Regarding Windows Vista and iPhone

10 October 2007

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My friend Matt, a fan of all things Apple and future switcher, owns a laptop. Actually it is a tablet-PC and has all of the latest hardware and software including a 64bit processor and gobs of RAM. Though my blood runs thick with Mac-cells, I know a good piece of hardware when I see it, and Matt's laptop is top-of-the-line. There is only one problem; it came pre-installed with Windows Vista.

I've only got limited experience with Vista but from that limited experience I have drawn the opinion that if I were forced to use the Operating System full time I'd likely jump off of a bridge. This isn't to say that I'm not willing to admit that in many ways Vista is vastly superior to its predecessors (like, say, in the security department) but I don't even like the way that it does these few things better. You know what? We'll get into this at a whole different time, b'okay?

So Matt has a great laptop that runs Vista. Fast forward to 'the other day' and Matt picked himself up a brand-new shiny iPhone. If you know Matt, and some of you reading this do, you'll know that at this point Matt's blood is practically boiling with excitement. He probably can't shut his mouth for even a second and his hair has gone straight. This kid wanted an iPhone pretty badly.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Matt Dottle approves"]Matt Dottle with his thumb up.[/caption]

Matt calls me: "Dude, I got an iPhone! Now what do I need to do? Just go home and plug it in right?" My reply: "Yeah. Everything should work man you just bought an Apple product. Go home. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes and you should be all good."

I think by now you realize where this is going. Matt installed the latest version of iTunes, plugged in his iPhone and received the following message: "iPhone not recognized in this version of iTunes." This message is a bit of a misnomer but I'll skip right to the part where I explain what is going on here.

During the iTunes installation Vista blocked the iPhone's USB driver from being installed.

It is pretty much as simple as that. I don't care if there are good or bad reasons for why this happens. And I don't care whose fault it is because I'm blaming both Apple and Microsoft for not displaying an error message about how to fix the issue. But I think this sucks.

Oh, you know what sucks worse: If you are running Windows Vista 64bit you can not use iPhone. You will get this same error message mention above only you won't be able to solve the issue like we did. It is merely a footnote on Apple's Web site under minimum system requirements for iPhone. I am not sure if this is Apple dragging its feet on a 64bit driver for Windows or if this is something on Microsoft's end.

So here is how you fix it in the 32bit version of Windows Vista; You need to turn off UAC, User Access Control, before you begin the iTunes installation. So if you've already installed iTunes, uninstall it using the same installer that you used to install iTunes, then turn off UAC by opening your Control Panel and searching for User Access Control in the top right hand search box. Install iTunes again, and voila!

I'm happy that there is a solution, and I'm not that bitter, it just took way too long to find the answer to this problem and I would love to see Apple or Microsoft handle this issue a little better. Having a better error message would go a long way I think.

Combine this UAC headache and the fact that we couldn't activate iPhone for him until the next day and you see why we were frustrated.

My next story will be about Epson's printers. Have you had any crappy tech experiences lately? Pingback this post if you have.