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Windows Genuine Advantage Servers Out

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the single-point-of-disadvantage dept.

Windows 300

krewemaynard writes to let us know that Microsoft has been having major problems with its WGA servers since at least Friday evening. Quoting Ars: "Users of both Windows XP and Windows Vista were writing to say that they could not validate their installations using WGA, and one user even said that his installation was invalidated by the service... The Microsoft WGA Forums are full of problem reports, and Microsoft WGA Program Manager Phil Liu has acknowledged that there is a problem, and that MS is investigating." Update: 07/25 22:10 GMT by KD :Microsoft has identified and fixed the problem and posted instructions for anyone whose system mistakenly failed a WGA check. (The link posted earlier was to a 2006 article.)

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HaHa (5, Funny)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355461)

> "However, the sense we get from Phil Liu is that Microsoft is pretty much in the dark right now."

Nothing new here. Move along.

Aren't? (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355937)

Aren't these servers dependent on availability of the Skype protocol? :-)

Skype to Blame. (-1, Redundant)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356115)

That is very funny.

whoops (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355473)

Of course, anyone that knows anything about hacking, already knows how to get around the WGA servers. Although a business really "can't" do that, but, I guess if you were really mission critical, you could do it until they figure out what is messed up on their WGA servers.

Re:whoops (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355587)

...I guess if you were really mission critical...,

you should be fired if you made the decision to use commodity hardware and software. At the very least, you're being a cheap so 'n so.

Re:whoops (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355645)

you should be fired if you made the decision to use commodity hardware and software.

So the admins at google & youtube should be fired? More and more companies are realizing that commodity hardware can be just as reliable as the overpriced stuff (in certain senarios).

Re:whoops (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355705)

Google and Youtube are hardly what I would call mission critical, unless we're talking strictly economics. I'm talking about hospitals, banks, air traffic control, etc. Things that can have a real effect on one's life. Google and Youtube are only mission critical for advertisers and Hollywood.

"Safety critical" (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355853)

Google and Youtube are hardly what I would call mission critical, unless we're talking strictly economics. I'm talking about hospitals, banks, air traffic control, etc. Things that can have a real effect on one's life.
It appears that the term you're looking for is "safety critical", not "mission critical". Not all missions involve situations that present a clear and present danger to human safety.

Re:whoops (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355863)

Google and Youtube also have two major thing in their favour which many hospitals, banks and air traffic control systems don't have:

1. The problem they're trying to solve lends itself to their architecture.
2. They don't have to integrate with a bunch of legacy stuff, which could very easily introduce potential failure points.

Re:whoops (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355763)

So the admins at google & youtube should be fired? More and more companies are realizing that commodity hardware can be just as reliable as the overpriced stuff (in certain senarios).
uuuh....yea...that's what he said isn't it?
sigh..l2read

Re:whoops (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355815)

In this case it's the software which is broken, not the hardware...
Google at least runs software that they have full control over, on their commodity hardware.
However, google simply use a large number of commodity servers, so that if one fails it has no effect on the overall operation. The really critical bits are the bits binding all those thousands of servers together, and i doubt they run on cheap lowend kit.

WGA sucks (5, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355475)

I like and use Microsoft software, especially the development tools and servers, and I've (almost) always considered they are worth the money. But WGA is the most stupid thing Microsoft has ever done. I could understand product activation to a certain extent - it's really no different than most commercial software protection schemes in most respects. But WGA needs to be killed off. WGA is a hell of a lot closer to treating customers like criminals than WPA ever was.

Personally I've never had problems with WPA or WGA, but this incident pisses me off just thinking about how pissed off I would be if that would ever happen to me. Microsoft needs to understand that there are limits to how much bullshit people can take, even among people who appreciate some of their software.

On the other hand it's not like I'd switch to Linux anyway. Ubuntu completely screwed up my X configuration after an apt-get upgrade that took two hours (6.x to 7.4) and I just shut the thing down. I need to move my FreeNAS to a better box anyway so that's what I'll probably do after wiping it. If I had a dime for every time I've typed su vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf I'd get me an iPhone or something.

Lack of choices suck too.

Re:WGA sucks (2, Informative)

MicrosoftElitist (1138973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355583)

As someone who also objectively likes Microsoft products I have to agree with you here. WGA makes the legitimate customer feel like a criminal.

"need to move my FreeNAS to a better box anyway so that's what I'll probably do after wiping it."

Perhaps you should pick up Microsoft Home Server [microsoft.com] ? It will work out of the box and you won't have to spend hours recompiling the kernel etc. to get it to work.

Here is a good video [microsoft.com] .

Funny, I was starting to think that there would be a single day on Slashdot without an anti-Microsoft story.

Re:WGA sucks (3, Funny)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355613)

It will work out of the box and you won't have to spend hours recompiling the kernel etc. to get it to work.
Will it validate?

Re:WGA sucks (5, Interesting)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355845)

It will work out of the box and you won't have to spend hours recompiling the kernel etc. to get it to work

Are you just horribly mis-informed, joking, trolling or shilling? The missus and I have been using GNU+Linux on our laptops, desktops and servers (2 laptops, 2 desktops, 1 home server and one dedicated web server) and have never compiled the Linux kernel. The only times I've ever bothered compiling anything is if I want cutting-edge, not-even-released-yet software, and what's wrong with that?

Funny, I was starting to think that there would be a single day on Slashdot without an anti-Microsoft story.

Here's a deal for you: when there is a single day where Microsoft don't cock things up, shill standards organsations or act as an abusive monopoly then there will be a single day on Slashdot without an anti-Microsoft story.

Re:WGA sucks (3, Interesting)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356149)

The only times I've ever bothered compiling anything is if I want cutting-edge, not-even-released-yet software, and what's wrong with that?

It's 2007. I use cutting edge software on Windows, to the point of daily builds. Never needed to compile one yet.

So does vapor (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355899)

Perhaps you should pick up Microsoft Home Server [microsoft.com] ?
Unlike distributions of GNU/Linux that can act as a home server OS, Windows Home Server is not available for sale today, so it's still vapor.

It will work out of the box and you won't have to spend hours recompiling the kernel etc. to get it to work.
Nowadays, end users usually don't compile Linux or *BSD kernels for commodity hardware. Distribution maintainers do.

Re:WGA sucks (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356005)

I can get my hands on MHS for cheap since I have an MSDN Universal subscription, but I got FreeNAS running on a Fedora box for the challenge. Sometimes (not very often) I do like to tinker a bit.

Get ready to be modded down for the suggestion though :)

Re:WGA sucks (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355627)

A real solution would be a hardware dongle. And it wouldn't require an internet connection. But bootlegging keeps Microsoft in business, so it's not very likely they will implement it.

Re:WGA sucks (3, Interesting)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355923)

They'd just be creating a market for knockoff dongles. A real solution (for microsoft) would be to just accept the shitloads of cash they're making and stop thinking that they need to act like assholes when they're not rolling around in huge piles of it.

For the rest of us there's always the real solution of just not using it. It's been working out pretty well for me.

Re:WGA sucks (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356043)

They'd just be creating a market for knockoff dongles.

Yes it would, but it would still have a huge effect. It's still much easier to download a serial number. The point is that bootleggers made Bill Gates a very rich man. The Mac is Apple's operating system's dongle. I don't see that many knockoffs. Do they have 10% market share yet?

Re:WGA sucks (5, Insightful)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356171)

Apple ran their 'cloners' out of business not that long ago.

Earlier, they sued anybody with a similar GUI out of business (except Microsoft. They essentially 'created' Microsoft's market for them by running all GUI-on-x86 competitors out of the market for Microsoft)

Earlier yet, they sued anybody with a machine similar to the Apple II.

Apple has a long history of 'Innovation by Litigation.'

Re:WGA sucks (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355647)

Ubuntu completely screwed up my X configuration after an apt-get upgrade that took two hours (6.x to 7.4) and I just shut the thing down.
While that sucks, you do understand that an entire system upgrade like that is almost certain to have problems no matter what the OS? Any chance it was an nvidia card? Their damn closed drivers have fucked me over a handful of times too.

Re:WGA sucks (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355659)

On the other hand it's not like I'd switch to Linux anyway. Ubuntu completely screwed up my X configuration after an apt-get upgrade that took two hours (6.x to 7.4) and I just shut the thing down. I need to move my FreeNAS to a better box anyway so that's what I'll probably do after wiping it.

This prompts the question of why on earth you're running NAS on a box with a head anyhow? If you're going to use a box for a NAS server, hooking up a graphics card to it is counter-productive, and using a typical GUI-based distro likewise. It's something that people brought up in the Microsoft way of thinking might do, but if relegating an old PC to become a NAS, the first thing I would do is get rid of anything I don't need, including graphics cards, whose main purpose in a server is to collect dust and increase heat.

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:WGA sucks (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355801)

I have a multipurpose headless server that I use for things. I does literally have no video output whatsoever, but I did once have to plug in a agp vid card long enough to find out why it wasn't booting (a bios thing), so it's not completely useless to have video. Makes me wish you could still pick up a pci video card for $5 at places.

Re:WGA sucks (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355819)

This prompts the question of why on earth you're running NAS on a box with a head anyhow? If you're going to use a box for a NAS server, hooking up a graphics card to it is counter-productive, and using a typical GUI-based distro likewise. It's something that people brought up in the Microsoft way of thinking might do, but if relegating an old PC to become a NAS, the first thing I would do is get rid of anything I don't need, including graphics cards, whose main purpose in a server is to collect dust and increase heat.

Do not underestimate the pervasiveness of the Microsoft way of thinking. It has created an entire generation of sysadmins and IT managers whose solution to every problem is to buy the first product which claims to solve it, rather than actually engage their brains.

I don't hold with that - the argument that "it's cheaper because it takes less time and time is money" doesn't hold much water in my experience. Few commercial products are as quick and simple as the vendors claim, and the argument that you can instead spend your time doing "more useful, productive stuff" is complete guff when the entire purpose of your job is to solve technology problems.

I don't debate for one moment that there is a place for Microsoft products - but I really don't have a lot of time for the "Throw money at everything" attitude they seem to encourage. I much prefer the "Think about what you need to throw money at" approach.

Re:WGA sucks (2, Informative)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356027)

No, my NAS is a headless Fedora server install running on another, older box. The one that was running Ubuntu is beefier, so that's where I'm going to move NAS to.

That box also has my SVN repo but not much else, so it's never had X installed at all.

Re:WGA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355693)

The scary thing is that someone who goes "oh, noes, I lost my pretty GUI after a complete system update!" is running servers.
  You use vim but have trouble editing xorg.conf? And never thought of making a backup of the file (not that it's needed, there is always an automatic backup). I smell a troll.
  Btw, I haven't compiled a kernel in a couple of years, even on my 32MB of RAM laptop I run a vanilla kernel.

Re:WGA sucks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355703)

This post had it all!

Windows pragmatism and loyalty, Linux cred and frustration, and Apple longing and desire. Well done!

Re:WGA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355743)

Ubuntu is not debian. Using apt-get upgrade isn't a good way to go from dapper or edgy to feisty. They did produce an upgrade tool, which it seems you didn't use. If you didn't want to use their upgrade tool, they said to do a fresh install. If you go about your upgrade without reading up on how to do it, expect some problems. You wouldn't expect an "upgrade" from windows2000 to vista to go well without doing some basic research first would you ?

Re:WGA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355785)

I think in a high number of cases, people who "upgrade in place" are morons.

There are obvious exceptions...freebsd, debian...and when it comes to servers, well the devil is in the details.

still, a lot of people do it, to save a little time up front...and man do they pay for it down the road.

stupid stupid stupid.

my captcha for this post is "inform"....good call imo.

Re:WGA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355955)

I just upgraded from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10 without any notable problems -- even though I have a Broadcom wireless card, I switched my box off (oops) halfway through the upgrade and 7.10 is still in alpha.

There's no problem upgrading in place, it's just that the gp is a moron who shouldn't be let near a real computer.

Re:WGA sucks (1)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355803)

I would much rather deal with a broken X conf than with the crap I have to put up with WGA. It was a NAS server, I'm sure it was still serving even without a GUI.

Re:WGA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355997)

This is slightly off-topic, but you might want to have a look at Novell SUSE the next time you try out Linux, or openSUSE if you consider yourself a more advanced user. I haven't had to edit my xorg.conf file on most of my systems, though I should admit that I edited it on one laptop to turn of tap-to-click on the touchpad (that should really be GUI-configurable, and might be by now..). Using YaST to edit your system configuration, setting up and maintaining a Novell Linux system is almost entirely point-and-click. I can't see myself ever going back to the likes of Fedora Core or Ubuntu.

Liability (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355479)

Too bad they are not liable for any costs/lost revenue by their customers that are caused by this.

Too bad it doesn't happen more often, and piss off more people.

Personally it doesnt effect me either way :)

Re:Liability (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355679)

Just wait until some scriptkiddie decides to do a massive DDOS on the WGA servers. Then you'll see what is going to happen on a larger scale.

Re:Liability (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355793)

The funny thing about your statement is that is EXACTLY why I can't get my company to install Linux on the desktops. ...."But who could we sue if something breaks?"....

Yes I know that the EULA prevents MS from getting sued anyhow, but these damned PHBs are mentally impaired.

Re:Liability (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355935)

Well, you have to point, but you should keep in mind that in premodern societies, including ancient Greece and premodern Japan, anal sex was associated with male-male paederastic relationships. Manuscripts and art from those periods depict anal sex as the main or only sexual activity that occurred in such relationships.

In modern times, particularly in Western cultures, anal sex has been popularly associated with gay and bisexual men. In particular, anal sex has been associated with the spread of HIV, especially in early years of the discovery of the disease. This resulted in gay bathhouses in some American cities being shut down by public-health authorities.

Among gay men who have anal sex, some consistently take the top (insertive) or bottom (receptive) role, but this is not always the case: some men who have anal sex act as both top and bottom at different times. This is known as "versatile" or "switch".

Re:Liability (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355949)

If you just buy the licenses retail, you're right. But large corporations can (and often do) have contracts with MS for stuff like that. The last place I worked for did.

Never needed it actually, but its in the contract.

Slashdot Delay (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355481)

Of course, by the time it hits Slashdot, WGA is operational again. Digg and Reddit have had this on the FP for hours

Windows Update (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355927)

Of course, by the time it hits Slashdot, WGA is operational again.
Yeah, until all the Slashdot readers who use Windows (there are more than some people might think) hit Windows Update en masse.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355493)

It is a bad idea to leave the control of your computer to some grossly incompetent software company?!
Whowouldathunkit?

"Fight club scenario?" (5, Interesting)

ivoras (455934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355497)

A friend of mine was immediately reminded of the Fight Club movie - how they tried to blow up all the banks at the end so nobody would owe anybody anything. Imagine if some digital vigilante wiped out Microsoft's database of keys, maybe like an inside job... all installs everywhere would simply be invalidated in an instant :) Now *that* would be a strong and immediate demonstration of both how the whole "activation" thing and DRM are wrong.

Man can dream...

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (4, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355559)

But I guess they already know WGA and DRM are wrong... for the consumer. Remember this outage cost much more to the consumer than they cost to them, at least until people begin considering the painless alternatives.

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355759)

considering the painless alternatives.
Since when is Linux or MacOS painless? Each platform have their share of frustration.

Compare frustration levels? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355947)

considering the painless alternatives.
Since when is Linux or MacOS painless? Each platform have their share of frustration.
But if macOSX.getFrustration() < windows.getFrustration(), then we have a switcher. Or are you going to reply with how macOSX.getFrustration() might be higher than I think?

Project Mayhem (4, Funny)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355655)

The Data Retention committee of Project Mayhem is working on this - but you didn't hear that from me.

Re:Project Mayhem (4, Funny)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355749)

There is no project mayhem.

Re:Project Mayhem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355813)

His name was Robert Paulsen....his name was..

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (0)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355879)

>Now *that* would be a strong and immediate demonstration of both how the whole "activation" thing and DRM are wrong

Err no its not. Thats like wiping out every social security number, watching the social safety net system collapse, and saying "SEE SOCIAL SAFETY DOESNT WORK AND IS WRONG." Or beating up your mailman, not getting mail, and saying "SEE, THE POSTAL SERVICE OUT HERE SUCKS."

No, youre just a criminal.

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355919)

Err no its not. Thats like wiping out every social security number, watching the social safety net system collapse, and saying "SEE SOCIAL SAFETY DOESNT WORK AND IS WRONG." Or beating up your mailman, not getting mail, and saying "SEE, THE POSTAL SERVICE OUT HERE SUCKS."
What, you couldn't come up with a car analogy worse than those?

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356077)

Err no its not. Thats like wiping out every social security number, watching the social safety net system collapse, and saying "SEE SOCIAL SAFETY DOESNT WORK AND IS WRONG." Or beating up your mailman, not getting mail, and saying "SEE, THE POSTAL SERVICE OUT HERE SUCKS."
Until the SkyNet rises or we end up in the Matrix, they're "just computers", not really essential for life. It's not like Microsoft can't just set up a new validation server whose most important line of code is "return TRUE;".

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (1)

Niten (201835) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355897)

Not having used Windows for a while, can someone clarify what the consequences of a WGA "invalidation" would be? Once invalidated, is there a straightforward way to revalidate a Windows installation?

Re:"Fight club scenario?" (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355931)

Yeah, you can have fun revalidating your windows every 5 minutes if you want, be it valid or not (you can reenter the key at will).

For example the copy of Vista that was provided to me by my workplace didn't get activated correctly on first try for whatever reason. I just reentered it (the exact same one) later on from home and it fixed it, simple as that.

good thing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355503)

The masses need to get hurt before they come to the conclusion that giving full control over your PC to a commercial entity is not a good idea.

lets hope it lasts a few more weeks or so.

Inevitable - look it up in the dictionary (2, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355515)

To all those people who say "Nothing can go wrong with the system" and "I've never had a problem with activation."

This [microsoft.com] (redundant link) is what can go wrong, and it was only a matter of time. There is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. I believe in Murphy's Law, so long as you add the word "eventually" to the end of it.

--
Toro

Re:Inevitable - look it up in the dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355811)

If you follow the link [microsoft.com] above it looks like MS has solved this problem within a couple of hours.

Re:Inevitable - look it up in the dictionary (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355925)

I already linked that and did it as a top thread, in my own name (to get the karma bonus), before you even posted this as an AC. The difference: I attempted to be helpful.

And that "solution" is not. It's a workaround. You have to navigate to an emergency site with your web browser, as WGA still doesn't work.

As an unhelpful fan of MS, I guess you're used to thinking of workarounds as fixes, though.

Have a nice day. :^)

--
Toro

There is a workaround, apparently. (1)

caferace (442) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355519)

"Please go to http://www.microsoft.com/genuine [microsoft.com] and click VALIDATE WINDOWS to resolve this issue immediately."

Haven't tried it, because I don't need to. But....

Re:There is a workaround, apparently. (1)

sponga (739683) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355585)

It worked perfectly fine and took all of 5 seconds of my life.
Article is a little late and it only really affect 1 in 100000.

"Thank you for validating your copy of Microsoft Windows.

Thank you for using the Windows Genuine Advantage program. You may now access resources for genuine Windows users."

Alternative workaround (3, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355891)

Available here. [linuxgenui...antage.org]

The bigger problem for Microsoft... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355543)

is that they're calling the people that sell their software thieves. They are biting the hands that feed them. One of our customers bought a copy at Fry's, and when they called Microsoft about the problem, Microsoft accused Fry's of selling pirated software. Accusing the people that make money for you is a good way to kill a business.

The whole concept if flawed (4, Insightful)

puck01 (207782) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355551)

This whole concept of authentication and WGA is flawed. It adds too many points of failure that in the end hurts legitimate users. Why should we be punished for MS's piracy problems.

For me it started with XP. Since I can no longer interchange parts in and out of my computer without worrying about setting off the authentication, I've worked hard to get my myself and my family off Windows. I'm the computer dork in the family and if I can't trouble shoot stuff without worrying about this kind of stuff it sort of kills the fun in building your own machines.

I'm not surprised this is happening and I won't be surprised when this stuff continues to happen in the future. Please get rid of these awful 'features' Microsoft

Re:The whole concept if flawed (1)

careykohl (682513) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355701)

I couldn't agree with you more. The only people being inconvenienced by this are Microsoft's legitimate paying customers. Once again a major company has reinforced the notion that not only does pirated software/music/movies/etc save you money it also saves you a ton of hassle.

The advantage of not running genuine (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355805)

The advantage of running not running windows genuine are made clear by this incident.

Re:The whole concept if flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355855)

Yeah, but here's the real kicker: the biggest security hole in Windows is there by design, widened with each release, and can be exploited through numerious attack vectors. Oh yeah, and it's illegal to fix. All closed source software has the same basic flaw: authentication. The only difference between these pieces of software is that the more successful the software company at "protecting their intellectual property" the more vulnerable the software, and the more inconvienient for the customer.

Between this and their slow-ass update servers (1, Insightful)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355555)

it's a wonder any company can get anything done with Windows.

Corporations need to realize that making Bill the richest guy in the world is not the most effective use of their IT capital. Just imagine if all those license fees, the cost of downtime for malware attacks, the cost of license following, the cost of unnecessary servers due to lack of scalability, etc., ad nauseum, had been diverted to open source development. Microsoft would be out of business now.

Re:Between this and their slow-ass update servers (2, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356021)

Just imagine if all those license fees, the cost of downtime for malware attacks, the cost of license following, the cost of unnecessary servers due to lack of scalability, etc., ad nauseum, had been diverted to open source development. Microsoft would be out of business now.
You have a very good point indeed - put it probably proves something other than what you expected.

Commercial software companies like Microsoft have spent a lot more resources on shaping their products into finished stand-alone packages that actually WORK... without the requiring the user to read five or six 800-pages O'Reiley books about advanced protocols or client/server APIs. So precisely because these companies HAVE spent their license fees on development that appeals to their customers, they are dominating the marketplace. And precisely because F/OSS development is (was) not driven by the needs of end-customers and consumers, the products were too advanced to use, understand, install, upgrade, etc.

Don't get me wrong here - I am a big F/OSS fan. But please observe that all the truly successfully F/OSS products nowadays are backed by big companies with commercial interests in them. Most (if not all) Linux distros that are appealing to normal end-users are from big companies with a lot of cash. And many (many, like in MANY!) non-OS products in the F/OSS category are being used commercially and is backed by companies with commercial interests in them (MySQL is its own company - HP, IBM, Novell, Sun contributes to a lot of end-user stuff both with development and cash).

Commercial software and license fees are not evil. Only their terms of use *CAN* be "evil" or at least "non-free" (as in "non-freedom).

And we would certainly not mind making Bill the richest guy in the world if he had just delivered his software with free (as in "freedom", NOT as in "beer") licenses - right?

:-)

- Jesper

surely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355569)

They should rename it Windows Genuine Disadvantage ?

Re:surely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355643)

or windows Genuine daHURRR DERRRR da whaaaaaaa hurrr dee derrrrrrrrrrrrrrr da HOOOOOO duuuuh derrrr dee hurrrrrrrrr derr der

Good News! (1)

kihbord (724079) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355619)

Wow this is good news! This means that M$ just gave us another reason not to use Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Personal Infrastructure (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355639)

There have been stories lately about how the IT structure in the US is vulnerable to disruption. While I think that danger is overstated to some degree, there is no doubt some critical infrastructure that is connected to the internet and subject to breakdown.

We each have our own personal infrastructure in our homes. If Windows is part of it, then you're subject to breakdowns in other parts of the system, i.e. Microsoft WGA.

Last week I returned one of those fancy Harmony remote controls because programming it requires contact over the internet with Logitech's servers. I refuse to subject myself to that nonsense, especially when a standalone piece of software would not be difficult to write and distribute.

If there was a way to divorce my personal Windows-based IT infrastructure from the online whims of Microsoft I'd jump on it. Too bad the monopolistic behavior of MS makes this impossible for the moment.

When they end-of-life XP they had better issue a patch to remove the activation component from it.

Re:Personal Infrastructure (1)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355765)

When they end-of-life XP they had better issue a patch to remove the activation component from it.

You're kidding, right?

When they end-of-life XP they will at most smile and tell you it's time to upgrade.

People at work act like I'm weird that I stopped buying Microsoft anything (well, I bought a nice Microsoft mouse not that long ago...) at Windows 2000.

My W2K box works fine, and will continue to work fine. There are off-line Update Scripts out there now, so my 'doze boxes will NEVER connect to a Microsoft server again.

Re:Personal Infrastructure (0)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355791)

And why would they release such a patch?
You continuing to use old versions doesn't generate any profit for microsoft, they would prefer you to buy the latest version. By using xp in the first place you accepted that it used activation, and thus accepted the risk of the activation servers ceasing to exist. If you end up with a perfectly good machine rendered useless because it's software refuses to run, and are faced with buying a whole new machine and new os, you have noone to blame but yourself.
It's very much within microsoft's interests for old versions to become useless, forcing you to buy upgrades. Their own biggest competitor is their own old versions, people who are quite happy with old versions and consider the cost of upgrading pointless.

Re:Personal Infrastructure (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355833)

When they end-of-life XP they had better issue a patch to remove the activation component from it.

HA! Are you kidding? What they will do is issue a patch that deactivates all XP installations.

First, make sure he's dead.
BANG!... BANG!

WGA Newspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355653)

Heh, "Windows Genuine Advantage" has got to be the most blatant piece of Newspeak in the computer world today. I wonder if the irony of the situation still registers with Microsoft folks who are dealing with the crisis right now, or that they have already completely tuned out the meaning of the English words "genuine advantage".

eggs in one basket (3, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355669)

monoculture == dangerous!!

Re:eggs in one basket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355753)

Yeah, well, Windows users are the computing equivalent of a bunch of lemmings. You have to believe that MS knows where the cliffs are, or you'd better look up and around every now and then.

Phil Liu has workaround already (4, Informative)

Torodung (31985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355685)

Phil Liu details a workaround here, third post down. [microsoft.com]

Please go to www.microsoft.com/genuine and click VALIDATE WINDOWS to resolve this issue immediately.

Additionally, I know you all are looking for an explanation/root-cause. I will get that ASAP. We are aware it is a server-side issue - the cause is unknown at this current time.
Best of luck to all you Vista users.

--
Toro

switch to LGA? (3, Funny)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355695)

Damn it, it is broken?! I want to benefit from this Advantage program! They should open source WGA. Bugs would be fixed immediately by volunteers, so we can enjoy it without problems!
I'm switching to Linux Genuine Advantage(TM) [linuxgenui...antage.org] , guys. It is better and open-source!

Re:switch to LGA? (1)

beanenator (1147539) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355725)

but will microsoft will even things like that there like a pack of wolfs fighting over food when it comes to that kind of thing. they are going to blame on the pirates again or will they blame it on someone else ponders i hope the people who affected get there time/money back

Sysadmins! Go to work! (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355709)

Turn on all the machines! Log in! Get those machines invalidated as quickly as possible.

Re:Sysadmins! Go to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20356137)

"Turn on all the machines! Log in! ..." and fork-up 'Skype'. ;-)

This was going to happen (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355713)

I knew sooner or later this was going to happen, not to mention how many times I've been pissed off about Vista's WGA, I changed a video card and vola! Not genuine anymore... But anyway that was long time ago and now I'm trying to be M$ Free just like I'm trying to be GE-Free, Drug-Free, or woteva Bad-Baddies-Free.

What? Am I really the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355735)

HAHAHAHA... HA.. HAHAHAHAHAHA...HA...LOL....HAHA...ROTFLMAO!!!!!111 11oneoneoenoeneoeneon!! DAMN!!!
Yeah, wow... that's really funny. Now imagine a worm like code red, but instead of attacking the whitehouse, it attacked microsoft all microsoft update and validation servers. If that isn't a reason to switch away, I don't know what is... now excuse me while I continue to laugh from the security of my linux box.

Re:What? Am I really the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355835)

Have fun playing with your text editors little man!

Repay the compliment (3, Interesting)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355737)

Microsoft frequently shill online forums, they're even attacking the venerable ISO! From this Groklaw article [groklaw.net] :

And if it were me, I'd want to know if there is any Microsoft shadow in the background. Someone placed a threatening comment on Groklaw the other day, saying someday the "darkness" behind PJ would be revealed, and to "sleep well", and because of the threatening tone, I checked the logs and the comment appears to have come from an ad agency that does a lot of work for Microsoft. So I am wondering about things I didn't think about before. I remember what happened to an innocent man's reputation in the Massachusetts ODF affair.

So, this would seem like the ideal time to feed them some of their own medicine. Get over to the WGA forums [microsoft.com] and do some pro GNU+Linux astroturfing. Here was my message:

I came here not because I have a problem but because the mainstream media is starting to pick up on this issue, I suspect that pressure on MS to fix the problem will tremendously increase once this hits a few news/social networking sites.

The reason I'm not having any issues? I use Ubuntu and have the pleasure of knowing my OS and computer are owned by me. Maybe a few people here should give it a try: you never know, it might work! If it doesn't, all you've wasted are a couple of hours when you couldn't use Vista anyway.

Either way, I hope these problems get fixed for you guys soon.

As long as you're polite and make a point it can only help the adoption of Free software. Show these people that we're not zealots and offer them a way out of the WGA doldrums! :)

Microsoft fanboi (2, Interesting)

ctid (449118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355827)

JohninTN's contribution to that forum is just funny. He seems to think that people should just "calm down" when the functionality that they have paid (rather a lot of money) for suddenly doesn't work because of some MS boneheadedness. His attitude in this thread [microsoft.com] is quite amazing, in my opinion.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355865)

Was it caused by a massive number of Skype users logging in at once?

big apps, bugs, and the awesomeness of it all (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355869)

Big bugs like this are awesome because they make the smaller ones that I generate on daily basis look like cow fodder. However I suspect no bug is necessarily bigger or smaller but it's the scale of how many people/users are affected. Oh how I wish my apps had that large of an installed base. Fingers crossed and wish upon a star.

true story (2, Interesting)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355907)

I actually had this happen to me:

- A Vista installation at a company I work with 'invalidated'.
- I called Microsoft.
- A person named Josh, who had quite an Indian accent as well as a speech impediment answered and after MUCH effort I provided the information required. (Please note I have the greatest respect for people of Indian decent as well as people with speech impediments but you can, I am sure, appreciate how this makes communication difficult.)
- A few minutes later he came back on and said that 'Microsoft is currently having computer problem' and please can I call back later.

In fairness, 2 days later the machine automatically revalidated but the whole thing was rather comedic.

]{

Proof the piracy has the 'genuine advantage' (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20355959)

I never install copy protected software, since I feel that it validates my right to use the software that I have paid for.
If i was buying the software on a lease/maintenance agreement, things might be different, but Windows is VERY expensive, and rather poor quality. I know of no other server OS that needs frequent reboots to correct weird slowdowns, and strange resource leaks.
I am just glad that I switched to Linux when Microsoft went down the product activation route with Windows XP. They cleary think that their customers are criminals, and i'm sure most of their customers have a similar opinion of Microsoft for delivering substandard products and exercising criminally monopolistic practices.
Good ridance Microsoft. I don't miss you.

I really love these features (2, Informative)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#20355989)

I really love these "features" that prevent users from using their computers. I can't remember how many times I had to troubleshoot licensing problems in NetWare. Windows NT and 2000 used to be quite trouble free regarding this kind of crap. But now with WGA I'm making money off copy protection again. Right now I'm migrating a server from Windows 2000 to Linux for a client for that very reason. Thanks for giving me business, Microsoft.

Mountain out of a Mole Hill (-1, Troll)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356001)

People are blowing this completely out of proportion. (Big surprise.)

Here are the facts:

1.) The WGA servers were returning error number 0xC004C4A5 when attempting to validate Windows.
2.) This error did NOT cause Windows to go into "reduced functionality mode".
3.) It may have prevented people from downloading certain WGA-only applications/updates.
4.) It looks like the issue was causing problems for less than a day, and is now resolved.
5.) What actually caused the problem has not yet been announced.

So there you have it. People that just installed XP or Vista were not able to activate for a day, and the result of that problem was that the little key icon in the system tray was visible, and they may have had one of those balloon popups tell them to activate.

If that pissed them off a lot, they could have called Microsoft's activation phone number and had their machines activated in less than 5 minutes.

Oh, and a few people couldn't download some optional updates and perhaps a couple of apps from Microsoft.com. THE HORROR!

Re:Mountain out of a Mole Hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20356075)

What is your source? The MS forums say different than you. I call BS.

Thank god for The Pirate Bay. (3, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356175)

Hmm, it also wasted at least two hours of my time when I tried to install a new system and activation would not work. I traced through countless routers before I finally figured that it must Microsoft that is a fault and not our firewalls - so I installed a hack. Thank god for The Pirate Bay...

Switch (2, Funny)

dreyergustav (1013913) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356011)

This doesn't seem to affect my Ubuntu installation and my iBook is also unaffected.

Advantage? What Advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20356123)

Score another loss for our favorite code monkeys. Yet another reason not to use Windows.

Will Microsoft compensate me for downtime? NO.

Will Microsoft provide timely response? Don't know, probably not.

Will Microsoft provide assistance in revalidation? Don't Know.

Where is the advantage of running a $400.00+ Operating System, that periodically phones home to see if I'm genuine. I hope 'mission critical' servers are not using WGA based services.

Yet another reason why one should not use Microsoft software. No WARRANTY, NO SUPPORT, NO CHOICE. I'll stick with an Operating System that DOES NOT ASSUME I AM A THIEF by default.

Software should put THE USER FIRST, not last. But then again, what can we expect from a bunch of code monkeys, controlled by a bunch of marketing execs.

Wow... No Aero, No DirectX after a reboot (1)

einer (459199) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356131)

Who let's themselves be treated this way? You wouldn't let Ford decide whether you could shift past 2nd gear based on your lease payments being up to date. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

I'm PRAYING this lasts a week (1)

einer (459199) | more than 7 years ago | (#20356165)

God let this be a huge disasterous boondoggle for Microsoft. Please please please please please. I don't even believe in you God, but if you're up there, and you're a Just God, you will hear this and smite their backups with a bolt of bitrot.

If I go into work on Monday and everyone's computer is running in "restricted mode" it will be MUCH easier to convince my boss to let me get rid of our last remaining MSSQL instance.
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