Gremlins blight Windows 7 launch

Blog Feb 18, 2011

A few technical hitches detracted from Microsoft's London launch event for Windows 7.

Technical gremlins certainly pick the most inconvenient moments to strike.

Take launch events, for example - you want to demonstrate just how good your product is to the attending press, analysts and customers. The gremlins will do anything to stop you.

I've been to plenty of press conferences where demos have gone wrong. Best laid plans and all that. Microsoft is no stranger to such happenings and it seems that the gremlins just don't want to leave the Redmond-based software giant alone.

At the Windows 7 launch in London on Wednesday, just as Microsoft's Leila Martine was showing off the Virtual Earth app on a Windows 7-based touchscreen device, a pop-up message informed us that an internet connection could not be found.

Bad enough, but with big screens throughout the presentation room giving us a close up, everyone in attendance was aware of the glitch. Fortunately, Martine's demonstration didn't depend on having a web connection, so it wasn't a major issue.

Windows - a timeline

However, when Sky's Griff Parry arrived on stage to demonstrate the Sky Player in the Media Center program in Windows 7, the lack of internet connection became a big problem. The demo was aborted.

Martine didn't panic and moved on to the next part of the presentation. Parry was soon back on stage for a second attempt, but the gremlins just weren't having it.

Still unflappable, Martine suggested that we move on to the Q&A session while another attempt to fix the problem was made. After the Q&As, Parry returned to the stage.

"Third time's a charm," Martine quipped, explaining that the problem had been caused by a loose connection. It wasn't a charm, though - again, the computer just wouldn't play ball. However, Parry did manage to show a pre-recorded video of Sky Player in action within Windows 7.

So it wasn't a complete disaster, and both Martine and Parry kept their cool. Besides, we all had the opportunity to see a live demo later in the day.

It could have been a lot worse - and if you don't believe me, watch this video from the Windows 98 launch event.