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Windows Bug Businesses Microsoft Software

It's 2013, and Windows Activation Is Still Frustrating 435

Posted by timothy
from the is-that-nostalgia? dept.
Deathspawner writes "There's little that's more frustrating than being a legal customer and getting screwed over by the company you're supporting. If there's a perfect example of this, it's with Microsoft's OS and its millions of customers that have had to ring its tech support lines for activation help. Recently, a Techgage writer got bit by an issue with Windows 8 — caused by Microsoft itself — and wasn't even able to call to fix it. Microsoft has two problems to solve here: it needs online chat support (like most large companies in 2013) and it definitely needs an activation system that doesn't make things difficult for its legal customers on a too-regular basis."
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It's 2013, and Windows Activation Is Still Frustrating

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:47AM (#43652159)

    This is probably finally the year for it.

    Now, let me go off and spend the next two hours installing the java plugin for Firefox on my Ubuntu box.

    • by synapse7 (1075571) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:54AM (#43652207)
      Probably faster than installing the java plugin in the metro ie.
    • by Spacelem (189863) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:03AM (#43652315)

      2003 was the year of Linux on the Desktop for me. Has been ever since too.

    • Thank me later. (Score:4, Informative)

      by tuppe666 (904118) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:07AM (#43652369)

      Install the icedtea-7-plugin package using any installation method. more detailed instructions here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Java [ubuntu.com].

      To be fair installing the the whole of Ubuntu is now a few basic dialog boxes and leave for 20 minutes

      I know your trolling but Linux Desktop market share has been steadily rising for sometime, and that is without the onslaught of Chrome (and soon Android Boxies).

    • Amen to that. A long time ago I tried to set up a Runescape box for a friend. It was a P4 with 1GB of RAM but it screamed on Ubuntu. It took around 2-3 hours to install Java though. All those command line file paths I had to type manually because they didn't implement a root login or UI options to "run as root." Ugh, I'd rather talk to Microsoft tech support.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        You could has just set a password for the root user.

        Your ignorance is not someone else's fault.

    • What the hell is wrong with you? The Java plugin is the last thing you'd want to install anywhere...

      Its like trying to find a way to run visual basic scripts on Linux.

    • In comparison to updating android on your carrier's cell phone, windows updates are a snap! Moreover windows updates even exist whereas once you buy a low-brand tablet or get a carrier locked phone no update may ever even get made for your device.

  • by matthiasvegh (1800634) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:49AM (#43652175)
    As a university student, my uni grants access to MS products like Windows, Visual Studio etc. It really was a matter of entering a serial and that was all that had to be done. I take it off the shelf windows activates more obtusely?
    • Re:Dreamspark etc. (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:54AM (#43652201) Journal

      As a university student, my uni grants access to MS products like Windows, Visual Studio etc. It really was a matter of entering a serial and that was all that had to be done. I take it off the shelf windows activates more obtusely?

      If memory serves, Windows phones home some data about the platform it finds itself on when it is activated(I don't know if it is particularly identifiable, or just a hash of whatever seems likely to be system specific, or somewhere in between), and some versions can be very unhappy if they come to the conclusion that they've previously been activated on different hardware. Enough time on the phone will get you a nice guy in India who will probably be able to fix it for you; but it definitely can happen.

      • Re:Dreamspark etc. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:02AM (#43652303)

        I've never had to talk to a guy in India, I've always gotten an automated phone system. You read the key, it processes for a second then gives you a long-ass number to put in. It's a nuisance but less horrible than issues we've had with Adobe software activation.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:15AM (#43652441) Journal

          Let's not even talk about Adobe. Everything about their customer interaction process, whether it be downloads, activations, even getting them to take your damn money, appears to be cobbled together from a mixture of coldfusion from the mid 90's and a bitter, gnawing, hatred of all that exists, older than the primordial Void itself. All wrapped up in a ghastly AIR UI, naturally.

          • Add activation for students on top of that and you have the perfect nightmare. I went through that with my copy of Lightroom. *shudder*
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          I've had to do that several times. 4 out of 5 times, the automated system refers me to the nice Indian man for a short Q&A session before giving me the activation key.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        Dude, serves you right for installing a new video card.

        What business does someone have opening the case? It should violate DMCA to use a non OEM hard drive.

      • Re:Dreamspark etc. (Score:5, Informative)

        by kenh (9056) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:00AM (#43653931) Homepage Journal

        Retail Windows OS can be re-installed up to three times before you need to manually activate the product.

        As I understand it, the activation process creates a system profile "hash", and ties it to the product key. When your system changes in a significant way (MB, CPU or NIC) it can trigger a re-activation.

        People that rebuiild their systems frequently are familiar with this problem.

    • Re:Dreamspark etc. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:55AM (#43652213)

      Its obtuse only if you have paid for it. For the pirates, the activation is included in the ISO

      • Its obtuse only if you have paid for it. For the pirates, the activation is included in the ISO

        ...along with a root kit.

    • As a university student, my uni grants access to MS products like Windows, Visual Studio etc. It really was a matter of entering a serial and that was all that had to be done. I take it off the shelf windows activates more obtusely?

      Basically, yes. For Enterprise/Volume/Educational institution licences, there is a fairly basic serial number activation process to allow the mass-rollout of desktops from a central publishing server like SCCM. That means your IT department will not mutiny over having activation problems on 15% of your workstations after rolling out a new installation to 10,000 desks.
      For the one-off retail items, either in terms of OEM or boxed product, the activation hassles lie with the end user (i.e. one individual... no

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:50AM (#43652181)

    There's no benefit WHATSOEVER for the customer, and it's not even made the product cheaper. All it's managed to do is piss of just about everyone, probably including the poor bastards in tech support in Microsoft.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:03AM (#43652325) Journal

      There's no benefit WHATSOEVER for the customer, and it's not even made the product cheaper. All it's managed to do is piss of just about everyone, probably including the poor bastards in tech support in Microsoft.

      It certainly doesn't do the customer any good(and it's extra annoying on the IT side: "C'mon Microsoft, we practically have to use a truck line to transport all the money we send you every year, we keep our licensing data squeaky clean, and we still have to dick around with activation every time we push a system image to a thousand workstations? Fuck you."); but I assume that MS didn't like the good old days when everybody who ran windows and gave a damn had a nice copy of Win2k Enterprise, VLK, sometimes with 'do not make illegal copies of this disk' scrawled in sharpie on the illegal disk copy for amusement's sake....

  • by Nbrevu (2848029) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:51AM (#43652187)
    I mean, surely megaupload was closed, but there are hundreds of different file hosting services where you can download RemoveWAT from.
  • No Good Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:57AM (#43652241) Homepage
    The most complex solution that most paying users will be happy with will be something like what we haven't had since Windows 2000 (and all versions before that). Which was a simple key that you enter to install the software. The same key could be used on every system, and it didn't really do anything for protecting against piracy. Pirates are going to pirate, regardless of what kind of system gets put in place to stop them. Any system that is good enough to stop even a few people from pirating is inevitably going to annoy quite a few paying users. The only thing that's really going to stop people from pirating is lowering prices for home users. It's the exact reason I got Windows 8. At only $40 I finally felt they were asking a fair price. Asking home users to spend 50%-100% of the cost of the hardware on the operating system for their computer seems to be more than most people are willing to pay. People who buy computers from large manufacturers already pay a license. Most of the individuals who are pirating are those who have built their own systems. Give them the operating system for a price comparable to what they large computer builders would pay, and you'll see piracy drop a lot.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:00AM (#43652283)

    It doesn't do a thing to stop pirates anyway, so what's the point of it?

    • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:06AM (#43652361)

      It doesn't do a thing to stop pirates anyway, so what's the point of it?

      Whatever do you mean? Windows 8 has been Microsoft's most effective anti-piracy scheme ever. Not that they meant it to be, but still...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by slashmydots (2189826)
      That's funny because every illegal copy I've seen come into my shop is virus infested because it's missing basically all updates and at least 1 major service pack. No crack has a long useable life and never touching Windows Update is beyond stupid from a security standpoint. Then people like me refuse to work on it so you can never get your illegal PC serviced anywhere. So good luck with your half-working crack disaster.
      • I'm to lazy today to cite sources this morning, but there have been hash and certificate schemes that have worked on post-XP versions from day one.
  • its 2013 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nimbius (983462)
    ...and Windows Activation Is Still Relevant?
    seriously, its your own damn fault. If you're too lazy to use over 50 different flavours of BSD or Linux then i dont know how else to make personal computing work for you other than pay the mac store to make the bad time go away, or put up with steve as he pedals microsoft into the ground.

    im sorry that sounded angry but its just frustrating to see these posts on slashdot when we all know about the alternatives. BSD, Linux, this is shit that has a core of d
    • Re:its 2013 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:20AM (#43652507) Homepage

      seriously, its your own damn fault.

      Yeah - I guess it's my fault for needing Photoshop, Solidworks, AutoCAD, Excel, Word, etc. to share files with my customers.

    • by sjwt (161428)

      Its 2013 and there is still over 50 different flavours of BSD/Linux.. Each with its own complications.. No wonder we still aren't at the year of Linux.

    • My main hurt about not using Linux as a main OS is that the stupid Flash is not hardware-accelerated. Even YouTube often is still unable to deliver some video in HTML5.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wadeal (884828)
      Eh I've tried running Linux as a novice multiple times over the years. Everytime it's a nightmare of googling and forum posts that get arrogant replies and an unwelcome community.

      It's a disjointed mess (Linux) that never "just works". There's always issues with hardware compatibility or issues that honestly I don't get or see as someone who maintains thousands of desktops running Windows.

      This is my own experience though and this is Apples to Oranges I understand in terms of the hardware side. But the co
  • by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:04AM (#43652345) Homepage Journal

    It's 2013, and Windows Activation Is Still Frustrating

    It's 2013, why are you still using Windows ?

    • Because we have applications that only run on Windows. I hear that's not uncommon.
      • by alexhs (877055)

        Sure, there are plenty of applications that only run on Windows. If you feel bound by applications, that is. There are much less tasks you can do on Windows but can't do on other platforms. Conversely, on the fast-growing mobile computing front, from their popularities and rich application catalogs, it seems that iOS/Android devices have plenty of capabilities that no Windows device can offer in a compelling way.

    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      Not everything works perfect in Linux. I use Fedora as a host with Windows in a vm. Why? Because nothing is worse than mangling people's performance reviews because HR uses documents in Office format that get mangled by LibreOffice. Or having to sit on a jump box all day to manage MS servers (AD, Exchange, MS SQL, etc.). Writing Powershell scripts is less productive...as is those bad internal apps that require IE (yes, they still exist in the corporate world). Being Linux-only is a nice goal...but is not fe

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They don't need any other antipiracy measures. With Windows 8, they have created the best anti-piracy every; they created software nobody wants.

  • Try upgrading from Server 2012 Evaluation Edition to Server 2012 Fully licensed. It's not just jumping through hoops its a whole damn Gimcana.
  • Everything abut Microsoft is frustrating. Constant popupups, talking nagging paper-clips, can only log in one user account at a time unless you pay out the nose, a window8 GUI trying to shove apps down out throats even if we're a desktop, all versions of word are more incomparable with each other than open office is, how they try to force me into bing, how they try to obsolete older versions like XP - even though it works perfectly fine on older PC's, even worse, how they try to obsolete older versions of

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:23AM (#43652559)

    Bought a brandnew HP laptop for my gf. Windows 8 is a pain to use without touch screen. I don't dare to move the mouse near any corner of the screen again ...

  • I've never had a problem with the activation. I just run this DAZ script and viola! Activated! Who's having trouble? MS support should just mail people the 5kb file and be done with it.

  • since that was a limited-time offer... does that key still work? or is it now gone forever since his 'windows 8 with media center' took a dump?

  • it definitely needs an activation system that doesn't make things difficult for its legal customers on a too-regular basis.

    There's no such thing. You're not going to come up with a system that inhibits piracy but also doesn't create more work and effort for legitimate customers. Computers are not smart enough to judge whether what you're doing is "fair".

  • We've had plenty of issues with their Office 2013 activation system at our office and when you call in, "oh, I'm sorry, you need to talk to technical support because this is an issue with your PC" What?!?

    These PC's are fine, I just bought this program, activate it!!! So they pass you to another department that has you on hold for a minimum of one hour (not an exaggeration) which also gives you the ability to leave a message if you get tired of waiting. If you leave a message, they'll call you back in a
  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:07AM (#43654047)
    ill take Windows activation over RHEL activation any day.

2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League

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