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Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the pay-to-play dept.

Windows 1067

CasterPod writes "As of February 28, Windows users who purchased their PC will no longer be able to reinstall without calling Microsoft and answering a series of questions. The move is part of an anti-piracy effort to close 'a loophole that enabled unscrupulous resellers to use Windows XP product keys that were stolen from large OEMs.' Specifically, Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels on PCs are often unused because OEMs preinstall Windows and bypass product activation. The product keys can therefore be stolen and reused. First WGA, and now this."

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Good Move Microsoft!!!! (5, Funny)

farrellj (563) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775905)

Now you will be forcing more people to move over to Linux and Mac computers!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

ttyl
Farrell

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (4, Interesting)

cshark (673578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775945)

Amazing how that works, isn't it. I could see it being worth it if everyone loved Windows. But the only reason people even use it in the first place is because it's easy. Something idiotic like this makes it a LOT less so. Linux on the other hand, making pretty big inroads. No pointless activation sequences where you have to call anyone. Probably never will be, except with Xandros (but I doubt it). Hey, there's a selling point right there. Buy linux, and don't have to call anyone who will make you answer stupid pointless questions. Woo hoo! I'm sold. This is exactly the kind of thing they want to do just before they release Expidition. Although, I wonder how much more secure it's actually going to be.

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (4, Insightful)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776034)

I cannot help but wonder whether top level management at MS got a bad batch of LSD and its done something to their brains.

They're going to force you to call them, they'll probably have all their call centers outsourced to countries where english isn't the main language. Half the time you won't understand the question and if you do manage to decifer the accent, they won't understand yours.

The only reason left to use windows is gaming. And even that is becoming less and less of a reason...

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (-1, Troll)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776054)

What the catcher is, you calling them to activate is technically a support call.

I forget how I found it, but on a part of their site I read that support calls are 78 dollars for the initial call, and 2 dollars every minute your on the line with them.

Seems like they've pulled that page though, since "site:microsoft.com support rates" on google doesn't return anything.

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (5, Insightful)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776072)

Buy linux, and don't have to call anyone who will make you answer stupid pointless questions.

Instead, it'll be the users asking the stupid questions.

"I bought your Linux at Barnes & Noble. Why doesn't it work?"

"Last week I called and you told me how to install your Linux. Why doesn't my Word Perfect CD work any more?"

"The other day you made me install something called StarOffice. I think that messed up my son's Doom 3 CD. It used to work before we installed your Linux."

That'll be fantastic.

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776076)

This could be beneficial for Linux, however you need to get the mom and pop stores more likely to support the OS. What this could end up doing is force better driver support especially from ATI and nVidia.

As they are the ones who usually do the OS install for the unwashed masses they are essentially the ones who may control availability of said hardware. Especially when someone comes in and says "Gee I want a computer but I don't know anything about them" Do you think the guy who recommends the hardware is going to say to get a card that is a pain to get X setup on?

It's understandable for MS to do this, they are a company, they need to keep their revenue stream and everything before hasn't been able to do it.

Re:Good Move Microsoft!!!! (1, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776053)

I really think people are underestimang the comfy rut of MS. They will just let their PC's get slower rather than rining up MS every time they need to reload

Rus

Great. Just what I want to do. (5, Insightful)

Powertrip (702807) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775908)

Right when I am peeved that I had to re-install, I have to get back on the phone with M$. Enough is enough - has their 'activation' programs really impacted priacy at all? Has it done anything beyond bother paying users?

Re:Great. Just what I want to do. (5, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775991)

Right when I am peeved that I had to re-install, I have to get back on the phone with M$.

Don't worry, it shouldn't affect you. According to the Juniper research guy in the article you don't really need to reinstall your computer after all.

"Seeing as how the typical OEM would normally preactivate Windows XP, most legitimate users shouldn't have much need to go through the activation process,"

See, it's all better. When you buy your computer, that's the OS you get to use for the entire life of the computer and certainly no one at Microsoft tech support or anywhere else would ever ask you to reinstall. Have a nice day.

TW

Re:Great. Just what I want to do. (5, Interesting)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776037)

I know you were being sarcastic, but what about impossible-to-clean spyware [slashdot.org] ? If stuff like this gets widespread some users won't have a choice, and Microsoft doesn't look set on making the install process any easier.

Re:Great. Just what I want to do. (1, Funny)

This is outrageous! (745631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776028)

Enough is enough - has their 'activation' programs really impacted priacy at all?

Yes!

"Our vision is to be the most priacy-respected company in our industry."

Peter Cullen
Chief Priacy Strategist [microsoft.com]

Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation (4, Insightful)

oscarh (40635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775911)

*This* is the reason we don't want monopolies abusing their power/position - they can impose whatever onerous conditions they like, and you just have to play along.

Whaddya gonna do - install *another* OS???

Re:Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation (1, Informative)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775966)

I fail to see how this is a huge problem. I've had to call them about key problems before and it took no more than 3-5 minutes from beginning to end. Hell the Gentoo installation documentation took much longer than that to read.

Microsoft has every right to verify that people using their software do indeed have a license to use their software. And let's be honest, no matter what they do you're going to hate them and flame them.

You should be thankful they're not giving it away free or you could kiss goodbye to something other than Windows ever being on a computer's desktop.

Re:Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation (5, Insightful)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776003)

I think the fanboys can be silly at times too, but lets be honest, "ever" is a very, very, very long time. Free or not, who knows? Maybe someone can come out with something better 3 years down the line. Fast, flexible, easy to use, relatively bug free - think Firefox, but an OS this time.

Then again, until I can play _all_ of my games (at least the relatively current ones) on it, I'm not switching. Although I do use Gentoo on my non-gaming systems.

Re:Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776013)

im sorry Jbuilder does this and it is the most annoying thing ever. every machine i install Jbuilder on i have to call them up and have them activate it. frankly after the 3rd time of reinstalling i just use it to drive their phone support people nuts. that 3-5 mins is easily a 15-20 min call for me 'cause i know it will increase their support costs and hopefully either make their product too expensive for my company to actually upgrade (i win) or remove it (i win).

for companies that do this they often state they need all your personnal information to activate the product. so i see it more as marketing collections.

No activation call on Eclipse (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776059)

Try Eclipse. No activation call, no price either. Its not gnu-foss but it's close enough.

http://www.eclipse.org/ [eclipse.org]

Re:Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation (1)

cbr2702 (750255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776033)

Whaddya gonna do - install *another* OS???

Yes.

Stupid (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775913)

Just means you will have to use a corp key which does not require activation. I know as a support tech I would never sit through a freaking queue every time I had to reactivate windows.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775963)

I replaced my OEM preinstalled Windows XP with a pirated no-activation copy precisely because I didn't want to go through 'activation' if I change anything or need to reinstall it.

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

RupW (515653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775992)

I replaced my OEM preinstalled Windows XP with a pirated no-activation copy precisely because I didn't want to go through 'activation' if I change anything or need to reinstall it.

Why bother? It probably cost you more time replacing the version than you'd ever spend activating.

The lock-in argument: one day they might stop running the activation service? Sure, but one day they might release a service pack that detects your pirated version and stops it working. So the future isn't certain either way.

So why bother?

Re:Stupid (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775970)

Pretty much everywhere I've worked has done this for ages, especially on the test machines.

Now it's probably going to become policy in a lot of places... if you have 20 test machines to reimage and you have to sit in a queue racking up the phone bill 3 times a week it's just not practical to do anything else (volume licensing is way too expensive for a small company).

I do have a proper activated windows here but probably won't any more - I'll go to corp keys as it's enough of a pain in the arse already activating stuff.

Re:Stupid (1)

GraemeDonaldson (826049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776068)

volume licensing is way too expensive for a small company

Actually, you only have to buy a minimum of 5 licences in order to get your company on an open licence agreement. Once you're on an OL agreement, you can buy licences on an "as needed" basis as long as you have at least 1 OL agreement that hasn't expired yet.

Re:Stupid (1)

mattspammail (828219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775996)

I wouldn't get too worked up over this for my own personal usability, because I'll do the same. It's legal; why the heck not? Turning my back on this issue is a crappy thing to do (not as bad as what MS is doing), but for right now, I dodged a bullet.

In the meantime, I'm working on my wife's attitude. She's opening up to the idea of a Mac Mini. That'll solve those pesky MS issues the right way. "Hit 'em where it hurts!"

Only makes sense (3, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775914)

Microsoft was dumb enough to put the product activation code on the outside of the damn PC. Anyone can walk into a store, take a pic of the code on a new PC (since they are bulk activated) and get free Windows.

This can only be good for free software however. Part of the Windows dominance comes from the fact that it is free for those who want it.

Original Media (4, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775915)

I'm just waiting for the customer to ring up and say they don't have the original media. The last 3 PC's i know people have bought just come with a copy of Windows on a partition. If you run Fdisk then they are screwed

rus

Re:Original Media (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775979)

EU software law requires that no limits be placed on resale of legally acquired software. Not supplying install media is a major limit in my book! I got XP on my AMD64 laptop but had already reformatted the disk and installed linux before I realized that there was no install media for my legally acquired software. Fuck off MS!

Re:Original Media (1)

RupW (515653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776051)

EU software law requires that no limits be placed on resale of legally acquired software. Not supplying install media is a major limit in my book!

But the OEM version is licenced for use on that one PC only. You may resell the software by reselling the whole PC but that's it, and no media doesn't limit that case.

I don't know if that's in tune with the EU laws or not but IMO it's a fair licencing model so it should be - there are plenty of other things that have to be non-transferrable e.g. rail tickets.

Re:Original Media (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776000)

With vendors like HP, windows comes on a separate partition as you mentioned. But you can choose to create the windows xp install cd's yourself.

Re:Original Media (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776047)

If windows XP comes on a single CD rom, then how come when I went to back up the partition on my new HP computer it took over 7 CD's??????

it will be bypassed... (5, Insightful)

selderrr (523988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775918)

right now, it was easier to spread corporate (or educational) keys. Many of these don't require activation at all. Once MS disables this, crackers will resort to patching the activation code. .. It's just a matter of time, like the XBox was cracked eventually.

On the other hand : this will just make the difference between Windows and OSX/linux even more apparent. Every user-restricting move of microsoft is, in the long run, a shot in its own foot

Re:it will be bypassed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775969)

What do you mean -- matter of time?

There has already been activation cracks to XP...

Re:it will be bypassed... (5, Insightful)

William_Lee (834197) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776005)

"Once MS disables this, crackers will resort to patching the activation code. .. It's just a matter of time, like the XBox was cracked eventually."

Actually, the activation code has been stripped out of Windows XP in the pirate community since before day 1 of its official release.

Almost any type of copy protection, activation or otherwise is rapidly stripped out of software by cracking groups and released into the pirate community.

This announcement is a non issue for actual pirates of XP. It has zero impact to them. It impacts the PAYING user the most by making a procedure they shouldn't have to deal with in the first place an even bigger pain in the ass.

These types of measures always punish the paying customer and leave the pirates shaking their heads in disbelief over M$ not getting it.

Simple answer ... (1, Funny)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775919)

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ [linuxfromscratch.org]

Re:Simple answer ... (-1, Troll)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775997)

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
Poor replacement - when it comes to irritation, no install process, however tedious, is going to replace an annoying phone call! Microsoft wins here - live with it, you commie.

Re:Simple answer ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776040)

i would rather phone ms then build my own linux distro. your best option would be http://kanotix.com/ [kanotix.com] :) enjoy

Customer (4, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775925)

I am just going though some training and one of the hot points is understanding your customer. Making something more difficult for customers (home users and companies that do tech work) is not one of the moves known to improve market share and is in most industries considered a bad move.

Re:Customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776078)

Making something more difficult for customers (home users and companies that do tech work) is not one of the moves known to improve market share and is in most industries considered a bad move.

But your average home user will never reinstall their OS, so they don't care, and would have no problem talking to someone even if they did.

Hope they're up late (5, Funny)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775927)

Because the last few times I've reinstalled Windows, it's been around 12am.

Re:Hope they're up late (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775999)

I can't believe Microsoft thinks this is a good idea.

I recently upgraded the motherboard, RAM, and DVD burner in my PC - and I had to reactivate it (online, fortunately). I was annoyed because the activation wouldn't work at first, but eventually it went through.

Will people still be able to re-activate (after doing upgrades like I did) online? I didn't see that in the article, but I'm guessing probably not.

Wouldn't it be easier for MS to just disable the codes that are bulk-activated? After all, they should have an idea of what codes they sold to OEMs that would bulk activate their machines... Or something like that.

Re:Hope they're up late (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776016)

Oops, I missed this the first time through the article:

"...disable Internet product activation on OEM keys used by the top 20 worldwide PC makers."

So, in other words, no this won't affect most people.

Re:Hope they're up late (1, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776042)

Yeah, but this is a call centre call. So 12 am for you is only about tea-time in New Delhi.


(Or for our American readers - New Delhi, India.)



Re:Hope they're up late (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776071)

I doubt it was 12am in their timezone. And regardless of their physical location, I'm sure they'd will willing to colonize other timezones as needed.

Microsoft NEEDS Piracy (5, Insightful)

RT Alec (608475) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775929)

Microsoft depends on the ubiquity of Windows (and Office, Outlook, et al). When everybody is using Microsoft products, everybody needs Microsoft. Their proprietary formats are a de facto standard (except Massachusetts), so if you want to do business with people who use Windows (et al), you have little choice but to also use windows.

As their piracy initiative starts to pick up steam, this will only enhance the "value" of free (or at least lesser cost) alternatives. I predict a large swell of Linux usage-- on the desktop, in these emerging markets, or other areas where the hight cost of Windows (et al) simply locks people out. With that will come a groudswell of support for open formats.

Consider what you need if you are going to do business with the government of Hamburg. You will need to provide and exchange documents and other material in a format they can read (it won't simply be Word and PowerPoint). Now the same thing will happen in these emerging markets, creating more of an interest in these alternative formats, and thus alternative applications (e.g. OpenOffice).

More choices are good for everybody. Use the application of your choice, on the platform of your choice, and produce documents and other material in a format anyone else can read. Right now, I have any number of such choices to produce graphics for a web page (jpg, png, even gif). The formats for Flash and Acrobat have been opened up, and happily they are becoming more standard. But the U.S. Government still requires all RFP submissions in Word.

More choices, however, is bad for Microsoft. They don't want open formats and lots of choices, they want (and need) everone using and exchanging MS Word documents. They want (and need) everybody using Outlook and Internet Explorer, and of course, they want (and ultimately need) everybody using Windows.

Re:Microsoft NEEDS Piracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776073)

Autodesk recognized this after a spell with dongles. I remember the autodesk rep speaking to an engineering class I was in to clarify their new market savvy position. 'We don't care if you bootleg autocad while you're in school because we know you'll ask your boss to buy it when you get a job.'

I kid you not. Autodesk sent the reps out to announce the policy change! Who reading this has NOT at least heard of autocad?

It's their right (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775930)

to do whatever they like with their product. Personally, I think it's counterproductive - it's likely to piss off paying customers, although it might help them nab some shady dealers as well.

If you find it too irritating to deal with MS, you check out the alternatives. Isn't competition a wonderful thing?

Re:It's their right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775965)

Personally, I think it's counterproductive - it's likely to piss off paying customers, although it might help them nab some shady dealers as well.

Very few customers will care.

1. It's XP OEM only.
2. Seriously, how often do you have to re-install? Most OEM customers probably never do. And a quick phone call is no big deal.

Re:It's their right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776029)

It's not, actually. (admittedly in the narrow case you were generalising FROM, yes, but not in the sense you generalised TO)

For instances;

If I make children's toys; I do not have the "right" to enhance them with swallowable elements or lead-based paints.

If I sell apples, I have no "right" to enhance them with inserted razor blades.

If you have a license for my software I have no "right" to degrade the license you paid for...

(at least, not in the UK; USA's fucked up laws may differ / be worse)

Re:It's their right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776050)

what is it with some americans?

because its the product they produce does NOT give them the right to ass-ream their customers on a whim!

Pirates don't need to call up for activation, ever. Only legitimate customers have to do that, so only paying customers get the pole.

will this make us dump windows (1)

vvatsa (697755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775931)

Since very few people buy windows in a shrink rap, most windows are shipped by OEMs. Having to ring up MS cust. rep is going to be pain in the hole. We all know that we (power users) end up reinstalling windows about once a year for what ever reason. What I would like to ask is, "will this make us dump windows as it becomes more of a pain in the ass?"

Thanks A Lot (5, Interesting)

wynand1004 (671213) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775932)

Thanks guys, thanks a lot

As if installing windows isn't enough of a headache. I had to reinstall windows in Japan, and let me tell ya, my Japanese isn't what it should be.

On a side note, I envy the Mac people here in that they can seamlessly switch between English and Japanese versions of their OS just by setting a preference.

In windows land, it's purchase both or suffer. Now more activation heedaches.

Thanks guys, thanks a lot.

This won't last. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775933)

Once they start getting the phonebills for supporting this method of activation, they will turn back to the old method. Not to mention the complaints.

Aw man.. (5, Funny)

imrec (461877) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775934)

Calling in every time I changed a bit of hardware is the only chance I get to talk to a woman...

oh.. ONLINE activation only... *WHEW*

Not Quite as Bad As It Sounds... (4, Informative)

md81544 (619625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775936)

From TFA...
If a customer attempts to activate Windows XP with an OEM key from a COA, they will be directed to call customer support specialists to obtain an override code - provided they can prove that their copy is legitimate by answering a series of questions.

Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox said the change shouldn't affect many PC buyers. "Seeing as how the typical OEM would normally preactivate Windows XP, most legitimate users shouldn't have much need to go through the activation process," noted Wilcox.

Re:Not Quite as Bad As It Sounds... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776002)

Yah, because your average windows install as utilized by Joe User is going to survive the entire 3 or 4 years that computer is going to be in use.

Re:Not Quite as Bad As It Sounds... (1)

Viceice (462967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776061)

Ever known a everday use home PC that never needed a reinstall at some point in it's life? My point exactly.

One day when the OS needs to be reinstalled (Virus, spyware, general neglect, HDD upgrade etc) somebody is going to get very pissed off at having to spend a good 15 - 30 minutes trying to talk to a computer at MS over the phone.

This doesn't change anything in my country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775937)

We will still be able to use as many instances of pirated windows using corporate versions without activation as we do now.

This incidentally (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775941)

occured at the same time when i converted my Parent's and sister's computer to gentoo. They love it :). There is no need for me to look back as noone plays games on computers from us.

Time to break out of the vendor lock-in i suppose.

Corps (0, Redundant)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775944)

What about coporations. Will they have to do this each time they Ghost/Reload a new machine?

rus

Re:Corps (1)

TheMediaWrangler (817300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776007)

No, that won't trigger a query to the MS activation registry. You're safe with Ghost.

Re:Corps (2, Informative)

tdeletto (444479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776052)

The corp version of Xp won't have this problem. Corps will continue to use their own canned builds and not care about activation.

And their employees will continue to use their Windows keys from work on their home PCs :-)

Ghost/Reload (1)

cbr2702 (750255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776069)

Why not just ghost the activated version?

Nothing much (1)

yasth (203461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775946)

It looks like they are just forcing the OEMs to use the key printed on the box to do the auto intall.

Which doesn't seem *so* bad.

Picking on the wrong guy (2, Informative)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775947)

Seems to me MS could have solved this problem by requiring the large OEM's to stop allowing their keys to be "unused" like this. And you know what, there was a time that MS could have done this, despite the added effort/headache it would have undoutbedly been for the OEM's.

Sign O' The Times?

Copy Protection SOP (5, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775949)

Step 1: Company implements some sort of copy protection.
Step 2: Legitimate users are hampered by the copy protection while illegitimate users breeze by it through various means.
Step 3: Company either ultimately removes copy protection with a black mark on its reputation or people just stop buying its products.

I know of no historical case that deviates from this for a major software release. Of course, you have various vertical applications that use dongles and other such things, but anything that is mass-distributed (like Lotus Notes or Turbo Tax) that has used copy protection either removed said copy protection or stopped selling their product.

Forced to install between 9-5 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775950)

What would happen if I wanted to reinstall late at night then? Are the telephone lines open 24 hours or would I have to reinstall between 9-5?

Re:Forced to install between 9-5 (1, Funny)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776006)

Knowing Microsoft, I'm sure they're open 7/24... 7 hours a day, 24 days a month...

Re:Forced to install between 9-5 (0)

ericandrade (686380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776045)

They are, just not in the same country...

...and here are the questions: (1, Funny)

Cuthbert Calculus (629326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775951)

1. Are you sure you want to reinstall Windows? 2. Really? 3. Really? 4. Seriously, really?

Re:...and here are the questions: (2, Funny)

MikeDX (560598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775988)

*Ring ring*

<user> Hi! I'd like to re-install windows please!
<clippy> Hi there! I see you are trying to reinstall windows. Would you like some help?
<user> Erm.... *click*

This is especially bad... (2, Insightful)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775952)

...on the heels of Microsoft admitting increased concern about rootkit spyware that requires reinstallation to remove.

It seems more and more people are being driven to use cracked versions of software simply because of the DRM inconvenience.

So what? (2, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775956)

This doesn't stop piracy in anyway. Product activation only disadvantages the honest customers and thats it. The ones who use pirated windows will still use pirated windows regardless.

I've serviced many PCs, and let me tell you, servicing the boxes that come with a bona fide windows installation are a much larger pain in the ass then the ones with pirated copies.

With the pirated ones i just reinstall windows and thats it. Reinstalling on an original box requires me to spend 15 minutes after the fact talking to a a machine in Singapore because the local Toll Free number for Microsoft was disconnected ages ago.

sheesh...

It takes enough time to install already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775957)

Without needing to answer a barrage of questions as to the legality of software that I have paid for ... yet again the honest person is disadvantaged so that a company can make more profit. In this case, it must be a fairly limited in scope 'theft' of COA forms.

Luckily most people don't reinstall ever and they'll never know the hassle.

Considering that Microsoft declined to give me a license key with my action pack subscription XPSP2 CD, I rang up and bitched a bit and got the computer activated anyway.

Really? (2, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775968)

You mean all those PCs sitting in college computer labs I administer with their COA labels on them can be lifted and used to activate a copy of XP (since they install using a corp version)????

I had NO IDEA, but I guess Microsoft is giving a head's up to all of our students to hurry up and lift our keys and do their installs before the end of the month.

Nice way to alert people how to pirate your stuff, Microsoft, while further irritating legitimate purchasers.

Speaking for myself, not my employer

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776058)

If it's got a COA label on it, it's not a corp key, it's an OEM.

Tux the Penguin says ... (2, Funny)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775971)


"The more you tighten your grip, Darth Gates, the more systems will slip through your fingers." ... and migrate to Linux!

Yeah! (3, Insightful)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775975)

A small step for Windows anti-piracy,
One giant leap for the advocation of OSS.

I guess there's no question now as to what I'm going
to install on that new HD of mine. (As if there was doubt before this, I guess.)

Re:Yeah! (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776032)

Advocacy!

No need to make up a word for one that already exists.

What? (4, Insightful)

DoubleDangerClub (855480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775978)

I'm really surprised that they are wasting the resources to do this. Most pirated windows xp copies have no activiation anyway. they have no key, and don't ask for one. I would say if they want to get to the source of the problem, they should re-evalutate their MSDN subscription copies and have them need to phone in a re-install. In the end though, I think everyone knows what this really is, a big waste of time. *handclap for microsoft*

cost of toll free numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11775987)

I wonder how much additional cost Microsoft will have to pay for the thousands of users who will have to call in every 1.5 months when they have to reinstall due to blue screen of death.???

hmm (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775989)

im not normally one of the tinfoil hat crowd, but this article got me thinking:

what if microsoft is taking this chance to gouge customers, while there's competition (point to linux), then once its finished gouging the customers and this product activation is commonplace, they'l sue linux vendors and users (or get another sco to do it) for patent infringement, wipe out the competition, then theyve gouged their customers and other companies customers too.

It would explain the abnormal amount of patents theyve applied for recently, and it would also explain why they're willing to gouge their customers so bad, even though they're scared of linux (companies dont spend so much energy spreading FUD about competitors if theyre not scared of them).

call center (5, Interesting)

chocochip (456883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11775990)

Due to a bad Adaptec PCI card (SATA interface to my hard drives) which was corrupting the hard drives, I've had to reinstall XP Pro on my primary worksation a lot lately. I took 3 re-installs to track down the problem. Each time, when I tried online activation, it would say the number of installs for the license key had been exceeded and I needed to call. So I call in, give them a very long string of numbers, they ask "why you are installing, how many computers has it been installed on, etc." Needless to say, this is pi**ing me off! I'll do everything possible to avoid Microsoft in the future! I've already purchased an Apple Powerbook.

the simple soloution to that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776066)

is don't activate until you have to.

don't waste an activation on an install that won't be around more than the grace period.

Misunderstood RSS (1)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776004)

Reading the RSS headline I thought for a moment that Microsoft had come to its senses and removed the pointless product activation.

No such luck it seems. Just more intrusive hassle to install a substandard OS.

Ho hum

The end of the home user (4, Interesting)

manganese4 (726568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776010)

It is things like this and the delayed operating system that makes one wonder if microsoft wants to get out of the Home User Operating system and just concentrate on their business customers.

Just think all they would really need to do is roll out a good, non-bloated version of Office for Macs and Linux that is compatible with their office version of Office and they can stop having to worry about whiny home user.

Alternate solution (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776011)

Give it away, and charge for the services. God knows, using their software requires more support than GNU software!

Hmm (1)

neypo (860979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776018)

Lets see, on one hand, I can go with Windows, answer numerous annoying questions before you can even really start using your OS, worry about Spyware, Exploits, Viruses, Trojans, Bill Gates running down the street hurling a bag of gophers at you for using a pirated copy, or use Linux/BSD whereas you do not have to sell your soul, its free, its opensource, there are many free third party applications, rarley any viruses/trojans, no spyware, more security vulnerabilites fixed, more flexibilty, among other things.... Hmm, decisions.

# Whois going_to_pay (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776019)

So, if you have to phone them 20 times per year because your firm is too small to afford corp, who pays for the phone call to MS from Germany or England or Brazil?

The consume shall eventually as either the software price rises because of toll free numbers or you pay the long distance call and you get charged by your telco.

If toll free i bet a bunch of people will set their PCI Winmodem up to repeatidly dial..

Getting richer... (0)

ericandrade (686380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776021)

Microsoft needs more money?

Someone's got a very big plan.

I guess this affects store-bought OEM copies also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776022)

I'm going to rebuild my gaming machine and had planned to buy a copy of the OEM version of WinXP Pro from newegg.com or somesuch (they'll sell it to you as long as you buy hardware with it). I guess this new policy means I'd also have to call M$ when I actually get around to setting this machine up.

Big Manufacturers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776025)

"Hi this is Dell again, I know I've already called 1,432,547 times today, but I need to activate another copy of windows....."

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776026)

Calling up Microsoft is still a lot quicker and much more painless than installing Linux.

Damn you Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776035)

I don't have a phone, you insensitive clods.

Free as in freedom - understand now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776038)

Thank-you RMS!
Thank-you Linus!
Thank-you devs!

FUD... From TFA comments... (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776044)

The content (and authors) of this report have been thoroughly discredited throughout the blogosphere. ED BOTT (http://www.edbott.com/weblog/) LAYS DOWN THE TRUTH: "IF YOU BUY A NEW COMPUTER FROM ONE OF THESE 'MAJOR VENDORS,' YOU DON'T HAVE TO ACTIVATE IT. THE SYSTEM MANUFACTURER ACTIVATES YOUR COPY OF WINDOWS WHEN THE COMPUTER IS BUILT. You can reinstall the operating system on that computer using the original Windows XP CD as many times as you want, with no activation required." If you replace your motherboard or try to install to a different system than the one that the OEM version came with, then you have to call to activate. Please stop the FUD folks.

no activation on OEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776046)

If my new Dell Laptop is anything to go by, new PCs come with the OS already installed and without the need for activation as it has already been done. If I need to reinstall, I use the CDs that came with. These reimage the hard disk with the already-activated copy of windows again.

Priceless... (1)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776048)

New PC from NewEgg... $1000
OEM License Windows XP Professional... $189
Having to call India in the middle of the night to get special permission to use your hard earned money... Priceless!!!

If there ever was a poster child for switching to Linux, this would be it.

Go screw (1)

Drunken_Jackass (325938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776064)

That's it. I've had enough.

I'm out.

SuSE here i come.

They're shooting their own foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11776070)

Most of the Windows "success" come from piracy.
Now it'll be much more dificult.

Do you know what will happen? People will start to migrate to Linux!

I'm a developer and had made this transition with huge success. For me, Windows belongs to the past now. Once you try and get adapted to Linux is quite dificult to come back.

I don't need an anti-virus or anti-trojan installed on my system. I can choose wich Window Manager (I know that I can in Windows too, but it's not an ease procedure) I want. I can set my kernel to work as I want.

So, for the first time I'm tasting what Microsoft had denied me for so many years: FREEDOM!

RTFA! (5, Informative)

tliet (167733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776074)

They won't disable key activation, just for keys that are assigned to the top 20 OEM clients of Microsoft.

They are however planning to get rid of online activation alltogether.

Hmm, I hope India has enough people to man those call centers.

Well, that makes sense (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11776079)

"Unscrupulous resellers" abuse Microsoft's T&C, so Microsoft punishes the resellers' victims (and everyone else who chooses a Microsoft OS) for the infraction.

Suing said resellers down to their socks for breach of contract or copyright infringement or whatever just never occurred to the deep thinkers at MS?

MS is one of the few software houses who could turn any rambunctious reseller into a smoking crater anytime they choose. Or any thousand resellers. But, nooooooooooooo! Bad enough that end-users have to put up with activation at all; now we have to play telephone tag with one of the world's busiest companies.
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