New Subscriber Downloads and Product Keys UI is LIVE

As of 20:00 (8:00PM US PDT), the new Subscriber Downloads and Product Keys UI is live for MSDN and TechNet Subscribers.

There are a few site-wide (all MSDN and TechNet) CSS issues that were noticed in advance of the release, that will continue to be looked into by the appropriate teams.

Let us know what you think. Check out the walkthroughs and FAQ pages to assist you in using the new capabilities, and Enjoy! 



Comments (33)

  1. Let us know what you think: yes.

    We’ve seen the "Browse Download" Menu on my two head multi megapixel display.  What size is it? At most 1/9th of the screan area (800×600?). So now I have to scroll the submenus, wich is completely unnecessary. An how do I scroll? With a scrollbar? With my decided speed? No: only slow and really slow.

    This control is definitly not an improvement. It is presumably only there to have a silverlight control because it is hip to have one. Did you *try* it for yourself, really?

    Martin and Walter

  2. Sebastian says:

    I dont like it. The Download Tab is going away, if you dont click on the right link. 2 tiers is too deep for this.

  3. SubscriptionsBlogger2 says:

    Good morning all –

    You guys are brutal πŸ™‚

    But seriously – thanks for the feedback. Let me hit a few issues I can respond to quickly and I will follow up with more later.

    So – the navigation control is not silverlight. It is AJAX, but we would like to implement a Silverlight version when the time is right. We did evaluate it for our v1.0 implementation and decided it was not the right time due to a number of issues.

    So you don’t like two layers of navigation? Did you ever use the old system? Somehow I don’t think so as you often had to go 10 or 15 mouse clicks through possibly 5 or more layers of hierarchy to get to your desired file, and then you had to do the same thing for every file in a multipart image.

    Yes – the navigation control is admittedly touchy in how it behaves to clicking and mousing.

    More later….

    Happy Friday.

  4. Doug says:

    I like the new UI.  But Puleeze, can you bring back the resume downloads link??  If it’s already there, it sure is hard to find so far.  Tnx.

  5. SAS says:

    Hi I think overall it will take some getting used to, It has potential though.

    One Thing that is strange, I have 11 keys that under the new system say "This product requires a Volume License Key (VLK). To retrieve your VLK:  " however all 11 keys were visable on the old system. Infact I have all 11 keys in a Excel file for ease of use so its not a major issue but it would be nice to have them listed on the site again withouht going to other pages.

  6. Andrew says:

    Where are the "What’s Hot?" files…?  Am I just blind and missing the obvious?

    Also, shouldn’t a search for "WDK" (without the quotes) turn up… something…?

    I’ve tried going into Win2k3, where WDK used to be, if I recall (not developer tools, for some reason) and also developer tools, and I imagine I’ll find it eventually if it’s here, but… Seems difficult to find something like the WDK to me. Hopefully this is an exception.

    I think it has potential, but it’s currently inferior to the old layout, where one could see all the categories and drill right down to the files desired… and eliminate possibilities quickly and easily. (The old way would actually have been almost perfect if the left hand column would *stay* resized!)

  7. Bill Curnow says:

    I have to agree with Martin and Walter, the new control is a giant step backwards functionally, and it smacks of late 90s web design visually.

  8. Leen says:

    Personal opinion :

    Cannot find the "latest new" anymore.

    Why do I have to choose "all" or just "one language" now? Had three languages that were shown.

    Now the new UI is a big regression.

    How can I see how many "VLK activations are left for me"

    All by all, I liked what I had (no problem with it) and was looking forward how that could even be improved. The new UI is a big disappointment, Just regression for me on all area’s,

    Would love to reverse the changes.

    Why changing things that work? Just because there *has* to be UI changes once in a while?

    This is usuability, not eyecandy I’m looking for.

    Main thing that **has** to be brought back is:

    I will have to set only the languages I want to see AND the Latest new/changed **must** come back.

    But then again, it could be I didn’t look that good, but heck I shouldn;t even *have* to find such things.

    Have a nice day!

  9. unRheal says:

    PS – ok, now I’ve searched every Category, and still no sign of the WDK/DDK – or even that little .doc file that used to be there saying that it was temporarily removed to be fixed and would be back by March 15th – which was still there when I last checked around March 20th or so…

  10. greg long says:

    I used to be able to see the number of activated licenses for MAK. Where can if find this info now?

  11. Ok, you want my opinion but you will most likely hate me for that:

    The menu system:

    – Is too slow, especially when you need to scroll down to the very bottom

    – Hard to handle, menu is collapsing before reaching the next level


    – Is hard to find

    – No dates using search just basic title

    – No new items list

    – No languages shown

    If I use the menu and manage to go to MSDN Library 2006 (just an example to show how bad it works for me) and I survived the menu I get a list of MSDN Library 2006 entries with only the last update date. That tells me nothing, it’s the posted date that is important. Now I have to pick one… maybe June? Oh shoot after opening that entry it appears to be Japanese. July? D*mn Chinese … how many times do you have to do this?

    Details in the list gives you CRC/ISO information and not much more…

    So maybe search is better than the menu? No way… same search MSDN Library 2006 gives you a tiny list showing no titles, no language, no publishing datas etc.

    Sure, the old tree let’s you click a couple of times extra, but the hierarchy is completely clear leading you to the right product, and giving the product information that is needed.

    To be not all negative… I (think) I prefer the new Key system. Maybe some more information about the various key types. I do however miss how many times certain keys are used.

    So … I’d prefer you to restore the old system and work some more on the new one. Sorry.

    -= Maarten =-

  12. Simon Geary says:

    When I browse to Windows Server 2003 R2 the only option I have is to download the Itanium version. In general, lots of downloads have disappeared. I get my MSDN subscription through the MS partner program if that makes a difference.

    More constructive criticism follows below, but my overall reaction is that I despise the new downloads. Sorry, but they suck.

    The grey navigation screen takes up a tiny percentage of the available screen space forcing you to use horrible scroll controls.

    The up and down part of the scroll control are at opposite ends of the box making navigation difficult. Rework it so that no scrolling is required, or at least use a sliding bar.

    If you choose an item with a sub-menu you have to be careful not to move the mouse pointer a few pixels vertically in either direction or you ‘lose’ your sub-menu otions

    The tier 2 product selection cannot be clicked on, for example to show all versions of Exchange server. You are forced to choose a tier 3 product.

    The search option only returns matches from the top level of products. How about including sub-products along with keys in the initial search results?

    I could go on for a while yet, but that’s enough for now! Suggest you roll the change back and give this some more thought.

  13. Pilon says:

    It has potential, but some old features has to come back, especially the new releases (in my preferred languages).

    Anyone tried to request the key for ‘Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition’. Do you also get an errorpage?

  14. Daniel says:

    I mostly like the layout, much simpler categories. The only problem I see so far is the [very] slow scroll, I’d rather prefer a scrollbar.

  15. Doni says:

    Awful. Terrible. Sucks. Non-functional.

    If you are going to replace the old interface, at lease leave it as an option so we can still be productive until you get everything worked out.

    Did I meniton it sucks?

  16. kevin says:

    The New UI Is Completely Useless, Just FYI. I Tried To Find Vista With SP1 Integrated And I Had To Show All Vista Downloads To See It. Now I Can’t See What’s Recently Added To The Subscription.

    I Have To Open The Fly-out Menu Many Times, Just FYI

    Content Descriptions Are Gone.

    Please MS Fix This ASAP Or I Would Install Ubuntu In My Development Box And Let My MSDN Premium Subscription Expire, Just FYI.

  17. Peter says:

    The interface itself may take some getting used to but why is there no "New Items List"?

    How are you supposed to know when new items are available on MSDN now?

    How could this be left out?

    This needs to come back ASAP!

  18. Josh says:

    Where is my way of quickly expanding a couple of tree nodes and seeing a summary of all the main products I’m interested in on my screen at once.  At least the tree control was functional, even if there sometimes was an extra level or 2 in the tree that wasn’t needed.

    The slow scrolling thing is useless.  I gave up waiting for it to scroll down to see if the product I wanted was in the list.  I couldn’t remember the exact name, so I tried hitting search with no text to see if I could get a simple list of products available.  This didn’t work, so I searched for "a" (no quotes).

    Search results only show 10 at a time.  I usually change any searches I do to show 100 results and use the browsers scroll bar to quickly scan for the result I want.

    I ended up using the keyboard to scroll the list (as I could then scroll quicker), but ended up with the down arrow "scroll button" in the middle of my list obstructing my view.

  19. SubscriptionsBlogger2 says:

    So….. let me respond to some of the items above. If I didn’t respond to yours specifically, I will still have it captured and we’ll be considering them as well.

    The "What is new in downloads" did get cut from v1.0 but is still in the list of future enhancements. Based on your feedback, we are working on something that can address this in the short term as well as pulling up the longer term item in priority.

    WDKs and SDKs and DDKs are now listed with the product they apply to, if one exists. For instance Vista SDKs and DDKs are with the Vista downloads.

    Search results show 10 at a time by default because with this new basic search it will be unlikely to have more than 10 results in total.

    As far as languages go, the new system looks at your browser preferred language, and if the Product you are navigating to is available in that language, that would be the default filter selection. If there is not a version of the product in that language, English would become the default. Another way to say this is that we are trying to respect your browser set language preferences and show you files based on them when available.

    The navigation control is admittedly sensitive. I will look into whether there are any keyboard interactions available for it.

    Re: Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition Keys – failure when claiming keys. Thanks for the heads up. We will alert the appropriate team that more keys need to be made available.

    RE: Partner Program product availability. You should not be seeing differences in the files available to you today from that previously. We did have a bug today where VS Pro with Pro Subscribers were only seeing OS files. We fixed that today however. I will look into this issue a bit further. Be sure to see the "architecture" filter. Many older files don’t have architectures so may show as "unspecified".

    So I hear that many of you don’t like the new UI. That is disappointing. We understand change can be a painful thing but our goal is to improve your experience not make it worse. The usability study participants we talked to while planning the updates had mostly positive things to say.

    We do appreciate your feedback – both positive and negative – and we will continue to consider it as we proceed with additional enhancements and feature development, and prioritization of those items.

  20. mharr says:

    I don’t mind the new menu, it appears quick enough for me.  I do agree with previous poster that it should expand with the window size.  That should be basic UI design (but too often is not).

    However, should not the menues filtered according to your subscription levels.  The old version had that.  Now, I wade through the menues and click on the product, just to get to a details page where all the choices are grayed out.  I liked the feature of the old menu system that did not show the entries that I was not entitled to have.

  21. > As far as languages go, the new system looks at your browser preferred language

    This is something I defin. don’t want. Our company is completely En/US minded and certainly not focused on our local languages. Assumptions like this forces us to switch between languages used in the browser to get the right responses without any need.

    If my prefered language is needed make that an option in my profile.

    -= Maarten =-

  22. unRheal says:

    I think the reason you’re getting so much negative feedback isn’t the interface fundamentally, but it’s few (theoretically) fixable shortcomings, and the fact that it’s lacking in very significant features – which should also be fixable.

    Search should most definitely not return only the top level stuff – particularly since a lot of the top level stuff doesn’t contain even all the basic stuff. "WDK" shouldn’t return 0 results!

    Putting the DDK(s) and SDK(s) (and the hypothetical WDK) πŸ˜‰  with the OS does not make sense. How many people buying or using Vista could care at all about WDK’s and such? By that logic, almost *all* of the development stuff should go with Vista (or 2008)… except that they’re also for other (multiple) versions of Windows, so they should also be under those. Developing for Windows and using Windows are completely separate categories, however… so I don’t agree that it’s the right place to put that stuff.

    Also, since the latest WDK, which I’m told by someone else at MSFT should be out already… ("… supposed to be up on MSDN by 4/9 at the very latest …") is supposed to be for 2008 (6001.18001) – then it should be under 2008. And while that has sort of a not-entirely-logical sense to it… how am I supposed to browse for it, if I don’t even know if it’ll be in the Vista section, or the 2008 section (or the XP section, or whatever, etc…)

    There wasn’t really anything wrong with the old interface, (except for that left hand column width thing with the tree view) – and while updating it to be slicker and more responsive (Ajax, etc.) is a great idea… you also basically removed numerous and very basic (important!) features in the process, so I’d think you should expect significant negative feedback. Sure maybe you got good feedback in the useability studies, because it’s not all bad, as I say.. but it really isn’t all that close to being finished, IMHO)

    Thanks for responding to the comments and stuff – much appreciated!


    – Andrew

  23. Pilon says:

    I played a  bit more with it now, and I really like the option that you can select mutliple releases in a specific category and download them at once. Also to view the product keys there is very useful.

    But it would be a lot easier if we could select multiple languages. All not native English subscribers are interested in releases in their native language, English and also the MUI-stuff at ‘multi-language’, so it would be very helpful if we could a) choose multiple languages or b) we get an option to add the English/Multi-language releases to our native ones.

    Speaking of ‘multi-language’, it would be nice if they are also added to a real language, e.g. English or the languages where these releases apply to.

    I’m also missing releases, like almost all ‘Windows 2003’ and ‘Windows 2003 R2’ as stated before. But also the x86 version the ‘Nl, it, pt, ru, sv Windows 2008 MUI pack’ is suddenly gone, whilst the other ones (e.g. x64) are still there πŸ˜•

  24. Paul says:

    "The "What is new in downloads" did get cut from v1.0 but is still in the list of future enhancements."

    This removes the quickest way to make sure I have the most recent releases. There’s no way for me to know what has been made available since my last visit. We really need this.

    My subscription is expiring soon. Will I get some free days to make up for the lack of useful availability this causes? (probably not, but I thought I’d ask…)

  25. Carl says:

    I’ve been an MSDN subscriber since the very first MSDN release all those years ago (I may even still have the CDs somewhere – I think there were 3 for the entire subscription).

    The new UI works well enough for me – it’s no more twitchy than all the other AJAX multi-level menus out there in the wild.  It does make very poor use of screen space – I run at 1920×1440 on my small monitors, 2560-1600 on the 30 inchers.  I don’t need or want a UI that forces me to work in 800×600 pixels.

    Is it an improvement?  I’d say no – the old UI wasn’t broken, in fact it’s worked quite well for some years.  I’ve never had any trouble finding what I’m looking for and would far prefer a tree control to a multi-level menu that artifically forces everything into a 3-level hierarchy.  Such rigid structures rarely work well.

    Get rid of the "Web 2.0" glitz and give me a fully functional download site.

  26. Not Happy says:

    I have a "Team Suite" subscription but I am not able to download any of the Visual Studio Team 2008 products. Only Express/Standard/Professional are available.

    PerformanceServer is not available, ProClarity is not available, Windows Embedded products are not available, so many downloads are not available when they were just a week ago.

    Microsoft, you’re not helping with causing your customers grief as well as constantly making things worse for them on a monthly basis.

    As it is now, I cannot recommend our VL admin to renew all our MSDN accounts.

  27. Simon Geary says:

    I have solved the mystery of my missing downloads! One of the selection filters is ‘File Type’ and this was set by default (for me anyway) to DVD. I changed this to All Media and the missing bits became visible.

  28. Laurent says:

    I am completely lost in the new interface.

    I have no time to learn to use it and my eyes do not like all these moving things.

    It took 1 minute in the old interface to find something and to be sure that I did not miss any new download.

    Now, after 15 minutes lost, I cannot say if the product I am waiting for is there or not.

    Is there a way to continue to use the old interface ?

  29. willdean says:

    I despair of MSDN, I really do.  

    It defeats me how on earth anyone could have thought this idiotic wack-a-mole of pop-ups was an improvement on the last (mediocre) effort, which could have least have been improved merely by making the treeview wider.

    I only looked at it today because I am looking for an up-to-date library – there are no library disks later than November (which shipped in January), and on subscriber dowloads there’s nothing later than June 07!   I know the MSDN library has become almost unusable over the years, but still it must be something fairly close to your core product.

    Who do we all need to write to (Balmer? Gates?) to get the money/talent/whatever it is that MSDN is so obviously lacking in?

  30. SubscriptionCommenter says:

    MSDN site has been going downhill for a long time.  JavaScript links, renamed pages creating broken URLs, the site’s instability, sloth-like response time, and let’s not forget maliciously rude SilverLight popups. Now we have to deal with an even more encumbering "new UI"  

    I’m a developer, hence the subscription, I don’t need fancy eye candy.  Your "usability study participants" apparently confuse shiny/pretty with usability/functionality.  

    I’ll take functionality over form any day of the week.

    My suggestion stop letting marketing folks design your web pages.  Or perhaps let them do it without impacting those of us that work for a living.   Maybe have two sites; where you can have your little sandboxstage and where CUSTOMERS can go with the extremely reasonable expectation that it will work with any unnecessary impediments like someone’s alleged creativity.


  31. Richard Henley says:

    If it worked to quickly locate what one is looking for better than the old treeview, where every thing was clearly in it’s expected place and relationship – then great.

    But this is not great, it’s too slow, bulky and restricts our usage to what you think we might possibly be looking for. So we can’t find our intended target.

    We always appreaciate being handed a small list of result search items, when the search target is never in the list. If you want to continue along this line of thinking, you may wish to invest in Google’s technology.

    Otherwise please return the same level of quick, clearly identified, relationally ordered level of service we have been using well for some time.

    When I want a system like this, I’ll buy another copy of Vista. Then I can continue to think fondly of Microsoft and their product design.

    But if I want one that works the way you think this one should, I’ll just buy a Mac – where it actually does that,  – along lines similar to  those limited set of visual specs you have presented us with here.

  32. Dieter says:

    Besides the size of the Control, when I select OS, why MS-DOS, Windows 9x and Windows NT4.0 are listed at the beginning of the list?

    Actual releases should be at the beginning of the list. In the OS list XP and Vista are the last onces.

    I would prefere to switch back to the old Version of downloads!

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