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Media Center Key Accidentally Gives Pirates Free Windows 8 Pro License

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the side-effects-include dept.

Piracy 255

MrSeb writes "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager's career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn't intentional — Microsoft hasn't suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). ... The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. "

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the 'activation' component (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#42055941)

In order to get to the point where you can request the Media Center license, you first have to activate using a command line and kms server [itsupportonline.com] (internal or external)

Re:the 'activation' component (0, Offtopic)

Moblaster (521614) | about 2 years ago | (#42056159)

Moderation gods may flame-mod me down on this. But you also have to "get to the point" where you get over the Metro interface. I have dealt with many Windows newbies (ranging from relatives to customers -- mostly non-techies) in the past who had a very hard time dealing with the idea of a "Start" menu. It's not going to be real fun seeing them deal without it. Especially when the help calls start coming in.

Re:the 'activation' component (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056747)

Moderation gods may flame-mod me down on this. But you also have to "get to the point" where you get over the Metro interface.

No, I'd say they'll quite appropriately-mod you down on this, because you're plain and simply offtopic. We're not talking about the abysmal Windows 8 UI, we're talking about the screwball licensing system. And frankly, that defensive attitude you're using to deflect attention away from this fact just so you can crowbar your opinion back into the conversation is insulting. So kindly go fuck yourself until you've had the concept of staying on a single topic drilled into your skull.

Now, being a snide smartass like you appear to be (with the passive-aggressive lead-in sentence and all), you might immediately ask me how fucking yourself would teach you the concept of staying on a single topic. The answer is, it won't. So, your mission is to either pick up that concept from elsewhere or just go off to a place that isn't here and continuously fuck yourself, never disturbing us again.

Re:the 'activation' component (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056475)

And you need 25 unique KMS activation requests for Windows 8 before the KMS server will activate any of the Windows 8 instances. That means that this is only beneficial for large scale pirating.

Re:the 'activation' component (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#42056723)

Only works for "large scale" pirating?

That proves this was deliberate - to try to get more people to install Windows 8.

Re:the 'activation' component (4, Funny)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#42056935)

That means that this is only beneficial for large scale pirating.

Like in China? The "large scale pirating" is generally where they lose most of their money. When a high schooler pirates his windows pro it's not like he was going to pay full retail price if he didn't manage to pirate it, that piracy didn't cost them a sale, despite whatever the BSA will try to convince you of otherwise.

But an entire building full of windows machines in a medium size business somewhere, that's another story entirely. That's where they really, legitimately, DO lose sales. And that's exactly where this little "bug" will be useful. This is a huge problem that kicks them where it hurts.

Re:the 'activation' component (5, Funny)

RMingin (985478) | about 2 years ago | (#42057053)

Not true, there are many 'cracked' KMS servers out there, which are a VM with the most minimal services, running Windows Server in Core mode, and all ports but the KMS ones closed and blocked. Those same servers are patched to keep 25 fake activations renewed at all times, so any and all requests to the "cracked" KMS server result in activations. As far as MS can tell, they are legitimate, since KMS activations are not verified online, except with the original server.

I don't see this getting patched or fixed easily. It will be a lot of work. or it'll require doing things that annoy large volume customers.

In related news (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42057253)

Dirty needles accidentally give users free AIDS.

Meanwhile at Canonical (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42055961)

Hey, we're giving our OS away for free, no license or hack needed!

Anyone?

Hello?

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (0)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#42056053)

Hey, we're giving our OS away for free, no license or hack needed!

That which is given has no value?

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056221)

Hey, we're giving our OS away for free, no license or hack needed!

That which is given has no value?

You're right. We should shut down all charities immediately. After all humanitarian charities didn't charge the recipients for all that food and medical aid they give to the poor and needy around the world. So obviously the food provided no nutrition and the medical aid didn't help treat any diseases. All because the recipients weren't charged money for them. </sarcasm>

Really though I'd rather use Free Software than pirate an OS that's not worth paying for. That is valuable to me. Long-time Linux user here. I appreciate that some people want or need Windows. Good for them, they found something that fits their needs. But the fact I can legally download Linux for free absolutely does not mean it didn't meet my needs just as well as Windows meets the needs of others. In fact I have a non-tangible benefit that comes with it: the gratitude that people around the world would actually donate their time and hard-won expertise to provide people like me with such a good experience.

Money is simply a tool to facilitate trade. That's all it is. Don't let it completely dominate your entire view of everything. As anyone who has ever truly loved someone knows, some of the very finest things in life are monetarily free.

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (5, Insightful)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about 2 years ago | (#42056651)

Emphasis mine:

some of the very finest things in life are monetarily free.

Mod parent way up

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056301)

I agree with you, the pirates are right and Windows should be free.

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056175)

Q: What do Ubuntu and Windows 8 have in common?

A: You can get both for free using bittorrent.

Q: Which of the two features unusable applications with a convoluted, misprioritized UI designed by a retarded aspie?

A: That's a trick question - both do!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (1)

Verunks (1000826) | about 2 years ago | (#42056187)

Hey, we're giving our OS away for free, no license or hack needed!

Anyone?

Hello?

this is not true, they check if your windows 8 is activated they just don't check if a valid serial was used, that's why you need to activate your windows 8 with a fake kms server before doing this

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | about 2 years ago | (#42056519)

I've never understood this bizarre belief that "Oh, it's activated, that means I have a legitimate copy".

So it activates it, you still have an unlicensed copy. If you were a corporation and exploited this, let's see how the civil court views your "free license".

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about 2 years ago | (#42056843)

If you check the subject of the parent (which your post is still using) they were referring to Ubuntu. Implying people will jump through hoops to get a free version of Windows when you can get a free as in beer (no hacks, no license required) OS, even on a disc mailed to you.

Yes it's not true that Windows is being given away with no hack or license.. that's not what the parent posted.

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056343)

Hey, we're giving our OS away for free, no license or hack needed!

And it too [thepiratebay.se] is being "pirated".

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056375)

does your OS drive Cable-Card equipped tuners with protected content?

Re:Meanwhile at Canonical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056829)

Why are you talking about Linux in this discussion?

Too expensive. (2, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 2 years ago | (#42055995)

Windows 8 really needs to be less expensive. The cost is ridiculous. Even Apple, King of Expensive Shit, sells their OS upgrades for $20.

Come on, Microsoft. Stop being asstards.

Re:Too expensive. (5, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#42056019)

Apple sells hardware. Microsoft sells software.

Telling MS to sell Windows cheaper is like saying that Apple should be giving away iPhones.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

darkain (749283) | about 2 years ago | (#42056131)

Re:Too expensive. (1, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#42056399)

Microsoft's two biggest earners are Office and Windows. Compared to them, the earnings from hardware sales are comparable to a grain of sand in the Sahara.

Re:Too expensive. (2)

dubbreak (623656) | about 2 years ago | (#42057037)

So that justifies high prices? I'd expect the elasticity of demand on a product like Windows would mean more purchases in the consumer world if the price was lower (i.e. less pirating).

The flip side is corporate customers are much less elastic. They must buy Windows licenses, so they do, regardless of price. There is also the OEM market, which does get lower pricing, but that's not exposed to the customers and is huge business for MS. Upgrades to software may have been common in the 90s (3.11 -> 95 -> 98 -> XP), but now people often upgrade their hardware and get the latest MS OS that way (thanks to hardware being so disposable these days). Can't really blame people as you can buy a decent laptop for the price of my first CD burner.

Could MS charge a bigger price difference on home vs pro? Sure. Would it make them much more profit? I'd assume no, as they have some pretty smart people working there. Either the market isn't big enough to make a big difference or it would cause issues with their corporate or OEM (e.g. OEM expect X% off retail licenses.. retail go down, they expect their license cost to go down).

Re:Too expensive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056633)

Are you so stupid that you're trying to miss the point or are you just an asshat troll?

Re:Too expensive. (1)

atheos (192468) | about 2 years ago | (#42056299)

"Apple sells hardware. Microsoft sells software. " Mission statements aside, they both sell software and are in competition with each other.

Changing business models (3, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#42056971)

"Apple sells hardware. Microsoft sells software. " Mission statements aside, they both sell software and are in competition with each other.

Apple is a hardware company (that also makes software to support the hardware) that has been slowly pivoting to sell online services and serve as the middle man in content delivery.

Microsoft is a software company (that sometimes also makes hardware to move the software) that has been slowly pivoting to sell online services as serve as the middleman in content delivery.

Apple dropping prices on iPhones and Microsoft dropping prices on Windows and similar software both make sense in that context -- where they are competing with firms that are already optimized to sell online services and serve as the middle man in content delivery and which are also delivering hardware and software -- at low prices -- to support the online services / content delivery business (e.g., Google, Amazon.)

Re:Too expensive. (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#42057035)

Since you decided to play hard to understand, here it is all laid out for you:

Microsoft's business model revolves around selling software.

Apple's business model revolves around selling hardware.

This is not to say Apple doesn't make software, but they make software for the purpose of selling hardware. While Microsoft makes hardware for the purpose of selling software.

Re:Too expensive. (4, Funny)

telchine (719345) | about 2 years ago | (#42056463)

Apple sells hardware. Microsoft sells software.

[fanboy]Apple sells dreams, Microsoft sells nightmares[/fanboy]

Re:Too expensive. (0)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#42056637)

If by dreams you mean a walled garden that is breached more than a Sorority house, then yes... that is true.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057111)

So the hardware that Apple makes doesn't come with any software?
Apple sells hardware because of the software, OS X & IOS.

Put Windows on the same Mac hardware and sell it for the same price and sales would be 1/10000th as much.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056103)

I believe they sell OSX cheaply because they're in the hardware business and not so much the software business. Your argument there might be a little more solid if you were explicitly granted a license to install OSX on any PC of your choosing rather than apple approved hardware.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42056181)

Apples is more like updates.
That you pay 20 bucks yearly for them to remove features.

I really doubt price is the issue for most techies with Win8. and for a lot of folk it's practically free. also if in USA, you could have gotten it for 15 bucks(as an update). but of course this way you can get it free so... but it's not like it's one or two licenses MS has given for free away anyhow.

their strategy is to get as many people as they can on Win8 and the appstore within it.

what's ridiculous is published licensing for windows rt. that shit is ridiculous. of course I'm willing to bet that 0% of manufacturers which are going to sell within the next year are paying the full price.

Re:Too expensive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056351)

The bullshit flows strong in this one.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#42056523)

Better than paying $200 every 4 years to remove features.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057149)

Better than paying $200 every 4 years to remove features.

Hold on, every 4 years? Since when did Apple support any of their hardware four years down the line? Sounds to me like you're paying $1,500+ every four years to remove features.

Re:Too expensive. (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42056227)

£15 - £40 for an upgrade is too expensive for a piece of software you probably use day in day out every single day?

If that's too expensive then what the fuck do you call every other peice of software on the planet that you probably get far less usage out of such as computer games that last for about 6 hrs play time and cost the same price?

Of all the criticisms of Windows 8, price isn't one of them. It's the first Windows OS that actually has sane pricing options.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056891)

£15 - £40 for an upgrade is too expensive for a piece of software you probably use day in day out every single day?

If the update actually makes things worse, yes.

Re:Too expensive. (2)

SrLnclt (870345) | about 2 years ago | (#42056329)

It is cheap this time around. $40 to get an upgrade from a previous version of windows, and 98% of people already have a previous version.

I usually run the most current version of windows, but never actually purchased it (aside from when Win98 shipped on a HP machine I bought back in 2000). Typically I go through the cat and mouse game when MS occasionally catches up to the pirates and limits updates or other software (like media center) without extra activation checks. For $40 this time around I figured it was worth not having to fight with activation periodically for the next few years.

For what its worth, this "upgrade" key worked perfectly with a clean install.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 2 years ago | (#42057131)

This. I was actually surprised that people think Windows 8 is expensive. It seems to be cheapest Microsoft OS for a long, long time.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

mov_eax_eax (906912) | about 2 years ago | (#42056381)

yes, apple updates are cheaper, OTH they are more frequent, in the timeframe 2009-2012 you pay for leopard, snow leopard, lion and mountain lion, $90 or so, so yes, apple is still the king of expensive shit.

Re:Too expensive. (3, Informative)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 2 years ago | (#42056507)

On the other hand, upgrading a household of OS X computers costs 0*(number of computers) + $20, whereas upgrading a household of Windows computers costs, at a minimum, $40*(number of computers).

Re:Too expensive. (2)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 2 years ago | (#42056513)

(Or rather, the other other hand. I'm not sure how many hands this creature has.)

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056953)

A. This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time,and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software (excluding the Boot ROM code) in machine-readable form for backup purposes only; provided that the backup copy must include all copyright or other proprietary notices contained on the original.

So yeah if you want to steal your apple software then great! Don't compare piracy to legit licensing.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056973)

Out of curiosity, is there really a reason to upgrade Windows for all computers in a household? I've never felt the need to upgrade any of my Windows computers, I simply use whatever OEM version came with the hardware and only "upgrade" when I have to replace the computer altogether. At most, if there's need to run a specialized application that absolutely requires the latest version of the OS you can upgrade just one computer for that purpose.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057009)

As long as you have the right models.

iMac: Mid-2007 and later
Mac mini: Early 2009 and later
Mac Pro: Early 2008 and later
MacBook: Late 2008 Alumnium, Early 2009, and later
MacBook Air: Late 2008 and later
MacBook Pro: Mid- and Late 2007 and later

http://www.macworld.com/article/1165460/mountain_lion_what_you_need_to_know.html [macworld.com]

Want to upgrade your 3 year old Mac mini? Tough shit. You have to buy a new one, you can't even upgrade the relevant components. I've upgraded systems to Windows 8 going back to 2004, and there's nothing technically limiting to earlier systems as long as you have the basic hardware requirements.

When you buy a mac, a portion of the price goes to subsidize future OSX purchases. Thus, while you are handing over $X to the cashier, you're really paying more when it comes to Apple's ledgers.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056435)

And it has adverts in it. Criminy.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

jjjhs (2009156) | about 2 years ago | (#42056437)

OS X is only designed to run on Apple brand PCs (also called "Macs" for short). You might get it to work on a non-Apple brand PC but don't ask them if you have trouble. $20 is nothing since they know you can only use it on the hardware you already paid out the wazoo for.

Re:Too expensive. (1)

emuls (1926384) | about 2 years ago | (#42057093)

To be fair, OSX updates lately have been more like windows service packs than anything else. They haven't really added any core OS improvements for as long as I've owned a Mac, just a few extra apps like launchpad, time machine, and spaces.

Re:Too expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057209)

Windows 8 isn't an OS upgrade. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is an OS upgrade, and Microsoft gave it away for free.

huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056005)

What's this license key and activation nonsense?

Sincerely,
Confused Linux User.

I disagree with the premise. (5, Insightful)

Hans Adler (2446464) | about 2 years ago | (#42056021)

As far as I know Microsoft *does* have a strong interested in being pirated in those jurisdictions in which they are not going to sell much anything. It's a question of market share and staying the monopolist.

Re:I disagree with the premise. (5, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#42056203)

I was about to say the same thing. It's kind of like how Adobe "allows" their photo shop suite to be pirated. They don't formally allow it and will adamantly deny it, but the truth is you get high school and collage students using the product for free, then when they get to the corporate world, where the money for Adobe really is, the corporations by the product that considered the norm for the field.

Right now MS is having a hard time pushing Windows 8 few individuals want to use it and there's no way any major corporate entity is going to switch because they don't want to spend money to buy a product that's probably going to need weeks or months to for people learn to use properly when the existing product works just fine. By having Win8 pirated a wider population of individuals will be willing to use and get use to using it, which will be beneficial and essential to having Win8 adopted by the larger corporate community.

Re:I disagree with the premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056303)

"the corporations BY the product THAT CONSIDERED the norm for the field."

Alrighteee...

Re:I disagree with the premise. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056495)

but the truth is you get high school and collage students using the product for free

lulz.

Re:I disagree with the premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056703)

I have personally seen people use photoshop to make collages.

Re:I disagree with the premise. (1)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#42056289)

As far as I know Microsoft *does* have a strong interested in being pirated in those jurisdictions in which they are not going to sell much anything. It's a question of market share and staying the monopolist.

Imagine if Microsoft openly acknowledged that and stopped pretending that all piracy is always bad for them. In fact they could even give a certain number of copies away, legitimately, in those jurisdictions and justify it by the many ways they benefit from increased marketshare. I wonder how other software companies (not to mention related copyright interests like the *AAs) would react. It would be interesting to see how they try to spin it.

Re:I disagree with the premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056355)

true. this whole thing might be an accident, or a genius plan.

just like that company that wanted its game to get pirated and share to gain momentum

And still no one wants it. (3, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#42056051)

This sounds less like a career limiting move a d more like a marketing ploy to get a bigger installed base for Vista 2.0 (or is it Millennium Edition 3.0?)

Re:And still no one wants it. (2)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | about 2 years ago | (#42056079)

Yeah, I was like, "Wait, Win8 is being pirated? By who?" Those that want it, or will end up with it, are those that are too stupid/ignorant to know how to avoid it or get something better.

one way to increase windows 8 adoption (3, Insightful)

cheap.computer (1036494) | about 2 years ago | (#42056061)

I guess msft read the recent reports of abysmal sales for Windows 8 and decided to use its proven strategy of promoting piracy of Windows to drive up adoption.

Re:one way to increase windows 8 adoption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056367)

I agree completely. Part of the way Windows conquered the world was to make it simple to pirate it. When Microsoft was at it's peak strength (98, NT, 2000) there was very minimal copy protection. This "leaked" key was no accident.

Re:one way to increase windows 8 adoption (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#42056481)

I guess msft read the recent reports of abysmal sales for Windows 8 and decided to use its proven strategy of promoting piracy of Windows to drive up adoption.

I really don't understand what they're doing with Win 8.

I recently bought a netbook that came with Windows 7. I strongly prefer Linux, so it wasn't very long before I repartitioned the drive and installed the OS of my choice. But before I did that, I decided to gave Windows 7 a try, just for the hell of it. I was a bit impressed, actually.

I generally don't like the Windows way of doing things. I prefer the transparency of a *nix system, the storage of important settings in plain text files, the central package manager instead of being nagged about updates for lots of individual programs, the way I don't need malware scanners, the ease with which open source programs can be modified and studied, the fact that drivers are generally maintained with the kernel and not by third parties, the power of the command line, the ease of automation and scripting, the huge variety of choices for graphical desktop, the simple fact that my Linux distro of choice (Gentoo) doesn't assume I'm clueless and thus doesn't get in my way, the ease with which I can find out what caused a problem and fix it and it stays fixed, and the general Open Source philosophy.

Those things about Windows that I don't like are not going to change anytime soon. So it's just not for me. But, having said all that, when I tried Windows 7 I thought that Windows had come a long way. It was stable, solid, and slick. It seemed to me to be what most people wanted: a highly improved and polished XP.

Then I learn about Windows 8 and I'm wondering what the hell the people at Microsoft are thinking. It's as though they want to sabotage themselves. What do they hope to gain here? Is it just that the days of Win 9x made them too arrogant and they don't appreciate that people have more options now? Or what? I haven't seen them pull something like this since either Microsoft Bob or Windows Millenium.

Re:one way to increase windows 8 adoption (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42056599)

They want to be Apple. Windows 8 is all about Metro and the marketplace lock-in. They want a cut of all software installed.

M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056063)

M$ always makes these things easily cracked. It's just another way they keep people locked-in. How can a FOSS operating system like Linux compete with a free commercial alternative that is of a higher quality (because their developers are paid)?

Look at Visual Studio. All versions have a free download from Microsoft and merely need a pirated key (found with a Google search) to fully activate. Then you can install all updates and use it for life. No cracks or viruses.

How can FOSS ever compete with this kind of lock-in? People start using Visual Studio and then never have a chance of learning something convoluted like vim or using a command line debugger.

Re:M$ (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42056821)

I used Visual Studio in the early 2000s and I liked it, but I like other IDEs too. Delphi was what I used for developing GUIs for ages. The options for doing so in Visual Studio back then were a lot more complicated, either that or I just didn't know where they were. I find Eclipse a bit annoying, but I tried Netbeans recently and I like it. I also started using Emacs a few years ago for things like C, scripting and web page editing, and I like it a lot.

So yeah, Visual Studio is one of the few decent products that MS produce (or at least it was 10 years ago), but it's pretty silly to suggest that people won't like the alternatives available to them.

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056075)

lollicense (and not own)

Freebie (3, Funny)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | about 2 years ago | (#42056089)

Just admit that you can't even *give* it away.

Re:Freebie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057231)

You couldn't *pay* me to fucking use it.

gave GAVE *GAVE* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056151)

The word you were looking for is "gave" Misapplying "gifted" in that context is just plain gay.

Re:gave GAVE *GAVE* (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42056545)

Thank you! Homophobic pejoratives aside, good point.

As I surmised (4, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42056161)

In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager's career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn't intentional

Yes, in fact, this is exactly what I surmised after seeing the word "accidentally". That usually implies lack of intention.

No point (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056207)

There is no point in Windows 8 being pirated. I wouldn't use it even if it was free or I was paid to use it.

Re:No point (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 2 years ago | (#42056353)

Likewise. Really makes one wonder just how accidental this really was.

So what? (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 2 years ago | (#42056233)

Doesn't Windows have some of "Windows Validation" when people run WindowsUpdate? Well, revoke the activations at that point for the mistankly-issued keys. I'm sure MS has other ways of disabling a copy.

Big deal. What's the loss here? $20k worth of "licenses"? More, less? Still no big deal. No one is going to lose their job on this one. As we keep saying here in /., a pirated copy is never equal to a lost sale. This is a blip.

It is amusing though.

What about windows 7? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056241)

Is there a similar hack to activate Windows 7?

Re:What about windows 7? (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#42056535)

You don't even need a key or a (code-based) hack to run Win7 forever without activation - You can run it in fully-functional pre-activation mode forever.

Google "slmgr -rearm" and "IR5". Note that IR5 doesn't install any sort of actual cracks, it just scripts a few simple tasks you can do manually if you don't trust it.

Interesting hack, and pretty "Oops" on MS' part (4, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#42056259)

On the upside, you can have a fully activated copy of Win 8 with relatively little effort.

On the downside, it'll still be Windows 8.

I think I'll pass, thanks.

It's a trap? (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 years ago | (#42056281)

Can this key be revoked after, say, a year or so, forcing the (by now committed) users to shell out or be locked out of their systems?

Re:It's a trap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056509)

I think it's because Microsoft is now getting ad revenue from ads displayed on metro interface so even if you didn't pay cash for it they can still make money off you running it. So all the people who wouldn't have bought it anyways can still enhance their revenue. Kinda sneaky business model. I still won't be using it.

Re:It's a trap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057135)

So that's where Canonical got the idea.

who cares (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056305)

I had Windows 8 Pro fully activated a month before it was in stores. People don't know how to use Google these days?

Windows 8 (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056313)

What "pirate" in his right mind wants a copy of Windows 8?
 
And since you can only have one giant maximized window at a time now, shouldn't they rename it to Window 8?

win8 selling so poorly the gave pirates keys (2)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#42056321)

I would not be surprised if this "accident" was not intentional to gain some marketshare.

Meanwhile at Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056425)

Fark! They did it again. This is like MSDOS and Win98 all over. We're screwed. All those XP peeps are now NOT migrating away!

Just a key, not a license. (5, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | about 2 years ago | (#42056489)

This is not a valid license. It is just a key that happens to work arround the current version of their anti-piracy control. But if you use this, and get an audit, you will have to shell out the full amount of a retail key ( 4 to six times the the price of a basic oem version). It might stop working at any time if you apply updates supplied by MS. They know what keys are published, and can block them if they want.

This is very disappointing coming from a site that is very rigorous when it comes to the free GPL license. The MS license has at least to be paid.

Windows 8 looks hilarious now... (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | about 2 years ago | (#42056539)

...but Windows versions never catch on until people realize how useful their "killer feature" is.

XP's killer feature was comparative stability. Vista's was shiny-pretty value and natively playing well with a lot of things that previously needed third-party software. 7's was polish. 8's is almost entirely the touch interface. If touchscreens on decent machines become more prevalent, people will fucking love Windows 8.

Re:Windows 8 looks hilarious now... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056729)

Touchscreens are just a fad, just like stylus computing was...

Re:Windows 8 looks hilarious now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056841)

Thank god someone here has some common sense. Windows 8 gets a lot of hate, mostly from people who refuse to use it because the new UI is a huge change. I think Microsoft could have eased the transition by allowing both shells. The version of Windows 8 I was using for awhile (rc1 or 2) had the ability to disable metro, and I did. I love almost everything about Windows 8. Multimonitor support is amazing, the Windows server management utilities are a god send. Client side hyper-v is pretty good, but I don't see myself moving away from VMWorkstation unless MS develops some usable integration tools for solaris and non-enterprise linux distros.

Re:Windows 8 looks hilarious now... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42057289)

We do have common sense. That's why we know touchscreens on the desktop are a really, really dumb idea unless you're solving crimes on CSI.

Most people probably wouldn't be complaining if Metro wasn't forced on them when running it on a machine with a keyboard and mouse.

If someone offered you a free dog turd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056563)

...would you want it?

That's as good a deal as a free copy of Windows Vista, or ME, or Microsoft Bob, or perhaps even an AOL CD! :)

Undestandable move from Micro$oft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42056645)

Considering the Windows 8 sales look like the New York city subways the day after Sandy paid her visit, they have
to do something to make it appear like the product is moving, and ferret out all of the "Metro" pirates out there.

CAPTCHA = opulent (funny choice of a word...)

Not enough to get me to use Windows 8 (0)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 2 years ago | (#42056713)

The relative ease of pirating Windows 8 by what the article describes is still not enough to persuade me into using Windows 8...

Sorry, Microsoft.

Will they ever get that right? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 2 years ago | (#42056755)

Back when XP came out, the upgrade disk was about half the price of a "full retail" disk. If you loaded the upgrade disk on a new build, it would ask you for the CD of your previous version. All you had to do was borrow an ME disk and put it in; then you could go right ahead and load XP from the "upgrade" disk.

Re:Will they ever get that right? (1)

geekboybt (866398) | about 2 years ago | (#42057293)

I've not tested Windows 8, but 7 was even easier: Install it once on a bare disk with no key, and then "upgrade" that install. No need to scrounge up a disk from a previous edition.

There's really no point in doing that, though, when the OEM license is roughly the same cost as the upgrade.

It's not a gift (0)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#42056757)

A free Windows 8 license is not a gift. . . it's a punishment! ;)

Tin foil hats and conspiracy theories ... (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 2 years ago | (#42056835)

... are just so much fun to read. They come in second only to fanboy shyte storms in entertainment value.

Horseshit! (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#42057139)

In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager's career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key.

This falsely assumes that Microsoft wouldn't want Win8 to be pirated, when that's the very thing that'll help ensure their continued dominance.

(It'd be safe to assume that the higher-ups at Microsoft are also aware of this...)

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