(Note to moderator – I am posting this here, rather than in Tech, because this is a Canada-specific issue.)
Short version: if you order Backroad Mapbooks GPS software and choose to download the Garmin-compatible computer program, BE SURE to click the correct boxes – otherwise, you may not be able to download the item you want – ever!
Long version: For $275, I ordered the BC/Alberta topo package, which comes with a GPS chip and a companion download (so that you can view larger areas on your computer, rather than on the tiny GPS screen). According to the Backroad folks, I clicked “AB” rather than “ABBC” when I downloaded. (I have no reason to doubt their word.) The Alberta package installed fine. When I called to ask where BC had gone, we discovered the mistake, and they sent me a link to a replacement download.
That is when the trouble started. My computer would not accept the new download because the old Alberta version was still on my machine. They told me that in order to load the new version, we would have to scrub the registry on my machine, since the old version had left little cookies all over the place. He told me that this is a common problem when a customer tries to upgrade from one province to multiple provinces.
This “scrubbing” took many hours, over several days – endless phone calls, emails, reboots, and reinstalls. Eventually, the tech support person at Backroad had to operate on my computer via remote control, searching for the glitch. He was very patient and persistent, but no luck – some bug in their software had somehow poisoned my computer.
I then talked to a supervisor, asking him very nicely that since their software had made it impossible to install their software, could he please send me the paper maps instead (even though those maps are 1:50,000, rather than 1:20,00)? Absolutely not, he said. He was very rude and harsh: they had provided me with the software, and I was responsible for making it work. Tough luck, in essence.
I gave up. I borrowed a family member’s laptop (old and slow, with poor battery life) and started from scratch, yet again. The installation worked. I will now have to bring two laptops when I travel to Canada – not so terrible, but not so great, and this “solution” worked solely because there was an extra laptop in the family.
I am not a whiner – I rarely complain, I believe in self-sufficiency, I am reasonably tech-savvy, and I routinely post positive reviews of products and services when appropriate. I assume that my bad experience with Backroad Mapbooks is atypical – otherwise, they would not still be in business.
Bottom line -- proceed very carefully when you deal with their software – you may not get a second chance to do it perfectly. One mistake, and you have lost your money.
Sorry for the long post, but since so many participants on this forum are Backroad Mapbooks customers, I thought that this discussion would be of general interest (especially since the tech support person acknowledged that the registry problem is commonly encountered).
Wow, I knew you were having problems, but didn't realize it was so involved. I will for sure just stay with the paper Map Book and a large lighted magnifing glass for our trip.
BTW; the Kootenay Map Book is 1:200,000 scale. Don't know about the other regions.
Gary, I just went up the line to the supervisor, but I did not talk to anyone in higher authority -- I figured that the supervisor was just giving me the company's pre-approved response to this situation. I will try your suggestion -- thanks!!
Update -- they are looking into the problem, but they tell me it is very rare. I still think it is odd that you have to clean out the registry in order to upgrade or change versions of their software -- I never had to do that for any other software, in 24 years of computer use.
The other problem is that Backroad has to tailor its software to the demands of Garmin, and Garmin has no incentive to help any third party provider. So there will be glitches.
I will check back with them in 10 days or so (after my next trip to the Eastern Sierra!).