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One In Five Windows Installs Is Non-Genuine

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the false-positives dept.

Windows 481

snib writes "Microsoft disclosed Monday that, according to reports collected by the notorious Windows Genuine Advantage tool on millions of users' PCs, 22% of all Windows installs do not pass its validation tests and have therefore been deemed non-genuine. Quoting: 'Since WGA launched in July 2005, over 512 million users have attempted to validate their copy of Windows, Microsoft said. Of those, the non-genuine rate was 22.3 percent... [T]he Business Software Alliance... reports that 35 percent of the world's software is pirated (22 percent in North America)...'"

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A la (0, Offtopic)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729438)

22%? That's almost 25%!

Re:A la (3, Interesting)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729452)

What's the false positive rate?

Re:A la (3, Interesting)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729482)

or false negative rate?

Most likely? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729726)


Re:A la (3, Interesting)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729704)

I know I tried to validate my VALID windows copy five times and failed each time. So I guess I'm one of the one-in-five. One valid copy that was unable to validate; five invalid attempts.

Re:A la (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729870)

Same deal with my parents. The copy came with the PC.

Fuck Twofo In The Ass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729446)

Twofo [] Is Dying
It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarry, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among p2p hardcore fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729448)

My Windows XP Pro validates as Genuine... Tough, it's not really... Corporate edition on a private machine. Frankly, they left that CD for 6 months lying around in the open space. No wonder, I took it with me when I left that place. Posting Anonymous for obvious reasosn.

Oh, and apart from Windows: I don't pirate anything else. I can run my machine effectively by using only OpenSoucre and Free as in Beer programs. The next step is obviously going full-opensource. Give me time.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729522)

Apart from windows you don't pirate anything else? LOL You're still a thieving pirate. and probably a homo!

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729594)

Give me time.

Oh, I think that's a little excessive. Confiscation of your computer and a public whipping would satisfy me.

Re:Really? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729728)

Wait, who are we whipping?

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729772)

"Oh, and apart from Windows: I don't pirate anything else"

That's not pirated, that's plain old 100% classic stolen.

Re:Really? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729964)

Nah, it's copyright infringement. You new here?

Re:Really? (1)

Zonnald (182951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729854)

I one had a similar experience, though after a while, windows update recognized it for what it was and stopped giving me updates. So I did the right thing and purchased it Legally.

100% of Linux 2.6 installs contain stolen code (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729450)

from SCO.

Re:100% of Linux 2.6 installs contain stolen code (5, Funny)

CapitalT (987101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729566)

I'm not sure whether mod you troll or funny, but that's OK since I don't have mod points.

Re:100% of Linux 2.6 installs contain stolen code (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729588)

You cock-smoking teabaggers.

oh come on (4, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729824)

Looks like SCO have managed to wangle some mod points on slashdot... anyone with a sense of humour and mod points like to mod that the way it should be?

bullshit (0, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729458)

Now give us the figures on how many of these "pirate" copies are users who don't want to buy the same software twice because of bullshit DRM in it.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729624)

You don't need to buy it twice. That was just one of Slashdot's rotating anti-Vista lies. It's not even on the table as a lie anymore.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729910)

I bought a Dell laptop with XP on it and *nowhere* did it say that XP would only work on that laptop until I actually got the thing and turned it on. Then my laptop died, so now I run one copy of XP on my homebrew box.

According to Microsoft I should have to buy another copy of XP to do this. According to me, that's crap and they can sue my shiny metal ass for it.

I doubt that a shrink-wrap license would stand up in court based on common law, in that no contract is valid unless both sides are getting something out of it. If Microsoft and Dell want to change their sales practices so that the customer needs to agree to Microsoft's license *before* they purchase the product that's one thing. But after they've received the product that's a whole different thing.

Also last I checked Vista's license had a huge hole in it that it was licensed per copy per machine, meaning that you can use another person's Vista which they give you access to and be bound by none of the license restrictions on that system and the licensee isn't even responsible.

Well... (2, Interesting) (907022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729464)

Pff, that's obviously because geeks/pirates have so many more installations than the average person.

I'd probably count for four, but if it counts as a new installation each time you format, than more than double that. (No more now though, I've got a Mac. 3) I'd assume it's the same for many users here.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729674)

I wouldn't be surprised if every user whose "validation" fails tries at least a couple more times after that, inflating the failure rate.

RE: Repeat Failures (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729906)

I had three that failed, all of them HPs that I bought at Wal-Mart. Two of them failed multiple times, so they are now Linux-powered. The third one only fails if I download updates and try to run them instead of using Microsoft Update and automatic installation.

Sampling? (1)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729754)

"Pff, that's obviously because geeks/pirates have so many more installations than the average person." *Cough* Microsoft Employees *cough*.

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

morleron (574428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729816)

One has to wonder how they count non-authorized systems. For instance, I added a gig of RAM and a different video card to my parent's computer a little over a year ago. The system told me that the Windows XP installation was no longer valid when I re-booted the system and put me through the re-certification rigamarole. That failed: it kept refusing the key that the system itself had generated. I eventually found a registry hack out on the 'Net that let me get around all of this and kept my folks PC usable. However, I'm sure that MS would consider this to be a pirated installation, even though the original Certificate of Authority is still glued on the machine. This all happened over a year ago so some of the technical details may be wrong, but the jist of the tale is correct. It all makes me glad that I don't use any MS slaveare at home.

Just my $.02,

Re:Well... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729838)

Pff, that's obviously because geeks/pirates have so many more installations than the average person.

Yeah, but those same geeky pirates probably know enough to sidestep validation.


Re:Well... (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729862)

Their stats are inflated at least a tiny little bit by web developers like me who, while having a perfectly legal install on our main machine, downloaded the free "Windows XP with IE6" image that MS themselves made for use with VirtualPC (to aid site testing, since you can't easily have IE6 and 7 on the same machine).

Thing is... the copy of Windows XP on the image they provide doesn't pass the WGA check!

WGA (4, Insightful)

brain1 (699194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729474)

Or does WGA fail 22% of the time? Hmmm?

Re:WGA (1)

sjf (3790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729682)

Quite possibly. My CORPORATE (very legitimate large silicon valley tech company) install of XP was determined to be 'counterfeit', and I wasn't alone. So, from my experience, it fails 100% of the time.

Re:WGA (5, Interesting)

oheso (898435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729758)

I'm a sysadmin responsible for about 200 Windows machines of varying pedigree. We have a site license for Windows XP and most of the machines have that installed and give us no trouble. When new machines come in the door they get a fresh install from the site licensed disks.

I've had trouble in the case of older machines (installed by my predecessor), and particularly with OEM installs. In the latter case, I've seen the failure rate of WGA approach 100%.

So, overall, of the 22%, I'd attribute most of it to failure. Particularly given that Windows and IE appear to use multiple different bits of code to accomplish the same thing (one of the first steps of an IE7 installation is validation). This means multiple avenues of failure, but only one chance to get it right.

No mention in the article of any attempt to account for failures.

Bad numbers (4, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729478)

I can count 5 that fail it's validation and every one of them is a legal copy on a legal system.

I would look at there program first, then accuse everyone of steeling second.

It really does not surprise me that there are a lot of pirated copies out there.

Re:Bad numbers (1)

meregistered (895132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729562)

Are we now assuming they didn't design their percentage of failures into the program?
I mean, after all, they have to justify to the public their offensive licensing and 'anti-pirating' DRM don't they?

Re:Bad numbers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729628)

"I would look at there program first, then accuse everyone of steeling second."

Why? I haven't meet an honest Windows user yet. If not the OS, it's the applications like Photoshop, etc that is pirated.

Re:Bad numbers (1)

JoGlo (1000705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729900)

Point to ponder.

Just because you have purchased a shrink-wrapped copy from a high street vendor, how can you be certain that they are not pirate copies? Microsoft (in a link from one of yesterday's threads) showed a genuine and a pirated "retail OEM" side-by-side, and I'd have to agree that spotting the difference, at least from the packaging, was very difficult.

How many of you with "legal / pirate" copies actually asked Microsoft just what is going on? I understand that they have (in the past, at least - not sure about today) taken a very fair look at people who have been cheated, and have followed up to close down the actual pirates.

and? (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729494)

How you shout in the woods, so it answers back....

What a load of BS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729500)

There's no way it's that low

A thought.... (4, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729504)

One in five... of people who actually attempted to run the WGA. I'd imagine there's a sizable group of people who already know they won't pass it, so they never even try.

I anticipate that some folks will say 'lolz if WGA doesn't false positive!!11!!eleventy!' (translated: Assuming that WGA doesn't falsely label a machine as pirated). The number of these seems to be reeeeeally low, I'm guessing it's not a big part of the final numbers.

Re:A thought.... (1)

vladsinger (1049918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729616)

Well, personally, I have reinstalled the same copy of windows on the same machine more times than the activation allows (~20?). So, no, I don't try to activate either.

Re:A thought.... (4, Funny)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729884)

Well, personally, I have reinstalled the same copy of windows on the same machine more times than the activation allows (~20?). So, no, I don't try to activate either.

Now that's persistence! If at first you can't make it stable, try, try again.

Re:A thought.... (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729782)

Or the group who just use muBlinder, and pass the WGA check? I would expect the number to be well above 40% to be honest.

The number is high (4, Informative)

adamstew (909658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729516)

I know for a fact that my install is 100% genuine...Although WGA has flagged it as non-genuine.

I obtained my copy of XP from a university site license that was given to all the students at the university of Pittsburgh. They just recently invalidated that site you are looking at tens of thousands (if not a couple hundred thousand) students, faculty and staff that were all using that key that is now non-genuine.

Re:The number is high (5, Interesting)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729670)

Heh. I bet you didn't read your license agreement very carefully. If you received Microsoft software at your institution through the Academic Alliance, then you did not receive a full Windows XP license. Rather, you were given a license which allowed you to borrow their copy to install on your machine at home and a license key that allowed installation. However, you don't have any rights whatsoever to the software beyond what your classroom needs are. So, they can revoke your license without warning, or otherwise change the terms of what "genuine" means. At any rate, the expected lifespan of the software you received in school is exactly the length of the course you are taking that uses the software (and it wasn't even that long for me, not that I cared since I devoted myself to Linux anyway).

Disclaimer: this applies to Microsoft software obtained through the Academic Alliance program only. The actual words of the license agreement and my actual experience may disagree; however I'm going with my experience on this one, since it's similar to all other Microsoft licenses I've had to deal with.

Re:The number is high (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729880)

Also, according to Microsoft, all volume license agreements for Windows are upgrade only .

Re:The number is high (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729710)

Not only that, but you probably paid *more* for your copy than the average purchaser, since you had a Microsoft tax included in all four years of your tuition, and you probably never installed 80% of the software that was covered by that license.

Most likely an undercount (4, Insightful)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729524)

Actual piracy numbers are likely to be even larger.

Why? Two main reasons.

One: Pirates are probably far less likely to attempt to run a WGA certification compared to a legitimate licence holder. For obvious reasons.

Two: "Borrowed" corporate editions, etc. will validate despite being, well, "borrowed".

Re:Most likely an undercount (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729846)

>>Two: "Borrowed" corporate editions, etc. will validate despite being, well, "borrowed".
I don't want to turn this into flamewar... But, one problem of the current world is your boss "borrowed" your time even when you are at home. Boss: You want to leave "early" (which can be N hours already after your supposed end of your work hour) fine. But, still I want to see this {program/report/proposal/and what not} by tomorrow morning....

What's wrong with borrowing the corporate edition when the "home" PC is occupied by work....


jcgam69 (994690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729532)

I had a valid windows XP workstation using a volume license suddenly begin failing validation for no reason. There was nothing I could do to save the workstation. I even called microsoft tech support. I had to reformat and start over.

Re:WRONG (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729692)

My corporate editions validate fine. If they didn't there'd be far more workstations than mine not working.

Only one in five? (1)

CapitalT (987101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729538)

You're underestimating piracy.

Here when you send your computer to repairs. It returns with a pirated Windows XP and pirated Photoshop, how's that.

Re:Only one in five? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729604)

Not too smart, if you're a legit business.

Computer Shop (1)

Hazclan13 (745791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729904)

I work in a computer shop and we never load pirated copy's of software as to do so is asking for trouble from Microsoft. As i believe a Slashdot article showed MS has in crested it anti-piracy in the last few years for home users but even more for shop/stales/and online shops. I understand the fine for my shop to load a None-legal copy of XP on a machine to be around £10,000 and for the Home user £1000! That is a hefty fine and not worth it for a license key that could cost you as little as £50? Harry McLaren - Hazclan13 []

i dont think that word means what they think it me (5, Informative)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729540)

Microsoft disclosed Monday that, according to reports collected by the notorious Windows Genuine Advantage tool on millions of users' PCs, 22% of all Windows installs do not pass its validation tests and have therefore been deemed non-genuine.

genuine /dnyun/ -adjective

1. possessing the claimed or attributed character 2. descended from the original stock; pure in breed:

Even pirated software is genuine.

Re:i dont think that word means what they think it (2, Funny)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729672)

But virus-infected software is not. Maybe that's what this number is referring to.

WGA only catches 99% of the XP installs... (3, Interesting)

vistic (556838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729542)

My free copy of WindowsXP that I've installed on my Mac Mini is valid (msdn academic alliance), but I've intentionally avoided installing anything with WGA because I have problems with that kind of tactic.

I managed to find a crack so I could download IE7 without WGA (I never use IE, I use Mozilla products, but it's the kind of thing you install just because you figure something Microsoft is probably going to require it sooner or later). And some other WGA-only updates are available in places as WGA-less downloads. You can also use Microsoft's Orca to disable the WGA check in some .msi packages.

Maybe someone will reply and complain about how I'm not using an official super-approved install of IE7, but WGA was created to stop people from illegally using stolen software (the stuff they charge actual money for, and you didn't pay for), and IE7 is a free download. I just preferred to get around their #$*!@% WGA stuff.

Re:WGA only catches 99% of the XP installs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729742)

Ironic, Mac-Boy. WGA is on of Microsoft's first efforts at a "Trusted Computing" application... one which makes use a TPM (a 'cripple chip' inside lots of new PCs that ensures you obey licensing conditions)*. I say ironic because Apple includes a TPM its Intel Apple Macs, and uses to enforce licensing conditions already -- and plans to use it to implement DRM for its HiDef video and music.

* this first version can't use it exclusively because not all PCs have been infected with TPMs yet.

Downloads are free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729784)

Licenses are not.

I do not think you understand or respect all/some/many/this license.

Grrrrrrrrreat statistic logic there... (1)

Maugrim (947665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729548)

I'm curious to understand how they determine that 22 percent of the pirated software in the world is pirated in the US...more importantly how they get that info from looking at the amount of counted pirated copies of windows that tried to validate themselves. Afterall, we all know that only the US uses Windows...

Re:Grrrrrrrrreat statistic logic there... (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729972)

"I'm curious to understand how they determine that 22 percent of the pirated software in the world is pirated in the US"

Or could have meant that the global average piracy rate is 35%, but america is below this average, at 22%. It wouldn't surprise me if the world average was above the US average, as people in most other places in the world have less money that they could spend on software.

Probably much higher than that (4, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729552)

I bet that 22% is probably very wrong.

They say that that's 22% of those who attempted to be authenticated- anyone who knows they are using a pirated copy sure as hell isn't going to try to authenticate it. Those who failed either didn't know they had a pirated copy (installed by teenage son or shady computer store) or are really dumb pirates.

Or the third option, that WGA fails a fifth of the time. I can think of at least one instance where I have tried to authenticate a legitamite copy (which I had just unpacked from HP, and was doing updates on) and WGA said it didn't pass.

100% Non-Genuine OS (0, Redundant)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729560)

Actually I always thought that all copies of Windows were a non-genuine operating system. What with all the bugs, security problems, lame features, etc.

Should probably read that 100% of Windows installs are genuine crap, but only 78% are genuinely licensed crap.

Invalid... or just no CD for the license key? (5, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729572)

My experience in reinstalling several completely fried windows boxes (virus or trojans) is that the biggest issue is that the OEM CD has been lost and then the key that they have, for a perfectly valid version of Windows, doesn't work for the "full" Windows CD that I (legally) have. So what is the solution? Phone MS Support? Hell they say its an OEM problem. Phone the OEM and they want to charge to ship a new replacement CD, or just don't care.

So I'd say that a decent proportion of those "invalid" windows installs are actually perfectly valid but just suffering because a reinstall had to be done due to the MS security issues and couldn't be done from a CD that matched the key. You can actually get MS support (nice high cost phone number) to sort this out but it really isn't worth the pain, no doubt these days they'll be pushing a "Vista upgrade" as the solution.

So WGA failure doesn't mean it isn't legal, just that the key you have doesn't match the CD that had to do the re-install.

Yeah... (1)

vladsinger (1049918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729586)

And sir, what percentage of that 22% are false positives, hmm?

What is "Non-Genuine" windows? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729592)

I thought that any OS (NT, XP, 2K, 95, 98) that ran the Windows codebase was "genuine" windows. Who cares if it is pirated.

Now, a counterfit windows, that would be interesting. I can see some company making a Windows-clone...

Re:What is "Non-Genuine" windows? (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729920)

It's called GNOME...

OK, I kid, I kid.

On a more serious note: 22% in the US seems like a fairly large number to be anywhere close to real.


1)Close to, if not more than, 50% of Windows installs in this country have got to be business machines. The percentage of businesses that are actually pirating Windows is likely very small. Under 10% I'd imagine.
2)Of the remaining half of Windows PCs that are actually "personal" computers, how many are from OEMs? At least nine out of ten home computer purchases must be from the Dells, HPs and Lenovos of the world.
3) People who built their own systems and had to procure an OS themselves represent the largest group of potential pirates (Because they know how to get Windows free, and they don't feel like paying an extra $100 on top of their hardware.)
4) If we were to take my completely estimated numbers and run them back through, you have 10% of all Windows installs that even have the potential to be pirated. Businesses have too much to lose, and people who buy OEM systems don't even realize that Windows is a choice.

The real question left over is why 22% of all systems that attempted verification failed. Did that 10% all try to verify their copies? What about the other 12%? The only thing that the 22% number proves is that WGA is very very flawed.

On a side note, Canonical knows how I got my Ubuntu disk, because they sent it to me free in the mail.

Correlation to pre-installed Windows? (1)

Colin Winters (24529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729610)

I wonder what the number of the valid Windows copies are that are due to it coming pre-installed from wherever the PC was purchased.

SWITCH... (1)

moosejaw99 (1052622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729638)

Switch to a user friendly install of Linux EVERYONE! I usually bought all of my MSFT software from friends who worked for the company, but recently I switched to Ubuntu and there is no looking back. I have found a version of every application I microsoft can suck it, and be glad more people don't find out that they can have a FREE, better, and more secure operating system.

what you really mean is... (1)

ballsanya (596519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729644)

22 % PLUS all of the pirates smart enough to not even try.

One in Five Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729650)

blog reviews is non-genuine.
Coincidentally, the current tally of Vista reviews in blogs is along the lines of 4:1 (bad: good)...

My policy is... (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729662)

Those who insist on using proprietary operating systems get to pay for them. Yes, even when that means they pay with their time.

If your copy of Windows won't validate, that's between you and Microsoft, my friend:

  • If you were using OSS, you wouldn't have this problem in the first place, and,
  • As much as I pity you, I can't help you. No, I'm not going to Google for an MS Keygen for you.
  • No, you can't "borrow" a Windows key from me. I don't have one.
  • No, I *really* can't help you. If your OS doesn't validate, there's nothing I can do. It's not just a matter of won't, but I can't.
  • If you think commercial software is so great, follow the commercial model of paying someone for support.

Oh, and there's a Linux installfest this Thursday. If things between you and Bill don't work out, why don't you stop by and install a real 64 bit OS on your machine?

But I do hate it for the gamers, man. What are they going to do?

Re:My policy is... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729738)

Not go to you, apparently. Because you don't have any games.

Re:My policy is... (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729826)

But I do hate it for the gamers, man. What are they going to do?
This has become less of an issue lately. Cedega is reasonably effective for running many of the more popular titles (no, it's not free, but the subscription is cheap. In practice, you can subscribe for as long as it takes to install all your stuff and then cancel. Seriously, it's really cheap if you need it to be). Pretty much every PC MMO is available now: WoW (including the BC expansion), EVE, SWG, D&D:Stormreach, Guild Wars). A few other really good titles (mostly FPS, though some RTS in there too) rounds out the platform.

For the PC gamer who insists on running every new title as soon as it comes out, there's not much you can do. Exclusive deals are and should be worth what was paid for them. If they're not tied to PC, then the next-gen consoles look like they will see 95% of new titles in coming years. I know I'm going to pick up a PS3 instead of worrying about DX10. But if they're just an MMORPG junkie, there's a good chance that a Linux box will do the trick. In fact, they might even notice those few less milliseconds of latency.

Who are the 4 saps who are paying? (5, Funny)

dwalsh (87765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729668)

I kid. Really, I kid.

Full percentage breakdown was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729676)

22.3% Non-Genuine
72.9% Genuine
  4.8% Pat Buchanan

Five to One, baby! (1)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729680)

"Five to one, baby, one in five. No one here gets out alive!"

I know of dozens of machines with pirated copies of Windows that all report back as genuine. What does the program look for to determine if a copy is genuine or not? Who are these 25% and what did they have to do to make the WGA check fail?

this number is too low. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729714)

every small local computer company ive worked for has installed the 'devilsown' version of xp pro that doesnt require a key or activation. i tried for a long time, at each of them, to convince the owner(s) to start buying CoA's in bulk, but to no avail.

i was thinking, though, 22% sounds /about/ right, considering that most businesses and even most residential clients buy dell/compaq/etc name brand computers which come with a CoA, but then I remembered -- all the places i worked, it was 'sop' (standard operating procedure) to simply reformat said computers using the pirated copy anyway, completely ignoring the coa (unless, of course, the people could provide the restore cd's, which few people ever do--and we all know how often a xp based computer needs a reformat when in the hands of a standard computer user with broadband). that paired with the fact that almost every small computer shop does the same thing (and id know, ive known techs from all over the usa), id say that this particular piracy statistic is far far off base.

does anyone here remember the stats on quake piracy? it was someone from id, i dont think it was carmak though, that said there were 2.5x the amount of people playing quake online than there were copies of the game sold.

and it will always be so.

Sucks to be in the 80% (4, Insightful)

dfay (75405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729718)

I wonder if they plan to apologize to the 80% of their customers who got this system foisted on them without recourse (you have to enable WGA to get security fixes).

Not to mention, the 20% must be either really stupid (I wonder if my Haxxored Windows copy will validate? Gee, let's try!) or, more likely, have misconfigured Windows systems or bugs in WGA that report them as invalid when they probably own a legitimate license.

Great marketing strategy though: punish your legit user-base as the pirates work around your system. Can't wait to see how Vista improves things. I'm excited to see what "advantage" I'm "genuinely" going to get.

Disclosure: I only allow WGA on my work machine, where I have little choice and didn't pay the license fee personally.

thats it? (1)

coldtone (98189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729720)

They going to war and treating their customers like criminals, just in an attempt to get an extra 20-30%.

Of that 20-30% how many of them would switch to an alternative, if they couldn't get a pirated copy.

That 20-30% is how windows gets to 90%+ market share.

Unsurprising... use alternative sources (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729736)

A friend just bought a Toshiba laptop with Win XP at Christmas. Fresh out of the box, WGA thinks it is invalid.

Yay. Another pirate foiled, as far as WGA and MS are concerned. Of course, the reality is, he hasn't been able to update his system, so his security patches are out of date, and it will slowly get worse with time.

I recommended AutoPatcher [] as the solution. It's a heck of a lot easier than waiting on the phone for MS or Toshiba support.

I hope MS weighs all those frustrated legitimate users against all the "pirates" they think they are catching.

80% of Windows Installs are Genuine??? (2, Funny)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729744)

That's a lot...

Courtesy of The Snake King (1)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729748)

"Five to one, baby
One in five
No one here gets out alive, now
You get yours, baby
Ill get mine
Gonna make it, baby
If we try

The old get old
And the young get stronger
May take a week
And it may take longer
They got the guns
But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
Were takin over
Come on!


They need to crack down... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729750)

Imagine if they managed to find an effective way to eliminate all pirated installs. Their market share would drop by about 20% overnight! I'm guessing that most of those pirates wouldn't bother to purchase a copy should their pirated copy stop working.

This is a statistic? (4, Interesting)

Gulik (179693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729752)

Already (and, at the time I'm posting this, there are only around 25 comments), there are people talking about how copies of XP that they know they obtained legally fail to authenticate (so the reported piracy rate might be inflated), people pointing out, correctly, that even a modestly bright pirate will be smart enough not to try to authenticate when he knows it will fail (and so the estimated piracy rate might be too low), and people coming up with a smattering of other ways in which WGA could give false positives or negatives.

It seems safe to say that Microsoft has no frelling clue how many pirated copies of XP are out there, and that WGA is approximately useless as a tool for trying to count them. Not that it will matter at all in the media -- "One In Five Windows Installs Is Non-Genuine" is too good a headline to pass up.

I'm not surprised by those numbers (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729756)

I have a friend who bought a computer in the Philippines recently, got it home and immediately got the "advantage" warning. They went back to the store and were told to just not update unless they wanted to pay for the "upgrade" that got them a legitimate license for Windows.

Piracy (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729766)

put 50 billion dollars into the man's pockets. What exactly is his complaint again? Piracy has also insured that Apple only gets 5 percent of the market. Why? Because it's rather difficult to bootleg the giant "Macintosh" dongle that apple attached to its software. Draw your own conclusions about the subject of piracy. For me, the numbers speak for themselves, quite loudly. Just adding to the chorus of voices in my head.

ala Sony (1) (1022871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729776)

They should just give the users updates, but force a bunch of adware, spyware, and rootkits with them. Basically, force the users to either get a legitimate copy or pursue a different OS. This is much better than having 100 million vulnerable machines on the net. IMHO

microsoft got a LITTLE generous with WGA (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729800)

i installed a genuine unique copy of win xp on a laptop, then the same copy on my desktop, about a year ago. for a few months, the laptop refused to be updated due the existence of the other copy in use. then, windows update relented, and now both machines have no WGA problems

i use both machines off the same IP, so maybe that's the reason: maybe microsoft relented and allowed some X number of machines behind the same IP, or something like that. by relenting, it suggests a lot of people were in my position and microsoft didn't want to marginalize or infuriate a large number of genuine buyers who happened to install on two or three machines at home/ office. that makes sense

besides it's not like the simple, quickly found javascript workaround you simply typed in the address window while on windows update was ever difficult for the pirates. classic case of life made hard for the "good" guys, no different in difficulty for the "bad" guys

and the latest version of ms office never had any WGA issues, even though i used a corporate enterprise disk from work. heh

funny thing is, i never bought windows xp (i've never bought office or any other windows os for that matter either). i've always relied on corporate enterprise disks or scrounged from buddies... but weirdly my wife ordered a book from amazon, and when the ups guy came, amazon inexplicably included windows xp premium in the delivery box (the book she ordered had nothing to do with anything computer related, and we weren't charged and it wasn't on the invoice). so i returned it to amazon. not! i used it. i was happily using a pirated copy of xp before it arrived, but was glad to get WGA compliant for no $ nor fuss, right about the time WGA started becoming a hassle

so thank you oh careless amazon stockroom clerk/ warez faerie godmother

Not hardly (4, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729806)

[AOL] Me too! [/AOL]

If that's the only basis for Microsoft's estimate, they are *way* off, and I bet actually piracy isn't even half that.

I have 5 different machines running XP. 3 of them insist they are pirated...even though I have receipts and valid license certificates bought from OfficeMax for two copies, and the third copy came installed with the machine when I bought it new out of the box. When I contacted Microsoft about this, their tech's response was words to the effect of "You'll have to buy valid copies again." My response was, and I quote, "Fuck you, I'll just crack WGA on my validly purchased copies that I already own, and I dare you assholes to try and prosecute."

Yes, but (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729810)

1. How many installs are erroneously flagged as genuine?

2. How many installs are erroneously flagged as not genuine?

3. How many installs are not seen by WGA?

4. How many of those are genuine/not genuine?

There are two groups of people (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729814)

Those who count the WPA and Microsoft counts of validity of licensed MSFT OS installs and believe them


Those who live in the Real World and know that most of the supposed fake installs are legitimate licensees that are not considered valid by WGA but are actually valid and legal licenses.

Odd thing about the comparison (1)

databank (165049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729868)

Shouldn't the stats also reflect the TOTAL number of licenses sold by Microsoft vs how many was validated? Or is Microsoft afraid the truth is that they sold a LOT more then 512 million copies of Windows that were legally sold.....

Being legit is a pain (3, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729882)

I currently have 4 machines running windows presently. Two desktops, two laptops. The laptops are quite legit, both came shipped with windows, Media center edition, and Pen edition. The desktops were not shipped with windows but have legit copies of XP pro on them.

The laptops, i've only had issue with one, the Toshiba pen edition. I "wanted" to do a fresh install on a fresh drive, but didn't have the tablet edition, nor was downloading possible as no copy would take my legit key.

Desktops, I've had NOTHING but issues. Motherboard upgrades, pre WGA systems would fail to authentiate. Post WGA systems in all fairness the warning was a tad more tolerant. I could browse the net, and get a resolution, well, except for the fact that on my via based board you needed to download the USB drivers, so alot of hassle to backup a system who's motherboard failed, who due to Nortons wouldn't mount under XP, just to get the same glitch when trying to transfer the old install to a new system.

I understand what microsoft is doing. They are trying to prevent casual piracy, those casual pirates who would otherwise buy one copy and use on many machines are likely to just buy another copy. But what they are actually doing is encouraging people like my self to download a cracked version of xp pro corp.

It would be "nice" if you could tell freaking windows "I bought new hardware, transfer this license". They can be control freaks till their hearts explode, so long as they continue to permit me to
1) Backup my existing install of windows
2) in the event of hardware failure, restore a backup, and have it work, or transfer the hard disk to another machine without assuming i've gone rogue.

I smell some "statistical inflation".. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729898)

Not to be a troll, I'm honestly curious. Do they mean 512 million "unique" users? And is every user in the bad 22% a unique user?
It could just be the same 100 people making the same, stupid mistake 512,000 times.. I mean, it's unlikely, but my point remains: are they inflating the actual numbers?

More FUD to justify crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17729914)

Since you almost can't buy a computer from a major manufacturer that doesn't include Win (99%), the article is trying to tell me that 22% are making their own computers? Right.

Since XP is now the old OS, how many users changed more than 5 items in their hardware and found it would not take the key anymore even through they paid for their original OS? I guess the figures didn't take that into account either.

Nor did they take into account the false positives nor the bad publicity that followed WGA and informed the public of spyware concerns. I'm sure this has nothing to do with denying WGA access to individual users computers with their concern over privacy and M$'s lack of concern.

Actually, computers like those that HP put out with the OS on a nonuser partition are partly to blame for this. There's no restore cd. When the nonuser partition is hacked (as what happened to me)it was sent back for reimaging. Within two weeks it was back to the same condition. The right to use Win was paid for in the price of the computer. Why in the world would I spend more money for what should have been included in package to begin with?

Needless, I no longer buy HP products. That money saving idea cost them 3 additional computer purchases. Great cost savings idea, eh?

Nor was I inclined to buy another copy of the OS. You figure it out.

100% of Linux installations aren't "genuine" (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729930)

... because I've re-defined "genuine" to mean that I got paid for it. All your money are belong to me.

Seriously - this is as meaningless as it gets. It's like the *IAA numbers on piracy. Why all the pretense? Let's just *ask* them "how much money do you want?" At least then we can just tell them "No."

All this polite fiction does is allow politicians to bloviate, legislators to introduce yet more legislation decreeing what our corporate overlords are entitled to, regulators to ignore ever more egregious behavior, etc.

Oh, wait...I think I answered my own question. Nevermind.

Arrr me hearties! (1)

Phusion0 (665359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729934)

Yeah, for a certain age group, almost everyone pirates. I'm somewhat conflicted, because I don't want to give Microsoft any of my hard earned money, but I am also a musician's son and I know that "artists" rely on royalty checks to survive. My two cents.. yeah, we're going to crack your protection schemes and use your product and its updates for free.. deal with it. I'd imagine that the number of pirated installs is much larger, too.

haha, I gave up. (1)

wondersparrow (685210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729942)

Well, of the 4 bought and paid for xp installs I have done, 2 say they are not genuine. Of all the boxen with a "borrowed or test" copy all pass WGA. So good job M$.

Pirated Software is a bane to the industry (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729956)

Be it MS or other company, software piracy is a pain in the b_tt. No wonder MS goes such a great length in making sure it is a licensed copy. Here at /. people discount because it is MS loosing money. But in reality those computers could have installed open source OS such as Linux or BSD and that would have atleast contributed to good desktop OS competition

Insane... (0, Troll)

Rowan187 (1000204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17729966)

Who in their right mind would waste the time and energy (and sanity) to crack Windows... ew... Linux for life!
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