Print 67 comment(s) - last by Armorize.. on Jul 8 at 2:01 AM

Microsoft sheds a little more light on its WGA iniative

A recent blog by Ed Bott over at ZDNET has brought even more attention to Microsoft's Windows Genuine Authentication (WGA) which has been coming under increasing scrutiny and has even been the subject of a lawsuit. Computerworld and Ed Bott have been trying to get to the bottom of the whole WGA mystery and some of the issues being brought to the forefront are quite interesting.

Microsoft’s WGA utility, which is used on the Windows XP operating system to combat piracy, has been used in the past to validate OS installs so that users could download certain system updates as well as downloads like Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta and Windows Media Player 11. But while Microsoft sees WGA as a major ally in the fight against pirates, the utility has been pegging some innocent customers as having pirated copies of Windows XP. "80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys," said a Microsoft spokeswoman to Computerworld.

Ed Bott, not satisfied with this response from Microsoft, fired off his own inquiry into the reason for a 20% false positive rating for WGA and received this response from Cori Hartje, Director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, "While we will don't have specifics to share on other forms counterfeit installations, they mostly result from activities such as various forms of tampering and unauthorized OEM installations."

It'd be nice if Microsoft would go into more detail on that other 20%, but that likely won't happen anytime soon. Microsoft is no longer accepting interviews on the WGA matter -- possibly due to the pending lawsuit.

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By Rapsven on 7/5/2006 10:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
It's not about modding the products. It's about unlicensed copies of Windows being sold.

RE: Uh....
By RMTimeKill on 7/5/2006 10:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
If they would charge reasonable prises, then people would be more apt to buy a legal copy, but with outragous prices, of course people are going to pirate, especially people with more then one computer. I dont think its so much unliscenced copies being "sold" more so, just masses upon masses of people "sticking it to the man" and downloading pirated serials or getting their admin friends to get them a copy of their volume liscence from work...

RE: Uh....
By wing0 on 7/5/2006 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
what would be a reasonable price?

RE: Uh....
By Visual on 7/5/2006 11:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
"what would be a reasonable price?"
now that's the million dollar question, no?
or atleast, the $500 question :p
i would call reasonable $150 at launch, for the bestest possible "premium" and "ultimate" "squeeze some more dough" versions. and im calling that reasonable only in light of microsoft's history of even higher prices. perhaps it should fall down to under $100 to be acceptable for the masses. and they should have even cheaper licenses for institutions and students and such.
xp prices are already cheaper than that, but xp is old already and about to be replaced so its understandable lots of people dont want to pay for it even that.

then there are the poorer developing countries. i myself wasn't able, let alone willing, to pay even $100 for an OS a couple of years ago. now the situation here is improving, but still its a bit harsh to tell someone for whom you're building a budget pc that the hardware will cost $400 and then they have to pay $100 more for just the os. don't even mention prices for ms office and other stuff they might need.

RE: Uh....
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 11:50:40 AM , Rating: 1
> "i would call reasonable $150 at launch, for the bestest possible"

Congratulations on your syntactic pyrotechnics. In any case, are you aware that the vast majority of Windows copies are sold OEM, at prices that dip below $25/copy?

I'd also like to point out a little concept that seems to have gone by the wayside. Freedom. I find it outrageous that a some self-serving individuals feel they can dictate what a company charges for its products. A "reasonable" price is whatever Microsoft wants to charge. If they wish to price Windows at $25,000 a copy-- let them. Who would buy it? The fact is, its their product. Therefore, their rules. You don't a different OS, or use a free one.

RE: Uh....
By Sureshot324 on 7/5/2006 12:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
If there was a competing OS that could run all Windows software and was a reasonably good OS, there's no way Microsoft could get away with charging what they do. The ratio of money they invest in developing Windows is tiny compared to the amount of money they make from it, which means another company could afford to make a much cheaper alternative, if this was possible. Microsoft is expoiting it's monopoly to charge us ridiculously high prices.

RE: Uh....
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 12:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "If there was a competing OS that could run all Windows software..."

There are competing OSes that run THEIR OWN software. That's the entire point.

There is so much Windows software because Microsoft spent billions to provide developers with tools, free SDKs, and other help to write that software. And they spent so much marketing, developing, and promoting Windows that developers had a high comfort level that they were writing for a product that would stand the test of time.

> "The ratio of money they invest in developing Windows is tiny compared to the amount of money they make from it, which means another company could afford to make a much cheaper alternative..."

If writing Windows is so cheap and easy...why has no one else done it? Many people have tried in fact to implement a binary-level compatibility with Windows. After spending many thousands of man-hours and achieving only limited compatibility with the simplest of Windows programs-- they realize there's a lot more to it than they first thought.

> "Microsoft is expoiting it's monopoly to charge us ridiculously high prices. "

Tell you what. You go write a Windows clone, charge half price for it, and I promise to buy a few hundred copies. You can get rich overnight.

But be warned-- if even a single Windows programs fails to run on it, I intend to sue for triple damages.

RE: Uh....
By Visual on 7/5/2006 8:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
$25 wont get you even a "safe mode"-only version :p
it may very well be what the OEMs pay for the OS, but not what the end customer pays.
i can manage to find an OEM version of xp professional around $80, and its rare. and please don't push me "home edition", or god forbid "asian edition" as a cheaper alternative.

and you needn't flame me for stating my oppinion on what a reasonable price would be. someone asked that question, i answered. i haven't went to bill gates and forced him to accept my viewpoint have i?

and you purpously skipped another option for when you don't like the price - that is, steal it. as bad as it sounds, it is a common occurance, and is infact what started this whole discussion. i'm a programmer and im not supporting stealing someone's hard work same as i wouldn't want it to happen with mine, still i have to point out it's just bound to happen with high prices, especially in poorer countries. and the funny thing is, microsoft realise that all too well, and don't seem to mind it - they get their big money from those that could afford it, and they get popularity and wider spread for their os from those that couldn't... piracy is the only reason they got to be the monopoly they are now.

RE: Uh....
By mindless1 on 7/6/2006 2:49:12 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously by "freedom" you mean a free market, meaning we'll have to break up MS and let the remaining OS developers compete on price. Can't have only the portion of freedom that suits YOUR argument, it's a package deal.

RE: Uh....
By KeypoX on 7/6/2006 3:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
windows isnt free?

RE: Uh....
By apriest on 7/6/2006 9:56:55 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Uh....
By wallijonn on 7/5/2006 1:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Quote: "xp is old already and about to be replaced so its understandable lots of people don't want to pay for it even that. "

Remember when MS said that it would soon no longer support WXP Home? Exactly what would BestBuy, CompUSA, CircuitCity, Staples, OfficeMax, Fry Electronics, et. al. now do with the machines in their stock? Would you buy the machine knowing that it would no longer be supported? Imagine Dell immediately increasing their prices by $100 to cover the WXP Professional install. You'd think people would just fork over another $100 without some assurances from Dell, IBM, HP, Gateway?

As for the "OEM" OSs, there is an OEM WXPP which will work on all machines and the ones which Dell, HP, IBM, Gateway, etc. bundle with their machines, the ones which come (???) with install CDs. ( A practice many got away from by installing the initial OS on a hard disk partition instead of supplying a CD.)

I bet you that a large percentage of the "hits" are people with Dells, HPs, etc. who are re-installing their OSs because of viruses, spyware, bad drivers, bad software, etc. All they have is that license COA and no install CD. For these cases you'll probably have to phone in for a key activation.

Me, I see WGA as a precursor to certificates (DRM), that once Vista comes out you will need an internet connection to verify its certificate keys (for the OS and all content (music and movies).) Ultimately there will be a certificate for each and every piece of software installed, there will be a certificate for each and every peiece of hardware installed, there will be a certificate for each and every driver installed, for each BIOS (firmware) installed.

WGA is nothing but DRM beta.

RE: Uh....
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:44:49 PM , Rating: 3
WGA is nothing but DRM beta.

... and then the entire software world began the cruel and treacherous move to Linux and ReactOS, setting development cycles back decades ... for the unprepared.

The RIAA is just starting to realise there is a line.
I hope Microsoft realises there is a line.
Yeah, they know there's a line... probably.

They'll put their products just barely within reach, with just a little enough bullcrap packed in them, and dangle it infront of everyone. Same thing they're doing now.

RE: Uh....
By Armorize on 7/8/2006 2:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I hope Microsoft realises there is a line. Yeah, they know there's a line... probably.

the problem is ms put that stupid line their in C language and their opening up visual studio to move it wherever they please, OH NOES!!

RE: Uh....
By Trisped on 7/5/2006 1:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you actually look at other OSes, windows is a steal. At $100-150 for XP MCE and Pro OEM you get a highly tested and compatible OS. It is used by something around 90% of all PC users. Almost all commercial software runs on it. It comes with basic software like a media player and simple word processing (word pad and note pad). It has industry support, so you can ask a tech savvy friend for help or go to a store and pay a small fee to have the problem fixed. They provide standardized APIs like DirectX, they are backwards compatible (I hear that the x64 versions aren't very backwards compatible, but they still work). They have complete networking options.

Sure, many other OSes have these or similar, but with the exception of OSX from Apple, they all cost more or require more expensive support. They have very few applications compared to Windows and if you want tech support you have to pay more then it would cost to get a new PC with windows installed.

And don't talk to be about your Lindux or Fedora. They might be perfect for people that like to spend the time to figure things out on their own, but their options and usability reminds me more of DOS and Windows 3.0 then of a real OS.

RE: Uh....
By rushfan2006 on 7/5/2006 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree their prices are a bit high for licensing. However, trying to be logical and reasonable on both sides of the issue -- Microsoft's right in a Free Enterprise economy to operate a business AND my own feelings as a consumer on paying high prices for their product. Its very hard to not feel torn on the issue if you try to be fair to both sides.

I will say that the flat out argument of "well if they charged less people would pirate (steal less)" is immature at best and flat out absurd logic at worse.

If society held that logic in general, for all goods and services, it would be utter lawlessness and virtual anarchy in the streets.

You can't, legally, say "well I"m stealing your product if its not at a price *I* feel is acceptable for it". That's morally and ethically wrong. Not to mention just stupid logic.

Finally the problem with saying "a reasonable price" is that -- who's standard of "reasonable" do we use? Money, like many things is a very subjective thing. We all have different liabilities, different incomes, etc. -- what is cheap to you may be expensive to me, or vice-versa.

RE: Uh....
By IMPoor on 7/5/2006 10:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
reasonable price. You a fool. I think its very reasonable considering that lifetime of a OS is like five years. So less than $30-40 a year is to much. you need to get a better job. Ask your manager if he will promote you to head fry cook.

RE: Uh....
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 10:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
15$ a year for a full-feature professional user OS is more reasonable - 75$ at 5 years.
With that saved 75$, you can invest in their hypothetical 75$ Small Business Office software suite.

Higher numbers for server variations are acceptable - that's where they make their money's worth anyway.

They're fleecing the average consumer with their 'workstation' products.

XP Professional is supposed to be a workstation OS, that's Microsoft's excuse for the high price tag.

They already sell it relatively for peanuts (~80$) to OEMs like Dell who aim to put it on non-server machines.

XP Pro can't make up for the 149$ it costs over 5 years to the average XP Pro user. 149$ as an introductory tag for early adopters I can see... but waiting for the price to drop to 149$ after 5 years, on the verge of a replacement?

Come on.
This isn't something that you should have to budget into your damn computer. This is basic.

We could all be using Linux, OpenOffice, and playing id's latest engines - Doom 3, Quake 4, etc...

What's stopping that? Some lame corperate words, and OEMs like Dell that don't give their customers a choice, just tier.

It's not difficult to develop an application on another OS, it just needs to be done.
Commercial developers need to be there to draw people, but developers develop where the people are - Microsoft got there first, and they're milking it for all they can.

Can't blame 'em for that. Can blame 'em for the price tag.

RE: Uh....
By Sunday Ironfoot on 7/5/2006 11:17:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'd call £90 for a piece of software that basically runs your PC and last a good few years fairly resonable.

And besides, people who pirate software will pirate it no matter what, regardless whether it's £90, £9 or £900.

RE: Uh....
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
people who pirate software will pirate it no matter what

I honestly don't know about that... but how exactly did you come to this conclusion?

Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By glynor on 7/5/2006 10:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By Visual on 7/5/2006 11:49:01 AM , Rating: 2
indeed, there should be plenty of failed validations that don't even come from a windows pc. just yesterday i tried to download the new beta of IE7 on my linux and it "failed validation". but my gentoo is genuine, i swear.
using opera or firefox on a legal windows probably fails too, then there are users with IE but security settings that have disabled javascript or activex, and so fail again.

By glennpratt on 7/5/2006 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, this is about the WGA update for windows, not a browser plugin (which, btw, works in other browsers).

By Randalllind on 7/5/2006 12:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
What bugs me is I have to download a program to get a # si I center a # in order to download crap from

By Randalllind on 7/5/2006 12:41:31 PM , Rating: 2

What suck is I have to download a program to get a # to enter so I can download whatever at microsoft website. Microsoft so auto hit my pc and know I am legit when I go to download stuff from their site.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By Trisped on 7/5/2006 1:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
There are rumors that indicate that the WGA's accuracy is dangerously off. People complaining about WGA declaring their copy not genuine when they believe it is. The question is, was Microsoft too heavy handed in the WGA code so that even legit copies are turning up to not be, or are people running illegal copies unknowingly, or are the pirates trying to create a media frenzy to destroy their competition so they can keep selling and using illegal copies.

I personally would have expected the first generation of WGA to be a simple key check. Even that could have problems, like if someone guesses your legit key and uses it to install their OS.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 2:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
> "There are rumors that indicate that the WGA's accuracy is dangerously off..."

Relevant word highlighted.

> " People complaining about WGA declaring their copy not genuine when they believe it is..."

Most people don't understand OEM licensing, I agree.

> "if someone guesses your legit key and uses it to install their OS. "

No one is going to "just guess" an installation key. That's why they're so long...guessing a valid one is less likely than being struck by thousand times in a row.

By DigitalFreak on 7/5/2006 2:26:32 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, you are being quite the Microsoft shill today, aren't you?

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 2:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
"Dude", I'm shilling for capitalism, freedom, and free markets. Why not try it yourself sometime?

Personally, I could care less about Microsoft. The principle here is the important issue.

By mindless1 on 7/6/2006 2:56:50 AM , Rating: 2
You claim to be shilling for the free market?

That's either funny or you badly need some education. WGA wouldn't likely exist at all in a free market and certainly not be prone to accusations of piracy for purchased licenses. Remember, YOU can't argue away that 20% with random BS, it is already conceded to be erroneous by the source that wants to paint it in the best light possible.

By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:48:31 AM , Rating: 3
> "WGA wouldn't likely exist at all in a free market..."

Where do you get such nonsense? I use a couple high-end software packages (costing $100K+/copy) in a market in which no company has anywhere near a 50% market share. Each of them is considerably more intrusive with their license validation than is WGA. One of them requires you to obtain a per-day usage key EVERY TIME you run the application.

> "YOU can't argue away that 20% with random BS, it is already conceded to be erroneous by the source...."

Oops, nothing of the sort. Reread the source article; you apparently misinterpreted it seriously.

By piroroadkill on 7/6/2006 6:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
You're a mindless prick.

The phrase is "couldn't care less".

"could care less" means you care about Microsoft, and you could care less, but are not.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:41:12 AM , Rating: 4
> "You're a mindless prick...The phrase is "couldn't care less"."

Quite possibly so, but on this issue more educated than are you. According to the OED-- the definitive standard of the English language-- the phrase "could care less" is a colloqualism for "couldn't care less", and one that, in contempory English, is used considerably more often than the original.

Think before you post, son. You'll embarrass yourself less often.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 9:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
I could care less, but then I would be hating.

Don't turn it into personal shit, back to the topic at hand.

If Microsoft had an OS that had competitive support from developers, it would be a competitive OS.

If such an OS existed, Microsoft could not get away with WGA.
They would get dropped like a hot potatoe.
People could care less, but then they would be hating.

If Microsoft incorperates a trusted computing module, people will care less they could care - they would be hating.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Got game for life, son - yaeh yuh!

By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 9:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
^ potato.
^ trusted computing model.

By gtnbuckeye on 7/7/2006 9:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
Since Microsoft's licensing requires that the software key "sticker" be on the side of the PC (all OEM installs), someone only needs to see your PC to steal your license key. No guessing required.

It's funny how anyone would consider you a retard if you put a password on a post-it note on your PC, but an OEM license key needs to be there to be "legal".

By sprockkets on 7/5/2006 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 1
Here is my dilema. When I had to replace a motherboard in an emachines computer, it required re activation. Big deal, let it do it right? Then the screen came up to activate, and said, "This copy of windows is already activated." Click on ok, and logs me back out. Click on a user to relogin again, and says the same stupid thing about having to activate. Utter crap.

Used a plain OEM disc to reinstall XP, and went to activate, and it complained that the key is invalid. Wait, you took it during the install, what is your f---ing problem? What is your problem with how you do things?

RE: ok
By unfalliblekrutch on 7/5/2006 11:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
OEM is only valid on the original motherboard, unless it's broken. If you need to replace a broken motherboard, you must replace it with a new motherboard with the same chipset for the license to still be valid.

RE: ok
By smokenjoe on 7/5/2006 11:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
If normal people did something that only worked right 80% of the time they would be out of buisness. The Aspiran killed my dauther..... well it is only supposed to work 80% of the time. Maby that attitude is why people think it is expensive. If you buy a stand alone copy and re use it at the OEM copy it is not a bad deal assuming you are not buying windows ME. Or a good OS right before the next comes out.

RE: ok
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 12:18:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "If normal people did something that only worked right 80% of the time "

Oops, this article in no way says that WGA "only works right" 80% of the time. It says that 80% of the hits are due to PIRACY. That doesn't mean the other 20% are invalid. In fact, I'd wager its working correctly more than 99.9% of the time.

The problem lies in people thinking their OEM copy of Windows is a "full retail" version. An OEM buys a restricted license, only for that particular machine. I know plenty of people who upgrade their machine, piece of piece, until not a single original component exists. Its therefore an entirely new machine...yet they still want their old, original OEM copy to work.

RE: ok
By ajdavis on 7/5/2006 1:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
The logic behind the OEM license is flawed. If I piece by piece upgrade my computer until only the original motherboard is in used the system doesn't complain. Why should it be any different for software that comes with the computer?

RE: ok
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 1:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
> "Why should it be any different for software that comes with the computer? "

Because that software is sold cheaper (much cheaper), by virtue of it being limited to a single computer. In essence, you can either buy a a copy of Windows that lasts forever...or a cheaper copy that lasts only as long as does your machine.

RE: ok
By aos007 on 7/5/2006 4:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
I know plenty of people who upgrade their machine, piece of piece, until not a single original component exists. Its therefore an entirely new machine

Except that it *IS* the same machine, logically if not physicaly. I bought the right to have ONE machine winth windows XP in my household - at least that is what any NORMAL person would think when they plonk out that kind of cash. Why would it matter what motherboard, CPU or whatever it has? It is still JUST ONE machine! Upgrading a computer is a normal thing to do for many people. And OEM copy does NOT cost $25 - it cost $120-150 depending on when and where you get it. The issue here is not someone trying to install a copy they got with their Toshiba laptop, but the one they got in a store, at much higher price than $25. If you buy from a large manufacturer, you get recovery CDs ANYWAY. Most people I know buy LEGIT OEM versions in local computer shops - if they buy them at all.

I personally did not know about this limitation when I got my XP.

Yes, you can claim "that's the license, take it or leave it, doesn't make a difference whether it is sane or not, it's their right". The problem however is that the license is contrary to both common sense AND to what industry practice is for OEM vs "retail" (i.e. packaging, extra software/warranty, branding, on occasion features). In this case "OEM" removes a HUGE part of the value. True, there is a cosiderable difference in cost to step up to "retail", but then again, such is the case with many other computer parts (big box stores price >> small store price) yet the parts are essentially the same, so no, it's NOT safe to assume that there is such a substantial difference. Most people WILL assume it's just fancy packaging and big store markup.

It's all about common sense. And in this case, the license is CONTRARY to common sense. You can say it's their right, but if you don't think it's contrary to common sense, then you're weird.

And please, no more "you can choose another OS". Because the only other choice for a consumer is Mac OS, and for an IT professional, there *IS* no other choice - what you use is dictated by what your customers, clients and colleguaes want and what the rest of the industry uses. Or are you suggesting one can choose not to work in IT? Next you'll be suggesting people in Cuba can just choose to leave if they don't like their system - after all, there are successful examples of boat escapes, so there IS a choice, right?

A choice that that is only theoretical or comes with drawbacks that vast majority of people would find unacceptable is NOT a choice.

However, I will admit, while you don't really have a choice of OS, you *can* choose to pay $400 and get the "real" single machine copy. But - here is why are people pissed off: why don't they make it crystal clear up front that you're losing such a fundamental ability, especially since it's against common sense? Are they afraid that we WILL choose something else if they do? Because if they do this consciously, happily accepting sales from small computer shops (and other than big OEM sales, these got to be far bigger than big chain retail store sales - I never ever heard of anyone buying a copy there) even though they are deceiving customers, then someone should go to jail. Pure and simple.

RE: ok
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 5:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
> "I bought the right to have ONE machine winth windows XP in my household..."

Not if you purchased an OEM copy. You bought the right to run Windows on one particular machine. Read over my post again; you missed all the relevant sections.

> "And OEM copy does NOT cost $25 - it cost $120-150 depending on when and where you get it"

OEM copies are sold to OEMs. And the price they pay (and thus pass on to you when you purchase your machine) can be below $25/copy. Some unscrupulous individuals have taken to marking up and reselling OEM copies, a practice Microsoft didn't intend (and indeed tries to prevent) but that's a rather different issue.

> "and for an IT professional, there *IS* no other choice"

There is always freedom of choice. You may not like the alternatives, or the end result of your choosing them...but that's not Microsoft's problem. They spent billions making a standard, and gambled their money, and the money of all their shareholders as a result. That gamble-- along with a lot of hard work-- paid off. That's the American way, like it or not. Apparently not, in your case at least.

RE: ok
By aos007 on 7/5/2006 6:15:37 PM , Rating: 3
you missed all the relevant sections.

As did you:

A choice that that is only theoretical or comes with drawbacks that vast majority of people would find unacceptable is NOT a choice.

There is always freedom of choice.

No, there isn't, and it is often an illusion. Your problem is that you believe that theory=practice. Or that everything is black and white. Real world is not a mathematical equation.

Let me give you an extreme example. I already did but you didn't pay attention.

Back during WW2, german troups were ordered to execute every high schoool student in a large town back in my country as a retaliation for partisan attacks. They rounded up 6-7 thousand of them and shot them all outside the city. A few of german soliders would not stand for it, they were executed alongside.

Now, according to you, all those soldiers had a choice. And they did, the choice was to shoot innocent kids or get executed.

One can blame the rest of germans for being murderers, war criminals etc. Or those few that got shot for being idealistic fools. The problem is, what would people do in a similar situation? I don't believe there is a good answer to this question.

In real life, choices and consequences are usually far less severe. What you're doing is equivalent of telling people to kill off their IT careers if they don't like using Microsoft OS. "Because that is their choice". I say that is no choice.

And the OEM copy ***DOES*** cost $120-150 and they're not sold only by "unscrupulous" people. They are sold by every single computer shop, including the biggest, and I doubt US is any diferent. What I'm telling you that I belive that Microsoft is QUITE HAPPY with this happening. You can persuade me that someone is doing this on a few dozen or few hundred license per year basis. But you are not going to be able to persuade me that they knowingly ignore sales of tens of thousands of licenses through every one of these.

And in fact - in reality Microsoft DOES allow you to upgrade your hardware, contrary to their license. Not only you can upgrade individual parts (as long as you don't go overbaord) but once every year they will let you "reset" the upgrade counter, or whatever it's called. So as long as you don't replace the entire machine more than once every year, you will still be able to use your OEM license. So they are silently accepting that people would "riot" if they were really to enforce it. This reset wasn't there from the start, they added it along the way.

However, now you have a situation that something is "not allowed" on paper, but is allowed in practice. In my view they are simply accepting the reality. Do you really think ATI, Nvidia, and just about any hardware manufacturer would not be vocal about this if it was enforced fully? Because their sales would tank.

RE: ok
By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:36:08 AM , Rating: 3
> "Now, according to you, all those soldiers had a choice..."

You're making one of the most basic mistakes in ethical theory-- confusing coercion with the indirect negative effects of choice.

Example. A company states, "work for us or we kill you". That's slavery. A company states, "work for us or we don't pay you". That's freedom...even if their failing to pay you means you starve to death.

Freedom does not imply you are free to make any choices you wish without negative consequences. If you choose to jump off a cliff-- you will die. If you choose not earn a living-- you will experience economic hardship. If you choose not to use Microsoft products-- you will have limited opportunity in the IT industry. Your freedom of choice still exists. You are not being coerced in any of these three cases...except by your own common sense desire to avoid the consequences of your actions.

Honestly, freedom really isn't that complex a subject. Why not try to understand it? You might find you like it.

RE: ok
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
Being given any choice at all is freedom ("Give me liberty, or give me death!"), but while contracts, anti-competitive practices, and slavery, still incorperates a degree of freedom...

Just use common sense.

If it gets bad enough though, tell common sense to take a hike and grab a weapon.

RE: ok
By mindless1 on 7/6/2006 2:51:32 AM , Rating: 2
OOPS, you are only considering a release from MS themselves. Pretty damning that even they concede this, but unfortunately no statistics from 3rd parties.

RE: ok
By Sunday Ironfoot on 7/5/2006 11:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
A new motherboard counts as a major hardware component in a PC and thus causes Windows validation to complain that the key is in use by another machine when you go to reinstall.

The solution is simple, just phone them up when you go to activate (number provided in the activation dialog) and explain the program. Just say you had a faulty motherboard and had to replace it with a different one, but that you're basically reinstalling it on the same PC. They'll read out a code over the phone that you type in a volla, Windows is activated.

Worked for me!

RE: ok
By Frank M on 7/5/2006 11:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
Wait, it it illegal to install your copy of windows into a new machine, if you remove it from the first?

RE: ok
By Motley on 7/5/2006 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, if it's an OEM copy. No if it's a retail copy. That's the difference between the $25 OEM version and the $100 retail version.

By Tsuwamono on 7/5/2006 10:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
I find this retarded. Now my PC cant even go into standby mode because Microsoft says my copy isnt genuine. I know its genuine, i just modded it after i bought it. And i even tried removing the mods but they still say it isnt genuine. God damn retards. Your company makes billions.. YOU DONT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT SOMEONE MODDING YOUR PRODUCTS!

RE: Retarded...
By Schadenfroh on 7/5/2006 10:18:13 AM , Rating: 2
What exactly did you change when you "modded" it?

RE: Retarded...
By Slaimus on 7/5/2006 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
I think he meant hardware upgrade.

RE: Retarded...
By KeypoX on 7/6/2006 3:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
no i dont think he meant "hardware upgrade" he prob meant modded. I modded mine as well but i dont get the WGA message like alot of others.

Modded is when you install your own programs or remove programs from the cd along with the drivers you need so when you install windows you get all the base programs you want and the drivers you need. It is the same thing that dell/compaq...... all those peps do with their versions of windows

RE: Retarded...
By jkostans on 7/5/2006 10:19:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't you just remove the WGA? Also, I bet the number is actually higher than 20%

RE: Retarded...
By Trisped on 7/5/2006 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
Simple solution. Format C and re-install. Then don't install WGA. The thing is, you have to abide by WGA's end user license agreement if you install it. Since they make you jump through so many hoops to install, they can assume that people know what they are getting in for.

My question is what you modded in your computer that made WGA mad? Most people say they upgraded it if they install new hardware, and that shouldn't set of WGA. If you messed with certain files in Windows then yes, you will set off WGA, but that is common sense in the mod community.

RE: Retarded...
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Could be anything... user interface changes, bloat removal, whatever... same thing happened to a few other Dells at work - just trying to lock out junk salesmen shouldn't be using.

reality check
By IMPoor on 7/5/2006 3:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
All software companies must battle piracy. When was the last time you BOUGHT any software and did not need a serial, cd key, activation or some other type of anti-piracy to install and use it. So I can't blame them for their need to protect their financial interests. But and here is the real argument: Microsoft did not release full details about the WGA program. I still would buy the software even if I knew as I bet most of you would also but I would like to know.

So lets be clear on what we are pissed about. is it the fact that you bought a OEM copy and can't install it on other machines? or replace hardware that voids the OEM license? (read the OEM terms instead of just clicking the "I agree" button) Or did you buy a used computer with a pirated version on it? Or did you simply download a illegal copy and install it? These excuses are not MS fault. These problems are your fault and your mistake! Don't blame WGA for your mistakes. I think its cool that MS lets you still use the software if its pirated.

RE: reality check
By Bowsky on 7/5/2006 5:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see... Oblivion runs fine without any kind of serial, CD-Key, or spyware (aka StarForce). Don't forget Galactic Civilizations II that only requires a serial number to download new content.

One other that might suprise you. Microsoft Office. Yes, you heard right Microsoft Office 2002 for the MAC (I haven't had any experience with 2004) is free of any copy protection. Focusing on the Apple side of things, OSX doesn't require any sort of CD-Key or activation.

Companies have been so obsessed with stoping the minority of people who pirate software that they are now spend millions of dollars trying to fix the problem. The flaw that appears is that, copy protected or not, the same level of piracy occurs. All the added keys and authentacation does is hurt the user experience.

I just reformatted my computer the other day. Upon installing Windows I was asked to enter a serial key, activate my copy of windows, download the WGA notifier through windows updates, download the WGA ActiveX plugin for internet explorer, and download the WGA Extension for Firefox. I hope after all that Microsoft finally believes that I'm running a legit copy.

In the past I have delt with less than legal versions of Windows XP where all I have had to do is enter a serial. I and many people have asked ourselves recently "shouldn't it be easier to install a legal version". This pattern is continues through almost every peice of software with very few exceptions.

This last idea, more than price, is what I believe is driving more people to piracy. Unfortunately companies have been focusing so much on pirates they have completely over looked how they are treating the honest paying consumer.

RE: reality check
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 5:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
> "Companies have been so obsessed with stoping the minority of people who pirate software "

Minority, eh? I know in some countries, the number of pirated copies exceeds the number of legitimate copies by 1000% or more.

Even here in the US, you'll have a hard time in some circles finding people that won't give a friend or relative a free copy of Windows if they ask, or sell or give away a computer with Windows on it...and still retain their original copy.

In the case of game software, US-based piracy is even worse. I know people with hundreds of games, each and every one of which they copied from a friend or downloaded via torrent. People that think there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

In any case, your entire issue is off base. Regardless of how big a problem YOU think piracy is, the owners of software have a right to protect it how they wish. It's THEIR property. They don't complain about how you wish to lock up your house or guard your car. Don't deny them the same freedom. If the safeguards are too onerous, don't buy the product. Period.

RE: reality check
By plywood99 on 7/5/2006 6:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
It is not the pirates who are paying the price of piracy though, it is the legitimate customer. I'm a hardware enthusiast, always upgrading my ONE computer. After having to call MS and talking to someone from India or who knows where that I could barely understand to have my copy of XP validated. I've already decided I will not be upgrading to Vista when it comes out. When a legit customer is put through the ringer, then it's time to change os's.

I buy ALL my software and hate piracy, but MS and others are treating me like the pirate...

I am switching to Linux, slowly but surely. MS and many others are hurting the honest consumer, when it's the pirates they should be hurting. I agree it is their software and they can do whatever the LUA says, but I will no longer support them. When the honest consumer is given a fair hand I may return...

RE: reality check
By mindless1 on 7/6/2006 2:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
No, they do not have the right to protect it how they wish.

They have the right to include the protection prior to selling the license, IF it's fully disclosed. tacking it on after the fact may well be illegal in spirit "if" not in code but our laws have unfortunately not caught up to all these software issues yet, or to put it another way, some are so rebellious that they'd even argue again the obvious unless it is specified in the most minute of detail what not to do instead of general terms.

Why WGA?
By proamerica on 7/5/2006 4:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
Stopping idiocy. Thats what laws and rules and all this bullshit aboug WGA are really about. Keeping the morons in check. Some people are victimized by morons through no fault of their own, some people are morons, some people just shouldn't go anywhere near a computer that has more than a D-pad and two buttons for input. Problem with fools is this: "If you make something foolproof they'll just make a better fool."

Maybe you can make the schools better, maybe if parents were better it would help as well.

RE: Why WGA?
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 9:08:54 PM , Rating: 3
Instead it appears as though they're dropping standards for education of the masses in exchange for 'more progressiver' (sic) education measures.

It shows.

WGA doesn't keep morons in check though, if that's what you're implying - it only confuses them to their doom.

Anyone worth their digital salt with WGA wouldn't think twice about exorcising it from their system if it gave them any crap.

The people should not be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of the people -- same thing applies to corperations, whether they believe it or not.

Subscription/personal os
By ZmaxDP on 7/5/2006 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
My bet is that Microsoft will shuttle over to a subscription based OS soon enough. You will have a licensed copy that essentially goes anywhere you go. Log in and there you go. Hardware based licensing will still be required for businesses and other "always on" operation. (I'd still need a hardware license so that I can leave my computer on and logged in 24/7 for rendering and still use another) Home servers would also put a kink in things. Anyway, everyone seems to be big into the whole thumbdrive OS and Application thing, and getting almost any application functionality in a web-based service. Surely an OS will follow.

Ok, realistically "soon enough" is like 10 years at the rate Microsoft is putting out their OS now. Apple will likely do it in less than 5 and MS will be playing catch-up again. You can already get linux to do it off a thumbdrive, and I can't wait for someone to set up the first online OS. Not sure how it would work, but someone will figure it out soon enough. Of course, security will be the big problem, but it already is so what's new? Ahh, rambling now. I'll shut up.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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