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Windows Operating Systems Software

Vista Pirates To Get "Black Screen of Darkness" 873

Posted by kdawson
from the there-goes-china dept.
jcatcw writes "Microsoft has just turned on Reduced Functionality mode, worldwide, and sent a letter to OEMs explaining the consequences of Vista piracy. These include a black screen after 1 hour of browsing, no start menu or task bar, and no desktop. Using fear as a motivator, the email warns resellers to 'make sure your customers always get genuine Windows Vista preinstalled.'"
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Vista Pirates To Get "Black Screen of Darkness"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:44PM (#20557427)
    "To help protect honest partners and fight piracy, Microsoft will continue to block product keys that are determined to be pirated, stolen or otherwise deemed nongenuine."

    So, what is going to happen when M$ screws up and starts blocking products that are 'genuine'? This will happen and I'll bet that the least painful thing that a customer will be able to do is purchase a new copy. I doubt that M$ will go out of their way to check to see if a blocked customer has a legit copy.

    "The ad concludes with "Don't risk it!" and "make sure your customers always get genuine Windows Vista preinstalled."

    So basically, M$ is going to screw customers if their OEMs screw M$. This should be fun to watch. Just another reason for linux.

    Asshats
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:48PM (#20557515)
      I believe this is referred to as shifting the blame. If you're a customer of the OEM and the OEM is selling you, at full price, pirated software, it's not Microsoft who is screwing you.
      • by mike2R (721965) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:58PM (#20557821)

        If you're a customer of the OEM and the OEM is selling you, at full price, pirated software, it's not Microsoft who is screwing you.

        Exactly. Whatever your opinions on "information wants to be free" or whatever, if a customer has paid an OEM for software and the OEM installs a pirated version and pockets the cash, this is theft - ok maybe not legally, but this isn't a case of people who would never buy software pirating it, it is a case of people trying to buy the software and the OEM stealing the money.

        It's exactly like me stealing your car. You no longer have a car. The OEM has stolen Microsoft's money.

        • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:08PM (#20558091) Homepage Journal

          Unfortunately, that is not always the case...

          We just had a customer in with a Sony laptop (factory install of Vista) that wouldnt boot (complaining it wasnt a Genuine Copy of Windows - please insert Vista CD In the end, this will definitely hurt consumers - as well as pirates.

          Here's MS's biggest (upcoming) issue. Their OS is installed on the majority of computers out there... even a 1% failure rate in properly detecting a Genuine copy of Windows smells to me of a MASSIVE lawsuit. I think they are taking quite a gamble...

          • by slashname3 (739398) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:41PM (#20558865)
            Dissatisfied customers might decide to try something different like Mac OS X or Linux.

            Uh, wait a minute, I forgot to take my meds this morning. People won't switch from Windows regardless of how bad the experience or poor the customer support becomes.
            • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @03:40PM (#20560041)
              Dissatisfied customers might decide to try something different like Mac OS X or Linux.

              Uh, wait a minute, I forgot to take my meds this morning. People won't switch from Windows regardless of how bad the experience or poor the customer support becomes.


              You know, the individual consumer may be dumb, but collectively they're not so dumb. They found and are going for another option: keep your XP while it works (which is for another good 5-6 years).

              Then we watch early adopters get hurt by piracy missdetection, bugs, poor resource usage, lack of drivers and incompatibility, while we just enjoy our amazing XP-rience in a brand new way.

              As is known for quite some time in the industry, Microsoft's biggest competitor is Microsoft.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by suv4x4 (956391)
                And I want to add. There was a time when Windows 98 was a better option than Windows 2000, and even Windows XP.

                Times change, service packs smooth things, up, Microsoft realizes some of its mistakes, hardware catches up.

                Now, I realize that quality-wise Vista is the worst to yet come out of Microsoft. I wouldn't touch Vista with a 20 foot pole, except as a developer (which I am).

                But Vista is a mixed bag of things: it's not completely bad. It's like a perfect set of Lego blocks, amazing technologies, that are
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  Now, I realize that quality-wise Vista is the worst to yet come out of Microsoft.
                  Quality-wise, wouldn't you consider Windows Me the worst? Even with all the updates that OS was a nightmare.
        • by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:12PM (#20558193) Homepage Journal
          Both parent posts are largely valid. What they fail to address, and what I believe the the GGP Post was trying to point out is that if a Key is *incorrectly* marked as invalid then they have done nothing wrong and nor has the OEM. Worse, the customer will suspect the OEM and presumably Microsoft will suspect both the OEM and the Customer. That is a quick way for Microsoft's customers, the OEM's, to lose both credibility and trust in the eyes of their customers, the consumer and businesses. Microsoft could hurt their customers by potentially hurting their customers customers. That will lead to a re-evaluation of the risks involved when dealing with Microsoft, as highlighted by recent issues with their WGA servers.
        • by number11 (129686) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:28PM (#20558561)
          if a customer has paid an OEM for software and the OEM installs a pirated version and pockets the cash, this is theft

          Perhaps. Would you agree that it is also theft if MS disables a known legit copy? Theft of the price of a retail version to replace it with, or theft of services for however many hours you spend on hold trying to get them to straighten it out.

          For whatever reason. Their spyware server screws up, like it did last week. You have to change out the motherboard. You replace the hard disk. None of those are legitimate reasons to break your copy.

          It's actually more clearly theft than the first instance. The first instance is copyright infringement (someone made an unauthorized copy, but MS is not then missing a copy, all their real copies still work fine). In the second instance, the legit copy has been sold to you, either directly or indirectly, and when it doesn't work you have no copy. You have a loss. You have additional consequential losses, work time lost, deadlines missed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spyrochaete (707033)
          For what it's worth, Microsoft historically has been really cool about end-users unwittingly purchasing fraudulent licenses. If you're willing to tell them from whom you bought your software they'll issue you a legit key free of charge.
    • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#20557617) Homepage Journal

      So, what is going to happen when M$ screws up and starts blocking products that are 'genuine'?

      It gets worse. Let's take that line of thought a bit further. From TFA:

      Titled "Don't let this happen to your customers," the advertisement indicates nongenuine copies of Windows Vista will lose access to key features, have limited access to updates, and thus risk attack from viruses, malware and spyware.

      Great. Just what we need: deliberately make some machines more vulnerable to attack. As if those machines are the only ones that will suffer when they get infected.

      A malware infection doesn't just impact the infected system's users. Those systems then become nodes in a botnet. They pump out more spam, more viruses, more phishing. They host phishing sites. They could theoretically be used for distributed computing projects... like cracking into paying customers' systems.

      What's Microsoft going to say when a large site gets hacked, using someone else's pwned box as a launch platform, and the attacker got into that box because it was pirated, and Microsoft deliberately disabled the update that would have fixed a remote root exploit?

      • by darth dickinson (169021) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:57PM (#20557789) Homepage
        What's Microsoft going to say when a large site gets hacked, using someone else's pwned box as a launch platform, and the attacker got into that box because it was pirated, and Microsoft deliberately disabled the update that would have fixed a remote root exploit?

        "This is further evidence that pirating Microsoft products is harmful to all consumers."
      • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:13PM (#20558223)
        If Microsoft does not shut down the networking on this 'nongenuine' machine than they also just provided alot more CPU resources to the botnet owner. Just think what resources have been freed up by killing the Windows desktop and task bar.

        I wonder if the Accept/Deny dialogs will still pop up asking the user to allow installing software to view naked Portman pictures? ;-)

        LoB
      • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:30PM (#20558591) Homepage Journal

        The problem here is one I've been warning people about all along. Unlike Linux or OS X, when you use XP or Vista, you do not have control over your computer. Microsoft does. All your work is at risk; all your data, workflow, applications, etc. The computer can be told at any time to stop responding to you based upon policy at Microsoft; you accept this behavior when you click OK in the installer. The current event is one example; all they have to do is have another server screwup (they've had several already) where your validation doesn't validate, and you're down. And in this case, as TFA notes, you're down *and* you're letting malware in the door. Which Microsoft will happily sell you software to combat, which is certainly something to consider more than a little cynically.

        If you support software that enables the seller to shut it down after you have jumped through whatever hoops you need to to install it, you're at risk. This is true of productivity software such as editors and image processing applications, and it is even more so for an OS, where *everything* you do can be affected. I rejected Windows as a serious use platform for myself and my businesses because of the activation malware as of XP; been on OS X since I left Win98. If Apple ever decides they have the right to shut me down post-install as evidenced by behaviors that we're seeing out of Microsoft today, I'll be running Linux on the desktop before you can say boo. I already run servers on it. And Linux is getting better all the time.

        The problem, as always, are the sheep who accept this kind of behavior from bad actors. They form the majority of the marketplace and the rest of us are constantly affected by policies that use the known compliance / ignorance of the majority to inflict heinous policies.

        You bought it; you should NEVER be screwed with by the company you bought it from. Not on purpose, and not by misidentification. In the case of Microsoft, they built in the capability to screw with you and have demonstrated they can and will use it. If that's not a wake-up call, I don't know what is.

        Piracy is a fact of selling IP. But any non-zero chance of evaluating someone as a pirate when they are legitimate is unacceptable; far better uncountable pirates get away with it than one legitimate customer, that kind person who has supported your efforts, be so accused. Further, computers aren't hobby machines any longer; sometimes our lives, our careers, our family's welfare depends upon them. Don't allow evil actors like Microsoft to take control of your resources. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you.

    • The Motivator (Score:3, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170)

      So basically, M$ is going to screw customers if their OEMs screw M$. This should be fun to watch. Just another reason for linux.

      So the problem, as you see it, aside from a MS Screwup(TM) is people suffering for purchasing from a shady dealer. People who buy from shady dealers should learn not to, not really MS's problem there, it's the cheapskates who do business with scumbags. People stung will have to go back to the cheatie dealer and demand satisfaction.

    • by misleb (129952) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @03:01PM (#20559283)

      So, what is going to happen when M$ screws up and starts blocking products that are 'genuine'?


      What a great new denial of service attack. Get hold of a corporate Vista key, get it blacklisted, sit back and watch the fun. Virtually untraceable.

      -matthew
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:45PM (#20557443)
    Isn't using Vista enough punishment in itself?
    • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

      by Just some bastard (1113513) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:57PM (#20557795)

      anyone who has a pirated copy of Vista will experience:

      A black screen after one hour of browsing
      No start menu or task bar
      No desktop

      Vista may actually be usable like that. Why aren't Microsoft sharing this upgrade with their paying customers?
    • Re:Insult to injury (Score:5, Informative)

      by halo8 (445515) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:06PM (#20558041)
      two months ago i bought a Thinkpad T61 it came with 2 gigs of Ram and Vista Ultimate.

      Being a daily slashdot reader i knew that 4 gigs was the "sweet spot" silly me, i thought that Vista would still work.
      I spent 6 hours trying to printer share from Vista to XP.
      I spent 3-4 hours reading forums and turning off all the crap services in hopes of speeding it up.
      I finally gave up and this very minute I am installing XP recovery CD's thankfully given to me from IBM.

      My harddrive light never went off in Vista, it was always blinking.
      When i called IBM to complain they said to buy more ram. Of course the damn thing came with 2 slots each filled with 1 gig sticks, now WTF aim i supposed to do with thoes when i go out and buy two 2 gig sticks? what a waste of fucking money.
      and then said that SP1 wasnt coming out till 2008.

      My Theory
      1- MS did this in purpose.
      2- This is, or should be, criminal.

      Its the same thing they did with WindowsME,
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Then your system is utterly fucked up, and I'm not blaming Vista. My Sony VAIO has 2GB of RAM and Vista Ultimate, and sitting idle, or even most 'office' style work, the hard drive barely blinks. On my home network, my laptop has connected - and seamlessly - to a standalone networked HP printer, a Maxtor Shared Storage drive running embedded Linux/Samba, my wife's XP laptop, and 2k3 Small Business Server.
  • and (Score:5, Funny)

    by UPZ (947916) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:45PM (#20557453)
    thats if the "blue screen" doesn't get to you first
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:45PM (#20557455) Homepage

    What happens when this goes wrong? What happens when Vista is running in the Bank of America and it accidentally trips the entire network in to "Black Screen of Darkness" mode? What happens when a virus triggers this?

    The first job of any operating system has to be stability. Without stability you have nothing and I can't honestly see a good reason to mess with the stability of your OS when you're making billions of dollars of profit a year. People do not have short memories when you turn off their company. They will avoid you for decades because an event like that could literally cost a company its existence.

    Good enough is hard to shift. I personally think Grolsh is a superior larger to Fosters yet Fosters outsells Grolsh by a wide margin in the United Kingdom. Fosters is inoffensive and does the job well, it is "good enough." Windows is the same, it is good enough for the vast majority of people even though it is technically deficient to Mac OSX and Linux.

    I think Microsoft is making a lot of mistakes with Vista. First of all, they released an early beta as the final product which left a lot of basic functionality horribly broken. Second, they added features that no end user wants at the request of record labels and the like. Thirdly, they've got sucked in to yet more anti-user copy protection.

    How many more mistakes can you make before it starts to hurt? Who knows, but the competition is getting good very quickly indeed. I moved from Windows in January to Ubuntu and then Kubuntu..

    To my surprise it is vastly superior to Windows XP and Vista. A year ago I would have called that fanboy-ism. Many of you are probably thinking that right now but I urge you to try it; you'll quickly learn you're wrong.

    There has been much talk of the year of Linux and when that would be. The problem with the year of Linux is that you can only see it in retrospect. However, the signs are present that 2007 is in fact that year. We've had Ubuntu convince users like me to give it a go, I've heard people around me talk about Ubuntu who otherwise wouldn't have the inclination to try it. We're having people like ATI take the platform seriously and just today we've had Eve on-line announce a Linux port.

    Is the year of Linux really upon us?

    Simon

    • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:49PM (#20557547)
      The year of linux is every year since 1992, just for different people. You can of course argue that from year to year, the group of people linux appeals to is getting larger and larger and that in 2007 the difference compared to the previous year is exceptionally large and I'd be inclined to agree with you.
      • by replicant108 (690832) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:59PM (#20557849) Journal
        The year of linux is already here.

        It's just not evenly distributed.
      • by James_G (71902) <[james] [at] [globalmegacorp.org]> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:33PM (#20558693)
        I'll tell you what's making it more appealing too. It's these guys [ubuntu.com]. 2 years ago, Linux on the desktop was no more compelling than it was when I first started using Slackware back in the early 90s. Getting simple things like audio and graphics working was still more of a chore than 99% of end users are willing to put up with.

        It's still a long way from perfect, but the Ubuntu team are challenging all these things which should be completely hidden from the user so they don't have to know how to modify their X config, write a Modeline, or learn m4 so they can create a sendmail config. They're doing the things which have always been considered "good enough" to the hardcore, but which have prevented mainstream acceptance, and I think that's bloody great.

        I recently reinstalled XP on my home machine due to a failed drive. I'd actually forgotten how horrible it was. Things like.. trying to get SP2. You go to Microsoft, and they have a whole 'SP2 is great!' page which extols the virtues of installing it, suggesting that the best way to get it is via Windows update.. So, you go to Windows update, and it says.. "Hey, you need SP2! You should check out this page which explains why it's great, and how to get it!", and links back to the first page. Took me a few hours to figure out how to bypass that one.

        Anyway, my point is.. I installed Ubuntu about 3 weeks ago, at my new job. Took about an hour from when I first put the CD in the drive to the point where I had fired up Eclipse and was writing code. It used to be that Linux on the desktop was as much of a pain in the ass as Windows was, but for different reasons. That's not true any more, and it can only get better from here, and I see things accelerating with the Ubuntu team putting so much effort into it.

        2007, the year of Linux? Yeah. And 2008, and 2009, and 2010, and...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by replicant108 (690832)
      Who knows, but the competition is getting good very quickly indeed.

      With Wubi [wubi-installer.org], trialling Linux is now as easy as installing a Windows application.

      Wubi+Kubuntu makes switching so very, very easy!
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:46PM (#20557489)
    So when your legit copy of Vista dumps you to a blue screen of death, you can rest assured that you are experiencing the Genuine Advantage.
  • MS Goes Old-Skool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#20557497) Homepage
    Back in the day, I used to play on a certain MUD (Eternal Twilight, ROM 2.4, I believe)...there was a command, if I recall, called something like "moron." When applied to a user, each time they used a command, said command would be disabled for further use, causing the player to slowly dwindle to non-functional oblivion. Ah, those were the days. Go Vista!

    -G
  • by obarel (670863) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#20557501)
    According to Microsoft, this is obviously the other way around: websites should change themselves to support the new Operating System.

    Because we don't like this "OS independency" that websites seem to enjoy at the moment.
  • Just Now? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joe Jordan (453607) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#20557511) Journal

    Microsoft has just turned on Reduced Functionality mode, worldwide
    I thought they already did that with the release of Vista?

    Sorry, it was too easy.
  • by curmudgeon99 (1040054) <curmudgeon99NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:48PM (#20557537)
    How hysterical. Earlier the blue screen of death came at no charge. No you have to pay to get the black one.
  • Class action (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phoenixwade (997892) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:49PM (#20557545)
    You can bet on a class action as a direct result of this.

    Considering other missteps by MicroSoft, it's an absolute certainty that legit users will get snagged here, and then they get to experience the famous MicroSoft support system.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jandrese (485)
      Depends how many people are hit by it. If Microsoft is conservative and only shuts down a handful of known compromised keys, then there is not likely to be much of a backlash. If however they shutdown every computer that throws up a WGA warning, then you might be right.
  • by Zelocka (1152505) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:49PM (#20557551)
    I wonder how long until some company loses a production SQL server costing millions of dollars because of this when they owned a group license. Its more then enough to stop any company from using vista if they where considering it.
    • Vista Server? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mariner28 (814350)
      I doubt there will be any production SQL Servers running on a desktop OS...

      But that brings up a good point - does/will WGA run on MS server platforms? One major screwup there, and you'd see mass migrations to Linux in the data center. Definitely have to watch for flying chairs from Redmond, then, huh?
  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:49PM (#20557553)
    It's not like that thing won't be cracked shortly after the implementation.
    Besides, if all the pirated copies of Windows were to be switched to black... dang... that would be a nice day... Linux/OS X marketshare quadruples, spam is be only about 4% of internet traffic.

    (Disclaimer to mods and pointdexters: no I did not RTFA, and yes I did pull those numbers out of my A.)
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#20557593) Homepage Journal
    Black Screen of Darkness Assails the knave
    Defend yourself
    With your shaving glaive
    And the white foam of truth:
    Burma Shave
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#20557601) Homepage
    I am glad that Microsoft is actually backing up the restrictions that they say they have on their software. I've noticed that many Linux vs. Windows debates are about legitimate use of Linux vs. illegitimate use of Windows.
    And when I try to point out to people that there are strict legal limits on what you can do with Windows, they look at me like I am making something up. "But, I can install Windows on this computer...I have a CD my brother-in-law gave me!"
    So, I am just as glad that Microsoft is doing something to demonstrate the nature of licensed software. If people want to use licensed, commercial software, I don't object to it (even though I use almost totally free software), but they should realize that means they have to pay for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by halber_mensch (851834)

      "But, I can install Windows on this computer...I have a CD my brother-in-law gave me!"

      You touch on a very interesting point. Windows' widespread popularity (and thus dominant user base) is a result of massive pirating in the past due to the "feature" of a lack of effective copy protection on previous releases. I would think that this anal retentive copy protection will only serve to redirect some of the potential Windows Vista user base to other systems that can be obtained more easily and cheaply, and won't intentionally or unintentionally deactivate themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kaiwai (765866)
        Mate, in Aussie, I used to repair peoples computers and constantly used to hear, "oh, yeah, I've got a copy of Windows, I picked it up really cheap in Bali when I was on holiday".
  • by Kildjean (871084) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#20557603) Homepage
    Good afternoon, as of this week, Microsoft has activated a function in Vista called 'Reduced Functionality.' This is a specific function in Vista that effectively disables nongenuine copies of Windows. Therefore anyone who has a pirated copy of Vista will experience:

    "The Need to move to Mac OS X"

  • I CANT WAIT! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#20557615) Homepage
    In other news, Apple, Sun, and a billion linux supporters simultaneously screamed their praise at this latest initiative by Microsoft.
  • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:52PM (#20557647)
    And what if the WGA server is down again?
  • It's about time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:52PM (#20557663) Homepage Journal

    One of the biggest problems in dealing with software piracy is that the copy protection mechanisms often punish legitimate users disproportionally. Who wants to put down $60 for a game that makes you put in a CD-Key, keep the CD in the drive while you play, establish/maintain an active internet connection to verify your right to play each time you start the game up? Especially when pirates get the same product for free without the aggravating restrictions?

    It's never seemed logical to me that people who buy software should have to bear the brunt of copy protection when pirates get a superior experience without compensating the company producting it. So it's about time that Microsoft has figured out a way to degrade the experience of software pirates instead of that of legitimate users. Not to mention of course that it'll be nice to see Windows come down in price once this takes effect.

  • What the heck?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgatliff (311583) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:53PM (#20557665)
    Let me get this straight.. Not even two weeks ago, their WGA system completely blew up leaving millions of genuine users "in the dark", and now they are do confident in their system that they are going to do something like this?

    I think I will just wait a few days for M$ to shot themselves in the foot... This type of poor business behavior is not sustainable longterm...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      I think I will just wait a few days for M$ to shot themselves in the foot... This type of poor business behavior is not sustainable longterm...
      Yeah, I'll say. They're gonna run out of feet!
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:53PM (#20557679) Homepage Journal
    We consult with a variety of $100m+ corporations in the Chicago area. Our last summary on Vista had three word: Don't Install It. One contractor asked us for a study (paid for by them) into Vista, and we sent them that very summary and billed them $1.50 (which I believe they paid).

    I'm very open about IT developments to my clientele. I've explained to them for almost 20 years that MOST of the hype in an industry is designed to pad the pockets of consultants such as myself. Of our client base, almost none were going to be bothered by Y2K. I think we were one of a handful of consultants who didn't bill more than a few bucks for the entire Y2K fiasco, and we also let our clients know this. We make _more_ money because we are honest about the gimmicks of the trade: we don't want to make money doing work that isn't necessary. When a client takes us off a project, and the project drops in efficiency, they know we were needed. Most consultants, when fired, are a net positive to the firing client.

    Vista will never run in my office, in my home, or in the homes and offices of my clients, until the third party software developers require it. For most large companies, Vista offers zero additional efficiency, profitability, or reduced downtime. How else can you sell an upgrade unless it does at least 2 of those things better than XP?

    XP runs fine. I know it is hated, but it runs fine on hundreds/thousands of desktops and laptops and servers we maintain or provide services for. Is it efficient? No, but my customers know they're paying for the lower efficiency/stability by being compatible with the software and hardware THEY need (CAD, print RIPs, accounting flagship programs, etc). Vista offers NOTHING.

    Let Microsoft kill pirate Vista installs: as far as I know, the only installs I'm aware of are pirated ones. Anyone who runs Vista now that we consult with gets a FREE downgrade to a legitimate XP license. That's how firm I am on Vista: I'll pay for the labor to downgrade it.

    Microsoft's non-customers: in the Black
    Our customers: giving MS the Red. Bank statement, that is.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:58PM (#20557825)

    Anybody remember this?

    Windows Genuine Advantage Servers Down, Taking Users With Them

    Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:26PM EDT

    Breaking news: Some of Microsoft's WGA servers reportedly went offline last night or early this morning. What's that mean? If your copy of Windows tries to validate itself with Microsoft, it might be marked as unvalidated, or put simply, counterfeit.

    The rest of the story is here. [yahoo.com]

    I can't wait until Vista tries to dial home, and they have another server blackout. I wonder if MS can be held legally liable the same way virus/worm authors are? You know, whenever some huge worm takes everybody's machines down for a day or two they tally up some outrageous dollar amount due to lost productivity? I smell a huge class action lawsuit waiting in the wings.

    This is going to be seriously entertaining when it happens.

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:06PM (#20558039) Homepage Journal
    If the copy of Vista is illegal, the machine will slow down, crash, and become vulnerable to viruses.

    So, how does that differ from legal copies?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:09PM (#20558119)
    I'm curious if this reduced functionality is a function of the windows shell its self (explorer.exe)
    In such a case I imagine that if this "feature" does kill explorer.exe, then simply loading up a different shell like Black Box (bblean) then atleast the local features would work even if windows update is still blocked.

    Of course, their methods for stopping the windows update feature is not really clear at this point either.
  • Downgrade (Score:3, Funny)

    by Deadplant (212273) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:09PM (#20558125)
    I'm getting a kick out of this discussion because I am sitting here downgrading two new machines which came infected with vista to XP.
  • by dnamaners (770001) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:16PM (#20558309) Journal
    Not to defend vista, but lets get the facts strait. It seems that there are 2 modes to the reduced functionality, Basically if you don't activate you get the black screen and are screwed. They will treat pirates the nearly same as they do in XP with updates only. Sigh, I would have hoped for more aggressive blocking. Just to give people a chance to consider the true cost of Vista.

    reference
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925582 [microsoft.com]

    Ill summarize what you can do:

    non-genuine key:
    Can use Windows Vista features
    Can activate Windows Vista
    Can change the product key
    Can log on without a time constraint to perform certain activities (no 1 hour restriction)

    Can not use certain Windows Vista features such as Aero Glass and the Windows ReadyBoost.
    Can not obtain some content from Microsoft Download center.

    Out-of-grace period for activation:
    Can activate Windows Vista
    Can remotely script Windows Vista
    Can change the product key
    Can log on to Windows Vista for one hour to obtain a new product key or to access data on the local computer.
    Can use most of the features that are available in Windows Vista.
    Can activate the Windows Vista product key.
    Can remotely access a shared network location.
    Can remain logged on
    Can run Windows Vista in safe mode

    Can not play built-in games
    Can not use premium features such as Aero Glass, ReadyBoost, and BitLocker.
    Can not log on for more than one hour

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:19PM (#20558369)
    Remember the WGA outage a few weeks ago, when suddenly nobody could connect and verify their license? That was the beta-test for it on their servers.
  • by dekkerdreyer (1007957) <dekkerdreyer@gma i l .com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @02:23PM (#20558465)
    Sounds like an easy way for a rogue IT employee to take out an entire company. Simply publish that company's key (or their special non-activation copy of windows) as a torrent, bunch of people download it, Microsoft picks up on the flux of installs and pulls the plug, the entire company goes dark.

    "Dear CEO,

    I have a copy of your Windows Vista install key. If you do not transfer $1,000,000 to my swiss bank account by 5pm I will publish this key on teh internets. How expensive would it be for every copy of Vista you own to go dark for a few days while you negotiate with Microsoft?

    Tick tock tick tock..."
  • it is a hoax people (Score:5, Informative)

    by cobbaut (232092) <paul.cobbaut@nospam.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @04:13PM (#20560627) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe that 400 posts in this thread fail to mention that this is a hoax [wired.com].

  • by CharonX (522492) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @04:50PM (#20561313) Journal
    We are just lucky that the Microsoft WGA mechanism has worked so flawlessly in the past.
    Not a single hickkup or false positive, no issues at all with genuine copies being correctly authenticated and ...

    Wait, what do you mean "Today is not not opposite day"?
  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @08:20PM (#20564343)
    This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

    2002 - Microsoft releases Service Pack 1 for Windows XP and announces that it will lock out pirates

    2004 - Microsoft releases Service Pack 2 for Windows XP and announces that it will lock out pirates

    2005 - Microsoft introduces Windows Genuine Advantage and announces that it will lock out pirates

    2006 - Microsoft announces increased tightening of WGA to lock out pirates

    2007 - Vista. Lather, Rinse, Repeat

    The funniest and most ironic part is that Vista is a huge steaming pile of crap. After nearly 9 months of struggling with Vista (that runs like molasses on a fast dual core machine with lots of ram) I gave up and went back to XP.

    Microsoft will be doing people a favor by shutting them down.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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