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WGA Turning Off PCs in the Fall?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-more-clippy dept.

857

thesaint05 writes "We all know about Microsoft's WGA initiative that started last July. Most of us were troubled to learn that the WGA has been 'phoning home' to Microsoft at every boot. Well, get ready, because eventually Microsoft may be turning off copies of Windows without WGA installed. According to a Microsoft technician, 'in the fall, having the latest WGA will become mandatory and if its not installed, Windows will give a 30 day warning and when the 30 days is up and WGA isn't installed, Windows will stop working, so you might as well install WGA now.'" A new version of WGA was released on Tuesday and, at least for the time being, Windows users have the option of removing WGA from their systems.

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857 comments

A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Interesting)

soren42 (700305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629145)

What? What was that sound? Was that the sound of millions of unlicensed Windows machines all screaming out in shutdown all at once - and then suddenly silenced?

To keep the current Futurama motif running, quoth Professor Farnsworth, "The Jedi are going to feel this one!"

Seriously, though, doesn't Microsoft realize that significant number of users aren't going to go out and suddenly buy Windows? Sure, most (half?) will, but the rest will go hunting for a truly free (read: no-cost) alternative until a hack comes out.

How could this possibly be a good idea now ? Maybe if it had been there all along, or was introduced in a new release (XP, Vista, whatever)... but why spring it on the unsuspecting masses mid-cycle? That just screams massive user migration.

Not that I'm shedding any tears in reaction to that concept!

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629180)

Wait, let me read between the oh so subtle lines... You think people are going to be migrating in droves to Linux? Give me a break, people won't be moving to Linux. They'll find a hack for Windows, they'll buy Windows, or more than likely they'll just buy a new PC that comes with Windows legally bundled. Nobody is moving to Linux because the games aren't there, the thousands of cheesy little Windows applications people love aren't there, it's different (read: scary), and it's a pain in the ass for most joe schmoes to install.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Funny)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629231)

Maybe they'll get a mac?

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (4, Funny)

soren42 (700305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629349)

Maybe they'll get a mac?

Wait, wait, wait... Apple just convinced me that my Mac was a PC... 'cause it can run Windows... how does getting a Mac help if I still install a pirated copy of Windows under Boot Camp?

Oh... wait, right - I'm *NOT* supposed to use/install Windows, I've already got Mac OS...

(Okay... so this post was *pure* sarcasm. Spoken like a true self-deprecating confirmed Mac user for many years...)

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (0, Troll)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629298)

They'll find a hack for Windows, they'll buy Windows, or more than likely they'll just buy a new PC that comes with Windows legally bundled

More likely, they'll upgrade to pirated Windows 98 SE. Problem solved.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (2)

soren42 (700305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629310)

Nobody is moving to Linux because the games aren't there, the thousands of cheesy little Windows applications people love aren't there, it's different (read: scary), and it's a pain in the ass for most joe schmoes to install.

I resent the implication that Windows isn't scary and a pain in the ass to use. It's just what everyone's accustomed to.

Big difference. (not that I don't see and agree with your point to some extent, however!)

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (2, Interesting)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629357)

What drove me to linux on the desktop was my increasing unease at the amount of stuff windows was sharing with MS. That was about 3 years ago, I suppose. I don't think people will move in droves either , but if the threat of it was enough to push me over the edge, I'd imagine there's plenty more people not too unlike me that would move as well. I'm not -that- unusual.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629185)

I disagree, most users are not very bright and as such when their PC stops working they'll do just about anything to make it work... whether it be plunk down 100-300 bucks for a copy of windows or even 300-500 for a new Windows based PC.

Sure... they could go to Linux or other open source based systems but the fact that most have never heard of it and just want their PC to work exactly as it did before basically precludes this possibility.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (4, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629270)

I agree to an extent. But the OP has a point as well. Either way, Microsoft will be decreasing their install base in order to gain a few more legit sales. Expect to see more volume license keys here and there.

This really smacks of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. If they do go through with this, I can see them losing their monopoly status within a few years.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629327)

Sure... they could go to Linux or other open source based systems but the fact that most have never heard of it and just want their PC to work exactly as it did before basically precludes this possibility.

Money is a suprisingly efficient motivator.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629362)

I disagree, most users are not very bright and as such when their PC stops working they'll do just about anything to make it work... whether it be plunk down 100-300 bucks for a copy of windows or even 300-500 for a new Windows based PC.

Ahh, so the "bright" thing to do would be to go out and install a brand new OS that you've never used before (and hope it installs in such a way that it will leave your current partition intact so you can get to your data files), install a bunch of software that you've probably never used before, live with the fact that you possibly won't be able to use some of the software packages that there is no OSS counterpart (or the OSS counterpart sucks), that you may have hardware that may or may not have Linux driver support. All that to save $100? I guess there is a faction of users out there who thinks that that is a reasonable trade off, but I'm guessing that many/most would say "hey, my time is worth waaaaaay more than that. Doesn't seem so "not very bright" to me to just spend the damn money and get on with life.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Insightful)

inphinity (681284) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629211)

That just screams massive user migration.

... to Vista, which is precisely what MS probably wants.

If I had points I'd mod you up. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629295)

... to Vista, which is precisely what MS probably wants.

And they'll have to buy a new machine too. Everybody wins. Well, except the consumer.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629230)

How could this possibly be a good idea now ? Maybe if it had been there all along, or was introduced in a new release (XP, Vista, whatever)... but why spring it on the unsuspecting masses mid-cycle? That just screams massive user migration.

The unsuspecting masses of copyright infringers, you mean. These people aren't giving them money anyway, and are unlikely to give them money. Microsoft must feel that they have a sufficient installed base that even when they lose the people who won't pay them, that they'll still have enough seats. However, this will definitely cause Linux desktop adoption to increase, there is NO way around that.

In fact, I'll be one of them; I'm not going to slide back to XP home with its bullshit permissions tools. (Yes, I know there's other tools you can use.) I have a couple of XP Home licenses even. Maybe I'll use one in a virtual machine.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (2, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629307)

The unsuspecting masses of copyright infringers, you mean.

The unsuspecting mass of legitimate users that WGA erroneously labels as "pirates", you mean. That's the best part of this: the more they tighten their grip, the more star systems... err, the more legitimate users get pissed off.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629245)

How could this possibly be a good idea now ? Maybe if it had been there all along, or was introduced in a new release (XP, Vista, whatever)... but why spring it on the unsuspecting masses mid-cycle? That just screams massive user migration.

First of all, they did have this all along: it's called Windows Product Activation. C'mon, you should have seen this coming from the beginning!

Second of all, doing it slowly like this actually works out better for Microsoft. If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he'll jump out. But if you put him in a pot of cold water and heat it up to boiling, he'll get cooked. Similarly, if you started this with Vista people would simply choose to keep their existing XP, or upgrade to Linux instead. But doing it this way, by stealthily installing it and then turning off the software they already have, you get more of them to "fix" it (by doing whatever they have to do to make it "genuine") because they're already invested.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629271)

"That just screams massive user migration. Not that I'm shedding any tears in reaction to that concept!"

Yeah, screw WGA. I'm getting a Mac! (Actually, I've got one already.)

This is a good thing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629326)

How could this possibly be a good idea now ?


Helping people obey the law is a good thing. It seems most corporate IT people are either too lazy or too careless about their jobs to actually read and obey the license agreements of their software vendors; and I strongly encourage any automated tools to make this easier.


With automated tools to help them, perhaps more people will realize that the license agreement is one of the most important aspects of a software package, and with Windows it carries incredible risk -- both legal risk because Microsoft likes suing its customers [com.com] and technical becausde thier EULA gives them the right to shut down your machines at their will with no due process or trial or anything.


But bottom line -- if you're not doing anything illegal you have nothing to fear from these microsoft programs, so quit complaining. If you are illegally copying Windows I have no sympathy for you. If you aren't sure (as most companies are), I recommend you switch to software with a license you can understand (like Red Hat's -- you bought the software - you can install it wherever you want).


Fortunatelly more of our critical systems are moving to Linux so not at risk from either of those legal and technical vulnerabilities.

Re:A disturbance in The Force? How stupid is this? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629329)

If someone could hack the warning so it says "you have 30 days to switch to Ubuntu".. that'd be great.

But seriously. Each one of you will know of someone who this is going to hurt. Download Ubuntu iso tonight and have the disk ready for D-Day, or get them switched over beforehand. Every time M$ make it harder for people to use 'that copy of Windows they found', is another opportunity to have them ditch Windows altogether. Usually the only question is: "what is the alternative"

Now we have one: http://www.ubuntu.com/download [ubuntu.com]

meh Disclaimer: I have it installed on two of my machines at home, but still have a xp machine for CS:S... (i wish i could give up CS:S so I could ditch Windows altogether...)

How could this possibly be a good idea now ? (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629336)

How could this possibly be a good idea now ?
Because they can.

What are you going to do about it? Hold your breath until you turn blue?

No, I'm not trolling -- the reality is that Microsoft has the whip hand and all the sound and fury is coming from people who know that in the end they're going to do as they've been told.

How is this legal? (5, Insightful)

abionnnn (758579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629158)

Is there anything in the EULA that allows them to get away with this?

Re:How is this legal? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629192)

Is there anything in the EULA that allows them to get away with this?

Uh, if you didn't pay for it, you're not a party to the EULA - and if you were, you'd already be violating the EULA, which says you have to purchase it; so you'd already be in breach if it were considered a contract - which has not been shown on a broad basis, only in a couple of lower courts.

The EULA is probably worth more as bumwad than as a contract, and it's printed on paper way too scratchy to be good for that, either.

Re:How is this legal? (3, Insightful)

abionnnn (758579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629290)

Sorry if I didn't make my point clear. For a legit user, "Microsoft may be turning off copies of Windows without WGA installed."

According to the summary that's everyone, legit or not. How is that legal? What if I don't want to install it, even if I own a legit copy of windows?

Re:How is this legal? (1)

nsanders (208050) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629193)

Is there anything in the EULA that allows them to get away with this?

If there isn't, they'll simply add it so they can.

Re:How is this legal? (1)

soren42 (700305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629198)

Is there anything in the EULA that allows them to get away with this?


Umm.... if you're aren't running a legal copy of Windows, ya didn't *technically* agree to the EULA, didcha?

Of course, I'm sure there will be tons (hundreds?) of systems that are perfectly legal but still stop working due to some technicality, software bug, flaw, miscongfiguration, or other misalignment of the planets. I hope MS is adding capacity to call center that day!

Re:How is this legal? (5, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629265)

Yes, but as the article stated the will turn off any machine not running the LATEST version of WGA. If you havn't installed any of the most recently updates whatsoever and have been running a pirated version all long there is no way that MS will be able to shut off your machine. This feature simply wasn't built in originally. So they will only be hurting those who are legal and don't have the most recent WGA version, or those who are illigal and stupid.

Re:How is this legal? (2, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629204)

The EULA is only there for legit users only.

So the question is. What if it's a false positive?

Re:How is this legal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629233)

That'll be great: If your system with which XP came preinstalled is still under warranty, return it, get your money back and buy a new one.

Re:How is this legal? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629257)

Doesn't matter -- like most EULAs nowadays, it likely has a clause allowing MS to change the terms at will without informing you, even though these terms are supposedly binding.

In all likelyhood, anyone challenging such a clause would have the court rule in their favor, it's just no one's had the guts/money to do so.

Re:How is this legal? (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629273)

Is there anything in the EULA that allows them to get away with this?

Sure, lots of crap... not that it matters. The EULA contains plenty of enforceable clauses that conflict with federal and start laws. Eventually someone will probably take them to court and five years later they will win and get a settlement. Of course what that means then will be a whole different ball game, since by then the market will have completely changed. MS may well be providing applications only as online services, and Windows as an OS will be irrelevant to their monopoly.

The court systems are too slow, too corrupt, and too much affected by money to act effectively against MS. They should have busted them up into multiple, competing companies years ago.

Re:How is this legal? (3, Insightful)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629292)

EULA? If you're running a pirated copy, you either didn't agree to the EULA - rendering it > /dev/null or you you agreed to the EULA and violated the terms again.. > /dev/null.

The only possible snag is if it shuts down some valid copies, but the time between now and then will give ms time to iron out those bugs.

It may seem crazy to be doing this midcycle, but ms actually thought this one out. Revenue from XP is flatlined, the market is saturated already. How then to increase revenue in the quarters remaining before Vista? Easy, shut down all the freeloaders and make them go pay you.

Re:How is this legal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629347)

EULA be damned. There isn't anything in the world, written or otherwise, that would allow them to get away with this without extremely serious fallout, or they would already have done it, years ago, instead of XP's activation for example.

Here's some reasons for you.

Firstly, it would be the best PR they could ever give to every other operating system on the market; Linux, BSD, heck, even ReactOS; and, yes, also Apple. "Hey, our operating system isn't designed to break deliberately." MS have a marketing department. They wouldn't like that.

Secondly, ever wondered just how much critical infrastructure REALLY runs on unlicensed copies of Windows? MS has a CEO. He'd get angry presidential phonecalls. He wouldn't like that.

Thirdly, the fact that such a thing existed would represent a single critical point of failure for all internet-connected Windows PCs, a global killswitch. MS do have a security department, as do many other people who use Windows as part of their global businesses, many of which are larger than Microsoft. They wouldn't like that.

And finally, ever think what #1 and #2 would do to the share price? Assuming the stock markets keep running, that is. Microsoft would stand a very real chance of being put out of business overnight. The board and the shareholders wouldn't like that.

Oh yeah, one more thing; the pirates would crack it so fast and so hard, and the crack would be such big news, it wouldn't have nearly as significant an effect on the number of unlicensed Windows boxes as you think (though it would mean that no-one, anywhere, would ever trust Microsoft again for anything).

Microsoft are't always the brightest bulb in the box, but they aren't literally suicidal.

Re:How is this legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629369)

No, and that is why Micro$hit should be banned permanently from doing business anywhere in the world.

Let us spy on you... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629162)

or we'll take away your computer...nice.

TOLD YOU SO! (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629164)

You know, I've been ranting on Slashdot and elsewhere about the dangers of XP's "product activation" and Treacherous Computing and such for years now, but few people wanted to listen. Well, one of the scenarios I predicted is coming true! Now just wait for the screws to tighten even further...

I jumped ship to Linux when XP came out. It's not too late for you to join me!

Re:TOLD YOU SO! (5, Informative)

Kremit (632241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629256)

I was in the same boat as you. I switched to Linux (on my main desktop at least -- my servers have always ran some form of *NIX) on October 25, 2001, the same day Windows XP was released.

Now this, this is absolutely rediculous. This is going to have huge repercussions; I happened to click over to the "Genuine Windows Forum" and saw all kinds of posts there of NEW Dell desktops, valid CDs, and other licensed systems having problems with WGA. When these systems stop working, people are going to flip. To them, this will be akin to the computer crashing and taking their data along with it.

Re:TOLD YOU SO! (3, Insightful)

Deliverator80 (880151) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629269)

I would jump over to Linux if I could run my games on it efficiently and with reliability. As it is, Cedega/Wine/WineX and whatnot, just don't support enough games and are not reliable enough to get me to switch entirely over.

I have a Linux box, and I love the new Fedora Core 5. But it's too much of a pain to run some games to make it worth my time.

Let me know when developers start making games designed to run on Linux, and I'll buy em and switch completely. Until then, no matter how much I hate it, M$ is still gonna be getting my money.

Re:TOLD YOU SO! (1)

LanimilbusLE (793833) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629275)

I've been ranting on Slashdot and elsewhere about the dangers of XP's "product activation" and Treacherous Computing and such for years now
You and the other 90% of slashdot.

Re:TOLD YOU SO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629361)

ha, yeah, what a fucking visionary

Would they risk it? (1, Interesting)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629167)

I can't imagine that Microsoft would be so stupid as to eventually start turning off people's Windows systems. Talk about cutting your own throat. Even the Microsoft fans would start thinking of turning to other OS options.

Oh I don't know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629237)

M$ toadies such as Paul Thurrot and John Dvorak will find a way to make this sound like a "feature" ...

Re:Would they risk it? (1)

inphinity (681284) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629248)

Actually, I don't think Microsoft 'fans' (if such a class of citizenry even exists) would have anything to worry about -- they probably bought their copies of XP legally, and would have nothing to fear over a few 'dirty rotten scoundres' getting their 'illegal' copies of XP turned off.

Re:Would they risk it? (2, Insightful)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629289)

I think even some legit Microsoft users might not like the idea of Microsoft taking such a heavy handed approach. As a business owner I wouldn't want to risk having one of my employees PCs out of commission due to what could be an honest mistake or omission on my part.

Slim left town (4, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629291)

I can't imagine that Microsoft would be so stupid as to eventually start turning off people's Windows systems. Talk about cutting your own throat. Even the Microsoft fans would start thinking of turning to other OS options.
A very insightful post on ZD (same subject) pointed out that MS has had enough experience now with desktop Linux to not fear it. A few years ago, they were really worried -- but Linux got to be very good as a desktop system and MS saw absolutely no loss of market.

Now they know that they really do have the world by the balls, and they've decided to squeeze.

Let's face it -- the MS fans will bitch and whine, then they'll do as they're told. This is going to be a very good bottom-line move for Microsoft.

Re:Slim left town (2, Interesting)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629356)

Very good point but I still expect more and more people to EVENTUALLY go to Linux. I think it still hasn't quite matured enough yet for the mass market. At some point I expect Linux to be easier to install and manage than Windows. At that point is when we are more likely to see more and more people switching.

And? (3, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629174)

It is their product, if you didn't pay for it I don't see how you can complain that they aren't going to support you or allow you to continue using it. If you want software to be free that much, use Linux and stop complaining.

Re:And? (1)

MojoBox (985651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629219)

Yeah, you people, yeesh. God forbid a company try to protect their product. No no, every business should just be totally altruistic, and run themselves into the ground giving there expensive products away. Look at it this way, if you paid for it, this isn't a hassle, if you didn't, you've got absolutely no right to it anyways. I'm not neccesarily against pirating, I view it as a game of sorts, and congratulations to the winners, they are generally the ones who worked harder to win.

Re:And? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629279)

I paid for it, it IS a hassle, and I do not want my bandwidth to phone hoe.
Then there is the machine off the network that I manually update. Is it going to stop working?

What about people who have networks without internet connections?

Re:And? (1)

abionnnn (758579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629235)

>It is their product, if you didn't pay for it I don't see how you can complain that they aren't going to support you or allow you to continue using it. If you want software to be free that much, use Linux and stop complaining.

I did pay for it, why should I have it use up my bandwidth in order to phone home whenever it feels like it?

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

riptide_dot (759229) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629253)

It is their product, if you didn't pay for it I don't see how you can complain that they aren't going to support you or allow you to continue using it. If you want software to be free that much, use Linux and stop complaining. What if I did pay for it and I don't want the WGA software installed? I'm not allowed to use the sofware I PAID FOR because I don't want to add on to it? That's like selling me a car and telling me that if I refuse to put a spoiler on the back that I won't be allowed to drive it.

Re:And? (3, Interesting)

soren42 (700305) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629280)

It is their product, if you didn't pay for it I don't see how you can complain that they aren't going to support you or allow you to continue using it. If you want software to be free that much, use Linux and stop complaining.

First, you're completely correct, and I completely agree. But, the conundrum here is that one of Microsoft's biggest assets is their market penetration. Legal or not, a PC running Windows *tends* to be a PC not running Linux. If you suddenly force all the non-legal users off your platform, you're forcing the to use something else. Which means, in turn, more demand for OpenOffice, games on Linux, GAIM, ad infinitium - until there is a more, better, complete Linux end-user software stack to seriously compete with Windows.

This WGA might (and I stress might) look good on paper to the beancounters at Microsoft, but if you're an architect, visionary, or strategist there, you've got to scream to every senior leader to can get on the phone about what a phenomenally stupid idea this... and what it's potential impact on marketshare will be.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629282)

I don't *want* to use it, but I have to since MS is a monopoly and Windows is the de facto standard.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629283)

Don't you mean, "If you no longer have proof that you bought it," I don't see how you can complain about it?

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629305)

Taking it upon yourself to destroy someone else's property (and that IS what a copy of windows is, regardless of MS's viewpoint) because you believe they have committed a crime is against the law.

We have charges, indictments, and trials to decide these matters.

firewalled PC's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629177)

What about all the corporate desktops which don't have direct internet access.. I doubt MS are going to try and shutdown those too, it would be business suicide.

Re:firewalled PC's (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629332)

They wouldn't have WGA installed in the first place, would they?

First step for any new windows box should always be disabling Automatic Updates, though I wonder if there isn't already a backdoor to counter that step.

Lost for words? (3, Funny)

tesseract5d (871694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629183)

Where is the genuine advantage? Can I at least get a regular advantage? Something? A bone perhaps? Why not just call it what it is: Microsoft Windows Spyware/Destruction/Shutdown/TheShaft(c) Tool?

Re:Lost for words? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629331)

Guess what, the genuine advantage is, wait for it, you can actually use Windows(that you paid for) without it going emo on you!

Microsoft is the new Sony (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629186)

Microsoft Windows, now comes with preinstalled rootkit for your optimal experience.

Get a clue Microsoft! (3, Funny)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629199)

Lemme guess, MS is all pissed off because Vista won't ship anytime soon and they aren't making cash on it. So now they have to increase revenue by making people buy XP who may not have legit copies? I sure hope some 16 year-old hacker takes care of this problem for good.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

ok then (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629202)

SO if i don't agree to the new EULA (should be safe to assume it will be there) who do i call to get my money back?

I am getting sick of this new habit of changing terms after i buy into something for pretty much anything anyone can apply it to :/

Re:ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629360)

I believe the microsoft EULA states that they can change the terms at anytime without notification. Of course such a license is not legally binding. I mean they could come out with a new rumpelstiltskin clause that allows bill gates to come and take your first born.

Great... (1)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629203)

Currently one of the only PC i have access to is running XP SP1. It has all the other updates. I would update to SP2 but i can't the install errors out and i've not found any info on how to fix it. I would format it but it is not my computer and the people care to much about there data to let me format. And there is no access to a backup solution.

Time to upgrade my PC (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629208)

From Windows XP to Windows 98-SE.....

BTW, I've got a Home PC running my office's license of XP. I get some crazy messages at home from the WGA.... strangely the office PCs hardly grumble.

No wonder Gates is leaving the party...

News: Hackers release a method that circumvents it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629210)

Just watch the technology news :P It'll happen.

BULLSHIT! (1, Funny)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629217)

Well, I think I exhausted my vocabulary coming up with the subject line, so I'll wait for responses.

Re:BULLSHIT! (3, Insightful)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629319)

Why are we making all this fuss over what could just be a rumor unwittingly spread by a clueless help desk worker? Since when did help desk techs become privy to future, unannounced plans for a company, let alone ones as sensitive as this one?

I'm not saying it's impossible but consider the source.

Stupid Stupid Stupid (1)

Geekbot (641878) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629221)

So to combat a minor amount of unauthorized installations, MS is going to give THIS MUCH fuel to the arguments that Windows is a horrible choice for government use? Admittedly, I'm sure MS wont require all government workstations to 'phone home'. But who wants software in which spying features are standard to be installed in government agencies. Even though most people don't really care about occasionaly privacy violations, it seems that this is severe enough that A LOT of people are going to start paying attention.

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629330)

Privacy is only one concern. We also have to keep checking our *valid* Windows OS to keep it alive!

Suppose the DMV shuts down, because they have an old WGA set-up. Worse, they could shut down for days just to upgrade it.

Imagine universities losing computers to this. They have to pay for more techs (work study?) to re-install Windows all the time.

Corporate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629240)

people who buy VLKs will still have to explicitly allow every machine out to the net to connect to ms?

Yeah, that will fly.

Yay, Linux (and OSX) (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629249)

I'm sure I'll just be one of a hundred or more comments along this line (but yet, give me the love anyway), but lordy, couldn't this be the biggest boon to non-MS operating systems?

When every geek out there, and every sister/mother/grandma/grandpa/etc. of a geek who installed a non-licensed copy of Windows for their family, suddenly finds Windows non-functional, and the only viable option a costly purchase of Windows, won't flocking to Linux (or picking up Mac's with OSX) be far more attractive? This could really be the turning point of the MS domination of the market.

MS knows that a large chunk of their installations out there are not legit; maybe even the majority (maybe even the vast majority). But it helps them keep their ubiquity. Taking aim and carefully shooting themselves in the foot with a howitzer, is what this seems like to me. Their cost will suddenly be far more real to people, and they will seek alternatives, and Linux (in friendly distro's such as Ubuntu) meet a large chunk of people's needs. Browsing the web, checking email, in a free OS. Good enough.

Given the effect this would have, I kind of doubt the validity of the rumour. But if it takes place, giddyup! Every Linux person out there should help everyone they know hit by this, transition away from Windows!

It's almost too much of a cliche', but "bring it on!"

Shocking (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629254)

I can't say I'm surprised. They are a lot of copies of Windows out there, legit and illegit. Hell, I'm using 2000 right now :(. Microsoft wants to move copies of Vista when it comes out, and I can only guess that this might be part of some sort of plot to make that happen. Personally, I hope it disables Windows for millions of users with legitimate copies - including business boxes. More users for OS X and Linux :).

Bad, bad, bad decision... if true (1)

Valley Redneck (978806) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629255)

If this is true, and that's a big if, it would raise some hard core legal questions. Can Microsoft revoke a license that's been purchased legally? I know a number of people who are having trouble with this stuff who dropped the $100+ for a sealed box copy already, and they're seriously PO'd. Talk about making OS X look good...

I'm no legal scholar, but might this not also have some sort of interplay with the anti-trust settlement? A remote kill switch sounds like it could have some major anti-competitive uses.

From a PR perspective, it's unimaginable that they wouldn't jump on a rumor like this right out of the gate. If they don't quash this in the next 48 hours, this has the potential to snowball. Stuff like this has to be squashed early or it lives forever.

Hmmm.... (2, Interesting)

carterhawk001 (681941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629259)

Im still on SP1, i run a tight ship and have never had a problem with spyware or virii. My questions is, does microsoft have some way of forcing this on me or has the fact that i stopped using windows update over a year ago saved me?

This may end up hurting microsoft... (3, Insightful)

sammydee (930754) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629261)

Microsoft may have shot themselves in the foot with this latest crackdown on pirated windows copies:

Firstly, I would be surprised if the real pirates didn't have a crack for this less than a week after WGA is made compulsory.Secondly, the fact that people HAVE to pay for a windows version rather than just sticking on an illegal version will cause these people to migrate more and more to free OS's like linux.

People don't use windows because it is a "good" OS, they use it because everybody else does and programs are written for it. Lessen the number of people using windows, and you lessen the reason for companies/people to code specifically for it, hence you lessen the reason for using it.

Blessing in disguise. (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629263)

I hope that tons of XP PCs get shut off all at once so that it will create a very big outcry. Then there would be no time more ripe for all the Linux evangelists to preach loudly and gain converts.

Not Likely (3, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629266)

A couple of scenarios I typically see:

User #1: Has auto update on and is a member in good standing anyway. No problems

User #2: Has auto update off and is a member in good standing. No problems because they haven't updated their computer since they bought it.

User #3: Running cracked copy and will have a way around this doomsday scenario pretty soon.

Your user #3 is a minority in the U.S. Microsoft and every successful software company -knows- the key to making popular software is to make it easy enough to crack. So I don't see the Microsoft playing "license enforcer" anywhere except maybe the U.S.

Sensational summary though.

Re:Not Likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629318)

This is going hurt user #4 the most.

User #4 the idiots who run a cracked Windows and leave autoupdate on.

Yay! Excuse to buy a new Mac! (1)

chphilli (885315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629288)

You know, about the only thing this will cause me to lose is my ability to play WoW on my powerful Windows gaming machine. ( Since WoW is pretty much the only PC game I play anymore. ) I can play WoW on my G4 Powerbook, but it's much nicer on the Windows desktop.

So, the end result is, my nice Windows machine becomes a nice Ubuntu/XGL machine, and I buy a nice Mac desktop machine for general work and WoW. Which will work perfectly, since my G4 laptop will be slightly old by that time.

Along with all that, it gives me a great excuse to stop supporting my friends and families who are running Windows machines ( legitimate or not ), since I won't have Windows myself to test against.

So this whole WGA issue that looked mean and bad in the beginning is now looking really good for me!

Great! (2, Informative)

Jestrzcap (46989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629300)

Honestly, I hope this happens (I will be investing in a transgaming [transgaming.com] account again, but eh). It will help curb my gaming habit. I hope it does the same thing for a lot of other people (if I dont see some more support for Linux and Mac in the gaming world then game developers are going to stop making money off of me)

No way. (5, Interesting)

willith (218835) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629303)

If this is all true, I'll eat my hat.

The thing to look it is how this might affect legitimate corporate versions of XP--and by that, I mean VLK versions actually being used in an enterprise setting.

The company for which I work has more than 100,000 copies of XP running in offices on six continents, participating in one of the largest Active Directory installations in the world. Every system's load is tightly controlled and managed, and I can tell you that there are no copies of WGA anywhere on any of those desktops (I've seen the SMS reports). Nor will there ever be.

People say to "vote with your dollars", but your dollars, and my dollars, don't matter. Large corporate dollars matter--like the kind of dollars that can outfit a company's world-wide IT needs. WGA has no place on a configuration-controlled and managed enterprise desktop, and MS would never risk upsetting their real customers--corporate Windows & Office sales--to emplace something like this.

what is the source here? (5, Informative)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629308)

Before you get too excited, this is a slashdot link to a zdnet story that links to a blog called Interesting People that posted an email from an end user named David Pollack who got this information from a guy at an 800 number at Windows support. I'll wait until I learn more before making a judgement.

I doubt it'll shut down illegal copies (2, Funny)

arakon (97351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629309)

It will just give balmer your address and at christmas he'll come down your chimney and throw chairs at you. Chairs with spikes on them and laser beams.

Oh this is going to be good for PR... (5, Insightful)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629317)

What about my two perfectly legitimately licensed machines at home that fail the "Windows Genuine Advantage" test every time they update WGA? Considering that one of them is my copy of Advanced Server 2003, I won't be exactly happy when it gets killed this fall. (Hey, I just use it for the mail server program because I can't stand sendmail.)

And I'm just a little bitty guy with one server running. What happens when this hits some company's server farm and they all shut down? How much liability is MicroSoft going to have when that happens?

And every time they "fix" my copy after the new WGA comes out, I have to make manual registry changes. Can you imagine having to do that on a 500 machine server farm?

Great idea MicroSoft, if your product actually worked.

Ya, this will work......not. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629320)

Here is a funny related story to this. I have 3 PCs. 2 self built monsters for my personal use both with cracked copies of Win XP. The third is a Dell Laptop that I got from my company to use for DR. After the patch a few weeks back that started checking for "genuine" copies of Windows guess which one doesn't like me now?

False Positve (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15629333)

I have a windows xp pro box which is fully licensed and activated however, the WGA spyware keeps bugging me at startup and accusing me of being a criminal just because it cannot connect to the mothership. The reason why it cannot connect to the mothership on startup is because I activate my internet manaully and not have it set to run on startup.

I have removed the WGA crap and will not be re-applying it nor any other windows update post SP2 for that matter.

I am a legitimate customer of MS and they accuse me of not having a genuine version of their product. I do hope the WGA comes back to bite them in the ass.

Now, where did I put that Ubuntu DVD?

Start Your Distros (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629340)

Get your Linux distros ready. Prepare some simple FAQs for lusers (like me). If Microsoft really pulls off this stunt, it could be the greatest opening FOSS has ever had to get onto Joe Average's home PC. The Linux community really needs to unify and prepare for this opportunity.

But WGA doesn't work on my work laptop! (1)

Paul Bristow (118584) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629342)

I have a Sony Vaio laptop at work. It came with XP Professional, hologram sticker and everything. WGA doesn't work on it.

No-one knows why and I certainly don't have time to figure it out. If they try this, I will just switch to Apple at work. I will simply not spend time to fix their stupidities.

Destroyed boot sector? (1)

countach (534280) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629348)

This reference to a destroyed boot sector has me worried, because that is exactly what happened to me the other day. I have a disk with one big partition, but it started showing up as two partitions and all hell broke loose. Never seen this happen before. I reformatted and re-installed, and touch wood everything is ok so far....

What if we didn't install it? (1)

courtarro (786894) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629359)

So some of us who didn't like the idea of Windows continuously phoning home and didn't install WGA. What exactly will be enforcing this automatic shutdown? Which other misrepresented update will they release near fall that adds this "feature"? Is it a security release we've already received, or one to come in the future? I don't know many people out there who would install "KB 999666: Windows Anti-anti-WGA Automatic Shutdown Update" if they've already made a conscious decision not to install WGA.

Or, was this part of SP2? SP1? Built into XP from the start? We got complacent to secret codes for installation. Some people got complacent to "Activation". Now we're supposed to get complacent to automatic shutdowns?

Oh well, I'm not too worried. Even if I screw up and accidentally install this auto-shutdown update and they erroneously decide that my completely legit copy of XP is bootleg, the hack community will have a fix before the sun goes down.

How exactly. (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629363)

Since WGA is not a default part of windows XP (being that is did not exist when XP came out) eactly how can windows turn round and refuse to run if it isn't there?

Surely therefore it will just be another update that people won't install. Maybe a few pirates will have to re-install windows and not download the patch at most.

Sure does suck though, glad I just made to move to a mac mini for my main computer.

Still my windows box runs windows XP64 and there is no sign of WGA on that as yet unless i missed something!

So the way I see it, some peecee's get switched off, the pirates re-install, a few might buy windows and some might go, hey these mac's are nice (sorry I just like my new mac, never liked the pre osx ones but osx seems likea proper os, even reminds me of amiga os in some ways!)

Er what was I on about? Nah I'm not sure either, anyway I can only see this hurting microsoft, after all it was the we want everyone to run windows even if they don't pay etos that got them where they are today.

You can still use illegal copies though..... (3, Interesting)

fernandoh26 (963204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15629367)

Making WGA mandatory doesn't mean ALL illegal copies of windows will be shut off, only the ones that have WGA installed.

You can do a fresh (and illegal) install of Windows from the leaked corporate verion floating around, load SP2 on it (you can download SP1 and SP1, directx, media player 10, etc as 'standalone' installer packages and get around the whole WGA issue), and just completely turn off automatic updates. Without WGA installed, the OS will never phone home and will never be deactivated. Problem solved?

However, not having WGA installed will prevent future security updates and bug fixes, which means you'll have to take care to use a firewall and/or anti-virus apps accordingly, and install apps which won't bog you down with spyware/malware/adware (which unfortunately the general public mostly doesn't do, but this solution works for any semi-intelligent individual).
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