Cyberlink Ultra FAIL!


I’ve been working to recover from a major hard drive crash. Fortunately, I knew it was coming…those telltale crashes from nowhere and other glitchy warnings. I have what I thought was a pretty safe backup set up, and so I haven’t “lost” anything exactly.

I got my backup drive up and running, but decided that I was going to take the plunge and prepare a different drive to upgrade to Windows 8. To get ready, I got a different hard drive, and did a completely clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ve actually never done that before. My backups all came from when I upgraded Vista to Windows 7, so this was a bit new to me. I was pleasantly surprised at how many things actually worked without my having to install a zillion drivers!

So, I had run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant on the first drive that had all of my software on it, to find out what was going to be Windows 8 compatible and what wasn’t. The first item that was listed was the need for software that would play DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s on my computer, since Windows has removed the ability to play DVD’s from Windows 8. So, not surprisingly, my current DVD/Blu-Ray playing software, Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, was not Windows 8 compatible. I decided to upgrade to Cyberlink PowerDVD 12 Ultra, since the upgrade also came with a Windows 8 Metro App, and Power to Go gadget, (for easy CD/DVD burning and copying) which I’ve always liked.

Of course, there were no problems with them taking my money, and I got the email promptly with the activation codes for all the software. I downloaded all the files, and saved the codes with the software so I could install them later.

But, after a completely clean install, of course all of my previous versions of the software were gone. I really didn’t think that was going to be a problem, but apparently, every version I had copies of had been an update version as well, which requires the previous version to actually be installed on your system before you can install the next version.

I’ve never actually experienced this kind of problem before. I mean, I have upgraded countless software before. The thing is, an upgrade price is a discount to a customer who has spent money on your software before. I’ve paid for the whole new version, albeit at a discounted price. Acronis was previously the hardest to work with for me, because I had to enter the previous version’s activation code during installation to prove that I owned it – but they didn’t actually make me install the previous version!

I didn’t really think that it was going to be the problem it has turned out to be. I assumed a quick live chat with customer service and I’d have a new link. Uh…no. No live chat on their web site, only email via a form. Okay. Filled out the form, and sent it off. Waited for a response, which said that I could re-download the UPGRADE version only. That’s no help at all! I looked all over for a customer service phone number, but their ONLY option to reach a human is a paid option! For $30 I could get 2 months of customer service. Seriously?

Then, I decided that more drastic action was needed and decided to call their North American HQ. Surely they must have some kind of escalation department there, right? Nope! In fact, the only options are a dial by name directory, putting in a known extension, or looping back to being directed to the website and hung up on. So, I decided to look up the executives and enter them into the dial by name directory. Which it turns out is not set up, so you cannot use it to reach anyone on their executive team! What a joke!

So, then I tried their forum to see if anyone could tell me how to activate the trial version, or help me with a full download, but I was promptly told that an upgrade version requires the previous versions to be installed. As a side note, I really dislike people who feel compelled to answer a post in a forum who tell you to do things that you already said you have done in your original post!

Now, I resorted to really drastic action to see if I could find a pirate site that would have a full version to download. I didn’t want to use a crack or keygen, just the code I paid for, but it was the only place I could think of that would have the full version that I could actually download. All that got me was a browser hijack and some toolbars, which were promptly removed. I should have known better, but I was a bit desperate and lost my head for a minute there!

So it’s during all of this frustration that I went searching back into my emails to see if I can find anything and that’s when I remembered that I had a problem when I bought the previous version as well. Except that time, they took my money, and then days later cancelled it because they said my payment did not go through. Even after I told them that my payment did go through, and proved it with a copy of my credit card statement, they still would not reinstate the transaction.

UPDATE:  I received a response back from their “customer service” (Using that term only in the loosest sense here!) to tell me that they were giving me a download to their version 9, and that I could install my upgrade version of PowerDVD 12 Ultra over the top of it.  They seem to believe that this is an adequate solution.

Cyberlink has definitively odd definitions of what constitutes an “upgrade” and are very firm in their belief that existing customers are NOT to be EVER given an installable version of whatever software they bought and paid for, unless there is predicate software under it.  I cannot imagine how anyone would ever consider purchasing software from them.  Their belief that their repeat customers are not worthy of full installable versions of purchased software is unfathomable.

I can certainly understand that ANY software company needs to take steps to protect themselves from piracy, but this is not a DRM issue, nor is it remotely possible that it is related to “self protection” on their part.  What they consider a “full version” still requires a code to unlock it’s functions.  What this means is that even if there were copies of their “full” software running amok on the internet, you still couldn’t USE it unless you had a correctly verifiable activation code.

Cyberlink also does everything they can to entice users of their software to “upgrade” at every turn.  You get nag screens, even in the paid versions.  And you also get tons of emails from them urging you to take advantage of their upgrade specials.  Which seem like a good idea, right up until you have a problem, and need their help.  Then, you are treated like you are trying to steal something from them when you ask for an fully installable version of whatever software you purchased.  You would think that goodwill from existing customers would make it worth it to them to provide customers with what they need in the easiest way to keep them happy with the company.

But, it is sadly clear that they are doing absolutely everything that they can to ensure that they cannot be reached in person unless you pay additional money, and that you have little recourse in your dealings with them – you get what they determine and nothing else, period.


Categories: Editorials, Rants and Raves


2 replies

  1. PLUS….they leave customers who have prior versions in the dust as well.

    Version 9 came on my laptop that I have at work. It is supposed to play Blurays. I will play Blurays as of 2011….but any new ones will not play. The laptop isn’t even out of warranty and the software is already obsolete. Found this out when I went to play The Avengers Bluray. Oh and Dell provided no download to upgrade it either.

    This is why I use Linux most of the time because I can usually get it working even if the software is old.


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