I just read a story over at Tood Bishops blog in which he describes one man’s fight to get his printer working with his Vista computer. Normally this wouldn’t be much of a story, but what was amazing, to say the least, it took someone from Microsoft to actually figure out what the problem was. For those of you who are not familiar with Todd Bishop he is a blogger who posts at the seattlepi.com, which just happens to be in the area of Redmond, WA., where Microsoft is based.

When he originally posted the tale of woe this one man was having, a test manger from Microsoft, actually visited the mans home. It was discovered that the man had installed the drivers for XP that had come with his Dell 942 all-in-one printer. Even after installing the correct Vista drivers from Dell, it was still no go. The article states:

The underlying problem reflects the huge changes Microsoft made from Windows XP to Windows Vista, and the need for hardware makers to adjust. At the same time, the experience may provide a good reminder for PC users making an upgrade.

Mr. Walling is not alone in encountering the problem. Dell has since published a patch (dated Feb. 19) that removes a Windows XP printer driver from a Windows Vista machine, allowing for a clean installation of the new driver. That’s how White fixed Mr. Walling’s machine.

The story end with:

Too bad every PC user can’t have a Windows test manager on call. But as for Mr. Walling, he’s just happy he can print his genealogy records again.

What is noteworthy about this story is that it took some 13 months for Dell to issue a patch. One could conclude Mr. Walling was the only person in the entire world who was having this issue, which is highly unlikely. The most likely scenario was that Dell took action after being contacted by a Microsoft test manager.

You do have to wonder how many other folks suffered, gave up, and just bought new hardware.

Comments welcome.

PS I am sure this problem was not limited to Dell printers. 🙂