Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word - Get Vista & Office for Watching Webcasts

Microsoft wants you to experience the Zen of Vista & Office together. So, if you watch three webcasts each for Windows Vista and Office 2007 within 30 days of registering, 6-8 weeks later you'll get shiny new DVD cases at your front door. Only one free copy of each product per person.

Microsoft created this video to explain it. Well, it doesn't really explain it. But I don't think Microsoft wanted you to see it. Or did they?


I think they beat the joke to death. Anyways, there are currently a bunch more webcasts for Vista than for Office, but I expect that to change here pretty soon. Anyways, if you haven't scored a free copy from MSDN, TechNet, or Connect yet, here's your chance.

The whole Zen logo is kind of a neat idea. I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't used it more often. Then again, they still haven't shown off a lot of Launch stuff yet...

UPDATE: For anyone that doesn't think it's real, a Microsoft Technical Evangelist (read: employee) sent me an e-mail about it. MSDN did something very similar a while back with their MSDN webcasts series. It's legit. I promise.

UPDATE2: For the people that didn't believe me, Mark Brown, an MS employee from the Developer & Platform Marketing Team, has confirmed that this is a legit site with a legit offer. He also addresses the issue of it being a US-only offer. So no, I wasn't trying to get people sucked into a phishing scam. I mean, come on guys... the site looks awesome. What phisher would spend the kind of money it would take to come up with this design? But way to be safe surfers.



  • Tim Hibbard said:

    Now that is a good looking logo.  I wish we had the time/resources/creativity to make icons like that!

    November 27, 2006 11:34 PM
  • Heh. I wish I made it. That's Microsoft's handiwork... I just ripped it off the web page with the round cutting tool in Photoshop. It totally rocks though.

    November 28, 2006 1:37 AM
  • Dario Solera said:

    Uff. It's only for US residents. :(

    November 28, 2006 2:29 AM
  • Christer Grimsæth said:

    Only for US residents...! Why!

    November 28, 2006 4:19 AM
  • Mark said:

    U.S. only - booo!

    November 28, 2006 6:45 AM
  • US Only... AGAIN!!!! AARGH!!

    When does MS learn the world is a little bit bigger then just the US!?!?!!?

    November 28, 2006 6:59 AM
  • Jason said:

    It would be nice, if the server didn't always say, "Sorry, a System Error occurred".

    November 28, 2006 7:34 AM
  • Alison said:

    If this is legit, why is the domain / whois registered address Flat 13, somewhere in London?

    November 28, 2006 7:38 AM
  • barryd said:

    if it's US only why is the domain registered to someone's home in the UK? Why isn't it hosted on a Microsoft owned server? Why isn't the domain owned by Microsoft, or done through their domain registrar?

    I'm sorry but this really smells. Badly. Especially when it asks for your SS number. You may well have had an email from someone internal to MS, but it really doesn't add up.

    November 28, 2006 7:41 AM
  • Adam Smith said:

    the scam issue is a possibility.  that's why i'm passing this offer.  there's other market i can get it for cheaper & w/o providing my SS #

    November 28, 2006 8:09 AM
  • Alex G said:

    this is from planet USA... rest of the world need not apply or care...

    November 28, 2006 9:05 AM
  • If you read the fine print, you'll notice that Microsoft Partners and members of the Microsoft Developer Network are not eligible...

    "...You are not eligible to receive these offers if you or your employer is a participant in the Microsoft Partner Program or the Microsoft Developer Network...."

    November 28, 2006 11:08 AM
  • There is no need to post the domain registration, I know who it is registered to. the site is hosted for Microsoft by a third party in the UK. the reason you need your SSN to register is because Microsoft has to claim any gift over $600 in taxes, and so do you. It's taxable income. Again, it is a legitimate site, a Microsoft employee passed it along to me.

    November 28, 2006 11:28 AM
  • barryd said:

    But there's no real reason for it to be registered in the UK, or by a UK citizen. And even then you'd think the 3rd party would be a company, not an individual with his home address. Especially if it's a US only offer, why on earth would it need to be registered in the UK? Why wouldn't registering it to Microsoft UK be an option and not some unknown individual.

    And you'd think that it would be well written enough and tested so that it doesn't crash on signup. Or there it would use the usual privacy policy. Or a link *from* As for $600 the Ready for Launch software didn't have that SSN restriction on it as far as I am aware.

    I'd like to be wrong but it really really smells.

    November 28, 2006 12:01 PM
  • Dan said:

    Yeah, it would be nice if it did not take forever to load and errors did not occur every few minutes; it will be worth the wait though :)

    November 28, 2006 12:33 PM
  • barryd said:

    OK we finally got a MS employee to claim the promotion on Channel9 (not wishing to disbelieve you Robert but the post was a little more concrete than word of mouth),

    I guess it's legit after all, apologies for the paranoia.

    November 28, 2006 1:11 PM
  • some1 said:


    November 28, 2006 1:33 PM
  • jadders said:

    I keep getting a "Sorry, a System Error Occurred" when registering.

    Also, this deal only lasts until "supplies are out" meaning as soon as this gets dugged or slashed... you can just forget about getting a copy.

    November 28, 2006 2:36 PM
  • dugbug said:

    well, I've watched three sessions and all I get are "pending" icons on the "my stuff" tab on the together main page.  I have a fourth unviewed session which I can't see due to network timeouts.

    Dose the "pending" on the three sessions qualify me?  There is no notification that I have satisfied the requirement to view three sessions.  Just this:

    "Shipping Info

    When you’ve completed your required activities, your gift will be shipped to: "


    November 28, 2006 2:43 PM
  • dugbug said:

    I should have said, I have watched three OFFICE sessions, which according to this:

    "Don’t forget that after you’ve watched three 2007 Microsoft Office system Webcasts, you will receive* a free, full-licensed copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007. Your gift will ship within 6-8 weeks of the it’s release to manufacturing"

    should be enough, but as I mentioned earler, I just get "pending" icons by the three that I have seen.

    November 28, 2006 2:46 PM
  • some2 said:

    Same here, I'm getting the "system error occurred" message... anyone find a way around it?

    November 28, 2006 2:51 PM
  • Dan said:

    I got through for Office (eventually) but I am unable to watch any of the webcasts which I signed up for...I just get the error message again and again.

    Im going to try to come back later, hopefully the demand will settle down, but it worries me becuase it does say limited quanities of teh product available, I guess I have to wait and see...

    November 28, 2006 2:57 PM
  • Quinten said:

    I got both same errors from the Windows Vista and MS Office 2007.

    November 28, 2006 3:25 PM
  • said:

    .... with a minor hitch. You have to watch some webcasts. See the details over at Robert McLaws blog. Apparently...

    November 28, 2006 3:30 PM
  • Steve said:

    Great promotion, shame it is only for US citizens though (what's the deal with that!?)! :(

    Does anyone have any ideas if MS are doing something similar in Europe (i.e. UK)?! ;)

    November 28, 2006 4:27 PM
  • colintheys said:

    This looks like a great promotion and I would like very much to take advantage of it. However, I get a 'system error' every time I try. :( It is also very slow. I fear that the traffic may have beaten me to it.

    November 28, 2006 6:45 PM
  • Dan B said:

    I have finally registered for the Office 2007, an completed one webinar (now showing Pending status), and trying to register for the Vista one, but keep getting System Error...  

    I'm VERY happy about this promotion, as I cannot afford to fork out the $600!  

    Thanks Microsoft!

    November 29, 2006 10:15 AM
  • Reggy said:

    Same as dugbug:

    I've watched three sessions and all I get are "pending" icons on the "my stuff" tab?

    The contact/FAQ page claims it should say completed? Is anyone getting the "Completed" icon?

    November 29, 2006 11:16 AM
  • I saw reports of this yesterday and thought, like most, yeah right! But this has been confirmed by two

    November 29, 2006 11:34 AM
  • The catch? Just attend 3 WebCasts within 30 days of entering… Read more…

    November 29, 2006 12:18 PM
  • ITfellow said:

    The offer is no longer valid. A lot of people are reporting that all the free copies are already sold out for the offer.

    I still don't like that they ask for my social security number and other personal information.

    November 29, 2006 12:29 PM
  • Garth said:

    It's only for US residents. :(

    I guess no one else in the world would want a copy!

    November 29, 2006 1:04 PM
  • ITFellow: Since they're having so many issues with the site, I doubt that is the case. Most people can't even watch the webcasts at the moment because they're getting bombarded with traffic. So I don't think Microsoft would be able to close it without serious public outcry. Give them through tomorrow to work out all the issues and keep checking in periodically.

    November 29, 2006 1:12 PM
  • They already explained why it's US only. MS has to claim any "gift" over $600 to any individual on their taxes, regardless of where they live in the world. If people get both items, it's considered one "gift". Since other countries have different ways of tracking this, and they outsourced the work to a partner company, it was cost-prohibitive to try to offer it to every country. So they instead decided to offer more free copies and make it a US-only offer.

    It's a legitimate reason so I don't see why so many people are complaining. Geez.

    November 29, 2006 1:34 PM
  • Is the offer valid for both products, or can you only apply to win one? Hate to sound greedy...but it would be cool to snag both. And quite honestly I find the webcasts very enlightening and entertaining, so I don't mind the viewing requirements. In fact I'll probably watch MORE than 3!

    November 29, 2006 1:40 PM
  • Where is the SSN required? I filled out the entry for Office 2007 Pro and all it asked for was my mailing address and phone.

    November 29, 2006 1:42 PM
  • Question: I am a Connect member, and I already qualify for a free copy of Vista Ultimate for participating in the beta program. So does this mean I am disqualified from this offer?

    November 29, 2006 2:07 PM
  • NPARROTT said:

    I keep getting the system error has occured, has any ever found this to go away, if they were receiving it initially?



    November 29, 2006 2:09 PM
  • Dan said:

    Well, one of mine actually changed to completed; so it is possible. I am not sure how it is different from the other five webcasts I watched, but it is possible for it to change from pending to completed :)

    Whats really odd is that is the most recent one I did, so it was about 12 hours ago, while the other ones I did about 24 hours ago are still Pending. I dunno

    November 29, 2006 2:11 PM
  • Hej folkens Så ser det ud til at Microsoft endnu engang forkæler et amerikanske folk ved at køre promoverings

    November 29, 2006 5:01 PM
  • Reggy said:

    Well after viewing each a few times... The icons in "my stuff" have all changed to "completed"!

    Nothing left to do but wait.

    Also after completion it states:

    "we will ship your gift within 6-8 weeks of the release to manufacturing of Windows Vista."

    The thing to note in the wording is RTM.

    I think that was around 11/9 or so? So I guess the clock is ticking.....

    November 29, 2006 5:04 PM
  • Well, the site is certainly a pain in the butt to use.  For those of you that think this is a scam, nobody would waste so much time making a scam like this.  Thanks for the heads up!

    November 29, 2006 9:10 PM
  • pratap said:

    i like to have this :)

    November 29, 2006 10:35 PM
  • Ariel said:

    as usual ... only for united states .... maybe one day in the old europe ...

    November 30, 2006 5:04 AM
  • Dan said:

    I just finished all 6 yesterday...the letting them play again method, worked (most changed to completed on the second time)

    Does anybody know whats up with the w9 form and all that? I read on the site I should be getting an email, but that hasnt happened yet.

    November 30, 2006 11:10 AM
  • JD said:

    Vista offer sold out. :-(

    December 1, 2006 6:14 AM
  • Abdul said:

    only us what about Canada next they'll do it for the EU and they'll forget Canada

    we should be with you guys!!

    December 1, 2006 10:41 AM
  • Rich said:

    I watch all 6 yesterday and they said pending. Trying to get back on the site today to see if they had been updated to completed. However, I am unable to get onto the site. Is the site down? If anyone can give me an answer I would greatly appreciate it.

    December 1, 2006 11:59 AM
  • Mike said:

    Both offers are now closed if you haven't registered yet.

    I avoid the SS# snafu by setting up two different accounts, names, etc.. No biggie.

    December 1, 2006 2:48 PM
  • Mike said:

    Rich, the sites flooded. Allegedly thery're giving away 30,000 copies of each program.

    Individuals at who signed up have been going from Pending -> Completed -> Congrats! so we just need to be patient.

    December 1, 2006 3:02 PM
  • As Ina Fried reports , Microsoft's free Vista & Office giveaway at is over. Apparently,

    December 1, 2006 4:49 PM
  • Reggy said:

    Hello Robert,

    Do you know of anyone receiving any software yet? If anyone receives anything please post here...



    January 9, 2007 4:11 PM
  • bitpicnic said:

    Reggy- I recently received a confirmation email, and another email implying they'd be shipped in early Jan.  Still haven't received anything yet, though.

    January 18, 2007 11:31 AM
  • Reggy said:

    bitpicnic- I have also just received the same email.

    I guess I will see the software soon... I hope.

    Did you fax your W-9? Or did you just go for 1 of the 2 offerings?

    Anyone else receive anyting yet?

    January 22, 2007 11:41 AM
  • bitpicnic said:

    Yeah, I mailed in the W-9...  Even with all the assurances that it's legit, makes you kind of nervous, no?  

    January 23, 2007 12:04 PM
  • Daniel said:

    I received my package from, Vista and Office, Came 2 days ago on the 29th, Awesome!!!

    Office is just a Key, and aURL to Download, Vista came with a DVD for 32bit only But still way awesome :)

    January 31, 2007 10:46 PM
  • August 18, 2007 4:23 PM