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A Different Kind of WGA 'Problem'

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the foolproof-just-found-a-better-fool dept.

348

Ed Bott recently attempted to scout out the problems reported in so many horror stories floating around the net relating to Microsoft's WGA. He did experience problems, however, not the ones that you might expect. He intentionally installed a pirated copy of Windows XP to see how the process worked but was unable to get WGA to recognize his computer as pirated. From the article: "I'm reluctantly running a pirated version of Windows and can't get caught no matter how hard I try. But these same people want us to believe that the WGA software they've developed is nearly foolproof. They claim that all but "a fraction of a percent" of those 60 million people who've been denied access to Microsoft updates and downloads are guilty, guilty, guilty. Right."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877206)

wtf

If that's what you can get away with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877212)

Imagine what the ones who got caught must have done!

A solution to your problem (5, Funny)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877217)

I'm reluctantly running a pirated version of Windows and can't get caught no matter how hard I try.

Here you go! [bsa.org]

Re:A solution to your problem (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877517)

Do those guys go after GPL violators as well? I'm pretty sure I know of a case where a company's not following the GPL, and would love to get these guys involved. Or are they hypocrites who don't go after their members when they break copyright laws themselves?

Re:A solution to your problem (4, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877561)

You want this [gpl-violations.org] .

BSA is for proprietary violations.

Re:A solution to your problem (4, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877568)

You see, the BSA doesn't have a financial interest to go after GPL violators because there's a lack of monetary incentive. If any of the GPL software was owned by a multi-billion dollar company shelling out the big bucks to enforce the infringement of their IP, sure the BSA would be right after them.

Seems you know that BSA page address by heart :-) (1)

AndreyFilippov (550131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877570)

It was just the 3-rd post.

Post the key! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877221)

No, I just want to confirm the article. Really.

Corporate (4, Informative)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877232)

Its simple. Hes using the corporate VLK. Microsoft would _never_ damage its corporate customers by subjecting them to WGA. I thought it was well known that corporate versions of things (windows, symantec) are vastly superior and thusly are the most heavily pirated. Always go for a pirated corp copy over a real one. Those leet software pirates know how to do the job right, the first time.

Re:Corporate (4, Informative)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877263)

You're wrong I think, I've seen VLK's get flagged as pirated. However, they were :) When a legit key was put in place, the warning goes away.

Re:Corporate (4, Interesting)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877297)

Yeah, it doesn't take long searching any torrent site, "keygen" site or such to find compromised VLKs, and it takes Microsoft equally little time to find same keys and blacklist them. I'm guessing many of the WGA updates are to do with blacklist updates, as well as ways of preventing DLL subversion and such.

Re:Corporate (3, Informative)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877277)

The majority of the users WGA identifies as pirate are using corporate volume license keys.

However what might be happening (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877434)

Is he might be using a legit corperate key. We have a VLK here (university) and you can just install XP on any system no problem, and it'll report as legit. They don't check vs number of license to make sure it's an exact count. So you could install it unlicensed on a personal laptop, and it'd report as legit no problems. Now however if they found tons of systems outside of the university cropping up, and saw the key on a serials board, they might invalidate it and issue us a new one.

However just installing a copy of corperate unlicensed won't do anything. It doesn't activate and there's not a hard limit check.

To really test WGA you need to do something like get a known pirate key or take a non-volume copy of XP and install it on more systems than you are allowed to.

Re:However what might be happening (3, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877500)

"Now however if they found tons of systems outside of the university cropping up, and saw the key on a serials board, they might invalidate it and issue us a new one."

Or, they might just invalidate it and leave it to the folks in your IT organization to explain why they need to buy retail licenses from now on...

Re:Corporate (3, Interesting)

Abreu (173023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877285)

I know for a fact that all the windows machines at my job are installed with the same keys for its software (due to laziness from our IT dept, all the licenses are there --locked in a closet somewhere).
All our computers are patched regularly and automatically, without a problem.

Re:Corporate (0, Flamebait)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877300)

No moron, thier not lazy, there using a VLK.

Re:Corporate (4, Interesting)

calebb (685461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877318)

Try using the infamous pre-SP1 vlk that starts with FCKGW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCKGW [wikipedia.org]

What fucking morons modded this up? (-1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877326)

The people who modded this up are cocksmokers. The vast majority of pirated copies of XP are the corporate, volume licensed edition. How many other people know [at least part of] a certain 25-character-long alphanumeric string that begins with FCKGW? That's [probably] the first VLK to be blocked.

Re:What fucking morons modded this up? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877388)

How many other people know [at least part of] a certain 25-character-long alphanumeric string that begins with FCKGW?
We all do now, silly! FCKGW! (which amusingly sounds like Fuck George W.)

Re:What fucking morons modded this up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877640)

it's Fuck Gates World

Re:Corporate (5, Interesting)

poliopteragriseoapte (973295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877347)

What is a "corporate version"?

I work for a university, and I have a Windows XP laptop (university property) installed using our school of engineering key (we have a site-wide license). Is that a "corporate" version? Anyway, I had not booted that laptop in Windows in a LONG while, since I had been mostly using it with another hard drive with SuSE linux installed.

Recently, I booted it, and gave my ok to its doing 18 Windows Updates (techstaff won't support my laptop unless I do the updates). After doing the updates (from my home, I am not sure if this is relevant), Windows now claims that the copy is pirated.

Since it is certainly not pirated, I decided to simply not bother with it. The fun part is that in some couple of weeks, I am going to give a talk at Microsoft with that laptop... and no, I don't plan to fix it before then!

Re:Corporate (3, Insightful)

Jtoxification (678057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877430)

Oh, please make sure to incorporate that into your speech :-D

A friend of mine is actually afraid to update his new xp 64 software for that reason, and it's a shame too. That's a fast computer and he stays on xp 32 since until he gets all the drivers and fixes for xp 64 (he's manually loaded as many as he can), it's going to be fast as molasses.

Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877239)

...anyone think I can get him to trade? :D

(to tell the truth, I am currently running zero illegal copies of microsoft products. work bought me a laptop that came with a license, and I put linux on my stinkpad, and used its windows 98 license in a virtual machine so I can play alpha centauri)

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (1)

peterfa (941523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877361)

Why don't you just bittorrent the Linux version? Or you can get a Linux installer... it adds the Linux binaries but requires the game data.

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (0, Troll)

ppc_digger (961188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877375)

work bought me a laptop that came with a license, and I put linux on my stinkpad, and used its windows 98 license in a virtual machine so I can play alpha centauri

Using OEM licenses on computers other than the one they came with is illegal.

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877454)

If it is running inside of a virtual machine that is running on the same physical machine that the license was bundled with, is it still a violation of the OEM license??

If so, that *really* stinks.

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877463)

work bought me a laptop that came with a license, and I put linux on my stinkpad, and used its windows 98 license in a virtual machine so I can play alpha centauri
Using OEM licenses on computers other than the one they came with is illegal.

Show me where in my comment I said I was using it on a computer other than the one it came with, and I'll kiss your ass.

Since I didn't say that, why don't you fuck off and try reading my comments before replying to them? A lot of you idiot slashbots have that same problem.

See, the virtual machine is not real, it's imaginary in the sense of actual computers. Windows 98 is indeed running on the same machine for which the OEM license was granted. In fact, since it's done through virtualization, it's even running [almost entirely] right on that machine's CPU.

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (2, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877528)

Using OEM licenses on computers other than the one they came with is illegal.

Bullshit. You can get OEM Windows licenses with a mouse or keyboard (in fact it's the cheapest way to get them, short of buying in bulk from fire damaged stock (one company I worked with licensed all their machines that way - far cheaper than a volume license deal)).

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (2, Informative)

JPribe (946570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877601)

Do your homework. There is no requirement to buy *any* hardware at all.

Re:Well, shit, I have the opposite problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877382)

Alpha centauri has a linux native version and works like a charm, even in my amd64 system.

Alpha Centauri (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877431)

There's a Linux version of Alpha Centauri available as a torrent.
I downloaded it in April (and I do not feel guilty of copyright infringement because I've bought the ms-windows version and Loki who made the port doesn't exist anymore...)
A quick Google "torrent alpha centauri Linux" sent me here [torrentreactor.net] .
Now, it's the full ISO, it could be useful to share only the binaries, as you have already artwork files...
Only issue I have with it is that fullscreen uses a modeline that doesn't fit completely in my screen :(

Re:Alpha Centauri (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877468)

Well, I was making a point that I hadn't done any copyright violation, and here you are telling me to violate copyright. I think that is actually a lot worse than pirating the original game; someone took the effort to port to linux and then you don't reward 'em? Then again, I'm not rewarding them either, because I'm not paying $50 for a game tht's $20 for windows in the bargain bin.

Astounding logic (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877241)

Truly, a display of intellect unequalled in Slashdot history. Someone hasn't been caught, so the people that have been must be innocent. Were Johnny Cochran still alive, he'd have you on the frontline of high-profile criminal defense cases.

Re:Astounding logic (2, Insightful)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877283)

The logic is that the MS claim of "foolproof" WGA software has only tagged a fraction of the millions of legitimate users as pirates, while true pirated copies are working as legitimate. The logic would follow that for every pirated copy marked as legal, someone with the legal copy is being marked as a pirate. That supposed "fraction" starts to look something like 1/2 or 3/5 or worse.

Re:Astounding logic (4, Insightful)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877323)

The logic would follow that for every pirated copy marked as legal, someone with the legal copy is being marked as a pirate. That supposed "fraction" starts to look something like 1/2 or 3/5 or worse.

That logic doesn't really follow at all. Anyhow, in tests like these, if you want to diminish false positives, then false negatives usually increase. We should be applauding Microsoft for not being overzealous.

But then again, this is slashdot. MS never gets applause here. At most a murmur of reluctant approval.

Re:Astounding logic (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877424)

I think the (flawed) logic is that since MS is 1) capable of producing false negatives, then 2) it follows that their method of identification is flawed in such a way that it's capable of producing false positives, and 3) if it is capable of producing false positives, then false positives have been produced. There is no logical entailment between any of those premises/conclusions, however, especially since we have limited knowledge of how Microsoft identifies pirated copies. As the other poster here points out, it's probably just the opposite, if empirical evidence of other filtering software holds true. That is, the capability of producing false negatives probably reduces the number of false positives.

Re:Astounding logic (1)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877455)

Sounds like the whole thing is flawed. In any case, you're right, my "logic" is flawed as I used the term loosely. Of course, since MS is the subject of discussion, logic takes a backseat anyhow.

Re:Astounding logic (4, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877370)

Yes, the submitter is using dubious logic, which doesn't even need to be used because there's already evidence that innocents are being caught.Here's some logic for you:
  1. Quite a few people have already been incorrectly accused of piracy by WGA.
  2. There are pirates not being caught by WGA. If someone trying to get caught can't, what about those trying not to get caught?
  3. Every computer accused of piracy is unable to recieve security updates, making it that much more likely to be hit with malware and therefore become a transmitter of such. The more transmitters, the faster the virus spreads.
  4. The majority of pirates will not go out and buy Windows because of WGA. They either don't have the money or don't want to spend it. If anything they will download third-party tools that don't require WGA.
  5. There is no benefit to the Windows Genuine Advantage unless their goal is to get people to purchase Windows 2 or 3 times. Come to think of it, that probably is their goal.

Re:Astounding logic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877402)

Hey, fucktard! Your own logic is flawed; you're assuming that we are all talking about this single incident, rather than many incidents outside the reference of this article! So, whose unequal intellect were you referring to, Sir Cynical?

Yours Truly,
Mr Trolley,
Trolls, Inc.

Mod Parent UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877416)

How is that more people haven't pointed out that this post uses completely bullshit logic?

Let me be perfectly clear for all the kiddies out there: A high false-negative rate DOES NOT IMPLY a high false-positive rate! Understanding this only requires basic comprehension skills.

Re:Mod Parent UP (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877490)

You're true in that a high false-negative rate does not imply a high false-positive rate. But the point you miss is that we already have a high false-positive rate.

Who are the developers (4, Insightful)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877242)

When things like this come out; things like key checking for a game install and everything else that is designed to stop piracy I often wonder who wrote it?

Are the best and brightest out there the ones that get stuck with this task? I would think it'd be the interns and that developers everyone hates that get the fun task.

I've used products that had good licensing tools. Keys that you enabled online, and enabled a number of users etc. Everytime it seems like it comes out of some smaller software company with small bright teams. I'm guessing in these cases the senior level codes and maybe even the whole team got involved.

Anyone out there have expierence writing key checkers and other piracy related pieces of functionality?

Re:Who are the developers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877511)

For some this is actually a 'fun' task. If you think about it, it is an extreemly hard problem. Some people like to solve hard problems.

I worked with a guy once who was putting tons of restrictions into his code to 'lock it down'. Then we systematicly showed him how each one could be defeated quite easily. Finaly he threw his hands up and goes 'its good enough you would have to be a computer nerd to know how to get around it', 'but dude all you need to know is 1 nerd'.

Re:Who are the developers (5, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877569)

"I've used products that had good licensing tools. Keys that you enabled online, and enabled a number of users etc."

I _hate_ crap like that. I use DriveCrypt for encryption (from securstar.de), and it has the most horrific license system I've ever had the displeasure to use. You have to activate your software and lock it to a computer, then if you want to use it on an alternative computer you have to uninstall it on the first, then enter a "deactivation" code on the website, then finally you can reactivate on the new PC. God forbid you should format one of your computers forgetting to deactive your license first. I even had a problem where a new version of the software wouldn't accept the current activation on the system. I had to uninstall the newer version, re-install the older version, uninstall it and de-activate, then install the new one again and activate it. At that point I was like "JFK!", and no, that's not a reference to Kennedy.

Lets face it: People hate activation, and for a good reason. It doesn't stop piracy. It doesn't really reduce piracy either. All it does it cause perpetual headaches to your legally licensed customers. I work on software products and was partly responsible for redesigning our software registration system, which used to also use online activation. We stripped out the 'activation' element and sales didn't drop at all, however the volume of support traffic that we had to handle due to activation issues (the largest type of support incident by far) dropped to almost nothing. Our customers were much happier people.

Secrets to succesful system: 1) Make a good product, 2) Don't extort your customers, 3) Make the registration process simple.

An example of a good registration system: I recently bought Sonar 5 from Cakewalk. It came with a serial code in the DVD sleave, which you punch into Cakewalks' website in exchange for a registration code that can be used perpetually. That's it. Simple. Cakewalk get their registration info, you get to use the software you just paid hundreds of dollars for as you want. Sure, there is an element of trust involved in that, but hey, you just paid a few hundred bucks. Maybe they ought to trust you after that. By comaprison, other similar software I have licenses for is heinous. Cakewalk earned a lot of respect from me because of this.

Pirates will pirate. People with morals who wish to support your work will pay where they can. Respect your customers.

Re:Who are the developers (3, Funny)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877589)

Uh.. ok 'JFK' should be 'JFC'. I was so mad about the whole thing it made me incoherent.

This is surprising (3, Funny)

spykemail (983593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877253)

because none of Microsoft's software products have any flaws...

Funny that... (4, Funny)

dcapel (913969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877257)

It seems I can't get Canonical's apt program to recognize I'm running a pirated version of ubuntu. It should be obvious, since I even got it as an iso file on the internet for free...

Re:Funny that... (5, Funny)

click2005 (921437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877316)

apt-get install WGA

Re:Funny that... (1)

Jester1023 (580582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877671)

And don't forget to sudo.

Re:Funny that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877654)

zenity --error --text "Your copy of Ubuntu is not genuine.\n\nYou may be a victim of software counterfeiting."

Many people just use their employeer's key (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877259)

I know a number of people who 'borrowed' a Windows Support Key from their employeers, and applied the key to their pirated version of Windows. None of them have had a problem with the Windows Validator tool.

Re:Many people just use their employeer's key (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877354)

What happens though when Microsoft detects all 11 out of your 10 licensed machines online at the same time?

(this is of course hypothetical for now)

Which one will be the one that gets disabled?
Best hope its not one of the directors machines.

5 computers at office, 2 at directors home, 3 in the warehouse and 1 from a residential ip.

I wonder if the employer could extract customer details from the ISP based upon this or if they would have to go via a john doe lawsuit (like RIAA)?

Re:Many people just use their employeer's key (3, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877496)

What happens though when Microsoft detects all 11 out of your 10 licensed machines online at the same time?

Isn't it obvious ?

Whoever made out the schedule to have more than 10 people working that day is fired.

I'm just worried that I'll buy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877261)

a copy from a store (you can't return software), MS then says it's pirated, and I'm fucked out of hundreds of bucks.

How do ypu prove that you're not a pirate if MS says you are?

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877291)

Make a lot of noise. Seems to work.

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (3, Insightful)

wanax (46819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877353)

As long as you're willing to rat out the reseller, MS will replace your pirated version with a genuine one.

http://www.betanews.com/article/NonLegit_Windows_U sers_Get_Amnesty/1115239342 [betanews.com]

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (2, Funny)

madsheep (984404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877441)

Yea, turning in my Uncle was worth the savings though! What a great program.

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (4, Informative)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877444)

Mine's legit and WGA rejects it. I attend classes at University which pays microsoft 4 million dollars a year and in exchange all of the students get microsoft products for free (the univeristy charges 5 dollars per disc, or you can download them for free ).

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877536)

Well, either call Microsoft or email the administrator of the MSDNAA (or whatever it is) program.

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877574)

Use American Express.

Re:I'm just worried that I'll buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877622)

Unless you can provide the appropriate papers from your government (that is, Letters of Marque), unfortunately, you'll have to be taken back to Redmond and hanged, sir.

So what we need to do (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877274)

Is get him to host an ISO and share his cd key (or google one I guess) so none of us naughty pirates get attacked by WGA.

I mean, maybe he should distribute it for all the people that are being wrongfully accused of having a pirated version.

On a less stupid note, exactly how much of Microsoft's software has worked 100% of the time? Especially with all these false positives out there is it really to be so unexpected that a single person would be able to slip through the cracks?

Re:So what we need to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877360)

Oh, come on. I dislike microsoft software (most of them, at least) just as the next guy (in /.). But exactly how much of humanity's software has worked 100% of the time ? Give me a break. They do lousy software ? Of course they do. But that comment was pushing it too much.

All software is bugged, some are just so well written that their bugs are not in the execution path :)

Re:So what we need to do (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877395)

It wasn't meant as exactly "how much does 100% of Microsoft's and ONLY Microsoft's software work?".

Though you do bring up a good point. Obviously every piece of software will have an error sometime. Even if in some cases its for some extremely obscure reason or as a result of hardware failure (or both)

Re-create the problem. (2, Funny)

Keaster (796594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877289)

To beter help troubleshoot the issue I ask that you please send me an .iso and key. I would like to attempt to help re-create the problem to further assist you troubleshoot.

Thanks,

It's still a problem. (4, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877293)

It's far more of a problem for casual, non-technical pirates than the handful of legitimate customers who have been misidentified.

I personally know of at least half a dozen people who have subsequently either a) purchased a legitimate copy of Windows, b) downgraded back to their older, legitimate version or c) bought a Mac, because they lack the technical knowledge to keep up with the WGA arms race.

WGA is certainly going to reduce the level of Windows piracy. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it's going to do so because some people will move away from Windows altogether.

Simple fact is that WGA is utterly transparent and utterly irrelevant to most legitimate users, and even those it isn't, it isn't an issue for very long.

Re:It's still a problem. (5, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877522)

Simple fact is that WGA is utterly transparent and utterly irrelevant to most legitimate users, and even those it isn't, it isn't an issue for very long.

I can't speak for "most legitimate users," but I can describe my own brief run-in with a WGA malfunction.

A few weeks ago, when the updated version of WGA was pushed out, my Dell-with-the-original-OS booted with a notice claiming that Windows was not genuine (despite the previous version of WGA reporting no problems). I grumbled about Microsoft's lying sack of *ahem* I mean, POS anti-piracy crap that couldn't tell a real copy of Windows from a fake one, then logged in, fired up a web browser, went to the Knowledge base, mucked around until I found a link that said something like, "Validate here"... and it said, "Oh, yeah, you're genuine. No problem, pal." (Actually, it's a Dell, so that would be "No problem, Dude.")

I spouted some variation of "WTF?" Then I rebooted the machine, just to check, and sure enough it said absolutely nothing about being a pirated copy of Windows.

I eventually concluded that Norton In(ternet)Security had probably blocked the initial validation attempt. With no desktop shell, I didn't have the chance to say "yes, let the damn packet through."

The whole process took maybe 10 minutes, but it was an annoying 10 minutes. I've had my share of frustrations with Linux,* but it's never told me I was ripping off RedSuMandrivuntu.

*My main PC is a Fedora Core box. My wife's main PC is a Mac. We share this Windows box, mainly for gaming.

Re:It's still a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877653)

None of them went to Linux huh :(
I can understand gamers, but you said Mac... guess WGA isn't going to do much for the install base.

I am having this same problem... (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877304)

...except I am running Linux. No matter how hard I try, I can't get those dweebs at Linux Corp. to understand that I never paid for this copy. I keep calling them and asking for a invoice or bill or something. But I guess they don't have a record of my purchase. Go figure. Just lucky I suppose.

Re:I am having this same problem... (5, Funny)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877365)

You're just calling the wrong people: http://www.sco.com/ [sco.com]

Re:I am having this same problem... (4, Funny)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877537)

Talk to Trading Standards [timesonline.co.uk] in the UK.

predictably -mostly the honest are inconvenienced (4, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877339)

I have 2 OEM copies of windows that I bought from Fry's years ago.

Unfortunately -and predictably, in the course of 2 moves I have lost my activation key #s -I didn't glue them to my machines as recommended because I planned on moving the license to another, newer machine eventually.

Now I can't even finish the install without having to find some cracked key from some warez site. Then it won't let me install any security patches or Service Packs.

After the 30 days or whatever is up and I have to activate I then try the warezed key and am told that this key has been used too many times -Duh! a

and then I have to call MS support and get a new activation key from them. Fortunately they haven't given me too much grif, but its still a hassle.

Thanks to old flakey hard drives I have had to do this twice and now it has died a third time.

This time I said screw it and went to fry's and bought a new HP dual core media center PC for $750. so I guess MS won this round.....

But I will be trying this again since I have several more machines sitting around -I guess I'd better write down the key# the next time they give me one over the phone again. Does anyone know if the activation #s they give over the phone are 1-time codes or if they will work multiple times?

Has anyone had any luck just asking them for new activation codes?

-What's the speed of Dark?

MORON! (-1, Flamebait)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877458)

I didn't glue them to my machines as recommended because I planned on moving the license to another, newer machine eventually.

Hey Moron, you can't do that with OEM keys.

Re:predictably -mostly the honest are inconvenienc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877519)

If you are so sick of activating Windows XP, why not use a WPA crack (Windows product activation crack)

Re:predictably -mostly the honest are inconvenienc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877583)

-What's the speed of Dark?

The same as the speed of light.

A different WGA problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877341)

Not too long after WGA came out I tried using System Restore to revert to a back up from about a week earlier to see if it would solve some issues I was having. After reverting to the backup, WGA was sure I had a pirated copy, but if I then reverted to the state it was in before using system restore, it didn't have problems at all. I haven't checked since then to see if maybe it was just because the backup was from before installing WGA, but it's sort of annoying that they would make one of their more useful features useless if the issue still happens.

foolproof-just-found-a-better-fool dept. (0, Offtopic)

industrialvegan (974786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877342)

I just love the name of the department issuing this story, given the content/context of it. LOL!
I'm going off to actually read the article from the link now.

Not likely (0, Troll)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877349)

So wait...You mean to tell me you just called up Microsoft one day and said "Yeah I'd like a pirated version of windows please" And they just handed it over? Yeah smells like BS to me.

but is it activated? (2, Insightful)

Eric Coleman (833730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877351)

Or does it even need activation? having to call MS with your personal information to continue running xp after 60 or so days could be the end of his freedom.

Re:but is it activated? (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877516)

Given that it was a Volume License Key, it probably does not require activation.

There is Anti-WGA cracks... (5, Informative)

Borgschulze (842056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877366)

Microsoft.Windows.XP.Professional.Corporate.SP2.In tegrated.July.2006.MULTI.IMAGE.REPACK-ETH0 That has all the latest updates... and has a WGA crack in it... no wonder he can't get it to recognize it's pirated.

you fail It?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877387)

any parting shot, brain. It is the and promotes our at this point about who can rant Whatever path is lto yet another simple solution

Feh! Windows XP Pirate Edition (5, Informative)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877406)

Obviously the P2P Pirate edition of XP uses the VLK and has modified the legitcontrol.dll, wgatray.exe, and wga*.dll files to not report a WGA violation.

Want to really test the WGA? Use your original copy of Windows XP and search the Internet for a known CD-Key and install with that key that millions of other people have used. Then watch as the retail or OEM version of Windows with unpatched WGA files reports you as a pirate.

Ninja Pirate Hackers and Crackers have modified the WGA files with something called MSIL that is like assembly language. For example if a valid key is found, you might have a comparision done and a JNE to 2000:1345 which calls the part of the code that turns on the "Your copy of Windows is not legit" function. Turn that JNE 2000:1345 into a NOP and the comparison does not match and the program does not jump into the Anti-Pirate code. Or change it to a JE 2000:1345 and if a valid key is found it jumps to the Anti-Pirate code and if an invalid key it does not. Or just take the code at 2000:1345 that turns on the Pirated bit and fill it with NOPs. I am just guessing here, I could be wrong, but I think the pirated version of Windows and those WGA-Fix patches do those sort of things.

Meanwhile my legit copy of Windows XP has to have the WGA spyware on it to get updates from Microsoft. Yeah Windows Update and Microsoft Update require that I install WGA in order to use them. If not, no updates from the web. WGA trashed my fast user switching after it got installed. I can see the WGA files eating my system memory, CPU cycles, and using up bandwidth to report back to Microsoft, yes folks it is spyware. I would guess the pirate version of the WGA Fixed files remove the spyware as well.

Not only that I heard that the pirate version of XP has special tweaks and bug fixes that the retail and OEM versions do not have. Yet your chances of malware infections are greater with the pirate version, because you never know who last modified it before you got a copy. So beware.

Re:Feh! Windows XP Pirate Edition (2, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877466)

try this go to autopatcher.com and download a full set (you may have to download an older full set and then the upgrade sets to get to august)

Re:Feh! Windows XP Pirate Edition (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877591)

JNE/JE thing is exactly what I did with some BBS software I bought when the key didn't work (back in the 286 days).

However, there were multiple places that needed it, my first attempt turned off the invalid key error message; but didn't actually enable the software.

I'd expect small checks to be added in multiple places.

Re:Feh! Windows XP Pirate Edition (1)

toneslook (867386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877619)

Would Get A decent OS, but can't somehow..

can I get a link (4, Funny)

lophophore (4087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877407)

can I get a link to that Google page with the 5 valid keys, please?

Re:can I get a link (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877615)

me too! please send via email to l33t_H4x0rZ@gmail.com

Intentional installed a pirated copy... (2, Funny)

madsheep (984404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877419)

Right... so he intentionally installed a pirated copy. Good work. I think we should hold these genius responsible for breaking the law now. In other news I intentionally stole a car with armored tires and proved the cops couldn't catch me and the spike strip they laid out to stop me couldn't rip my tires... blah blah blah.

Acceptable flaw-ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877429)

What does the author expect? Microsoft Windows also brought "acceptable to ship with known bugs", or at least redefined to current levels. While software has always had bugs in code and design, it is now acceptable to download anything, throw it in and expect it to work. Much like many I/T departments and management, as long as the PR/BS sounds right and the CIO owns the MSFT stock you are a Microsoft Pwnd. Microsoft isn't about quality well engineered software, it is about market manipulation, anti-competative dominance like bundling, PR and sales. They have no sizable competition because of the way it is sold. No competition means poorly functioning and insecure products.


Now imagine if you buy a PC, you had the legal right not to pay for the Microsoft part, and perhaps choose to send the $75 to Red Hat or Suse, or perhaps Ubunto, whould Microsoft have a 95% monopoly? My guess is not, as like cars, 95% of use don't drive the same cars nor buy gas from the same vendor.

At least you get to run a bootleg version as legit. It does not always work that way. When MS said my Word was illegal even though it was not, I simply unloaded it and loaded Open Office. I simply look at Microsoft as an overpriced monopoly.

Not to rush to Microsoft's defense, but... (1)

mauricew9 (754516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877474)

... the frequency of false positives and false negatives don't have to be related at all. The fact that WGA might not reject lots of invalid licenses doesn't say anything about how often it rejects valid licenses. Without knowing the details about how WGA works, it's easy for me to imagine that Microsoft engineered the scheme to err on the side of identifying licenses as valid, e.g. to avoid pissing off large corporate customers, as another poster remarked.

For example, I have a method for figuring out in the morning if the Dow Jones Industrial Average will rise or fall by the end of the day. If I look out my window and see investors plummeting out of office buildings, it will go down. Otherwise, it will go up. My success rate for predicting up days is about 50/50, but my success rate for predicting down days is just about perfect!

Damn that Microsoft! (3, Interesting)

wbtotb (447019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877484)

I thought false positives were bad, but holy crap, letting a few pirates go with false negatives is so much worse! They may never get to experience the pleasures of those prompts or being prevented from downloading updates and utilities.

Why is this a problem for anyone but Microsoft (or those who have a perverse desire to be labeled as a pirate and then blog about it)? Do you suppose maybe he got a false negative because Microsoft is less willing to pull the trigger when in doubt?

Is this really such a shock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15877506)

When was the last time Microsoft told the truth, rather that just piled money into some crud ridden marketing smear campaign? Heck, when was the last time they even wrote something worth your time? As you can see, they can't even get this little flagship utility working! Can you really trust your company to these guys? Really?

What happens if you WANT to get caught? (2, Interesting)

ronwolf (141966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877529)

If you're running an illegal version of windows, but happen to actually have a license for a legit copy, how can you go about getting legit?

My friend has a pirated keygen'd version of xp pro, and also has a hologramed cd of xp pro complete with serial number and all... Is there an easy upgrade path available to him to go legit, without having to reinstall (too many games/apps/whatever he says.)

Re:What happens if you WANT to get caught? (1)

ronwolf (141966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877550)

I should mention- it might be the corp version (the current pirated os he's running) if it makes a difference.

A fraction of a percent? (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877552)

That is still a LOT of people...

I hate WGA, every other week a new "update" that bugs me about rebooting just because microsoft suddenly cares about piracy. It is obnoxious as hell.

Fraction of a percent... (2, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877607)

They claim that all but "a fraction of a percent" of those 60 million people who've been denied access to Microsoft updates and downloads are guilty, guilty, guilty. Right.

Right. Remember, 3/2—or 119,990,000/2—is, after all, a fraction.

Just not a proper fraction.

Volume License Keys Always Pass The WGA (5, Interesting)

lordperditor (648289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877632)

Corporate Volume License Keys always pass the WGA test.

e.g. HP has all the computers in the Sydney office running with one Volume License Key, now if someone were to leave HP's employ and continue to use the key MS would have no way of knowing so has to let it pass the WGA.

It has to just shrug and go well thats HP let it pass or risk annoying the hell out of a lot of HP people if they refuse it.

What MS shoudl do (4, Funny)

cab15625 (710956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877646)

It's probably been suggested before, but what MS should do is what games used to do back in the '80s. When you turn on your computer, it asks you "on page 10 of the manual, what is the 7th word in line 13?"
Espeically since windows has become too complex for a purely software based solution to ever work reliably.

The bigger licensing issue is of course ACADEMIC (2, Interesting)

lordperditor (648289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15877658)

The bigger licensing issue is of course ACADEMIC

Mrs Smith trots off to the high street computer co and wants Windows XP, now does she buy the full version for $300 or the academic version for $98?

Come on M$ $300 for XP but only $98 if you put a red sticker on the outside of the box with Academic Version written on it?!

I would be interested to know how many of the boxes are sold at $300 in high st stores!
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