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Is That Pirated Software?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the why-gno-it's-gnot-it's-gnu dept.

Windows 758

underpar writes "According to this ZDNet.com article, Microsoft 'has launched a pilot program in which some visitors to the main Windows download page are being asked to let the software maker check to see whether their copy of the operating system is licensed.' The check is not required, but after the desired 20,000 users go through the program they might change their tune."

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758 comments

Buyer's remorse (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281624)

I just walked past a copy of WinXP Home Edition in a "Bargain Bin" at Costco [costco.com] , on sale for $299 CAD... so who are the pirates? Linux is free. I could see maybe $99 or something, but it's overpriced and bug ridden. So if you want to know why people are not paying Microsoft, it's a no-brainer. If it's overpriced, loaded with bugs and unstable in any way, paying for it seems like shooting yourself in the foot. Every time XP shows the blue screen of death, I get buyer's remorse.

P2P Updates (5, Insightful)

DougJohnson (595893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281667)

It really won't matter much, most users who are savvy enough to pirate their OS are going to be able to find updates in their favourite P2P program. I can already get SP2 and any other updates off of bitorrent.

So once again the ones that Microsoft leaves in the cold are the unwitting consumers who had their grandson install it for them.

Re:P2P Updates (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281703)

I know that if I wanted to update my OS I'd use some P2P app....

Re:P2P Updates (5, Funny)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281738)

If I were installing an OS for a grandmother, I'd sure as hell not be installing XP. Maybe 2000. Maybe. With any luck, I'd be guiding them through "installing" a power cord on a new iMac and telling them where to find the power button.

Re:P2P Updates (1, Funny)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281741)

I think the "p2p update for Windows" is otherwise known as the "Fedora DVD torrent," but that's just my personal opinion ;p

Re:Buyer's remorse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281679)

someone with slashdot id 56 must be a linux loving stallman nazi

Re:Buyer's remorse (5, Insightful)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281685)

If you are getting blue screens of death on XP, I'm going to have to say that it is something that you are doing (installed the improper drivers, got some kind of really messed spyware, etc). I NEVER get blue screens of death on any of my machines running Windows XP.

Say what you want, but Microsoft has made such a leap in terms of stability from Windows 98 to the NT/2000/XP code base that it is hard to even compare the two.

I will agree that the price that they charge is somewhat outrageous, but that doesn't mean you need to try to support your argument with points that are hardly valid anymore.

Re:Buyer's remorse (2, Informative)

Rallion (711805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281740)

A blue screen in XP isn't even the same screen. The only time it ever comes up is for a hardware problem -- the kind of thing that will be unrecoverable in any modern operating system.

Re:Buyer's remorse (2, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281823)

My XP installation bluescreens every time i try to use a webcam that has problems with my onboard USB adapter. On linux, the only thing that dies is the process using it.

XP bluescreens whenever a kernel-space driver dies. It happens often enough; through it's nowhere as bad as 98.

Re:Buyer's remorse (1)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281692)

EXACTLY I would LOVE to say my copy of XP is legit, but I am not made of money, and Microsoft IS. $299 indeed... I bought SuSe Pro for $79 this year. MS can bite me. Sorry, but they rip people off big time. 50BILLION in the bank proves it.

Re:Buyer's remorse (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281731)

"EXACTLY I would LOVE to say my copy of XP is legit, but I am not made of money, and Microsoft IS. $299 indeed... I bought SuSe Pro for $79 this year. MS can bite me. Sorry, but they rip people off big time. 50BILLION in the bank proves it."

So you spent more on SuSe Pro then an OEM copy of Windows XP Home would have run you. But you complain that XP is overpriced. Shesh.

But then you seem to have the opinion that any company that shows profit must be a rip off, so color me unsurprised.

Re:Buyer's remorse (1)

MetalMorph (528717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281779)

Price/satisfaction ratio. How much grief does a typical Windows user have to put up with just to make their computer work right? The average Windows user would have to put up with a fuckton of crap to get Linux to work right, but Linux is free so nobody's complaining. Given how much Windows costs, Microsoft should be paying people to use it, not vice versa.

Re:Buyer's remorse (4, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281807)

Actually, XP works perfectly fine with just a clean install and automatically-installing patches. Just those two steps will even install the latest drivers for almost all of your devices. That's a pretty nice level of service from the software, all other things aside.

What your typical Windows user puts so much effort into is making it stop working.

Re:Buyer's remorse (1)

MetalMorph (528717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281878)

Provided you have a firewall? Clean install, get on the net to download patches and you're infected before they've finished downloading.

Re:Buyer's remorse (2, Insightful)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281838)

I fully agree...winxp is the only MS OS that I actually would have bought. Then I looked at the price, and saw the sudden pricehike from something like a hundred bucks to three-four times that. I mean, wtf? That is just not normal. They lost a sale there and then. And the sad thing is, I would have bought it at win98 prices. Oh well...seems MS has no fucking clue what the term 'price elasticity' means.

Re:Buyer's remorse (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281707)

"I could see maybe $99 or something, but it's overpriced and bug ridden."

Its not over priced just because its more then you want to spend. Untill you figure out how basic economics work, there's just no helping you. Or would you be OK with your employer deciding that your services are overpriced so they wont be paying you anymore (but dont stop showing up for work)?

But the whole point of the article... (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281893)

..is windows piracy. If it WAS cheap enough, people would pop for the Cd and install it.

I got some nifty proof, too, a similar large company gives away it's disks, and has for years now-AOL. They afford it on the margin of a certain small (but still over-all large) segement of the population who will install their software and sign up for net service.

Microsoft could sell the OS on a disk for ten dollars or something like that, and charge another ten a year (something cheap) for updates, and still be billionaires.. Most folks would buy the disk and the legit key then. Note I said most, not all, but I think most would buy it, at least in western/industrialised nations with a decent enough median income.

Their price is not only ridiculous, it's outright scandalous. It's an affront to anyone who's thinking. If their products didn't come pre-installed on new computers, there's no way in heckfire they would sell for what they are asking. Keeping it as a "stealth" product via bundling and collusion with the vendors has been the ticket to their success, off the shelf sales are most likely no where's near where they make most of their money, at least with the base OS. 95 and 98 people were standing in line to get, by ME it slowed down, 2000 hit the doldrums, and XP although on maybe 1/2 the active boxes on the net came mostly with new machines when folks upgraded hardware. It's just lost any "new/shiny/gotta haveit" appeal, because we are 20 years into mass computer adoption now, 10 in a large way. People just aren't as gullible any longer. They'll upgrade with a new box, and that's it, as long as MS lives in delusion land where a simple computer OS is somehow "worth" well over a hundred dollars heading to 200$. Not happening when an entire new computer can be had for not much more than that..

IMO anyway-anyones MMV of course

Re:Buyer's remorse (2, Insightful)

dupper (470576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281737)

Every time XP shows the blue screen of death, I get buyer's remorse.

Not a huge MS fan, though I do pirate their software. And I'm going to have to call you out as full of shit, here: XP does not BSOD, and if it does, I've never seen it in over 2 years of use, even on my family's shitware-ridden-barely-runs installations. Neither did 2000. I haven't seen a BSoD since ME. Also since then, it's been relatively (almost absolutely) stable, and even on the small handful of times I have seen it crash (usually the result of accidentally running 2+ high end games at once, with BT, Kazaa and Winamp with high-res viz in the background), it just locks up or shuts down, but doesn't BSoD.

Not to berate you for not using Windows, which is admirable, but you have no idea what you're talking about, and are blatantly lying, as is readily clear to anyone who has used an MS OS in the last 4 years.

Gaming? (1, Interesting)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281762)

I like playing games. Given the choice I'd play them on a free operating system, but until that's a reality I'll cough up for Windows every few years. I'm not even convinced that it's overpriced, to be honest. I can buy XP Home for the price of two games. As far as my gaming habit goes, it's a minor expense.

Bug-ridden, yeah, but (non-rhetorical question approaching) are there any viable alternatives?

Re:Gaming? (1)

kagelump (812908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281790)

what kind of games do you buy O_o amazon price on win xp home: $184.99 amazon price on doom3: $51.99

Re:Gaming? (3, Funny)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281853)

I buy bespoke games lovingly hand-woven (using the finest traditional materials) by master craftsmen in a remote Peruvian mountain village. Rather than a jewel case, each CD is delivered dangling from the nipple of a Burmese virgin.

Really, though: a typical new game will cost me £30. I can get XP Home (OEM) from Scan [scan.co.uk] for £60.

Re:Buyer's remorse (5, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281825)

Pirates? Look, if $299 CAD is too much, don't buy it - nobody's shoving it down your throat. Use linux, or use a notepad. You don't have any right too someone else's property just because you think it's too expensive.

Re:Buyer's remorse (1)

Nermal6693 (622898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281879)

At the other end of the scale, after using a pirated copy of XP for several years, I finally bought a legal copy. Full version (not upgrade) of XP Pro for NZ$272 (US$179). How much you pay depends on where you look.

Re:Buyer's remorse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281905)

so who are the pirates?

Erm, the people who pirate software? Microsoft don't force anyone to buy their software but people do because all the alternatives aren't worth using even though they're free.

it's overpriced and bug ridden

Overpriced maybe, bug ridden no. Windows XP is extremely stable and has the polished ease of use that users want, Linux is getting more and more complex, bloated, insecure and unstable with each new release and is just as difficult to use as it's always been.

i say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281627)

its not gonna fly.

Firstus Postus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281630)

I really wonder why they do something like that.
What's there to learn?

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281633)

post

Why, yes, yes it is (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281634)

Would you like my name and address and a signed confession before I can get this security patch?

This is like the florida Drug search roadblocks (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281852)

In florida, the sheriff's were putting put signs that said "drug search roadblock ahead". There actually was no real roadblock. instead they watched for anyone who crossed the median and headed back the other direction. they busted those folks.

I bet microsoft is watching IP addresses. If they see you turn around and leave when confronted they make a note. If they see a cluster from some company then the BSA will get a phone call. Obviously no one with pirated software and a brain is going to let them search. But of course it might uncover some cases of "shared" software between several computers.

windows download? (4, Funny)

essence (812715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281635)

..in which some visitors to the main Windows download page are being asked..

Microsoft lets you download windows from their site now? ;-)

Re:windows download? (3, Informative)

chachob (746500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281661)

Actually, you can download Windows from the MSDN site, but you need a subscription. What you are paying for is the license, not the software itself. So downloading it would be useless unless you had a license to run it.

Re:windows download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281857)

They spelled victims wrong. :P

-ee

b1tch3s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281638)

frist psot

How do they stand to gain? (5, Interesting)

tehdely (690619) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281640)

Before the inevitable barrage of comments about how nobody with a pirated company would in their right mind agree to this, I'd like to focus on the particular group which Microsoft is actually targetting with this:
...
it is a sensitive group of customers Microsoft is targeting with the program--namely, people who bought a computer that they thought had a legitimate copy of Windows, but are somewhat unsure. Microsoft wants those people as customers, so it wants to be sure to treat them kindly, even as the company seeks to encourage legitimate Windows use.

Who are these people? Being a freelance computer tech (and knowing many others in my trade), I know exactly who these folks are. They're the ones who got a particularly good deal when buying a home-made computer from someone's garage... or, more likely, those who had an OEM copy installed with their retail computer, messed it up dreadfully, and whoever worked on it decided to forego using the "restore disks" (which are often missing, since many people have no idea what they're for, and which are generally dreadfully broken in the first place) and install a questionable copy of XP. I've faced this dillema myself, before, but I always opt to try to fix the existing installation, or inform the customer that their decision to visit every gambling and porn site under the sun necessitates that they buy a new copy of Windows.

These are the folks who can often be genuinely uncertain whether their copy of Windows is legitimate. These are the folks who click "OK" on everything anyway. The question is what they have to gain from this knowledge, and, more importantly, what Microsoft has to gain.

What information can Microsoft harvest, exactly? They surely know how widespread these practices are; after all, they practically encourage them with their cutthroat OEM policies. Also, they insist (at least according to the article) that they won't treat those with an unlicensed copy any differently from those with a legitimate one. My guess, among other things, is they'll start harvesting illegitimate license codes (like they have in the past... FCKGW anyone?) and perhaps block them a year in advance.

Re:How do they stand to gain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281673)

buttes lmao scheissegern

Re:How do they stand to gain? (5, Insightful)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281716)

Common sense says to me that if I've purchased a copy of Windows XP Professional then I've bought a right to use Windows XP Professional, so therefore I should be able to install Windows XP Professional from any install CD, whether it is mine or not, and still be perfectly within my rights as a holder of a licence to use Windows XP Professional.

I'm sure the law doesn't agree with me, but I don't tend to take much notice of laws which don't align with my (quite reasonable) idea of right and wrong. In that situation, on my own machine I wouldn't bad an eyelid and on someone else's machine I'd inform them of the situation (after doing a little more research than I obviously have here) and let them decide, and I'm sure their expectation would align with mine.

Fortunately, I don't use Windows XP Professional, so this will not be a problem I will have to face in the near future.

Re:How do they stand to gain? (1)

Kyle Hamilton (692554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281756)

I agree if YOU own a licence for the product you have everyright to use it no matter what cd its from

Re:How do they stand to gain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281767)

I actually agree with this stance. Provided you are using your own serial number.

Re:How do they stand to gain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281782)

Unfortunately, some Windows CDs don't take certain Windows keys.

Re:How do they stand to gain? (1)

KenFury (55827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281755)

I have had a fair amout of users just like that. They have a legit CoA (serial) on the case however they lost the media. The serial does not work with either retail or OEM windows is is dell/compaq COA. Just reinstall and user a known serial or XP corp. The COA covers the user. I will however come up as pirated.

..Pr0n???? (0, Offtopic)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281789)

inform the customer that their decision to visit every gambling and porn site under the sun necessitates that they buy a new copy of Windows.

As somone who visits a few porn sites (for example):

http://www.sleazydream.com/ [sleazydream.com]

http://www.luckyjoint.com/ [luckyjoint.com]
What exactly causes the problems?
I do visit these sites with a user account on XP and sometimes wear a condom.

Re:How do they stand to gain? (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281794)

So why TF don't you just re-use the license key on that so-called legitemate machine you 'fix'? I mean, if you can get windows in safe mode, it's dead simple, and if you have to boot from dos or whatever, it's only marginally more difficult.

I mean, it's only the license key MS checks...and even for OEM installs, that should be legit...so what is your problem exactly?

Re:How do they stand to gain? (1, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281818)

This shows how desperate and scared MS is. It is trying to squeeze money our of people who really can't afford it. People who probably don't owe them anything anyway, but will probably end up having to pay for another license.

The only upshot of this is that hopefully people will start to realize the hidden costs they are paying, and start to dislike MS. People might start to investigate alternatives. Once you get burned by this, you will always make sure that you have your licence key and install disks, or try something else.

This will only create a negative perception of MS in the eyes of people who see computers as a necessary evil in their daily lives. MS is doing themselves in with their own greed. I will take pleasure in watching these psychopaths slowly destroy themselves.

Likely use... (5, Interesting)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281643)

So they'll probably use this to keep pirated windows boxes from downloading windows updates... so what? You can have microsoft send you a CD with the latest patches on it for free. Granted, it takes a little longer than a 1-20 minute download, but it's still a viable solution for those of you with the urge to use pirated software.

Re:Likely use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281730)

I guess you're incapable of understanding what the word optional means?

Re:Likely use... (2, Informative)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281753)

Or wait a month or so to get the full updates from AutoPatcher.com [autopatcher.com] .

Re:Likely use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281784)

At least you get props for not saying "boxen."

If you have a legitimate copy of Windows... (1, Funny)

dupper (470576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281646)

...raise your hand.

I thought so.

Re:If you have a legitimate copy of Windows... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281683)

Fuck you!

Fuck freebird!

They need to let all copys update (1)

Kyle Hamilton (692554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281648)

A few days ago we saw that a large number of computers were for sale as spam zombies I would asume that they are all windows machines. Microsoft should be forced to provide updates for all users of Windows for the betterment of everyone on the internet

uh oh! (5, Funny)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281649)

Those whose copies are found not to be genuine will be encouraged to go back to the company from whom they bought the PC or software upgrade. They'll also be given other information on obtaining genuine software before being allowed to download whatever software they were seeking. In its current form, the program offers no particular benefit for those who are running licensed software.

oooooh, i'm shaking in my pirate boots!

Re:uh oh! (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281783)

i'm shaking in my pirate boots!

Mighty fine ye be looking too.
Here's a dubloon, shake it some more.

Arrrr... it gets lonely out at sea.

Preach to the choir (0, Redundant)

TheDataAlchemist (631237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281652)

As if those who "acquired" the Operating system in the first place couldn't just "acquired" the downloads for which verification is to be required...

If the whole thing is optional - (5, Interesting)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281653)

then what's the point....What's scary is that someday they'll lock the pirates out of patches...Leads to two scenarios -

1.) Increase of unpatched, demon, zombie PCs

or

2.) Linux Migration! :)

You could probably piss a hell off a lot of people, who as TFA states "namely, people who bought a computer that they thought had a legitimate copy of Windows." You're gonna force them into buying a new copy?

And that still doesn't get around ordering a patch cd in the mail.

-thewldisntenuff

Re:If the whole thing is optional - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281764)

Half the geeks and 99% of developers are wandering over to macland. I forsee mac taking over the home desktop. 1299 for a G5 iMac is a good start.

Re:If the whole thing is optional - (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281870)

haha, half the geeks?
99% of the developers?

its easy to come up with numbers when you just pull them out of your ass.

If you run it on Linux... (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281654)


...will it find all your stolen SCO code?

this happened to me today..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281656)

when I went to the MS site to fine tune my cleartype settings. I thought I had maybe pissed them of as I initially visited the site in firefox as I forgot that the cleartype settings thingie was an activeX control, so I later returned using IE. Anyway despite my copy being legit(it came with my laptop)it said it was unable to determine if my copy was valid. The whole exercise seemed somewhat pointless.

So the only thing different now is ...... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281657)

.... They are asking a question on top of the check that is happening anyways...

Re:So the only thing different now is ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281696)

Sooooo...... use linux to do your downloading...

Knoppix live CD is wonderful for that... if only you could write to the HD with it....

Re:So the only thing different now is ...... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281804)

http://www.inside-security.de/insert_en.html

And as the first Linux user clicks on the test... (4, Funny)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281658)

"You are not running a Windows operating system. Therefore, you are a pirate. Please click [Ok] to send us money anyway."

Re:And as the first Linux user clicks on the test. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281714)

Fuck you!

Fuck freebird!!

Re:And as the first Linux user clicks on the test. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281734)

Actually, it is the following:

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you get the most out of your computer.

You must be running a Microsoft Windows operating system in order to use Windows Update.

It checked mine! (4, Informative)

deathcow (455995) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281675)


A few weeks ago I was trying a link to the next version of Windows Update, which was not publically released but someone had published it somewhere on the net. It checked my machine and told me my XP key was invalid. (My machine has a VLK 6n1 XP installed on it.) So there are indeed some windowsupdate URLs which do check and do reject!

p.s. I own three legal copies of XP of course, but the slipstreamed SP2 disc is just handy and the only one I keep laying around.

*puts tinfoil hat on* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281687)

You mean they haven't been doing this since the birth of ActiveX anyway?
Well well well, you learn something new everyday, my respect-o-meter for Microsoft has just gone up a tiny fraction.
Oh, wait, they're doing it now, back down it goes...

Microsoft addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281688)

"Did you have your Win dose today?".

assume the position (-1, Troll)

loid_void (740416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281691)

After they take everyone to the cleaners, they want to set up a toll booth so they can get every last penny; like I'm not gonna bend over and pull down my pants for the cyber strip search. Really a bunch of sick bastards

Re:assume the position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281745)

Sir, if you were really an open-source advocate then bending over would tickle your fancy like nobody's business... I think you're bluffing.

How do they know? (5, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281695)

If the user is running a VLK edition of Windows with a CD-Key other than the FCKGW one - or with the 640 PID, depending one how stringent they're being - how do Microsoft know that it's a priated copy?

OK, so activation cracked copies will be fairly easy to ID, but if you've got a corporate copy (which most pirated releases are anyway) and a valid key there's no way to tell, surely.

Re:How do they know? (1)

furchin (240685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281720)

OK, so activation cracked copies will be fairly easy to ID, but if you've got a corporate copy (which most pirated releases are anyway) and a valid key there's no way to tell, surely.

Until you start seeing 3,000 different IP addresses trying to validate the same product key to get the same downloads.

Re:How do they know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281746)

i think the point he was making was not using alternate corperate keys.. but using keys you generated yourself using the XP keygen.. i use a keygen i generated, no one else has my key, and its not the standard pirate key either.. they wont see thousands of people using my key, just me.

Re:How do they know? (1)

Yakman (22964) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281817)

Depending on the random number generation in the keygen you might find that there are one or two people there with your generated key. I know there have been cases where a person's legit game key wouldn't work because someone had randomly generated that key sometime before the person got their retail copy.

Re:How do they know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281837)

yea, but the chances of 3,000 people generating the same random key is impossible

Re:How do they know? (1)

Silvertre (472395) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281839)

i use a keygen i generated, no one else has my key, and its not the standard pirate key either.. they wont see thousands of people using my key, just me.

Until someone gets that key when they buy a copy of windows.

Re:How do they know? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281721)

but if you've got a corporate copy (which most pirated releases are anyway) and a valid key there's no way to tell, surely.

That's probably true now, but if they suddenly start seeing a lot of a few of these licences showing up on a wide variety of subnets, they may start to wonder just how much IP address space the relevant companies have.

They can't tell today, but in a few months, they may well have enough data to say "these ones *must* have been leaked".

Re:How do they know? (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281814)

Keygens get 'round this, I'd think (depending on the algorithm, of course).

Re:How do they know? (4, Interesting)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281842)

They can't tell today, but in a few months, they may well have enough data to say "these ones *must* have been leaked".

The problem is that when they start blocking these IDs, they also block the legitimate owners (just because one (ex-)employee copied the company CDs, doesn't void the license.) and they no longer can get their updates.

Actually if it did void the license it's even worse. Imagine you have just spent a few hundred thousand on MS-software and it's void just because some employee put it on a P2P-network.

It's funny that these things never turn up in TCO-studies...

Re:How do they know? (5, Interesting)

Snover (469130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281861)

Except for companies which have people running all over the country and/or world (large corporations, companies such as Insurance that have adjusters running all over the place), in which case they'll all be valid but still will "look" bogus, in your scenario.

Yes, I tried it... (4, Funny)

Linegod (9952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281733)

---
Thank you for your interest in Windows Update

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you get the most out of your computer.

You must be running a Microsoft Windows operating system in order to use Windows Update.
--- ...online extension to Windows... that just freaks me out...

.

Do they accept excuses? (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281736)

My wife uses a licensed copy of XP that she bought in college. She's still a grad student, but how would they know? Are they basically looking for commonly duplicated license keys?

If you're thinking about modding this comment up, this is the part you should consider insightful: "I haven't RTFA. Maybe I should read first and comment later."

Big Brother (1)

jakel2k (736582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281747)

Boy, what am attempt at some lame assed implementation of MS Big Brother.

Firefox? (4, Interesting)

digidave (259925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281748)

I wonder what happens if you visit with Firefox. They are obviously using an ActiveX control for this, so will FF users pass right by or be denied access to downloads? Windows Update won't work anyway, but will this affect manually downloads?

Re:Firefox? (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281799)

I haven't tried it yet, but my guess is it would say something like this: "(Blah blah) this page requires you to run Internet Explorer (blah blah)"

Re:Firefox? (3, Informative)

kagelump (812908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281815)

something like this:
Thank you for your interest in Windows Update

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you get the most out of your computer.

You need to be running a version of Internet Explorer 5 or higher in order to use Windows Update.

Download the latest version of Internet Explorer

Once Internet Explorer is installed, you can go to the Windows Update site by typing http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com into the address bar of Internet Explorer.

If you prefer to use a different Web browser, updates to Windows may be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.

Right... (5, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281771)

But Microsoft said the program is a first step in trying to provide a better experience for customers using legitimate copies of Windows.

I fail to see how asking me if Microsoft can snoop around in my PC is going to give me a "better experience". It will be a worse experience, if for no other reason than having the experience interrupted to ask the privacy-invading question.

I'll let you decide for yourself... (1)

ottergoose (770022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281774)

GJAS35 AB8CF L8KXT H4N1J ZY27A

(MS Lawyers - as far as I know, that's not a real key)

I don't even know where to start (5, Interesting)

Daikiki (227620) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281785)

This is one of those glorious ideas that look great on paper and have absolutely no effect on piracy.

There was a time when Microsoft began blocking SP1 downloads for WinXP for users using one of a list of very common keys. I suppose it may have prevented a few people from downloading the service pack, but the vast majority of users who were using these keys either found a hack to change their key to something randomly generated, or simply downloaded the service pack elsewhere.

Go back a little further and try to remember the furore over the required online or phone registration of new WinXP installs. For the poeple who do not desire to pay for their operating system, this was a similar inconvenience. Easily circumvented, but an annoyance to legitimate users.

The music industry implements protection so weak that it can be circumvented by pressing the 'shift' key, but breaks CDs for legitimate users. Nobody who wants an illegal track or two is deterred by this. If they can't get the music off the CD they'll just go to a P2P network and download it from there.

Time and time again we see media providers and software companies implement these rediculous attempts to spite casual pirates. The only people they ever end up bothering are there own customers, and in the rare case there is a backlash and their sales are hurt by their own arrogance, who do they blame? Pirates, of course.

Re:I don't even know where to start (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10281826)

You sir are a royal idiot.

Not one word in your entire gibba jabba did you put any blame on pirates who leech off other people's work. Not once. Instead you point the fingers at the company that's being victimized and blame all of the inconveniences on them. Just great. Another Einstein in the making.

If MS doesn't like pirated Windows... (5, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281793)

Why did they release the XP "corporate" verstion which allows installation of XP without teh required online registration?

It's apparently worked quite well to protect Citrix and MS Terminal Server from being used.

I believe MS likes having everyone use Windows, whether it's paid for or not.

What are people going to do, if they can't get Windows pirated? Buy it? Nope.

Spyware (3, Informative)

Guidlib (814472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281802)

I can't justify buying Windows XP while Windows 2000 is still quite capable of playing all the latest games, which is the only real use for Windows now. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm often too afraid to download software for Windows, in fear that it will screw my system up, and so I tend to use my Linux box for most everything except gaming nowdays. That said, with activation, and everything else around these days, I don't think it's too big an issue. If you use the software, you should pay for it, or use something that you don't have to pay for, like Linux.

Effective? I think not. (2, Interesting)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281803)

I honestly wonder if it's even possible to effectively determine whether or not a user is using a pirated copy of Windows. Unlike an online game or something where no two users can share a CD-Key and be online at the same time, Windows is just on operating system, and can't always have internet access. Also, many OEM and corporate PCs share CD Keys, and there's really no way Microsoft can tell how many PCs the software is licensend on. Besides, the time Microsoft gets their copy protection working 100% is the time many people decide weather to spend $300 on Windows or $0 on Linux.

Re:Effective? I think not. (2, Interesting)

ottergoose (770022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281829)

Also, many OEM and corporate PCs share CD Keys, and there's really no way Microsoft can tell how many PCs the software is licensend on.

Don't you think MS keeps track of which keys can be duplicated and which ones can't? It's not like they just randomly generate them and ship them out the door without any record.

Typical M$ (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281832)

When I go there, all i get is this:

"Thank you for your interest in Windows Update

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you get the most out of your computer.

You must be running a Microsoft Windows operating system in order to use Windows Update."

Phooey

Learing on Pirated OS (4, Interesting)

thoolie (442789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281834)

How many /. users actually learned Windows on a pirated copy? How many people (typicall home builders), are only using Windows because they have a pirated version? I think the key is, if it were not possible to "get" windows, I think we would see the use of Linux skyrocket.

Hell, I know *a friend of mine* that would have to use only Linux if not for his *backup* versions of Windows.

Just my .02$

I guess I'm not using pirated software... (1, Redundant)

datadriven (699893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281843)

Thank you for your interest in Windows Update

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you get the most out of your computer.

You must be running a Microsoft Windows operating system in order to use Windows Update.

Is that OS written by convicted criminals? (1)

s1234d (542588) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281846)

Is that OS written by convicted criminals? Now that's a check I'd like to see.

Mixed signals (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281868)

Am I to understand that only the number of years some software has been pirated will affect your ability to download updates? Or have I misread the article?

"They'll also get their downloads if they do participate and their copy of Windows turns out to be unlicensed.

[...]

The company is not requiring customers to have a genuine copy of Windows to get SP2, though it has blocked a few registration codes that have been known for several years as pirated".

Microsoft should just give up on this stuff (3, Interesting)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281869)

It's one thing for them to block service packs and require a serial number, but it's quite another thing for them to do the whole product activation and mandatory serial checking approach. People by nature feel that they own their software or should. The biggest problem that copyright holders face is that the more they pull, the more they are going against human nature. Eventually, the result will be either people losing interest or aggressively "stealing software" and/or supporting political action that is antagonistic to corporate software interests.

If Microsoft were smart, they'd keep working the OEM channels, cut the cost of a new copy of Windows XP Home to $100 with none of the product activation junk and charge $50 per retail upgrade. If Microsoft is so worried about people pirating its products, they should extend steep discounts to their customers who buy off the shelf copies. Microsoft could make good money charging only $50 for Home and $100 for Pro upgrades for Windows.

When in doubt, cut your profit margin down and try to sell more copies of your product. Since digital goods are so cheap to fabricate physical copies of, there is no reason why Microsoft couldn't experiment with much cheaper retail prices for a version of Windows. Hell, they might find that if they stop heckling their legitimate users and cut prices that the desktop Linux threat all but goes away.

Let's face it, what incentive right now would there be for people to choose desktop linux for small business and home use if Windows had a no hassle licensing system and was sold that cheap?

Jumping on the bandwagon (4, Funny)

orzetto (545509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10281908)

CIA has created a link from their home page, saying:

We would like to check if you're a member of Al-Quaeda. If you are Osama bin Laden, please share with us your current residence so we can address our issues. We are interested in maintaining a trust relationship with you as a customer.

Internal sources indicate that the program will be made mandatory sometime during the next months.

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