back to article Parcelforce fails to deliver for Windows 7 lovers

The Royal Mail's Parcelforce website is upsetting some Windows 7 fans, because the service doesn't support Microsoft's latest operating system. One customer told us that the site refuses to let him proceed with a payment on because Windows 7 "failed to meet the necessary requirements for completing a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might be stoopid but

    WTF does a website have to know about your OS ? Does it support Opera from a mobile phone ? Safari on a Mac/iPhone ?

    It's a service, get on with it.

  2. Terry Pettitt

    Override the agent.....looks like it works....

    Do it here on IE8

    Or do the registry thing here

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      'cause everyone knows you should install random software punted at you from comments pages and online fora.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Explain to me...

    ... why does parcelfarce care about that sort of detail, and how does it justify that? Isn't mere money good enough?

    Next you know they'll refuse to deliver because your front door isn't made of wood or the grass on the lawn is the wrong colour. Then again, stranger things have happened with packets entrusted to parcelfarce.

  4. Matt Gerrish


    The website seems to still support Windows 98 & NT4.

    I wouldn't mind a job looking after their web servers. Doesn't seem to be much to do....

  5. Anonymous Coward

    supporting OSes?

    I guess the question is: who has decided that access to a payment system should be tied to a specific operating system? Whoever has made that initial decision is obviously in the wrong job.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      Whoever has made that initial decision is obviously in a job. This is where they went wrong.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Change browser's User Agent string

    I was caught by this using Ubuntu GNU/Linux and Firefox a couple years ago. I found the solution was to install the "User Agent Switcher" add-on and select "Internet Explorer 7 (Windows Vista)" or "Firefox on XP".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web standards.

    This is exactly why we need them, and they should be required by law for government sites.

    Browsers should be required to have a web standards 'compatibility' mode, maybe without some bells and whistles but it would ensure a level playing field for all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do people check the OS as well as the browser?

    Does Firefox 3 has significant feature differences between Linux, XP and Win7?

  9. Mart 2


    I don't understand, what does PF care what OS your on, surely only the browser matters?

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      And the browser matters why?

  10. Jack Garnham

    Virtual Windows XP Mode?

    I wonder if it would work on the built-in XP Virtual Machine in Win 7? Beside the point, I know, but a possible workaround for the meantime.

    I also have to agree with AC @ 15:41 - every other service supplier on the internet manages to take credit/debit card payments through https regardless of OS or even Browser version to a certain extent... I fail to see the relevance of Operating System version.

    BT's bundles anti-virus failed to download when I was running Win7 RC1 quoting an incompatible OS, but when I spoofed Vista, it downloaded and worked fine for months...

  11. Law
    Paris Hilton


    ...the os check is a relic of an old payment system that used activex or something...??

    Personally, I find any system that closes users off needlessly like this an abomination on the web, and people should just avoid parcel force and give the useless website as the reason.

    Abbey's online account website usually moans about how your browser "might not be supported"... but at least it lets you have a try at loading it, and normally, it works fine...

  12. Jolyon Ralph

    Designed by clueless idiots

    Sadly it seems they're hiring the same caliber of people as web developers as they do for delivery drivers.

    Complete idiots.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Big-nosed Pengie


      On the contrary. Delivery drivers are supposed to know how to drive.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    whiney little bitch

    "Aww your new windows 7 doesn't work with everything and everyone from day one, get over it bitch!".

    I dont work for PF but even if i did, it is a Microsoft release schedule, not a PF one and based on past performance it would be fairly prudent to assume that it would be a year or so late.

    Also if you cant fix your user agent string, then you deserve to MS's monkey, lapping up their new toss.

    1. Ed Courtenay


      "I dont work for PF but even if i did, it is a Microsoft release schedule, not a PF one and based on past performance it would be fairly prudent to assume that it would be a year or so late."

      What the hell has the release schedule for Windows 7 got to do with the price of fish? There is absolutely no reason why the user's choice of OS should be an issue for ParcelForce.

      "Also if you cant fix your user agent string, then you deserve to MS's monkey, lapping up their new toss."

      Why the hell should any user have to muck about with their user-agent string just to use a bloody parcel delivery service? Get a sense of perspective you idiot.

    2. Hedley Phillips

      what an idiot you are.

      you are a very strange person.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      rabid lunatic

      Why should my sexagenarian mother have to worry about that on her new laptop?

      Hell, why even should I have to, if I were to hypothetically go and buy one tomorrow?

      Just because you have nothing better to do than be an elitist smugger-and-cleverer-than-thou MS-hating tosspot doesn't mean that many - hell, the MAJORITY of - people have any inclination to do the same. It's a service. It should work cross-platform. Maybe we should, I don't know, have a set of universal standards that we could hold organisations up against and lampoon the ones that fail to measure up.

      Oh right. WE DO. This is a clear fault of PF's poor IT management and has NOTHING to do with MS consumers.


    4. James O'Brien

      I love when you post.

      Its always somuch fun to watch someone troll when they dont even have a clue. As many have already said why a site needs to know what OS your using to make a payment is beyond stupid. Also keep in mind that this affects all those who have bought a new PC in the last 3 months are kinda boned. Seeing as XP isnt as offered as it used to be.

      Troll is you :)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Dont blame them

    I dont like windoze users using our stuff, if they are stupid enough to use windoze in the first place, they should not be allowed out with out a helmet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did you forget your helmet today?

      "I dont like windoze users using our stuff, if they are stupid enough to use windoze in the first place, they should not be allowed out with out a helmet."

      The website ONLY allows Windows users - just not Vista or 7 - not exactly an anti Windows bias.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    It's not about snotty teenagers' OS preferences, it's about customers. You provide the service your customers want or you've failed.

  16. Mark 140

    "I'm Parcelforce, and excluding Windows 7 support was my idea"

    Thanks, first laugh I've had today!


  17. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Parcelfarce is incompetent

    Film at 11. DHL going out of business on this side of the pond was a sad day. They were the only ones with any notion of customer service.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Going out of business?

      There's a who in the where now?

      If DHL in the UK are bust, someone might want to tell the guy who delivered me a parcel yesterday in a large yellow van.

  18. Geoff Mackenzie
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see ...

    ... MS has been bitten by their own lock-in bug. :-)

  19. Jamie 27

    @ everyone exept jeremy 3, cos he won't get it

    Such joyous irony!

  20. TrevorH


    It hates Mozilla Seamonkey on all platforms!

  21. rhdunn


    Doesn't this mean that if a disabled user who is using a text-only web browser (e.g. lynx), or one that uses a braille interface won't be able to access the site?

    I understand the need for testing a website to ensure that it works well, but requiring specific operating systems or web browsers discards a whole set of users.

    This impacts not only Linux users, Opera/Chrome/some-other-browser-than-IE-and-Firefox users, but disabled users, people who are using a 3G-based dongle for internet access and mobile/iphone/blackberry/kindle/... users as well.

    1. Wibble

      Accessibility is for everyone

      Accessibility isn't about throwing white sticks at dogs. It's about including everyone, regardless of ability.

      This couldn't be a better example of why you should *never* sniff the user agent string. If you don't know why, then you need to listen to the grown-ups (or are a Java developer and are beyond help).

  22. PaulK

    Think yourselves lucky!

    If you can't book a collection, the fuckers can't take your money and then not bother to collect.

    Took me weeks to get my money back off the incompetent twats. Waste of oxygen they are.

  23. Peter H. Coffin

    It's all about the cerification

    The developers are required to test and certify that things work. They can only test and certify a limited number of platforms and combinations of things. They are contractually obligated to not encourage the use of uncertified things. Every different certification test requires having the appropriate combination of hardware and software available and ready for testing, plus the cost of paying people to run the testing. (The going rate for testers in the US is $60-100 per hour to labor contracting firms, if you want someone that actually shows up at the door having and idea of how to test something and write up defect reports.)

    The answer's simple enough: if you want to use something else, make the browser lie and test it yourself. If it works, use it. If it doesn't, you've at least discovered WHY that combination of OS and browser isn't supported.

    1. Pandy06269

      Re: it's all about the certification

      "The developers are required to test and certify that things work. They can only test and certify a limited number of platforms and combinations of things. They are contractually obligated to not encourage the use of uncertified things."

      Maybe for internal sites and intranets where you have full control over the software used on the entire estate, but this is a public website. Users, just like yourself, have free speech - it's like saying you're not allowed into a shop because you're wearing red, because the colour red hasn't been tested if it's visible on the CCTV cameras or something.

      Also they can, like you say, discourage the use of uncertified things, but the right word there is "discourage" NOT "disallow" which is what Parcelforce are apparently doing.

      "The answer's simple enough: if you want to use something else, make the browser lie and test it yourself."

      It might be simple to you and me, but my dad who's just turned 66 and just bought a new PC with Windows 7 wouldn't have a clue what a user-agent string is, let alone how to change it, but he's perfectly capable of booking a parcel collection online. All he would see is "my PC isn't good enough."

      It's this kind of poor understanding of the industry that gives the Internet a bad name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton


        It seems simple to me.

        If I have a web site for my business and it does not allow a customer who is rushing towards me with a fistful of cash to impart said cash to me for services I can provide, then I have lost that business to a competitor.

        No ifs, no buts. I don't care if you use windows, linux or something you have written yourself as long as your browser (and I don't care what that is either) can handle http/s.

        If my flashy browser specific graphic sh1te only works on some browsers then I had better have something that works for everything else or it is losing me business not gaining it.

        Idiots at the highest level I'm afraid. Don't blame the coders who are just following the poorly written spec.

        Paris, because it and she are in harmony.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie


      There is only one certification needed:

      BTW - "They are contractually obligated..." The word you're looking for is "obliged".

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      @It's all about the cerification

      Huh? What planet are we on here? This is *EXACTLY* why there are *STANDARDS*.

      'nuff said

  24. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    I can just visualize the meeting:

    VP, "hey i have a great idea to save us a lot of money.. The website is working just fine, let's fire those guys."

  25. Alex Read

    Maybe it does recognise Win 7 alright...

    ... it says there "XP (SP1 or better)" so I guess they've recognised the OS & just class both Vista & Win 7 far worse...

  26. Anonymous Coward


    I've run into many, many problems working with parcelfarce.

    The web team are (or were) staffed by utter incompetents who rather than ever actually fixing anything, would rather just spend a lot of time and effort putting in place inane restrictions so you can't see just how broken it all is. At one point, they even blocked all accessibility checkers and web validators because their website was so incompetently coded for a specific version of Internet Explorer that even using the "wrong" version would cause their hopeless code to fail. The main page was at one point weighing in at over 170k, and that was just the .html file, excluding external references and media.

    At least things have improved now, the main page is now down to 20k, although they still deliberately block validators from checking the site directly (hint - perform a local check on the delivered document)... XHTML transitional it certainly isn't - even a cursory read of the source will show this! Automated web accessibility checkers are still blocked as well. To be fair, things have improved, but it's glacial at best and still years behind where it should be.

    Anon, because at some point I might be forced to work with these muppets again...

  27. D 13
    Paris Hilton

    Busines categoy for the Darwin Awards?

    Parcel force deserve some recognition for going out of their way to make their service inaccessible to (probably) a majority of their potential customers. It is a piece of outstanding stupidity and incompetence, that defies any attempt at justification.

    Let's hope that somebody takes PF to court and beats them round the head with a copy of the Disability Discrimination Act. Whilst many businesses devote time and money to making their web sites accessible to visually impaired users, these muppets have actually gone out of their way to do the opposite.

    Paris, because she knows how to make herself accessible.

  28. Simon Preston


    Judging by the pic it won't work with Vista either. :D

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Nope, still think the same

    .. it is about customers...if you don't like them go to a competitor - thats what i did, whining about it doesn't help anyone, especially you.

    As for why is important, who cares, you are probably right that it is not important in any way to the site functioning which is why people need to vote with their feet.

    All too often there are some vitriolic comments on El Reg, but apart from posting to a IT news website what else do you people do, do you write to your MPs / Parcel Force / anyone, or do you just whine on El Reg? Slate me all you like, but it wont get parcel force to change their site and i will have got over it in 5 minutes. (after crying into my windoze 7 handbook).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      It's more because you sat there and insulted huge numbers of ordinary people who are being denied access to online use of something that is still a publicly owned service.

      I will not use them, now I'm aware of the shortcomings. I will also recommend friends and family don't either, if it ever comes up in conversation. Although how that would happen is a little beyond me. Really, beyond a strongly worded letter to Radio 4's You and Yours, there is precisely squat we can actually do.

      I'm so glad you got over it so quickly.

      Christ's sake, you really are a smugly unpleasant little man aren't you? And people wonder where the impression of linux users being socially inept cretins comes from.

      PS. Windoze? Is it made by M$? Grow up. It's almost 2010.

  30. DaveB

    PF Stuck in the 20th Century

    It just confirms what we all suspected that PF is stuck in the 20th Century. I think we should all be thankful that the IBM 360 that they run their payment system on supports XP.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      If they were stuck in the 20th century they'd have no problems. When the Internet was invented it was platform-independent. It was Mickey$haft (or, more specifically, the incompetents who accepted their dross by ignoring standards) who broke the Internet.

  31. Christoph

    Won't affect me

    I can't send stuff by Parcelfarce because their vans aren't painted pink with green and yellow polka dots as my policy requires, and so are obviously not compatible with my deliveries.

  32. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Down


    I found this problem a few months ago my fix was just to start using these guys instead !

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Why should they prioritise a minority OS?

    >""This is a massive disappointment to the huge number of people who might want to use Parcelforce's website (and let's face it... I'm not grumbling about some unheard of operating system... this is W7 being refuted by a nation's Post Office!)" said Reg reader Frank."

    No, Frank, it isn't a massive disappointment to "the huge number of people who might want to use Parcelforce's website", only to that tiny percentage of them who use Win7. The other 96% couldn't give a toss.

    And since Win7 market share is still scraping along the bottom there down with OSX and Linux, I can easily imagine it's just not important to parcelforce to support every new OS the very minute it comes out but wait until it has a significant user base.

    Sucks to be a gullible fool with more money than sense^W^W^W^W^W^W^Wearly adopter, I guess.

  34. Muth

    I tipped off El Reg about this issue...

    I'd just like to say to all the people talking about browser identification that you're not reading the article properly. It's the OS identification that's on trial here, not any browser... please read the article more carefully...

    You will get refused the ability to send a parcel on *any* browser under Windows 7...

    Pro/Ultimate users with XP emulation might suceed, as might those who dual boot with XP, but you guys (or girls!) are in the monority - fact is that using Windows 7 you *cannot*send* your parcels using Parcelforces online site!

    1) Visit...

    2) Click 'Send your Parcel now'

    3) Choose 'Pay by Credit Card' and tick to accept T&C's, then press 'continue'

    4) You may have to wait a while whilst the next page loads... but when it does, you'll see something like the Screengrab jpg which is featured in El Reg's news article...

    1. Annihilator


      OK, so "what is your point caller?"

      I don't get how this is anyone elses fault but ParcelForce's (or whoever designed their payment engine). Windows 7 is *NOT* the problem here. It's whoever decided to check the OS in the user-agent string. For all they could know, I'm running IE8 on any platform I (feasibly) like.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Ha Ha.

      "You will get refused the ability to send a parcel on *any* browser under Windows 7..."

      Good. It is right that Microsoft people are consumed by the traps they laid for GNU/Linux users. Right now, no version of IE commands more than 20% of the market. Mozilla and other standards based browsers command more than 40% of the market, even in retar^H^H rich places typically surveyed. Reasonable web site designers would use this as an opportunity to start coding to real standards instead of Microsoft's broken browsers and OS. That would allow Microsoft addicts the ability to do whatever Microsoft allows their users to do, which is not a whole lot. For years Microsoft managed to corrupt the internet with their phoney standards, it's time for that to end. Vista and Windows 7 are not "unheard" of but hardly anyone can bear to use them, so the web will not bend to Microsoft's will no matter how much money the company wastes on advertising.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. David Goadby

    Royal Mail Website

    I purchase stamps online and one part of the process is to get the address using the postcode search etc. For my address, which has no house number or street the address, the address checker fills in the form ok. But, when I come to purchase the postage to print the label, it rejects it as invalid.

    The stupid system rejects an address that IT generated - how daft is that?

    I have lost count of the number of times I have emailed this problem in and never a replay and it is still not fixed.

    The workaround is to type a single character (I use a space) into the street address.

  37. Arctic fox

    Sorry, busy...

    ....I am reinstalling Win2K Pro and IE6. Got to don't ya know - won't be able to send the prezzies via PF if I don't.

  38. Moss Icely Spaceport

    May the Parcel Force be against you

    ..and you, and you, and you...

  39. PirateSlayer

    Surprise, surprise.

    Another cock up by a government subsidised indisustry whose manager in chief earned nearly 1 million pounds last year (and that was just his basic salary).

    The Post Office never fails to act like an incompetent, useless, public sector department. That disgusting Adam Crozier creature should resign immediately (with a fat pay off of course).

  40. PirateSlayer

    People are also forgetting...

    ...that PF is a business...surely they exist to make surely the want to maximise revenue from all computer users. This would mean keeping their systems up to date.

    Oh! But I forgot. The only thing Royal Mail is interested in is sacking postmen (who get paid an utter pittence), closing post offices and blaming its own customers for its failure to identify new business opportunities outside paper spam and flogging post codes!

    I hate that company. More than Ryanair.

  41. Steve Graham
    Paris Hilton

    I use DR-DOS

    Incidentally, the eBay/PayPal service for printing your postage labels obviously uses the Royal Mail and Parcelfarce system, but it doesn't care what operating system you use.

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