I recently had an unexpectedly great support experience from a company that one does not usually associate with excellent customer support: Microsoft.

I had been running Windows 10 as a VirtualBox VM on my Linux laptop for quite some time. I needed Windows for a few things like my accounting software (Quickbooks) and remote access to the office but the setup wasn’t working as cleanly as I’d like, particularly around support for external devices like my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch so I decided to switch to a dual boot.

The problem was that the only ISO that I had was for Windows 8 and the free upgrade option expired a few months ago. I was concerned that if I used the Windows 8 ISO that I would not be able to upgrade to Windows 10.

I reached out to Microsoft expecting to be told that my license wouldn’t cover the new installation, and that I’d have to buy a new one. The Microsoft support staff went to great lengths to figure out how to make this crusty old Linux user happy. The first person immediately pulled tech support into the chat, and the tech spoke to several other people and came back 15 minutes later with a download link to an ISO file for a fully licensed copy of Windows 10.

Of course, I didn’t believe that it would actually work.

I dutifully downloaded the file, made a bootable USB from it and proceeded with the installation. To my great surprise, it worked. I dug up my original Windows 8 product key, and now I have a fully functional, genuine Windows 10 installation dual booting with Linux.

Thank you, Microsoft.

Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d say!