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Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft

WGA Under Vista SP1 Is Kinder and Nags More 299

DaMan writes in with a ZDNet blog entry on Windows Genuine Advantage under Vista SP1. It seems that the draconian features present in Vista RTM have been replaced by nag screens and annoyances such as repeatedly changing the desktop background to black. But WGA no longer turns off Aero and ReadyBoost or logs you out after an hour."
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WGA Under Vista SP1 Is Kinder and Nags More

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:17PM (#22371862)
    Sounds to me like they just made WGA consistent with the rest of the OS.
    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) * on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#22372048) Homepage

      Sounds to me like they just made WGA consistent with the rest of the OS.
      Isn't spyware (forget that lawyer made up term) something:

      1) Installs itself with false promises , e.g. "We will make your internet and system faster with better features!"
      2) Steals private data which you would normally NEVER provide if you had a chance to think twice.
      3) Tortures your user experience and break your system if you ever attempt to get rid of it?

      So, by definition, WGA enabled Windows is spyware and I don't blame MS for it. There is a company who makes easier, faster, better products and they got significant market share at least on portables now. It is not like "Install Linux and ./configure" anymore. Also user friendly distros like Ubuntu exists.

      If considerable amount of MS customers got rid of it or simply rejected using Windows only because of WGA, you would see WGA fade away in weeks, no less.

      I was using Windows back in 2002-2003 era and I can't see a reason why WGA or Customer Experience service isn't considered plain spyware.

      Of course if you act like a lemming, you will be treated like a lemming. After OS X, Intel Switch which made Mac very credible thanks to popularithy, distros like Ubuntu... Why do we blame MS anymore? It is end user/customer to blame. Let them sit with their WGA bugging OS who treats them as a thief.

      • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:52PM (#22372200) Homepage
        I don't mind if windows verifies itself with Microsoft. Does that make me a sheep? It's an expensive product and they want to ensure people aren't pirating it. My copy is legit, so why should I resent that? I'm not sure what 'personal information' they will be getting from me, my hard drive serial number maybe? hardly my bank account details.
        Microsoft are no more 'treating their customers like thieves' than a store that has security tags on the clothes and a scanner by each exit. Amazingly, only the shoplifters get bent out of shape about those.
        • by RicardoGCE ( 1173519 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:57PM (#22372240)

          Microsoft are no more 'treating their customers like thieves' than a store that has security tags on the clothes and a scanner by each exit. Amazingly, only the shoplifters get bent out of shape about those.

          Once I leave the store, I don't have to check in with the store owner when I want to use the product I already paid for.
          I'm against software piracy. But I'm also against intrusive control mechanisms that will annoy legitimate users.
        • by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:00PM (#22372250)
          I don't mind if Windows calls home ONCE, as I install it, to verify.

          But WGA is, to use your security tag analogy, as if they leave the tag on after
          you buy the clothes, and regularly sweep your home to ensure you did not lend
          out any of your clothes to other people.

          But verifying that you have the genuine article on each installation is
          perfectly agreeable.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mlts ( 1038732 ) *
            WGA should at least give the option to back up its state of that its activated to a certain machine, similar to how one in XP can back up the wpa.bak and wpa.dbl files. Then, in case the machine has to be reinstalled again, Windows can prompt for a copy of these files, and not have to ask for a CD key on future installs.

            I come from a UNIX background where the OS is a critical part of not just the computer, but likely the company where its installed, and downtime on a upper end AIX or Solaris production mac
            • by nachoboy ( 107025 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:07PM (#22372912)
              WGA should at least give the option to back up its state of that its activated to a certain machine, similar to how one in XP can back up the wpa.bak and wpa.dbl files. Then, in case the machine has to be reinstalled again, Windows can prompt for a copy of these files, and not have to ask for a CD key on future installs.

              Just use phone activation. The installation ID calculated by Windows is the same even across formats, which means the phone confirmation ID is reusable. Just activate by phone once and you are free to reuse the confirmation ID every time you reinstall after that, no further verification by Microsoft required. Note that this applies only to Vista and is different from XP, where the installation ID included a random salt and was unique to each installation.

              Another possibility, but this is a can of worms, is using a TPM chip to store a certificate. Once the machine is activated to use a certain edition and OS, a certificate is stored in the TPM, similar to how Apple stores a certificate for MacOS. Then, on subsequent installs, the OS just checks to see if its licensed via the TPM for that feature set, and goes on its merry way, never requiring activation again.

              This is basically how it works today for preinstalled copies of Windows from large OEM's (Dell, HP, etc.). The computer manufacturer puts a specific string in the BIOS which is verified by Windows. If an OEM copy of Windows is used, activation is bypassed and no need for communication with Microsoft is ever required. It's only available from large OEM's because Microsoft must trust the OEM to correctly account for each computer sold and pay the appropriate license fee. This technology is referred to as SLP, or System Locked Preinstallation, and dates back to Windows XP.
            • by caseih ( 160668 )
              Apple actually doesn't use the TPM to lock MacOS to the machine. It turns out that MacOS merely requires a native EFI firmware to install and boot. That's it. Now that an EFI layer has been developed to run on normal PCs, you can actually install Leopard and do system updates and everything, running an unmodified kernel.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Um, no. OS X will not normally boot on a regular EFI machine. The Apple-supplied bootloader is an EFI program but it is located in the HFS+ volume, not the little EFI FAT partition. Even if you were to copy the boot.efi program to an EFI system's EFI partition you still wouldn't be able to boot OS X because boot.efi requires that it be able to read HFS+ volumes using Apple's HFS+ EFI service. You might have luck extracting the HFS+ driver from an Apple's ROM and putting it into that same little EFI FAT

          • I don't want it to phone-home even once! If I buy their stupid OS, I buy it. If I choose to download it, I choose to download it, and WGA or any phoning-home isn't really going to prevent that from happening. I don't consider software that "checks up" on my purchases to deserve my money. In the end, even that one phone-home is just adding you to a database with associated serial number so they can cataloged all their users, and I don't care for that behavior in the least, anonymous or not.

            To carry the p
        • Microsoft are no more 'treating their customers like thieves' than a store that has security tags on the clothes and a scanner by each exit. Amazingly, only the shoplifters get bent out of shape about those.

          Not true, I've never shoplifted anything in my entire life and I hate those damn things. They:

          • Frequently forget to take the tags off or they don't properly demagnetize the tag and set off the alarm.
          • Go off when a lot of people are exiting and therefore make everyone near the thing stop for a search.
          • by fohat ( 168135 )
            Whenever I buy something at a store and walk through the door setting off the alarm, I just keep going. I know I bought what's in my bag, and if they want to run after me let them. They should hire smarter checkout clerks. At the drugstore down the street, they used to have a voice that would come on in addition to a loud beeping that would say, "Pardon us. We failed to deactivate the inventory control system from your purchase. Someone will be there to assist you momentarily." (repeatedly). After a f
            • Every now and then a store will forget to remove a tag. The alarm goes off, nobody cares.

              I then go in and out of various stores.. in about half the alarm goes off both in and out. nobody cares.

              The tagging system just seems to be unenforced these days.. like car alarms - people are so used to hearing them they blank them out.
        • Expensive product? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:35PM (#22372570) Homepage
          "It's an expensive product"

          It's only an expensive product because people have tricked themselves into believing there are no alternatives.

          Windows 3.1 was $130 and commonly discounted to $80. That was for the whole OS, not split up so you have 4 different versions. The top price was $80. The cost was low because Microsoft had competition.

          Now that the installed based is two orders of magnitude greater, the price should be cheaper or maybe the same. Even the cost of Apple's computers dropped significantly. But for MS Windows, the cost doubled or tripled. All because consumers refuse to use alternatives. We're our own worst enemy.

          So this argument is an ironic one in that once Microsoft made Windows the most expensive piece of software on your computer, they had to put in place lots of things to "protect" it against people who didn't get the message that you pay whatever Microsoft wants for an operating system.

          In any event, this argument misses the point. WGA was put in place because Microsoft has no more market-share to get. They only have two place to get more money... charging more money for Windows, and reducing the amount of piracy. So WGA has been designed solely to reduce piracy rates of windows a few percentage points.

          Irony again! To make another few million dolalrs, MS decided to irritate every customer with new types of monthly checks to make sure you're "Genuine".

          And I wonder if pirates who know what they're doing are bothered by WGA in the least?
          • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:56PM (#22373352)

            It's only an expensive product because people have tricked themselves into believing there are no alternatives.

            It's not an expensive product. Especially for the vast majority of people, who get it "free".

            Windows 3.1 was $130 and commonly discounted to $80. That was for the whole OS, not split up so you have 4 different versions. The top price was $80. The cost was low because Microsoft had competition.

            Ignoring for a second just how much more functionality Vista delivers over Windows 3.1, you need to a) include the price of DOS, and b) account for inflation. Windows 3.1 ("Full Version" retailed at US$150. I couldn't find a price for DOS 5.0 in 1991 with a cursory search, so I'll estimate it at about US$50.

            US$200 in 1992, is worth about US$300 today. Looking at Microsoft's site, we see that Vista Home Premium ("Full Version") is US$239. Heck, even if you leave DOS out completely, US$150 inflates to US$225, only a hair cheaper.

            Now that the installed based is two orders of magnitude greater, the price should be cheaper or maybe the same. Even the cost of Apple's computers dropped significantly. But for MS Windows, the cost doubled or tripled.

            Utter crap. It's actually less (or, at worst, basically the same). Take into account the additional functionality (media player, movie maker, networking, web browser, media centre, etc) and it's massively cheaper. It's certainly not within a bull's roar of having "doubled or tripled".

            All you people who keep saying Windows is getting more expensive over time are either a) stupid (because you haven't bothered to actually check), or b) liars (because you have worked it out and chose to ignore what you found). But, then again, 99% of the criticism levelled at Vista falls into the same cateogories, so its to be expected.

            • "It's not an expensive product. Especially for the vast majority of people, who get it "free"."

              you're dead WRONG! it's not free for a long stretch. here in brasil HP sells presario notebooks preloaded with mandriva linux for R$ 1500,00. the VERY SAME hardware with windows goes for R$ 1800,00.

              when you have the two of them side-by-side in the same shelf on a wall-mart, carrefour or extra store, the real cost of OEM windows becomes clear.

              to put things in perspective, the national minimun wage is R$ 380,00 a mo
            • Ignoring for a second just how much more functionality Vista delivers over Windows 3.1, you need to a) include the price of DOS, and b) account for inflation. Windows 3.1 ("Full Version" retailed at US$150. I couldn't find a price for DOS 5.0 in 1991 with a cursory search, so I'll estimate it at about US$50.

              So much of your post is short-sighted. You are not seeing the big picture at all. The OP was essentially correct.

              Firstly, your rate of inflation is deeply suspect.

              Secondly, "just how much more f

          • Windows 3.1 was $130 and commonly discounted to $80. That was for the whole OS, not split up so you have 4 different versions. The top price was $80. The cost was low because Microsoft had competition.

            drsmithy pointed out how you might have forgotten to take into account inflation, larger feature sets, and the bundling of MS-DOS into the Windows 95 and Windows 98 SKUs.

            But for MS Windows, the cost doubled or tripled. All because consumers refuse to use alternatives.

            Citation needed. Plenty of home users and graphic designers use Apple computers, which do not come with any version of Windows. Businesses, on the other hand, need to run vertical-market software that isn't tested on Wine. In the case of my employer, if I drop Microsoft software, I have to drop Stone Edge Order Manager [stoneedge.com], which runs on top

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Its not like its the only thing thats gone up in price, Mars bars used to be under 30p, now they are almost 50p and not as big. Just 3 years ago, I could get double vodka and coke for £1 at the bar, and now I only know one place where I can get a single for that much. Prices on everything are increasing at a much faster rate than the suppose rate of inflation but I don't see our salaries doubling in 3 years do you? We're all getting ripped off and made fools off, not just by MS, but by the entire c
        • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:41PM (#22372648)

          Microsoft are no more 'treating their customers like thieves' than a store that has security tags on the clothes and a scanner by each exit. Amazingly, only the shoplifters get bent out of shape about those.

          OK, I bought Vista (hypothetical, of course) and take it home. Why is the metaphorical security tag still attached and beeping at me whenever I change my computer's hardware, among other things? Your analogy is plain flawed. Try again.

          • I had one on XP just this week. Started up a machine that hadn't been booted for a while.. it deregistered itself, told me too much hardware had been changed (no hardware had been changed - the layer of dust on it proved that), then refused point blank to use the perfectly valid key that it had.

            Then it gave me a week to sort it out. Sorting it out apparently involves a transatlantic call to the US (gonna be fun sorting out the timezone issues there).

            What we actually did was retrieve the useful data and ju
        • Microsoft are no more 'treating their customers like thieves' than a store that has security tags on the clothes and a scanner by each exit. Amazingly, only the shoplifters get bent out of shape about those.

          Once I purchase the shirt and leave the store, their security measures do not affect my shirt wearing experience, nor the performance of my shirt.
          For Joe user, I think Vista and all its quirks are fine. For those of us who have higher demands, technical or otherwise, these 'quirks' are significant iss

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          My complaint isn't activation. My complaint is that I can't take my retail box copy of any MS product and uninstall it and put it on a new/different computer.

          Each MS product comes with a limited number of activations, and that activation ties the copy to a particular computer. It isn't possible, without calling and begging Microsoft for permission, to:

          a) Deactivate a piece of software;
          b) Register that deactivation with MS's activation servers;
          c) Uninstall the software;
          d) Install the software on another ma
        • by angst_ridden_hipster ( 23104 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:41PM (#22373710) Homepage Journal
          Hey, I paid for Vista too. Twice, so far, WGA has gone fubar on me. I don't know why -- I didn't change hardware or anything. Th first time, while talking to tech support in Bangalore, I went through one of the most frustrating experiences ever with a computer company where the woman was insisting there were options on my screen that didn't exist. I'd read the list of options, and she'd say "No, sir, use the other option" (this dance repeated four times before she transfered me to a department that was not answering their phone). I was unable to get the system working until the next day, when that department re-opened, and someone could give me what he called a "onetime reauthorization code."

          The second time, a few weeks later, the problem returned. Tech support walked me through it again. I used the "MGADiag" program that told me I was using a genuine copy, meanwhile WGA popups were calling me a thief and shutting me down. Again, it took hours on the phone to resolve.

          So far, it's been OK since that second episode. But I'm out about four hours of phone time, and one evening of no Windows computer. As I said to the tech support people - if I had just been dishonest and gotten a cracked version, I wouldn't have had those problems. Why they were insistent on punishing their legit customers, I don't know.

          My Mac OS and Linux machines may have their annoyances too, but they have never called me "thief!"
          • by Bombula ( 670389 )
            But I'm out about four hours of phone time, and one evening of no Windows computer. As I said to the tech support people - if I had just been dishonest and gotten a cracked version, I wouldn't have had those problems. Why they were insistent on punishing their legit customers, I don't know.

            My time is worth $100/hour. Four hours of my time = $400. If it were me, that $400 expense would be charged back to Microsoft in the future in the form of pirated software.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by xtracto ( 837672 )
            - if I had just been dishonest and gotten a cracked version, I wouldn't have had those problems

            What makes you dishonest for installing and using a copy of a software you paid for?

            I know I do, I bought an HP computer and after my hard drive failed and I replaced it I could not use it because my backup disks were in another country, I called HP to ask them to send me new backup disks but they denied them to me (I was willing to pay) telling me I had to buy a new version. The heck with that! I downloaded a co
        • I would only be slighly annoyed if it wasnt for the fact that WGA appears to have 100% failure rate.

          All my legit machines at work bought from PC World Business dept rate as fake, while the dodgy copies I bought from a guy with a stall in a sidestreet near the computer fair for £5 appear to be genuine.

          I laugh at MS 'piracy' statistics. Made up ones would be more reliable.

          Maybe MS is demonstating the value of its patent on the "Logical-Not operator".

        • by anethema ( 99553 )
          You are wrong. The pirates could care less about WGA since all they have to do is wait for it to be cracked then they wont have to deal with it at all. In any copy of XP you download now, you almost never need a key, and you never need to do any fake activating. It is only the legitimate purchasers who suffer from this crap.
      • Of course if you act like a lemming, you will be treated like a lemming. After OS X, Intel Switch which made Mac very credible thanks to popularithy, distros like Ubuntu... Why do we blame MS anymore? It is end user/customer to blame. Let them sit with their WGA bugging OS who treats them as a thief.

        Actually, a large percentage of Microsoft's userbase _are_ thiefs, according to a rather broad definition. That's why they go to the lengths that they go. MS Windows is the number one pirated software, closely followed by Adode Acrobat and MS Office. Paintshop is a distant fourth.

    • Shareware / Piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by milsoRgen ( 1016505 )
      Sounds to me like Microsoft is worried about the uptake of Vista and is reverting to a more piracy friendly stance. Because let's not kid our selves, it was the piracy of 9x-2000, XP that really helped increase it's user base and then maintain that base. Now it's been gambling with shutting down that (back)avenue of adoption which probably would of worked if Vista would have been seen as a more worthwhile upgrade.

      It reminds me of the more shareware friendly days of yore.
  • by mincognito ( 839071 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:27PM (#22371952)
    Does anyone know if you can upgrade to SP1 if your Vista doesn't pass WGA? This one hour automatic logout is really starting to an
  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:29PM (#22371984)
    Is this part of the strike settlement ? I hope the writers vote it down - I don't want any TV writers nagging me !
  • by LaskoVortex ( 1153471 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:30PM (#22371990)
    I got around not having a valid registration of vista: I select the NI (not installed) Mode. This mode comes with every non registered version of vista, but is not well known. The benefits are that you get unlimited access to the web and your files, your computer runs faster, your software choices are unlimited, and you don't have to put up with annoying adware. Since I've switched to NI mode, I've been more productive and had more time to spend on ./ because I spend less time dealing with the vista bugs.
    • I got around not having a valid registration of vista: I select the NI (not installed) Mode. This mode comes with every non registered version of vista, but is not well known. The benefits are that you get unlimited access to the web and your files, your computer runs faster, your software choices are unlimited, and you don't have to put up with annoying adware. Since I've switched to NI mode, I've been more productive and had more time to spend on ./ because I spend less time dealing with the vista bugs.

      One shouldn't have to do this, to have an obedient OS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:31PM (#22372004)
    So it looks like Vista goes from abusive-dad mode to well-meaning-but-annoying-mom mode. No thanks, I'm still staying with the grandparents.
  • That's nice, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#22372020) Journal
    As someone who has no use for Vista (and won't see it at work for at least a year due to the fact that his primary desktop there runs Fedora Core 8), I honestly couldn't care less what MSFT does with the thing.

    Besides, it only shows one of these factors, none of which are good:

    • Windows is an empire built on 'six floppies and xcopy'. I'm very willing to wager that the majority of folks (especially home users) who used Windows 3.1, got it "from a friend" on six copied floppies (seven w/ print drivers). MSFT probably realized this and is going back to their, err, 'viral' roots.
    • They're desperate to get Vista adoption picked up faster (which ties in with the previous bullet, but kinda deserves its own)
    • WGA is still broken badly enough that they didn't want to alienate the legit users who got trapped any further

    In either case, none of this addresses the underlying bloat, bugs, and obviously creaking NT architecture, on an OS version that was allegedly rebuilt from the ground up. With most corporate folks likely holding off now for "Windows 7", and home users nursing XP. Vista likely won't make much difference now in either case...

    /P

    • Funnily enough I've been wondering something similar. How much money does MSFT actually make from the sale of the operating system? OEM copies are much less than shop bought copies and I would assume the OEM value must at least cover their costs, so would it be viable to give (or as near as possible) away copies then recover that lost revenue from the increase in sales of their other products?

      Quite apart from anything else it would mean no longer wasting money developing security measures and marketing cam

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Office is, and has been for years, the primary non-game breadwinner at Microsoft. The OSes are next, and the middleware falls third (sometimes going negative). Almost everything they do for Internet, though, is at a loss.
    • They're desperate to get Vista adoption picked up faster (which ties in with the previous bullet, but kinda deserves its own)
      What good does it do to get Vista installed on more machines if they don't get paid for those copies? So confused. Your statement sounds like a circa-2000 .com business model.
      • They're desperate to get Vista adoption picked up faster (which ties in with the previous bullet, but kinda deserves its own)

        What good does it do to get Vista installed on more machines if they don't get paid for those copies? So confused. Your statement sounds like a circa-2000 .com business model.

        Not really... They didn't get paid the majority of what they would otherwise be rightly owed for Windows 3.1, but they still turn a profit later on.

        How? Simple... a lot MSFT's money doesn't come from individual users - it comes from businesses. If users at home are used to Vista and cozy with it, businesses have less resistance to shifting their workstations to it (as a business, you pay the same license fee per seat no matter which OS version you have installed...) After all, how often do you see the

    • by Loopy ( 41728 )

      As someone who has no use for Vista (and won't see it at work for at least a year due to the fact that his primary desktop there runs Fedora Core 8), I honestly couldn't care less what MSFT does with the thing.

      Then why even reply to this thread if it doesn't affect you? Do you harbor a latent Vista-envy or desire to see Vista be most of what you want it to be so you can switch back to it? Are you just replying to foster your "+1 Vista Sucks" score? If we all already know Vista's flaws, how is this interesting and not redundant?

      • It's a Sunday morning, and I'm merely idling out thoughts here and there.

        You (wrongly) assume that I harbor some sort of hatred or envy of Vista... but in reality I'm only exploring some options as to why MSFT would do this w/ WGA.

        When you realize that Windows upgrade adoptions has slowed with each new iteration, coupled with each new iteration having stronger and stronger anti-copy and 'anti-piracy' measures...? Yes, I realize that correlation != causation, but the coincidence is getting a bit too stro

  • by monschein ( 1232572 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:44PM (#22372126)
    Nice popup window. Wait, who's the victim again?
    • by RonnyJ ( 651856 )
      If the copy of Windows is from a computer seller using dodgy copies without the buyer knowing, then both the user and Microsoft are 'victims'.
  • Still a Toy. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:47PM (#22372150)
    No professional product could afford to do something like WGA, kinder now or not. WGA illustrates what Windows really is: A tpy, that you cannot depend on and that, incidentially, is not intended to be dependable in the first place. Anybody relying on it gets what they deserve for gross incompetence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cnettel ( 836611 )
      I think you would be surprised to see what kinds of draconian licensing schemes are still out there for special-purpose (and highly professional) software. It's the same class of products that can get away with a crappy installer and even possibly quite specific requirements of OS, since they have their market and the product, when it works, actually adds a lot to productivity.
  • WGA (Score:3, Funny)

    by Keruo ( 771880 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:48PM (#22372160)
    Now it turns Aero on and changes my pretty black background? fuking hell.
  • by bwy ( 726112 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:15PM (#22372392)
    I run Vista in a bootcamp partition and also use that partition as a virtual machine in parallels. Well, I "TRY" to do this.... What happened was, the hardware looks so different between the two that Microsoft deactivated both of them, I believe. I'm a little fuzzy on what happened really because I wasn't aware that it "would" happen, since Parallels advertises this feature pretty heavily. I thought they could treat it like a laptop, with a docked and undocked mode. Anyway, it took about an hour or more to fix the boot camp side, and the parallels side doesn't work, it is still inactivated. For the record, I legitimately own a Vista license. I had to first muck around with some crappy UI trying to reestablish a network connection in some rubbish single user mode (using a wired mouse since my mighty mouse bluetooth no longer had the drivers loaded.) I finally got it reconnected and then it said that it couldn't activate me online. So I had to call someone at what I suppose to be an offshore call center. I had to read this guy like 40 characters off my screen, and he read back a bunch of characters that I had to key in. This part was tedious and it was way more characters that what would seem necessary. In the end I felt like a total criminal. After buying Vista Ultimate, I felt like a criminal. I can install Ubuntu for free and not feel like a criminal, and I can donate $20 to Ubuntu or another distro and really feel good about myself. I don't believe the Bootcamp/VM setup violates the EULA for Ultimate because they are just different ways of launching the same image. If this is a violation, certainly a docked and undocked laptop violates it. ANYWAY, now that I'm done ranting (sorry), my question. Does RC1 fix all this?
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toreo asesino ( 951231 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:24PM (#22372450) Journal
    I've never ceased to be amazed about how many people that run Windows deal quite happily with 1000 popups from various spyware that's installed over the years, completely oblivious to the fact that this behaviour is very non-standard. Just as long as they can read their emails, chat to friends, and open Word and Excel they're happy.

    This will be just another of those popups that gets closed without a second thought.
  • I can't wait for that patent filing. Microsoft's new NAG security system.
  • by zlogic ( 892404 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:54PM (#22372784)
    WGA made sense in XP when there was a corporate license key that worked without activation. But all Vista keys need activation in some way, either a corporate KMS activation key (which is possible to be recalled), an ordinary key, or an OEM certificate+corresponding SLIC in the BIOS+serial number (which is installed on hundreds of thousands consumer PCs and a key recall is practically impossible).
    The only way WGA can be triggered is either the KMS key or some hacking scheme of activating one computer with an ordinary key and then activating another one with a simular configuration with the same key.
    Most cracked Vista copies use the BIOS method which impossible to detect, especially if there's no driver installed and the SLIC is actually patched into the real BIOS.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:22PM (#22373020) Homepage
    I've had this argument with so many managerial types over so many years...

    The big problem with Windows is not whether it's good or whether it's bad, it's that it's a pig in a poke. There are no stable specifications for what Windows is or isn't, and what's in Windows and what isn't. People make business decisions on things like the "fact" that Windows "comes with Toolbook" (yes, no kidding). It comes with Toolbook for as long as Microsoft thinks it should, then it doesn't. You can repeat this ad nauseam for any important characteristic of Windows, without even getting into questions of what kinds of DRM are actually enforced to what degree.

    There is no specification for Windows. As a simple technical matter we have even had problems determining which DLLs and OCXes are "part of" Windows: there does not seem to be a standard list of what a full directory listing of a "standard" Windows installation is supposed to look like. The same Windows CD will install slightly different sets of files on different PCs.

    This is equally true of the Mac OS. It comes with HyperCard, until it doesn't. The characteristics of what QuickTime will and won't do, how many Macs can be "authorized" under iTunes changes, etc.

    This is not necessarily a characteristic of proprietary software in general. I grew up in an environment where the word "specifications" meant a document that was written by a buyer, often the government or the military, but in any case an entity with the clout to say "we are interesting in buying something that does X, Y, and Z." And software vendors would either pass up the business, which they could not afford to do, or supply a known product that met known specifications. The FORTRAN compiler darn well better meet the FORTRAN spec...

    I've tried to get people that make business decisions to understand that if they go with Microsoft, they cannot make their judgement not solely on the basis of what Microsoft is delivering today: they are committing their company's future to their guesses about what Microsoft will be doing in the future.

    As long as the people who make purchasing decisions about Windows don't care about having a real set of specs and holding Microsoft to them, Windows will continue to be a pig in a poke.
  • Excuse me, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qazwart ( 261667 ) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:43PM (#22373246) Homepage
    Isn't Windows licensed on almost every PC sold before I even get it out of the factory door? I was under the impression that most OEMs have a licensing agreement with Microsoft that pretty much puts a Windows license on every computer sold -- whether or not it actually has Windows on it.

    So, why all the hoopla about WGA? Is Microsoft so worried about a few people who are upgrading from XP to Vista? In a few years, these people will be buying a new computer and will end up with a new Vista license anyway. This was the same company a decade ago worried about Windows penetration into the Chinese market because not enough people were pirating their software in China!

    It sounds like for the few pennies that Microsoft might be losing to unlicensed copies of Windows Vista, they're busy making legitimate user lives miserable.
  • I'm asking purely out of curiosity, of course... But how many times do you think that the average user of Windows XP or Vista sees an activation prompt after he first boots up the system?
  • To update to SP1, get the following download: http://staff.neowin.net/skyypunk/VistaSP1WU.zip [neowin.net]

    It simply enabled SP1 to appear in Windows Update, exactly how the Release Candidates were enabled.

    Specifically, the code is:

    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\VistaSp1 /f > NUL 2>&1
    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\VistaSP1 /f > NUL 2>&1

    reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
  • repeatedly changing the desktop background to black


    Are you sure it is black, and not blue ..... :-)

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