Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft Upgrades

Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation 1067

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This discussion has been archived.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

Microsoft to Disable Online Windows Activation

Comments Filter:
  • by farrellj (563) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:08AM (#11775905) Homepage Journal
    Now you will be forcing more people to move over to Linux and Mac computers!!!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    ttyl
    Farrell
    • by cshark (673578) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#11775945)
      Amazing how that works, isn't it. I could see it being worth it if everyone loved Windows. But the only reason people even use it in the first place is because it's easy. Something idiotic like this makes it a LOT less so. Linux on the other hand, making pretty big inroads. No pointless activation sequences where you have to call anyone. Probably never will be, except with Xandros (but I doubt it). Hey, there's a selling point right there. Buy linux, and don't have to call anyone who will make you answer stupid pointless questions. Woo hoo! I'm sold. This is exactly the kind of thing they want to do just before they release Expidition. Although, I wonder how much more secure it's actually going to be.
      • by DigitumDei (578031) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:25AM (#11776034) Homepage Journal
        I cannot help but wonder whether top level management at MS got a bad batch of LSD and its done something to their brains.

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

        The only reason left to use windows is gaming. And even that is becoming less and less of a reason...
        • by rahlquist (558509) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:33AM (#11776098) Homepage
          I recently had to call MS to activate Office 2003 (too many installs). It took me nearly 25 minutes to get through to the nice (english is my second language) woman I spoke with. While she was quite helpful and only asked once (why so many installs) I still felt like I had been dragged down town and put under birght lights to be interrogated. This will be a wonderful experience for everyone, why, once we all know what criminals feel like, then none of us will be tempted will we?
          • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:36AM (#11776121)
            If I'm going to be punished, I may as well commit the crime.
            • by NanoGator (522640) on Friday February 25, 2005 @11:39AM (#11778231) Homepage Journal
              "If I'm going to be punished, I may as well commit the crime."

              Ya know, if MS were to say "Since this will cut down on piracy, we're going to pre-emptively lower prices..." I might be a little less offended. But this never happens, does it? I mean, billions and billions of dollars are claimed to be lost due to piracy, but has Valve made HL2 cheaper? Ugh.
              • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:05PM (#11779424) Homepage
                Speaking of reducing prices, read the latest Cringely column. He predicts Microsoft will net billions more in revenue by issuing their antispyware software free.

                And here I thought Bill was finally smart enough to realize that charging for the ASW product would be a pittance in revenue compared to the bad publicity about charging for fixes to one's own flaws.

                When in reality, the point of releasing the ASW software for free was to put the other companies out of business and force 100 million upgrades to XP SP2, thereby generating billions more in revenue.

                In other words, as Cringely puts it, even Microsoft's "good" actions have a predatory purpose.

                Fortunately Cringely also suggests this will hurt Microsoft later.

          • by Rinikusu (28164) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:07AM (#11776422)
            Anyone else feel like this when the "door nazi" at BestBuy/other chain steps in front of you and demands to see your receipt? Treating your customers like they're potential criminals is no way to gain loyalty.
            • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi. c o m> on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:27AM (#11776644) Homepage
              The whole idea of having a monoply is that being nice to the customer is not needed. You need them, and the other way around.

              The idea of a company selling you on something with quality and good service is so, well 70's

              Get with it.

              Freedom is no longer a right, it is now a pivilege.

            • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:49AM (#11777607) Homepage Journal
              Those people can't stop you. Just blow right by them. If they get in your way inform them that you are going to place them under citizen's arrest for unlawful imprisonment. The only time they have any grounds to stop you whatsoever is at sam's club, costco, et cetera. Those places are private clubs and they can revoke your membership if you don't show them the receipt; therefore you are trespassing. Of course, once you buy the stuff, you still own it, but it behooves you to let them see your receipt there.

              When I leave Fry's I sometimes have the receipt out for them to glance at, and I rarely break stride on my way out the door. Wal-mart has been checking receipts for unbagged or large items, too; so far I've been with my girlfriend every time and don't want to embarrass her, but the fact is that once you buy it, the product and the receipt are both yours and you are well within your rights to just walk on by.

            • by real gumby (11516) on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:49AM (#11777618)
              I hate those "door nazis" too but you do realize that they're there because the company is suspicious of its employees right?

              The scam they're looking for is you walking out with (say) an iPod and some headphones but the cashier only charging you for the headphones. Then you take the iPod to a fence and you and the cashier split the proceeds. That's why harass you for the most stupid and cursory check.

              So yea, they suspect you of being a criminal, but their employees hate them so much (and vice versa I suppose) that what you're actually seeing is a manifestation of a festering pool of mutual hatred.

              Really makes you want to go and shop there, right? For stuff they sell, stick to mail order.
            • by heinzkeinz (18262) on Friday February 25, 2005 @11:07AM (#11777824) Homepage
              Had a problem like this recently at a public reference library. They had a rent-a-cop posted at the door searching the bags of everyone exiting. He asked, 'May I look in your bag, sir?' I said, 'No, sorry.' and kept walking. Guy started yelling at me, to the effect that I am not allowed back in the library, that sort of thing.

              Well, of course, I had gone out only for 20 minutes and came back in (entrance is seperate from the exit, so he didn't see me), but on my way out again, he stepped in front of me and said, 'You are not leaving until you open your bag.' I replied 'Wrong. I'm leaving. Call the police if you like.' More yelling ensued.

              A public library! I was there with my (mortified) girlfriend, who happily opened her bag twice. The worst part is that their 'examination' of the bags are so cursory as to be useless. My girlfriend had four books in her bag from another library, indistinguishable without removing and examining them. But she gets waved by. They have a magnetic-strip-beeping-system-thingie, so what's the point? Better to post those goofs somewhere where they can prevent real damage and loss to the library: making sure that people don't bring food in. While I was there--I'm not making this up--I saw a guy with a whole Big Mac meal pawing through a stack of journals from the thirties. Gimmie a break!

              Bah.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:48AM (#11776224)
          The only reason left to use windows is gaming.


          Cool. I can hardly wait to get to the office today.

        • by Air-conditioned cowh (552882) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:18AM (#11776546)
          I cannot help but wonder whether top level management at MS got a bad batch of LSD and its done something to their brains.

          Hey! It worked for Steve Jobs :-)
        • Top management of ANY big company is like that. Comes with the size, clout and maturity. Google or whatever will be the same as well.
          It is like a law of nature, probably closely related to the Second Law of Termodynamics.
          Simply, when company reaches certain size, no matter how bright the individual leaders or technologists are, they loose the ability to critically think and reason as a whole. Call it "BigGerman's Law Of Corporate Evolution" ;-)
      • by zero_offset (200586) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:30AM (#11776072) Homepage
        Buy linux, and don't have to call anyone who will make you answer stupid pointless questions.

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

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

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

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

        That'll be fantastic.
        • by JanneM (7445) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:57AM (#11776310) Homepage
          People aren't stupid. Let me say that again: people are not stupid, they are not dumb, they are not morons (with a few exceptions - and they are _few_). What they are, by and large, is interested in other things than computing - like, for instance, the work or play they want to accomplish with their computers, rather than the machines themselves.

          People are perfectly able to understand the difference between Windows, OSX and Linux - they just don't particularily care. And in that situation, yes, put up enough roadblocks to Windows use and people will gradually switch, just like US people abandoned domestic cars for Japanese ones when they became compelling enough. Not everybody switched, and not all at once (since everybody has a different tipping point), but certainly enough to change the commercial landscape.

          • by Lord Apathy (584315) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:14AM (#11776505)

            People aren't stupid. Let me say that again: people are not stupid, they are not dumb, they are not morons

            Yes, they are. People are stupid. Individuals are intelligent. People are not. Here is a little advice for you. If you go through life thinking people are stupid you will be a lot less dissappointed. Keep your expectations set low and you will seldom be let down.

            --
            All spelling, gammer, and logical mistakes are intentinal because I'm to fucking lazy to look it up. If you don't like it, Fuck Off!

        • by glyph42 (315631) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:59AM (#11776345) Homepage Journal

          You can't have "manslaughter" without "laughter".

          No no no, that's supposed to be:

          One manslaughter is another man's laughter.

      • Hey, there's a selling point right there. Buy linux, and don't have to call anyone who will make you answer stupid pointless questions.

        Of course, you'll also have to add being able to buy software off the shelf, and Plug and Play hardware, and not having to learn how to compile or write drivers, or search forums filled with people calling you a "st00pid n00b" to find said drivers.

    • by aspx (808539)
      The pirates will still crack activation anyway. It's only the unscrupulous resellers of Windows that get hurt by this.
  • by Powertrip (702807) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:09AM (#11775908) Homepage Journal
    Right when I am peeved that I had to re-install, I have to get back on the phone with M$. Enough is enough - has their 'activation' programs really impacted priacy at all? Has it done anything beyond bother paying users?
    • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:19AM (#11775991)
      Right when I am peeved that I had to re-install, I have to get back on the phone with M$.

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

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

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

      TW
      • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:26AM (#11776037)
        I know you were being sarcastic, but what about impossible-to-clean spyware [slashdot.org]? If stuff like this gets widespread some users won't have a choice, and Microsoft doesn't look set on making the install process any easier.
        • by infodragon (38608) on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:08PM (#11783491)
          I know this is a bit advanced so it is not for the "average" computer user. But what I do is...

          Set up my computer the way I want it, All MS Software activated, such as office. (FYI this works with Windows Server 2003)

          1. Boot to Gentoo Live CD
          2. dd if=/dev/hda | bzip2 > /mnt/where/I/mounted/my/rev/drive (35GB) (you can use external HD, or your favorite mass storage device)

          When spyware or just general Windows Entropy slows the system down too much, I back up my data...
          1. Boot to Gentoo Live CD
          2. dd of=/mnt/where/I/mounted/my/rev/drive | bzip2 -d > /dev/hda
          3. Reboot
          4. Use windows normally, have to re-install games
          5. ...
          6. Profit?


          The one "Bad Thing"(TM) about this is that data has to be on a separate disk. You can also modify the above to use partitions and have all data on a different partition. Though with any windows reinstall it is a good idea to reformat, with slow version, the partition to NTFS. So you'd have to do this in either case.

          Anyway This works well and gets around that stupid reactivation crap, now I'm *VERY* glad I do this.

          And remember kids, ALWAYS backup your data on a normal basis. HDs will fail!!! There is no question, they will fail. If I was not clear let me repeat that, THEY WILL FAIL!!!!! You need backups, and if you do this as you should, the above process will be less of a fuss.
      • See, it's all better. When you buy your computer, that's the OS you get to use for the entire life of the computer and certainly no one at Microsoft tech support or anywhere else would ever ask you to reinstall. Have a nice day.

        Yeah... except for the fact that the first thing you really should do when you buy a new system is wipe the hard drive and reinstall windows to get rid of all the crap that OEMs load your computer up with. No.... I don't want musicmatch jukebox or Real Media Player.

    • Might of just forced people to stay on old version where there is no online checking of the number

      Rus
  • by oscarh (40635) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:09AM (#11775911)
    *This* is the reason we don't want monopolies abusing their power/position - they can impose whatever onerous conditions they like, and you just have to play along.

    Whaddya gonna do - install *another* OS???
  • Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11775913)
    Just means you will have to use a corp key which does not require activation. I know as a support tech I would never sit through a freaking queue every time I had to reactivate windows.
    • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:34AM (#11776108)
      It's not so much the phone queue thats a problem. I've had to phone-activate Windows a number of times on customers machines where for one reason or another, Windows demanded activation before logging on. Trouble was, it wouldn't install the network card driver before it logged in, so there was no way for it to get online. But I digress...

      The big pain in the ass in activating over the phone is reading the installation ID. It's not an actual person you talk to- you read the number aloud (as opposed to touch tone) to a computer. You have to speak slow and deliberately for it to understand the numbers correctly, and ultimately it will read a confirmation code back to you. The whole process takes about 5-7 minutes, depending on whether the computer understood you correctly the first time. That's the part that pisses me off about this. Whenever we have to reinstall Windows at my shop, it was easy enough to plug in to our router and activate in 2 seconds (all with legitimate keys mind you). If this holds true, it will piss off many many computer shops around the world. Two seconds vs. five minutes is a pretty big deal.
      • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jardine (398197) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:42AM (#11776166) Homepage
        It's not an actual person you talk to- you read the number aloud (as opposed to touch tone) to a computer. You have to speak slow and deliberately for it to understand the numbers correctly, and ultimately it will read a confirmation code back to you. The whole process takes about 5-7 minutes, depending on whether the computer understood you correctly the first time.

        You can speak slowly and deliberately to the computer, but you can still enter the numbers by touchtone.
  • Only makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dsginter (104154) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11775914)
    Microsoft was dumb enough to put the product activation code on the outside of the damn PC. Anyone can walk into a store, take a pic of the code on a new PC (since they are bulk activated) and get free Windows.

    This can only be good for free software however. Part of the Windows dominance comes from the fact that it is free for those who want it.
  • Original Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11775915) Homepage
    I'm just waiting for the customer to ring up and say they don't have the original media. The last 3 PC's i know people have bought just come with a copy of Windows on a partition. If you run Fdisk then they are screwed

    rus
  • by selderrr (523988) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11775918) Journal
    right now, it was easier to spread corporate (or educational) keys. Many of these don't require activation at all. Once MS disables this, crackers will resort to patching the activation code. .. It's just a matter of time, like the XBox was cracked eventually.

    On the other hand : this will just make the difference between Windows and OSX/linux even more apparent. Every user-restricting move of microsoft is, in the long run, a shot in its own foot
    • by William_Lee (834197) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:21AM (#11776005)
      "Once MS disables this, crackers will resort to patching the activation code. .. It's just a matter of time, like the XBox was cracked eventually."

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

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

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

      These types of measures always punish the paying customer and leave the pirates shaking their heads in disbelief over M$ not getting it.
    • by Bastian (66383) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:36AM (#11776120)
      I would suggest that any move that Microsoft makes to combat piracy is a shot in its own foot.

      The simple fact of the matter is that Microsoft software, compared to its competitors, is far and away the most expensive desktop software ever. Most people I know who pirate Windows do so because they simply can't afford to buy a copy. Granted, that's not many people since Windows comes with the computer, but I can say that I only know two people who have paid for their copies of MS Office - everyone else either pirates it or uses OpenOffice because they aren't at liberty to drop over half a week's pay on it. And in college I didn't know a single person who actually paid for a legal copy of VisualStudio - the unscrupulous pirated, and the scrupulous moved to *nix.

      Which leads me to my point - if Microsoft tightens Windows down too much, people are going to start thinking, "Holy shit, this is expensive, and I'm sick of hunting for friends with Windows CDs. Hey, my Mac using friend never has to reinstall his OS, and a Mac Mini only costs an extra two hundred. . ." If Microsoft tightens down on Office too much, people just go to OO.o. And if Microsoft tightens down on VisualStudio much at all, the start hemmorhaging future developers - their lifeblood, since application support is (I think) the core of Windows's market dominance - over to Linux and OS X, where the dev tools come for free with the OS.

      I honestly don't think Microsoft is free to get too strict with its licensing policies. Piracy is the only thing that is keeping skads of mildly dissatisfied people in their camp where they might not be contributing to M$'s coffers directly, but they aren't working against Microsoft's stranglehold on the market, either.
    • I can see this being done with a mini CD boot image that is basically a Knoppix CD with a script that will edit the registry to read as activated in some way. So then people will just install, boot with an activation CD and presto! And forget activation CD... even a floppy might be enough to do it provided the computer even has a floppy drive... Anyway, you get the idea -- easy to fix and basically more convenient for anyone who doesn't want to risk their unpatched systems by getting online in the first
  • Customer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by millahtime (710421) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#11775925) Homepage Journal
    I am just going though some training and one of the hot points is understanding your customer. Making something more difficult for customers (home users and companies that do tech work) is not one of the moves known to improve market share and is in most industries considered a bad move.
  • by CypherXero (798440) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#11775927) Homepage
    Because the last few times I've reinstalled Windows, it's been around 12am.
  • by RT Alec (608475) <alec@nosPam.slashdot.chuckle.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#11775929) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks A Lot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wynand1004 (671213) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#11775932) Homepage
    Thanks guys, thanks a lot

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

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

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

    Thanks guys, thanks a lot.
  • Aw man.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by imrec (461877) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#11775934) Homepage
    Calling in every time I changed a bit of hardware is the only chance I get to talk to a woman...

    oh.. ONLINE activation only... *WHEW*
  • by md81544 (619625) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:12AM (#11775936) Homepage
    From TFA...
    If a customer attempts to activate Windows XP with an OEM key from a COA, they will be directed to call customer support specialists to obtain an override code - provided they can prove that their copy is legitimate by answering a series of questions.

    Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox said the change shouldn't affect many PC buyers. "Seeing as how the typical OEM would normally preactivate Windows XP, most legitimate users shouldn't have much need to go through the activation process," noted Wilcox.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#11775947)
    Seems to me MS could have solved this problem by requiring the large OEM's to stop allowing their keys to be "unused" like this. And you know what, there was a time that MS could have done this, despite the added effort/headache it would have undoutbedly been for the OEM's.

    Sign O' The Times?
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#11775949)
    Step 1: Company implements some sort of copy protection.
    Step 2: Legitimate users are hampered by the copy protection while illegitimate users breeze by it through various means.
    Step 3: Company either ultimately removes copy protection with a black mark on its reputation or people just stop buying its products.

    I know of no historical case that deviates from this for a major software release. Of course, you have various vertical applications that use dongles and other such things, but anything that is mass-distributed (like Lotus Notes or Turbo Tax) that has used copy protection either removed said copy protection or stopped selling their product.
  • by Denyer (717613) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#11775952)
    ...on the heels of Microsoft admitting increased concern about rootkit spyware that requires reinstallation to remove.

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

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Viceice (462967) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:14AM (#11775956)
    This doesn't stop piracy in anyway. Product activation only disadvantages the honest customers and thats it. The ones who use pirated windows will still use pirated windows regardless.

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

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

    sheesh...
  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weave (48069) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:15AM (#11775968) Journal
    You mean all those PCs sitting in college computer labs I administer with their COA labels on them can be lifted and used to activate a copy of XP (since they install using a corp version)????

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

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

    Speaking for myself, not my employer

  • Yeah! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sierpinski (266120) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:16AM (#11775975)
    A small step for Windows anti-piracy,
    One giant leap for the advocation of OSS.

    I guess there's no question now as to what I'm going
    to install on that new HD of mine. (As if there was doubt before this, I guess.)
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoubleDangerClub (855480) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:17AM (#11775978) Homepage
    I'm really surprised that they are wasting the resources to do this. Most pirated windows xp copies have no activiation anyway. they have no key, and don't ask for one. I would say if they want to get to the source of the problem, they should re-evalutate their MSDN subscription copies and have them need to phone in a re-install. In the end though, I think everyone knows what this really is, a big waste of time. *handclap for microsoft*
  • call center (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chocochip (456883) <sdstuart@nOSPam.comcast.net> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:19AM (#11775990)
    Due to a bad Adaptec PCI card (SATA interface to my hard drives) which was corrupting the hard drives, I've had to reinstall XP Pro on my primary worksation a lot lately. I took 3 re-installs to track down the problem. Each time, when I tried online activation, it would say the number of installs for the license key had been exceeded and I needed to call. So I call in, give them a very long string of numbers, they ask "why you are installing, how many computers has it been installed on, etc." Needless to say, this is pi**ing me off! I'll do everything possible to avoid Microsoft in the future! I've already purchased an Apple Powerbook.
    • Needless to say, this is pi**ing me off!

      Pinging? I don't understand. ...

      OH! pimping! .. wait aminnit.. hrm...

      I'm just pissed off that I can't see those two letters :)

    • Re:call center (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      Yes, I should really be able to install twice a day if that's what I feel like I want to do. Just imagine when the next big virus comes out, and everybody has to reinstall. And then you are waiting in the phone queue, just to install the product you should be able to install in the first place.
    • Re:call center (Score:4, Informative)

      by tmbg37 (694325) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @10:01AM (#11777048) Homepage
      If you were just reinstalling to trace this problem, you could have held off on activation until you had solved it. You don't need to activate Windows immediately after you install it, you're given 30 days until you have to. (Not that I think activation's a good thing, or that you shouldn't be able to reinstall your OS as many times as you want to.)
  • by manganese4 (726568) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:22AM (#11776010)
    It is things like this and the delayed operating system that makes one wonder if microsoft wants to get out of the Home User Operating system and just concentrate on their business customers.

    Just think all they would really need to do is roll out a good, non-bloated version of Office for Macs and Linux that is compatible with their office version of Office and they can stop having to worry about whiny home user.
  • RTFA! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tliet (167733) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:30AM (#11776074)
    They won't disable key activation, just for keys that are assigned to the top 20 OEM clients of Microsoft.

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

    Hmm, I hope India has enough people to man those call centers.
  • Wake up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mr_tommy (619972) * <tgraham@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:35AM (#11776110) Journal
    Come on - wake up to the reality.

    Some readers here live in a dream world; it goes a bit like this. Microsoft make crappy products; Microsoft (unsurprisingly) protect their crappy products; people ultimately realise this; switch to Linux.

    Here's the reality. Microsoft make pretty average products that a heck of a lot of people use. Microsoft get most of their revenues from office and windows and want to protect this cash cow. Microsoft have product activation on, something that bothers a relatively minute fraction of it's user base, and tackle piracy head on. People still view Linux as a server OS, hard to use, and not friendly to people who have less than 5 minutes to read a help file. People stay on Windows. Slash dot community still angry.

    This change just doesn't affect them - and importantly - until it does, please don't expect any mass migration to other operating systems. Microsoft rightly identified an exploit that pirates are using to rip them off- why shouldn't they patch it up? It really bothers me that so many people play this out as a big bad beast cracking knuckles again - it just isn't. Since when did support piracy become so acceptable to so many people?
    • People still view Linux as a server OS, hard to use, and not friendly to people who have less than 5 minutes to read a help file. People stay on Windows.

      At this moment, there are two main reasons why people don't migrate to Linux: (1) XP has more games, (2) XP comes preinstalled. None of these reasons are affected by this XP activation issue. However, this new restriction in activation is certainly not something that will increase Microsoft's revenue.

      If you consider that most people buy computers with th

    • Re:Wake up (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)
      This change just doesn't affect them - and importantly - until it does, please don't expect any mass migration to other operating systems. Microsoft rightly identified an exploit that pirates are using to rip them off- why shouldn't they patch it up? It really bothers me that so many people play this out as a big bad beast cracking knuckles again - it just isn't. Since when did support piracy become so acceptable to so many people?

      Because this will have no impact on copyright infringement whatsoever. Peop
  • Oh good lord (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crescens (650873) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:49AM (#11776232)
    For all the people complaining about this activation.

    How many times do you reinstall Windows?!

    I can see maybe if you're in a strange company setting where they use a version that requires it, it may be a hassle, but I don't see most people reinstalling Windows more than once or twice a year. I guess more if you completely hose a system. That's what? 3-5 minutes? When I had to call them the one time my system had determined I changed hardware too much, it took about 1 minute for them to give me the hash I needed. I don't consider that bad at all.

    • Re:Oh good lord (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jalefkowit (101585) <jasonNO@SPAMjasonlefkowitz.net> on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:28AM (#11776654) Homepage
      When I had to call them the one time my system had determined I changed hardware too much, it took about 1 minute for them to give me the hash I needed. I don't consider that bad at all.

      I don't care if it takes .0001 picoseconds and happens automagically in response to my brainwaves.

      It's not an issue of convenience. It's an issue of principle.

      I swap hardware in and out of my PC all the time. More importantly, I reserve the right to swap hardware in and out of my PC whenever I damn well please.

      Windows Product Activation limits this right by labeling me an Evil Pirate if I modify my system too much, or in the "wrong" way, and forcing me to grovel to Microsoft for permission to use my own computer again.

      This is unacceptable no matter how "convenient" they make the groveling process. I simply do not accept the premise that they have the right to lock me out of my PC based on how I modify the hardware. I don't want my computer playing cop.

      It's for this reason that I've kept my Windows box at home on Windows 2000, which has no such onerous "gotchas". When Windows 2000 becomes an untenable platform (which by all appearances will be Real Soon Now), it would be nice if there was a version of Windows that was compatible with my principles. If not, I'll wipe the disk and run Fedora full time, or buy a Mac.

      If it comes to that, it'll be a shame; there are a lot of nice things about the Windows environment for the home user, and I'll miss being able to play the latest games. But there are some things that are simply not negotiable, and "I own my system" is one of them.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:54AM (#11776277) Homepage
    Good move, guys. Keep up the good work. Every time you squeeze people for more revenue more of them jump ship to Linux. The more leaving Windows, the more of a market for Linux software. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    Moves like this only accelerate the vicious circle. Marvelous! Thank you, Redmond! Wow, when was the last time I said that?

    And we have years and years of entertainment watching MSFT's fall from the peak market dominance. Like watching that one video of an extreme skier who lost it and rolled down the mountain...seemingly forever...unable to stop the fall and it was just one agonizing tumble after another. The only difference is you felt sorry for the skier, sort of. No pity for MSFT. Wo-ho!

  • by Shanep (68243) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:57AM (#11776324) Homepage
    Hopefully, this will mean a lot more people buying one of these [apple.com] and using something like this [apple.com], this [netbsd.org], this [openbsd.org], this [freebsd.org] or this [debian.org]!

    Seriously. Why on Earth are people still putting up with these MS fuckers when Mac OSX and Apple hardware is so damn nice? I like a mix of Sun and Apple gear. The thought of actually deciding on MS just makes me shudder. And MS just keeps giving me more and more reason to hate them and the shit they peddle.
  • by Winterblink (575267) on Friday February 25, 2005 @08:58AM (#11776334) Homepage
    My father recent ran into a rather stupid issue with the phone based activation. You see it's not a person you're talking to, but one of those recorded voice recognition systems. He had a copy of Microsoft Works that he had to reinstall, and suddenly required activation. For some reason the internet based activation didn't work so he proceeded to do the phone based one.

    Well lo and behold after he enters in his proper key for the product he legitimately purchased when he got his Dell PC, it promptly tells him the key's invalid, buhbye and HANGS UP ON HIM. There was no option to speak to a CSR at all, and he has no recourse (Dell can't do anything about it, and there's no phone numbers to call at Microsoft to talk to someone). The whole experience has pushed him that much further towards getting a Mac and waving a not-so-fond farewell to Windows XP.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:24AM (#11776610)
    Now that Microsoft have made it very clear to the masses that they can't re-use OEM versions of XP, I wonder if many people will start demanding OEMs to supply full versions?

    At that point in time, people will realise how much Microsoft is charging for a full version of their crappy OS and probably go to Linux or Apple instead.

    I can't wait.
  • by slasher999 (513533) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:27AM (#11776643)
    ...that I discovered accidentally. You can install and activate OEM versions of Windows using the the same activation code multiple times so long as the hardware is identical. I accidentally installed the same OEM pack on two machines. Both activated with zero problems within a week of each other. Of course this wouldn't have created too big of an issue since each machine did have it's own key stuck to the side of the machine.
  • by MadcatX (860684) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:48AM (#11776893)
    I used to be a MS Windows Activation Specialist (a.k.a. the person you hate to call all the time if you format often) for a year in a call center in my hometown of Saint John, Canada. People who wanted to re-activate their Windows would have to answer my questions first. So I have first-hand experience of how much people hate having to call. To be fair, we did get calls from people who, after we checked their Product ID, knew they were using a burnt copy. From this, you would surmise that this system is helping to fight against piracy, right? WRONG! As long as you answered the questions correctly (which mostly consists of why they need to reactivate), their's no problem. Thus you could call in, give a cheap excuse (The most used one being the "had to format", and even if this key's been used a hundred times, we had to activate again.) The one thing I hated to have to tell people, and it happened often, was that they could only install a retail copy of windows onto one computer and one laptop (This policy might have changed, not too sure). I found this to be a silly rule, which often infuriated the user on the other end of the line. And if you have an OEM version on one computer but own two, sorry, your out of luck, you need to buy a retail ver. of windows for that second computer. From my experience, it is my belief that the combination of both the Windows OS EULA and the activation process most likely caused more people to get pirated versions (I've had many people tell me they were going to this over the phone.)
  • Use Windows 2000 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simetra (155655) on Friday February 25, 2005 @09:54AM (#11776972) Homepage Journal
    Really... Is there any reason to use XP over win2K? Besides the Fisher-Price interface?

  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Friday February 25, 2005 @06:09PM (#11783000) Journal
    I've had WPA trigger on my installed-and-activated copy each time I moved the system partition to a different drive, especially if it was bigger.
    Yes, I know, I ought to totally reinstall, but when I have a drive start to give me read errors, I don't feel like risking death of data by hunting down what directories it may be in.
    And when I buy a bigger drive and want to use it as my Windows system drive, and install SuSE or something on the old drive, I should be able to do that, without telling Microsoft what I'm doing.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

Working...