyst Yvonne Genovese who interviewed Ballmer at the Gartner Symposium.

“My daughter comes in one day and says, ‘Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets — I need those.'”

Said Ballmer: “I love your daughter.”

“You’re not going to like her mom in about two minutes,” said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

She went on to explain that she installed Vista for her daughter — and two days later went right back to using the XP operating system.

That must have been one entertaining session. Read the full story at Computerworld. But first, here’s another quote from Ballmer, clearly on the defensive:

“There is always a tension between the value that end users see — and frankly, that software developers see — and the value that we can deliver to IT.”

Yesss. The key word is IT. As in “expert only”. Perhaps it’s time Microsoft recognize that they failed to serve two “masters”, and in catering strictly for IT, delivering a super-secure (?) system they created a monster quite unusable by individual consumers.

I’ve been ranting about Vista enough here, let me just add another gem to prove my point.

It’s probably fair to assume that a lot of Vista (home) users will have at least one older, XP machine around – and if they do, they want these to see these connected on a Home Network. This should be a piece of cake… or not.

  1. Your Vista PC won’t see the XP ones on the network at all.
  2. There’s no documentation whatsoever, but after Googling around you can figure out that you need to patch the XP machines (!) for them to be seen by the Vista. (Incidentally, the patch requires WGA, which fails on one of my perfectly legit computers, but that’s another story)
  3. When Vista still can’t see the networked machines, back Googling again.
  4. After some research you’ll discover a well-hidden statement that it may take up to 15 minutes for a Vista PC to see a networked pre-Vista one. Fifteen minutes!!!! in 2007!!!!

This is just one example of the many idiocies crippling Vista. Nothing major, just stupid little things that don’t work and there is no easily accessible info about.

Vista is for the corporate world with IT departments, period. I can hardly think of better promotion for Apple then releasing Vista to the consumer market. Oh, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s one from Princeton University (by way of Espen Antonsen)

Update: It’s not just kids anymore ;-)

Update: Ballmer speaks; Can Microsoft be everything to everyone? at Between the Lines. More on the Computerworld Blogs