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Windows Operating Systems Software

Microsoft To Begin Checking For Piracy 810

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.
Curious Yellow 82 writes "Microsoft will begin checking for pirated copies of its Windows software when users attempt to update. Security updates are supposed to be exempt from the check. Upon detection of pirated software the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price, upon providing proof of purchase etc."
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Microsoft To Begin Checking For Piracy

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  • Yawn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigwavejas (678602) *
    Security updates are supposed to be exempt from the check.

    Since when? I recall using an unauthorized version of Windows for a 2nd box of mine and when I attempted to update at windows.com it wouldn't allow me to download anything (including SP1 and SP2.) The only difference I see with this press release is now they will ask you if you want to squeal on your pirated source (Bambino's don't do this) or purchase a legitimate copy. Is this what it has come to for MS? A sub-standard online satellite progr

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#13165655)
      If you used the Security Center and set it to receive Automatic Updates automatically it would work, even with a counterfeit version of Windows.
    • Pirated (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GuitarNeophyte (636993) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:44AM (#13165725) Homepage Journal
      Sadly, for those of us who constantly change the operating systems on our "hobby" computer, we'll probably get marked that we've pirated their operating systems, even though we're just using it on one system at a time, and bought it legitimately, and have a valid key and everything.

      *sigh* as well

      Luke
      ----
      Tired of answering tons of basic computer questions for friends and family? Send them to ChristianNerds.com [christiannerds.com] instead!
      • Re:Pirated (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rpdillon (715137) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:12AM (#13166095) Homepage
        This might sound like it's way out in left field, but this has happened to me. Twice. I have this second hard drive that alternates between holding my rips of DVDs and being a Windows drive for gaming. That only worked three or four times (switching back and forth, I mean) before it wouldn't let me use my key anymore. No message explaining why, just the standard "Invalid Key" dialog. Pisses me off. One of the reasons I use Linux. Oh, and no plans to buy Longhorn/Vista either...
        • Re:Pirated (Score:5, Informative)

          by Nqdiddles (805995) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:16PM (#13167853) Homepage
          I tried to use my store bought copy. I really did. But after a few hardware changes it stopped working and I had to call Microsoft (who don't seem to speak english very well) to get a new key. And then ten minutes later realised I still had an archive HD in the box. I took it out and got the same message again. I wasn't making another phone call, so I inserted a cracked windows cd and reinstalled the OS. Should the illegal version really be THAT much more user friendly than the store bought copy?
      • Please (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mensa Babe (675349) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @04:08PM (#13170077) Homepage Journal
        Sadly, for those of us who constantly change the operating systems on our "hobby" computer, we'll probably get marked that we've pirated their operating systems [emphasis added]

        And this is surprising?

        "As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. [...] One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. [...] Most directly, the thing you do is theft." (William Henry Gates III -- February 3, 1976 -- An Open Letter to Hobbyists)
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solosoft (622322) <chris@solosoft.org> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:53AM (#13165840) Homepage
      Not that I pirated my windows :/

      Service Pack 2 is a breeze. I have the first copy of XP. All you have to do is Download this [solosoft.org] and copy it to the root of your C drive. Open up the "Command Prompt" and goto your root of the drive. Type in "cdkey xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx" as in x's are your SP2 compatable CD key. Once you press enter you should see nothing come up. (if somthing does then find a working key). Once your CD key is changed then Goto this site and click "Download and Deploy Service Pack 2 for multiple Computers" [microsoft.com]. Once you are done that install SP2 and your done.

      Hopefully this is some help.
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:04AM (#13165989)
      "Bambino's don't do this"

      Sorry, but if I buy a computer that comes with a pirated copy of the OS (from a white box OEM) I will go after them tooth and nail should I find out.

      I write software for a living. So long as I expect to get paid for my work it would be very hypocritical of me to support the illegal software trade.

  • Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:39AM (#13165630)
    the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price, upon providing proof of purchase (!!)

    That will be an interesting feat.

    And, jokes aside, "proof of purchase" of what? If they mean a possible purchase of a machine with, or a standalone copy of, a counterfeit version of Windows, assuming the user purchased it legitimately in good faith, how in the hell is this the user's responsibility or fault? I'm not talking about someone who got Windows from a guy in an overcoat for $10 on a street corner (not to mention you probably wouldn't have a "proof of purchase" for that kind of sale); I'm talking about purchases reasonably believed to be legitimate. No, this doesn't mean that a software company has to honor pirated or illegal copies even if the user believed it to be legal for whatever reason, but it seems like this really sticks it to the user (not to mention the internet community as a whole by not providing OS updates, the fact they claim to be providing security updates aside[1]) as opposed to working to target the entities they believe to be illegally selling Windows...especially if the customer has a "proof of purchase" of an illegitimate copy of Windows in the first place, which presumably contains some element of contact information for the source if it can reasonably considered to constitute any semblance of "proof of purchase". They should be offering amnesty and/or discounts to people who are running straight-up pirated versions of Windows with no "proof of purchase" at all, if this is any attempt to reach out to people running unlicensed copies!

    (Make no mistake: I'm not saying Microsoft is obligated to honor illegally purchased copies of Windows, whether they're pirated, or even ones purchased innocently and in good faith. But they'd be a hell of a lot better citizen of the internet community if they didn't withhold updates in either instance.)

    [1] Windows Service Pack 2 would apparently not be included in this, for example, because it's not a "security update"; but it can be strongly argued that SP2 did more for general Windows XP security than any "security update" ever has. In other words, not updating the multitude of for-whatever-reason non-legal copies of Windows out there does everyone involved a major disservice, not the least of which is the rest of the world surrounding them.
    • Re:Uhh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price, upon providing proof of purchase

      "Customers who discover that their copy of Windows is pirated have two options.

      They can get a free version of Windows if they fill out a counterfeit report identifying the source of the software, providing proof of purchase and returning the counterfeit CD.

      If they are unable to provide all the information, filling out a report will entitle them to receive

    • Re:Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ingolfke (515826) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:52AM (#13165826) Journal
      If I bought a new DeWalt drill for really cheap of the Internet, it broke, and I went to get it repaired only to find out that I had purchased a knock-off product I wouldn't expect DeWalt to fix it. I'd go to the vendor who sold me it and take whatever action I could against them. Why is Microsoft any different?
      • Re:Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BVis (267028) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:07AM (#13166025)
        Your DeWalt drill doesn't cause problems for other people if it breaks. Windows installations missing security patches (as people will shut off automatic updates for fear of being caught) become zombies very quickly, adding to the spread of viruses, spam, etc.

        Also, the copy of Windows in question isn't likely to be a knock-off, it most likely is the same OS that you can buy off the shelf. A better analogy would be if you bought a genuine DeWalt drill from someone who wasn't an authorized DeWalt dealer, and the (genuine OEM DeWalt) batteries had a habit of exploding and hurting people around the user. More than likely DeWalt would issue a recall on *all* batteries, and more than likely they'd be pretty lenient about making sure the drill was purchased through authorized channels. In essence, the safety of the community would take precedence over the other factors involved. (Also, the effort to check where the drills came from would cause serious headaches, logistically. It would be more expedient to just replace the battery when it's sent in and not worry about the legitimacy.)

        Granted, we're talking about risk of physical injury vs. network security, but IMHO the obligation is the same: if you put out a broken product, you have an obligation (IMHO) to put out a fix. Anything less is corporate irresponsibility that could subsequently expose the company to liability, should a loss occur.

        Of course, MS doesn't care about that, since they have better lawyers than just about anyone else.
      • Re:Uhh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:14AM (#13166123) Homepage Journal
        Your analogy breaks down because software can be perfectly duplicated, a drill cannot. The software is not corrupted, lessened, or otherwise affected in any way by the copying. There is, from a technical standpoint, no difference between your copy which was created by a dishonest 3rd party, and a copy created by Microsoft itself. There are no additional technical hurdles or gotchas incurred when Microsoft provides updates to this illegal copy. If anything it helps them because that is one more system that is less likely to become a zombie, and security is one area where the company needs all the good PR it can get.

        I personally think that Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot. They're losing money to piracy to be sure, but not nearly as much as they'll lose from making piracy more difficult. The reason is that there are alternatives to Windows out there. The vast majority of this piracy takes place in the 3rd world. By making things difficult for people in Bombay and Shanghai, Microsoft is simply encouraging the adoption and use of Linux, and the economic effects of this are far more severe for the company than losing some $$$ from a licensing fee.

        This is an example of being penny-wise and pound foolish.

        They should of course take steps to deter piracy, but this is not a valid means of doing so.

        Lee
    • Re:Uhh (Score:5, Funny)

      by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:13PM (#13166940)
      But they'd be a hell of a lot better citizen of the internet community if they didn't withhold updates in either instance.


      Or, better yet, shut down all networking capabilities on any on any infringing copy.


      Or non-infringing copy, if you wanted a +1 Funny.


      c.

    • Re:Uhh (Score:3, Funny)

      by typical (886006)
      the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price, upon providing proof of purchase (!!)

      They should also be given a click-to-install-Linux-instead option.
  • Nice... (Score:5, Funny)

    by op12 (830015) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:40AM (#13165648) Homepage
    So if your copy of Windows is pirated, they'll prevent you from breaking it by not allowing you to install new service packs :)
    • FTFA: While counterfeit copies of Windows will be prevented from downloading updates, Lazar said Microsoft is not including security updates in the lock-out. Even customers who do not check their copies of Windows for authenticity will be allowed to download security updates through Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows and the Download Center, he said.

      "Those are available to all Windows users with or without validation," Lazar said. "We think of it like public health. We want to make sure no one
  • Wait a minute... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sensible Clod (771142)
    Security updates are supposed to be exempt from the check.

    Didn't they say otherwise just a few months ago?

    Got to find that link...
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#13165662)
    Upon detection of pirated software the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price, upon providing proof of purchase etc."

    So if you're found to have a pirated copy, you need to show proof of purchase? If I have proof of purchase then it's not pirated, and therefore, I wouldn't need to buy it again at a discounted price.

    • Re:What? (Score:2, Informative)

      by NineNine (235196)
      So if you're found to have a pirated copy, you need to show proof of purchase? If I have proof of purchase then it's not pirated, and therefore, I wouldn't need to buy it again at a discounted price.

      Not true. You could've bought a pirated copy (see all those "bi S0ftw4ar3 4 cheep" emails?). And at least in the US, it's not legal to have stolen property, even if you didn't know that it was stolen. They're being very generous. Technically, they could sick the cops on each and every person using a pirate
      • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        Technically, they could sick the cops on each and every person using a pirated copy.

        I call bullshit. The only way they could do that is if I bought a stolen copy off the back of a truck somewhere and said stolen copy had literally been stolen, i.e: shoplifted, taken from a warehouse, taken from my house.

        In that scenario I would be in possession of stolen property. In the scenario of burning a copy for a friend and letting him use your key or downloading from the Internet you are in violation of the li

      • ...called it stolen property and went off on the "sick (sic) the cops on each and every person using a pirated copy" as you put it. It's INFRINGEMENT and it's not theft- it's duplication of an intellectual work without the permission of the duplication/production rights holder. Different crime- and you can own a copy, you just can't be making and giving out or selling them yourself in the US.

        Please, please, please don't be propagating the falsehoods that the RIAA, MPAA, and similar organizations ha
  • one question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#13165665)
    How exactly do they check for it being a pirated copy? I mean other then checking their database of registered windows users and comparing it to the computer, how do they know the difference?
    • Re:one question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:42AM (#13165686)
      How exactly do they check for it being a pirated copy? I mean other then checking their database of registered windows users and comparing it to the computer, how do they know the difference?

      300 people using the same single user registration key/serial number is a pretty damn good indication.
      • Here is one for you:

        I am running a copy of Windows 2000 at home--it is a LEGITIMATE copy IMHO but I'm not sure how MS would treat it. The install CD in question is from a former employer which closed up shop and let us all go. My boss was a pretty good guy and made sure we all got our final paycheque but couldn't pay out our remaining vacation time (in my case it was four figures in range) so he compensated us with company assets that weren't due to creditors. So my "vacation pay" consisted of hardware
    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:14AM (#13166109)
      How exactly do they check for it being a pirated copy? I mean other then checking their database of registered windows users and comparing it to the computer, how do they know the difference?

      Just off hand I guess they they might check the license keys (obviously) if 10.000 plus people are using the same license key something is obviously wrong. In this case you probably woudl get som sort of nag screen stating: "Your license key has been compromised please contact your local Microsoft representative to get a new one... bla... bla... bla..." Secondly they could simply check for the digital signatures of various cracks and hacks available like a virus or spyware program does before any patch is installed. In that case you would get the "Purchase offer". It's not as if these Cracks are terribly hard to come by and I would be disappointed if Microsoft does not have a whole team of engineers and coders collecting Windows cracks off the internet and analyzing them. Whatever else they do I don't expect it to be terribly bullet proof but it will be scary enough and work well enough to persuade alot of pirate consumers to buy a Windows OS "Academic Edition" CD/DVD. In future versions of Windows one should expect them to use some far more formidable DRM technology.
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Omg Kthxbye (898058)
    "Upon detection of pirated software the user will be given the oppportunity to purchase a legitimate copy of the software for a discounted price" Wait, so all I have to do to get Windows at a discount is download a pirated copy and fail the detection test? Sounds good to me!
  • Some thoughts. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnObfuscator (812343) <onering AT phys DOT ufl DOT edu> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#13165671) Homepage
    I wrote about this earlier today on bitsofnews.com [bitsofnews.com]. I'll save you the click and paste my thoughts here.

    I am not sure how MS expects to keep pushing this down people's throats.
    Most people don't want to be treated as thieves, and I can see some general backlash coming to MS from this.

    I really don't see how this will, in the long run, benefit MS. Most people in the 1st world buy a computer from a major distributer, and use the (usually) legit copy of Windows from that. I'm guessing that that one-third number includes nations like India and China, where people can't afford the 1st world pricing scheme of Windows.

    Oh, wait, silly me, why don't these poor people just use XP Starter Edition? Right. That's the ticket.

    Do they seriously think this will decrease piracy in the 3rd world? All they've really done is cripple their product. They now have several issues to deal with.

    This "Genuine Advantage" program is tantamount to legitimizing "pirated" XP. To many, I suspect it sends the message: "Ok, use pirated XP if you want, we'll just give special benefits to those who pay us." It's almost like a "shareware" model of distribution. Seeing how they are trying to push "XP Starter Edition", I seriously doubt this is their intent -- but it looks like they've emasculated that product entirely.

    Simply, Pirated XP Home/Pro is still less crippled than XP SE. So for the 3rd world market, it's a choice between paying for a highly crippled OS, or getting a slightly crippled OS for free. I don't see many people paying for the privilege of less features.

    This is also a potential gold mine for alternative OS's, such as the newer GNU/Linux systems pushing ease-of-install; Ubuntu [ubuntulinux.org], Mepis [mepis.org], Mandravia [mandriva.com], Fedora [redhat.com] spring to mind immediately, and there are many others.

    Given the choice of a super-crippled SE, a somewhat-crippled XP Home/Pro, or a fully-functional GNU/Linux, GNU/Linux becomes an increasingly "no-brainer" solution.
    • Re:Some thoughts. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NineNine (235196)
      Given the choice of a super-crippled SE, a somewhat-crippled XP Home/Pro, or a fully-functional GNU/Linux, GNU/Linux becomes an increasingly "no-brainer" solution.

      Considering that they'll give people the option of buying XP Pro for $150? Are you kidding? $150 isn't nearly enough to make people even consider switching platforms, and going through all the related headaches. If anything, they'll sell a hell of a lot more copies of XP. But, I think you're right. People who consider switching platforms ov
  • Evil worm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think it's about time for a Windows license-key and serial-no stealing worm. I'm sure someone will come up with one - possibly one of the smarter pirates. Think about it...
  • by ChrisF79 (829953) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:42AM (#13165682) Homepage
    Its kind of funny when you think about it--users steal the software and then go back to get the software maintenance. It's kind of like someone stealing a car from the lot of a dealership, then taking it back a few months later for it's customary 3,000 mile oil change.
  • Is there a way to "check" individual workstations?

    On my workstations with auto-update, I'd prefer my first notification that something might be a problem in the field to not be an end user with a mystery dialog box on their screen.

    Anyone know how this might work with SUS?
  • I seriously hope that this causes no end of headaches for people across the world. I know of at least one system that I have at my office that is 100% legitimate and licensed, but will fail the authenticity check. It's a boxed Dell with the windows xp pro hologram sticker with the cd key on its side. At one point, the system was hosed to the point of needing reinstalling. I had just taken the job and there were no system images or proper cd's around. The sticker said WinXP sp1 and had its cd key. All the cd's at the office were either Compaq branded or WinXP sp2. So, I install with SP2 expecting my hologram'd sticker with the cd key to work. It didn't. Some fairy dust later and everything was installed and running.

    So here I had a legitimate paid licensed Windows XP Professional computer which will not pass the windows licensing scheme. I'll have to dig out a SP1 cd sometime and reinstall with the actual key so it will pass.

    I'm not saying its Microsoft's fault that the business didn't keep track of the original cd's. I'm just saying that I seriously hope this scenario is played out millions of times across the globe.

    I'm off to ssh into my home computer and emerge sync && emerge world -uD right now.
    • by thesp (307649) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:52AM (#13165834)
      Also, an a Limited-User account, with all the activex security turned up (this is my current WinXP account for day-to-day tasks) the Genuine Advantage Tool fails to run, and requests a) Administrator rights and b) that I set my ActiveX security to Medium/Low. It then accuses me of having failed the test, and of having a counterfeit copy of Windows. So, I predict more security problems as people who have taken sensible security precautions are forced to abandon them for this tool.
      • So? You need admin rights to patch the system anyway...

        Now requiring admin rights for authenthication just to download additional software is bit more so-so, but even then you probably need admin rights to install them, so the problem is not that big.

        Windows is broken in this regard that you pretty much need to run on admin rights to do anything with it :)
      • You misunderstand.

        According to Microsoft, running Windows with any kind of security is NOT an authentic authorized use of their software.

        Therefore you are in violation.

    • by surprise_audit (575743) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:23AM (#13166252)
      Sounds a lot like my daughter's Fujitsu Lifebook laptop. The hard disk died, neve mind why, and Fujitsu Support's response was: "you'll have to buy a new copy of Windows to install on the new disk. Or, pay us $200 and we'll install a new disk and a new copy of Windows." Yep, that was their response, swear to God!!.

      The Fujitsu Lifebook comes with a system image installed on the hard disk, with instructions buried in an appendix in the manual saying that it might be a good idea to make a backup. If you don't make a backup, and if you're unlucky enough to score a hard disk crash, then Fujitsu's official standing is that you're fucked. Totally fucked. They say you have to go out and buy another copy of Windows, and never mind the completely valid license key on the hologram sticker on the underside of the system.

      The best answer I got was completely unofficial, from a Fujitsu engineer attached to my work - he said, just borrow a copy of Windows and install it with the valid license key. By that time I'd already made my own arrangements that, coindicentally, corresponded fairly closely to that recommendation...

      So, dear daughter is now running an illicit copy, but with the original license key.

      For anyone that missed it the first time, Fujitsu doesn't give a shit about you losing your one and only system install disk. They don't include a CD because: "it's installed from an image CD in the factory", and they don't care enough about their customers to include a CD of that image. What's the cost of an image CD these days?? About $0.50?? That's too much for Fujitsu to spend...

      Any Fujitsu employee wanting to dispute these facts should supply an email address, so that I can forward the emails I exchanged with Fujitsu "you're screwed, fuck off" Support.

      • The best answer I got was completely unofficial, from a Fujitsu engineer attached to my work - he said, just borrow a copy of Windows and install it with the valid license key. By that time I'd already made my own arrangements that, coindicentally, corresponded fairly closely to that recommendation...

        So, dear daughter is now running an illicit copy, but with the original license key.


        No, your daughter is running a perfectly legal copy. There's no difference between a borrowed CD or a backup you burn from
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:43AM (#13165701)
    Corporate XP Pro still works FYI :-)
    • Indeed... all this rhetoric against pirated copies of XP and they neglect to address the priates' choice.

      For those not yet in the know (c'mon guys, it's been out for years)... Corporate XP Pro is identical to XP Pro except for its lack of any sort of activation or anti-piracy checks.

      It was supposed to only be released to Microsoft's large corporate customers, but of course it was leaked long ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:43AM (#13165706)
    Microsoft has detected an illegitimate copy of Windows....
    The local FBI office is located 65 miles away...is this where you would like to go today?
  • The article didn't mention whether it applied to every version - professional, corporate, home, server, 64-bit, etc. Anyone have the inside info about this?
  • by Helmholtz (2715) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:44AM (#13165718) Homepage
    Perhaps I'm just being cynical, but doesn't this place the incentive on insecure code. Maximizing the number of "security patch releases" will also help (potentially) maximize revenue by quickly identifying "pirated" versions of Windows, causing said "offenders" to purchase legit versions.

    If Windows were to become secure and relatively bug free, this would cause their "pirate detection" system to become very inefficient, as there wouldn't be a great need for using Windows Update.

    I may be completely off base, but it does seem plausible. Perhaps we need Mythbusters ;)
  • That's all fine and good for MS, but what about the people who managed to obtain copies of corporate editions of the software? These copies will report tons of hits, undetected by MS.
  • The main reason I stopped using MS Office was after it "detected" that I was using an illegitimate copy and refused to run when in fact it was a legitimate non-demo version and came with my Dell PC. I thought I wasn't going to put up with this crap anymore.
  • by YukiKotetsu (765119) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:45AM (#13165736)
    I'll have to use it for every install now instead of just once, making sure I use a unique key every time.

    Really, how are they going to enforce this? Just for the top 5 pirated cd keys or something? Why should JoeWhoever have to buy their software twice because they were ripped off? Dunno.

  • I don't see this as anything wrong.

    I mean, we have MS losing money on a pirated copy of windows. Fine. We can argue the merits of software piracy all night. But... when MS releases a patch, they are spending millions of dollars on R&D, advertising, lawyer fees, etc - this is supposed to be for legitimate users only. When you buy any software, you are understanding that this $50/$200/$whatever cost also includes free patches in the purchase price.

    It'd be like someone stealing a car from GM - fine, they stole it. But imagine if they later came to GM with their stolen car and asked for the $1000 engine recall upgrade. Nope - that's for legitimate carowners only. The $25,000 GM prices the car takes into account the small chance that they may have to set a recall.

    Plus, it's not like the RIAA. Nowhere does it say that MS will be prosecuting every illegal copy it finds. It simply says "hey, if you stole a copy, then that's one thing. But don't try and get free support from us too."

    • I mean, we have MS losing money on a pirated copy of windows.

      We do?

      Cite?

      (I don't disagree with the rest of your post.)

    • But it is.

      The implementation of this process is the same net effect as the gas company shutting off people's heat in the middle of the winter. It's burdensome and causes harm to the public at large through security issues. Other posters have pointed out how SP2 is denied via this process. The non-presence of SP2 on XP installations legitimately may be considered a security problem, given the many improvements incorporated in that service pack.

      This is why regulations exist to not permit such things to h
  • wont stop anything (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:47AM (#13165758) Homepage
    Several sites have the fulldownloads of the service packs and hotfixes etc...

    hell there are torrents available that will give you everything that are updated weekly.

    A buddy of mine recently offered me a CD of all XP updates including the lestes ones and his colleague at work was making a script to auto apply them all into a slipstream cd image.

    it will only stop the clueless casual non licensed software user. everyone else will not be bothered one bit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:48AM (#13165769)
    I tried a pirated copy of Windows XP and when I checked it said it was genuine (which it isn't because I used a keygen program under wine to create a license key).

    I suspect they have a list of pirated licenses and they just check for that. It has been posited in the past that they don't even know all the genuine keys that are out there and my experience supports that.

    I actually do own a copy of Windows XP (came with my machine) but I wanted to see how this works hence installing with a generated key.
    • by Peyna (14792) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:55AM (#13166667) Homepage
      I suspect they have a list of pirated licenses and they just check for that. It has been posited in the past that they don't even know all the genuine keys that are out there and my experience supports that.


      That's pretty much how they were doing it before, with the "optional" checks you could do whenever you tried to download something off their site. (for various Windows add-ons). They just have a list of the some of the most pirated licenses that they use to check against.

      I always wondered though, how many people are using a university copy of XP on their machine when they never actually went to that university? (The version MS distributed through the program requires no authentication ever). Also, some university agreements only allow you to use it while you are enrolled and then you're supposed to go buy it when you are done, but again, if there is no authentication, how would they know? These are the CDs and CD keys that "pirates" should get ahold of.
  • by popo (107611) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:51AM (#13165811) Homepage

    Let me get this straight... if you're caught with a pirated version you're offered a discount? (or a free version altogether) Seems like a great way to shop!

    Only suckers will pick up a boxed copy from the store from now on...



    "they can still fill out a counterfeit report and receive a copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 or a copy of Windows XP Professional Edition for $149, Lazar said.

    Windows XP Home normally sells for $199 and Windows XP Professional Edition usually costs $299."


    • Well not really..

      If you download a torrent of XP or something you're a criminal and you wont get a discount

      But if you buy a computer from a local computer shop and it turns out they installed a pirated copy on your PC, it's not your fault so you get a discount.. And them Microsoft goes after the place you bought the PC from. This happened to a small computer place in the town over from me. It also happened to the place where I got my first 486 back in 1992.
    • Actually, smart shoppers should already be grabbing OEM copies [pricewatch.com] of the operating systems. These require a hardware purchase to be legit, so stock up on 99c case screws!
    • Well, no. You have to provide proof of purchase first. In other words, tell Microsoft where you bought the pirate copy (or PC with an unlicensed install). Having done that, you get the discount and MS gets to pursue a pirate.
  • by Xesdeeni (308293) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:52AM (#13165829)
    So now, I can't download the update at work, where we have broadband, and transport it home (via CD or thumb drive) because I can't validate my home installation!? I have two machines at home. One is connected via dialup, and the other (an HTPC) is not connected to the internet at all.

    Do you know how long 266 MB takes to download over dialup!? OVER 11 1/2 HOURS!!

    Xesdeeni
  • by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:55AM (#13165864) Homepage Journal
    The more you tighten your grip, Bill, the more systems will slip through your fingers.

    This will be grand when employers start having update problems because employess (or even ex-employees) took copies of software home and now the machines in the office can't update.

  • Not so bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spacejock (727523) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @10:59AM (#13165915) Homepage
    I was at an accounting software vendor's premises about ten years ago. This software had a $4000 price sticker, and they were showing me all the reasons why we should buy it. While I was there, front desk took a support call from a girl at some small business who was using this software. They got her to read out the license key, determined it was reg'd to someone else, and told her the company (ie. her boss) had a choice - put a $4000 cheque in the mail or face a lawsuit.

    So, we decided to buy our accounts package from another vendor... Not that we had any intention to pirate anything, but any company which could make demands like that over the phone, without any on-site investigation, was not a company we wanted to have dealings with.

    So, they *might* have gained $4k from the caller (assuming they didn't spend big on lawyers first), but they lost $4k from us.
  • by rabel (531545) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:04AM (#13165992)
    Most people couldn't produce a "proof-of-purchase" after a few days. I know I couldn't prove my copy of Win2000 is legitimate, even though I legitimately purchased my copy with my PeeCee from my local computer store.

    In any event, if there are any hiccups on the validation process and Joe and Jane Doe Computer User get any bit of hassle from Microsoft when they do a Windows Update, I expect there will be a backlash.

    Hopefully, Red Hat and other Linux vendors are positioned properly to catch the fallout. "Windows Validation problems? Switch to Red Hat Linux and never pay for your Windowing Operating System again! Free Games with every download!"
  • by Evil Trigun (845041) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:05AM (#13166001)
    http://www.softwarepatch.com/windows/ [softwarepatch.com] you dont need to use windows update...
  • Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick Zeman (15628) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:06AM (#13166007)
    If it detects a pirated version of Windows, disable the TCP/IP stack. From then on they don't have to worry about whether or not to supply security updates or not. Plus, they won't be virus/trojan vectors, and they users' data is still there.
  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <{su.narima} {ta} {niwrehs}> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:15AM (#13166130) Homepage Journal
    In fact, I think MS should prevent pirates from getting security updates.

    Anything to make piracy of MS products as difficult as possible!

    MS always blathers on and on about TCO, but nobody ever mentions the marketshare that MS has gained through piracy.

    Home users will be more willing to consider alternatives if the actual cost of Windows is figured into their calculation.
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:23AM (#13166248)

    Years ago, cable companies would use a similar tactic to bust people who were actively stealing cable services.

    Basically on the "pirated" boxes (blackboxes) or those who were "piggybacking" cable on their neighbor's connection junction, they would broadcast a "contest" for the next 100 people to call in. People who were letitimate customers and subscribers would never even see the "contest" broadcast.

    If you called in to win the "t-shirt" or "trip to Jamaica", or whatever, they collected your address and other details. When you went into the cable company location to claim your prize, they gave you a nice shiny pair of bracelets and a trip to the local police department.

    Don't fall for the "discount" on any Windows product. Use this as a means to get a "discount" on the whole thing, switch to Mac OSX or Linux.

    We won't treat you like a criminal.

  • by Alereon (660683) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @11:32AM (#13166396)

    Microsofts Windows Genuine Advantage system is unable to actually identify pirated copies of Windows. Anyone who installed Windows XP using a unique key created by a key generator [wikipedia.org], which is everyone who didn't just download an ISO and use the CD key in the .NFO, skates neatly through the piracy check. Note also that anyone who ISN'T running a unique key can also change it, via instructions that are conveniently placed on the Microsoft website [microsoft.com].

    Last I checked, there was also a fallback verification system you could use if you refused to let them install their ActiveX controls that asked you questions about what your CD key looked like. This was easily passable by anyone who had ever even SEEN a Windows XP retail CD.

  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:16PM (#13166987)
    ...and like to get updates automagically, try here: Autopatcher [autopatcher.com]. If you don't need to download updates automatically, try here: The Software Patch [softwarepatch.com].

    Riiight, like I'm going to let an ActiveX applet from Microsoft scan my system. What do they want next, a retina scan? DNA check? I don't encourage piracy (I *do* own a legit copy of XP), but forcing users to submit to this crap so they can get updates (I know, I know, *not* critical updates, but still) is just wrong. Anyway, use the links above and just say NO! to Microsoft ActiveX scanning.

  • by Pollux (102520) <speter@tedat[ ]et.eg ['a.n' in gap]> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:18PM (#13167018) Journal
    [Customers can] fill out a counterfeit report and receive a copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 or a copy of Windows XP Professional Edition for $149, Lazar said. Windows XP Home normally sells for $199 and Windows XP Professional Edition usually costs $299.

    Check it out everyone! Forget buying XP at the store, just get a pirated copy, file a counterfeit report, and get Windows XP for 50% off!

    They should call it the "Piracy Rewards Program".
  • by Proc6 (518858) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @12:37PM (#13167288)
    Big deal. If MS starts putting the screws to Windows Update visitors for having a keygenned serial number, all that will happen is your neighborhood 0-day distro will have:

    Windows.XP.Security.Updates.Nov19.2005.X-Force

  • HOW-TO BYPASS THIS (Score:5, Informative)

    by fluor2 (242824) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:00PM (#13167611)
    1. Check Windowsupdate for what updates you need
    2. Just go for the microsoft.com website and download any security update manually.

    Microsoft must always allow this, because many servers do not have internet, thus one must be able to download updates manually and e.g. burn them on a CD.
  • by brxndxn (461473) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:20PM (#13167887)
    My engineering program at my school allows us to download free legit copies of Windows XP Pro for home use.. But it makes us call Microsoft for approval.

    My laptop has a Windows XP key on a sticker on the bottom - but first, the key doesn't work with any copy except the Toshiba recovery CD that formats my computer and installs a bunch of Toshiba crap and AOL advertisements. And, then I would have to call Microsoft.

    So, I'm being like totally a software pirate because I don't feel like talking on the phone to some douchebag at Microsoft.

  • by dnorman (135330) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @02:45PM (#13168995) Homepage
    MSN Virtual Earth was just released. With a "Locate Me" button that is apparently quite accurate. Tie that with the "Scanning your copy of Windows" feature, and they can just send the feds right to your door. Or, perhaps, mail you a copy and bill your credit card...

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