Windows SharePoint Services for Windows Vista

These notes on problems with the FrontPage Server Extensions treat the Windows SharePoint Services as FrontPage Server Extensions by another name. Of course, these products are not actually the same. The Windows SharePoint Services are very much bigger and more elaborate, but they include the FrontPage Server Extensions, at least as far as concerns authoring and administration, and whatever else they include is not relevant to these notes, no matter how substantial or useful.

Microsoft still distributes the Windows SharePoint Services. The current version at the time of writing seems to be version 3.0 Service Pack 1. However, it does not install on Windows Vista.

For a sign that something is less than well thought out about this, try installing the Windows SharePoint Services version 2.1 (such as supplied with FrontPage 2002) on Windows Vista. A typical scenario would be that you were using FrontPage on Windows XP, had been using SharePoint as a superior version of the FrontPage Server Extensions for administering your staging site, and want to reproduce this configuration on your new computer that’s running Windows Vista. Of course, when you installed FrontPage on Windows Vista, you would have seen that although the FrontPage Server Extensions that came with FrontPage have been installed, your IIS 7.0 web server on Windows Vista did not get extended. Still, you might try installing SharePoint, thinking that surely the worst that can happen is that you may be told the product is too old for your new Windows version:

Program Compatibility Assistant

Where things go wrong is when you proceed to “Check for solutions online”:

Contact Microsoft Corporation for support

Follow the link to Microsoft Corporation, and would you believe where you are taken (in December 2008, if not by the time you read this note)? Yes, to Microsoft’s page for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with Service Pack 1. As noted above, this does not install on Windows Vista.

This is the sort of runaround that deservedly gets customer support a bad name. Perhaps all that is meant is to help the user find the latest version of the rejected product, as if any new version is better than none. But this is not good enough. Since the reason for rejection is explicitly that this version of the product is not supported by “this version of Windows”, no good can come of recommending any upgrade that isn’t at least thought to be supported by this same version of Windows. Here, Microsoft generates a very specific link to an upgrade that Microsoft must know is not a solution.