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The counterfeit notification

Clicking the counterfeit notification gives the user the ability to purchase a new license

Upgrading from an openly pirated version of windows costs a mere $149

The checkout process completed
Users running illegal copies of Windows XP are being offered discounted purchase prices

Recently in the DailyTech labs we had a test bed machine that was giving us "this copy of Windows is not genuine" messages. Last week we tried to remedy the message by following Microsoft's recommended course of action, which was to verify the copy through its website and purchase a legitimate key. When we attempted to do so, Microsoft's website indicated that the upgrade service was not available to US customers (or any customers as far as we could tell).

On a whim we tried again this evening and it appears that Microsoft has updated its website and now allows US users of pirated or counterfeit versions of Windows XP to buy legitimate keys for $149 each -- a unique key is still required for each computer that runs Windows XP. The full version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional retails for $249.99, which means if you purchase the CD and key from Microsoft, there is a net savings of $100.  The OEM version of Windows XP can be purchased online from online vendors, but this discounted version requires the purchase of hardware.  Microsoft waives all shipping and handling charges, but sales taxes is still added onto the purchase. 

The new Genuine Advantage program is intended for unsuspecting users who have inadvertently purchased counterfeit copies of Windows XP. To fight against piracy while allowing honest customers to go legit, Microsoft is allowing users a discounted purchase option while informing users that an authentic Windows XP will benefit from greater support and security. All high risk security updates are still available via Windows Update for illegitimate copies of the operating system, but non-critical updates require legitimate keys.

Last month DailyTech reported that pirated versions of Windows Vista would be crippled. It appears that Microsoft will begin using more aggressive tactics to persuade users to purchase legitimate copies of the Windows operating system.

People looking for instant gratification however will be disappointed. Once a customer purchases the "Genuine Advantage Kit" from Microsoft's website, it may take up to 10 days before the product key is sent. Users will also receive a Windows XP CD in the mail, but this will take 2-4 weeks for delivery. A Microsoft Passport account is also required to receive your CD key, but an account can be created for free within a few minutes.

Microsoft previously had a program where users would send in the pirated installation disc as well as a receipt of where the illegal copy of Windows XP or system it came on was purchased from. The requirement was later scratched because it was decided that the process was too much of a hassle for consumers.  Microsoft still has other methods of "getting legit," including a program where you can get a free copy of Windows if you reveal the source where you obtained the pirated copy.

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By Kromis on 5/15/2006 3:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
They're just trying to make money...

A pirated version is still as good as a legit one...I think...

RE: Bah...
By Bonrock on 5/15/2006 3:38:02 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, it's not. For one thing, pirated copies can only access Windows Update through the automatic updates service. You can't go to the Windows Update site, which means you can't get optional/non-critical updates.

In addition, a lot of the free add-ons and updated programs Microsoft has been releasing for Windows XP now require validation of your copy of Windows. That means if you have an illegal copy, you can't install Windows Defender or the Internet Explorer 7 beta. I'm guessing the Windows Media Player 11 beta will also have this restriction when it's released this Wednesday.

So yes, there are advantages to going legal. Besides the fact that you won't have a guilty conscience about stealing a program (Windows XP) that you've probably used every single day of the past 4.5 years.

RE: Bah...
By Zoomer on 5/15/2006 4:16:09 AM , Rating: 5
RE: Bah...
By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 6:15:48 AM , Rating: 3
The unfortunate thing is all of that was (and still is) easily bypassed with an illegitimate copy. Apparently the advantages of being legal are having to jump through hoops every time you have to prove yet again you own the software. Rather annoying still for those who actually buy windows, on top of that activation.

RE: Bah...
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 8:33:52 AM , Rating: 5
Sadly, that's true. The main "feature" of my legit version of Windows is that I have to activate it when I install it. And I have to activate it again two hours later, when I install hardware drivers. And I have to activate it again if I dare to buy a new HDD or something equally suspicious.

And if I screw up during installation, and have to start over, I'm out of luck. I can't activate it again within too soon after a previous activation.

RE: Bah...
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 8:36:21 AM , Rating: 3
Oh yeah, and if I dare think about downloading any software from MSDN, I have to prove every damn time, that I'm running a legal version of Windows. (Yes, I know this would be a bit easier if I'd used IE instead of Firefox, but it'd be easier still if MS actually trusted their customers)

RE: Bah...
By Bonrock on 5/15/06, Rating: -1
RE: Bah...
By jkostans on 5/15/2006 12:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
More often then you might think. I would never put a legal copy of windows on my computer, even if i owned it. It's too much of a hassle. I prefer a stripped down version with nothing but the essentials. Who uses mediaplayer or actually wants the "optional" updates? Not me, I don't like unecessary crap. Maybe microsoft should sell a "naked" version of windows for the people who want an OS, not the bloated piece of junk that is XP retail.

RE: Bah...
By Wonga on 5/15/2006 2:55:24 PM , Rating: 3
LOL, sometimes I really find it hard to believe how much trouble some people have with a geniune version of Windows. Personally, I have a geniune copy of XP Pro and very rarely have problems with it.

Sure, when I install Windows then I have to activate it. Whether before or after I've installed all the drivers, it doesn't ask to be activated again.

Upgrading the memory? No problem. Graphics card? No Problem. New hard disk, sound card, processor? No problem.

Even when I did I complete overhaul of my computer in February, replacing all but the sound card, then it activated fine once Windows was installed. Maybe it's because I don't replace everything every week, but I really don't suffer from the same problems as others here.

To be honest, there was one time (about three years back) when I installed something (I must have replaced a lot of things without reinstalling Windows in all that time) and Windows wanted me to re-activate on bootup. Well, two seconds later it was done over the internet.

OK, so I realise that a lot of people's milage will differ here, depending on quite how often you do upgrade (and people shouldn't be penalised for upgrading too often) but from my perpective this is one of those things that people try to condone piracy for, similar to how CD prices are extortionate so downloading MP3s is OK. Well, Windows is damn good value, as a previous user stated, for half a decades use (and potentially a lot longer) so people should just buy it and stop looking for an excuse. Microsoft isn't really an evil giant - I think all the work they've put into service packs and updates more than compensates for the money you paid five years ago.

Just my 2 cents :)

RE: Bah...
By timmiser on 5/16/2006 2:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
When the activation system works, its a piece of cake and no problem whatsoever. However, it doesn't always work and sometimes you have to jump through hoops to convice the operator that you are legitmately reinstalling your software after upgrading. It is those times when you want thow up your hands in disgust of the whole activation system.

RE: Bah...
By Jedi2155 on 5/18/2006 11:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
Try moving to the european union....

RE: Bah...
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 6:19:10 AM , Rating: 2
Well they called that "Windows 2000"

RE: Bah...
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 3:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
Does it matter how often you upgrade? My point was that you get more trouble from of a legit version than a pirated one.

"Sounds like that would be easily solved if you just install your hardware drivers before activating Windows. After all, they do give you 30 days or something, don't they?"
Yes, but they don't exactly say "Please don't activate until you've installed every driver and plugged in every piece of hardware".

Yes, it's all "easily solvable". After all, I'm posting here from my Windows computer.

But it'd have been even easier if I'd used a pirated version of Windows, or if I used an OS made by a company who trusted their customers. That's the sad part. Microsoft should offer *more* value to customers who use legit software, not less. And they should punish people who use pirated software, not those who don't. No matter how mild the "punishment" is, it's the wrong people who are affected by it.

RE: Bah...
By WileECoyote on 5/15/2006 4:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
Your right it so hard to activate I can understand how you feel. I mean you have to click on that activate now button. Sometimes my finger throbs like George Jetson's

RE: Bah...
By WileECoyote on 5/15/06, Rating: 0
RE: Bah...
By TomZ on 5/15/2006 4:31:17 PM , Rating: 3
But it'd have been even easier if I'd used a pirated version of Windows, or if I used an OS made by a company who trusted their customers.

Pretty damn ironic coming from someone advocating running a pirated (illegal) version of Windows.

I think Microsoft has already going through the exercise of giving folks the benefit of the doubt. All it has proven is that folks will steal if they think they won't get caught.

RE: Bah...
By bob661 on 5/15/2006 9:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
All it has proven is that folks will steal if they think they won't get caught.
I'm sure that is a reason for some but definitely not all. I'm going to agree with the other poster about convenience. It IS indeed a non-hassle when running a pirated copy of Windows. You can reinstall to your hearts delight. Install whatever patches you want and there's no issues whatsoever. It doesn't matter at all how easy it is to get solve these issues. What matters is that the paying customer has to get around these issues but the illegal user does not. How right or fair is that?

RE: Bah...
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 6:27:32 AM , Rating: 2
That's just it, i don't volunteer to pay for an OS and then have them act as though they have a 2nd say in whether it gets to run, nor to have to call at ALL.

That it is necessary I can accept, if they substantially lowered the price to reflect that it is having an effect on piracy and thus selling them more copies of windows, but we know that's nonsense, they are not a struggling company and their Windows OS market is saturated. The last thing they need is to sell more licenses, rather less so they have to start listening to customers concerns.

To this day it's possible to open an email with OE and get infected by a virus. That is ludicrous and MS should be sued onto oblivion for it alone. Product is not fit for it's advertised use. Yes, any half-experienced user knows better. Problem is, MS is not marketing this towards nor testing to limit sales only to these people, and the rest cause the epidemics that also effect those who would never do such a silly thing.

I think we are giving MS the benefit of the doubt that they have any reasonable excuse after sweeping the entire PC market year after year after year. They do it not because of piracy, but rather than their monopoly allows them to enforce things an open market would not tolerate.

RE: Bah...
By devolutionist on 5/16/2006 3:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
"And I've never had to reactivate just for buying a new hard drive."

Absolutely you do. As a matter of fact, I had to re-activate my legal copy recently because I upgraded my memory to 2G (all old DIMMs out, all new DIMMs in).

I tinker with my PC a lot and it's a total pain in the ass having to re-activate all the time. I don't even have the option of internet activation - I've got to call their dumb-ass IVR and enter the zillion numbers in the activation string.

All that being said, I still wouldn't use an illegit copy of Windows. However I WOULD (and certainly do) use linux on all of my other PCs. If I were to buy copies of windows for all of them I'd be spending more on OS than they're worth in the first place. Wonder how that adds up over in Microsoft land? If their OS was reasonably priced, then I'd never have gotten into linux. If I hadn't gotten into linux, I wouldn't have had my eyes opened as to how crappy XP and the other Microsoft OSs are.

Funny how that worked out, huh?

RE: Bah...
By Wonga on 5/17/2006 1:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
What do you call a reasonable price? I got XP Pro for about £70 (academic price) 5 years ago. So, for the price of about two and a half new computer games, or 5 new DVDs, or however you want to price it, I've had an operating system that's worked (and worked well) for 5 years, used every single day for hours at a time. Combined with 5 years of Microsoft releasing updates for it, I don't think £70 (or even the £120 if I wasn't a student) was at all unreasonable. Anyone on minimum wage in a developed country (unless I'm missing some countries here that have minimum wage at a truely awful rate) can easily afford that if they wanted to pay.

RE: Bah...
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 6:32:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's ridiculous. Anyone on minimum wage could afford a $150 toothbrush too, or afford any other singular luxury, but not ALL of them, nor a lot of them. So you are making a special exception that they're going to do without other things to buy windows. Besides this, if they are so poor, it stands to reason they'll get a used PC, which due to MS' monopoly, typically already has a licensed copy of windows so they don't need to buy XP at all.

That doesn't mean I advocate pirating it, just that your argument is short-sighted.

RE: Bah...
By PrinceGaz on 5/15/2006 7:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
According to someone I met in a pub last night, it takes about two minutes to get around the WGA validation. When they updated the WGA check (like they did a few months ago to prevent it being disabled simply by disabling the module in IE), he simply did a quick google and found a fix which has allowed him full access to WIndows Update ever since.

RE: Bah...not quite
By breethon on 5/15/2006 10:06:19 AM , Rating: 2
Nice one that is funny. Oh but you can! My copy is legit, but I have seen some floating around that can update any way you choose.

RE: Bah...
By xstylus on 5/18/2006 1:16:36 AM , Rating: 2
Some people would have a more guilty conscience if they actually did pay for a legit copy.

RE: Bah...
By vanka on 5/19/2006 6:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Bonrock my friend, you are greatly mistaken. There are many different ways to get updates for a pirated verson of Windows, even through Windows Update. As for the Genuine Advantage notification, it is a simple matter of just not installing the program in Windows Update.

RE: Bah...
By TomZ on 5/15/2006 11:16:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, and a stolen car drives just as well as one you own yourself. Just because a pirated version "works," does that make it (theft) right?

I think one bad side effect of the open-source movement is that people feel justified in making illegal copies of software. The thing we have to remember is, that the right to copy software is the legal right of the author. If the author grants rights to copy the software, then it is legally and ethically right for us to do so. But if someone decides to sell their software intead, then we have no legal, moral, or ethical basis to copy it.

I don't know why the distinction between right and wrong is so blurred these days. Right and wrong in this case is absolute and clear. Theft is wrong, period.

RE: Bah...
By bob661 on 5/15/2006 9:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
I think one bad side effect of the open-source movement is that people feel justified in making illegal copies of software.
What does making illegal copies have to do with the open source movement? In the open source world, there are NO illegal copies. Copying is legal AND encouraged. Using Windows illegally is a crime, no doubt. I think M$ is on the right track here offering legal, RETAIL copies of Windows for cheap. That's a great deal if you ask me. Although, like another poster said, if I was running Windows illegally, I would not install the legal copy. Much less hassle that way.

RE: Bah...
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 6:47:15 AM , Rating: 2
We have ethical problems because you are confusing YOUR ethics with altruism. Your subjective opinion has it's place, but that place stops right about when you try to project it onto others.

For the record-
1) It's not "theft". Illegal yes, theft no.
2) It is ridiculous to project that people are rationalizing pirated software due to open source sw.
3) The thing we have to remember is, first things first. Before Windows XP became this desirable to copy software, MS became a monopoly that had to necessarily be ended. XP cannot belong to MS because MS cannot exist to own it. Fair is fair, we can't just ignore one reality to presuppose another in the same context.
4) It has nothing to do with copying software. It has to do with the license to run it.
5) We can have a million moral or ethical reasons to do something that is illegal, and indeed we do, do things moral and ethical (as considered by the majority) that are illegal in other countries. Do not confuse legality with morality or ethics. They are not the same even if you subjectively want them to be. That doesn't excuse illegal behavior though, it is nonetheless illegal if one disagrees with it morally.
6) Trying to impose your values on others is the same mindset that has cost mankind all those nasty wars and millions of deaths. There can be no doubt that taken issue by issue, all of us do "something" that at least one other person finds wrong in some way. Maybe your shoes cause the death of innocent cows. Who knows, there are always excuses to look down one's nose at another who isn't just like "us".

RE: Bah...
By Angry Steve on 5/15/2006 8:20:17 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft is just trying to make money??

This is certainly a news flash to me considering in a capitalistic society, businesses aren't possibly out to make a profit.

The final call.........
By crystal clear on 5/15/2006 7:12:45 AM , Rating: 1
Thats the message MS is giving to all those owners of pirated version of XP.Now is the time & the final opportunity to get overboard before you miss the last train.
They took this example from the US Immigration Service for all the illegal immigrants to show up.Anyway not relevant here.The message is clear indeed,those using pirated copies get the message or take the hint, before............
I am sure they have ways & means to cripple your operating system via the internet ofcourse.
Like those guys so excited about the leaked version of windows media player.HEY THATS THE PIRATED VERSION,dont touch it .Dont get fooled by words- leaked etc
I am sure MS considered all options available to curb piracy & the best options was "shut those PCs down"
Let them see THE BLUE SCREEN.........

RE: The final call.........
By PrinceGaz on 5/15/2006 7:53:56 AM , Rating: 2
Excuse me but the vast majority of "pirate" software is not crippled in any shape or form. At least not if it's from a reputable source (though your definition of what counts as reputable may be slightly different to mine). I'm not saying I use any pirated software by the way, just saying that pirated software is usually every bit as good as legitimate software.

RE: The final call.........
By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 8:34:37 AM , Rating: 3
Do not feed the troll. I think he forgot to take his meds this morning.

Regardless, as I posted above it gets to the point that running the illegitimate version of software is more convenient than using the real version. I continue to use "No CDs" for games I've freaking bought so I don't have to swap discs so often... let alone if you go to a LAN party it saves from someone swiping your discs on top of that. I've almost come to believe that these added protections do no more good than entice those to try harder to break the software.

If Microsoft wanted to disable Windows from running outright they could have done it with Windows 98 and beyond... or even patched 95. The unfortunate reality to the situation is that all those pirated copies actually *help* keep thier market share, even increasingly so in poorer countries where they did not have the money to buy the software in any form. Even so, a total shutdown of the OS would likely be bypassed also.

RE: The final call.........
By crystal clear on 5/15/2006 8:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
There is something called Honesty,Respect for the law of your country.
As for the poor its not my/our problem,there are many Aid Agency to help them out.Just because YOU are poor that does not give you the right to STEAL.......

RE: The final call.........
By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 9:02:06 AM , Rating: 2
News flash since its not "crystal clear" for you, regardless of what you say or think they will keep doing it because they dont have the money. Period. End of story. Take your religious banter elsewhere, like slashdot.

RE: The final call.........
By mpeny on 5/15/2006 10:07:16 AM , Rating: 3
Uhm yea, people with computers, internet connection, games, etc dont have money for the OS - sure. You are not being disegenous.

RE: The final call.........
By crystal clear on 5/15/2006 10:53:39 AM , Rating: 2

"Take your religious banter elsewhere,"
Iam talking simple LAW(criminal law) not RELIGION-get yourself some EDUCATION.
No point in discussing with you any further.
Period. End of story

RE: The final call.........
By jkostans on 5/15/2006 1:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
Grow up

RE: The final call.........
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 6:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
End of story?

Do you promise?

RE: The final call.........
By GoatMonkey on 5/15/2006 9:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of Aid Agency would go and hand out copies of Windows? They have higher priorities like food, water, medical supplies, etc.

The people stealing software are usually not the ones who are begging for food and water, they have a place to live, own a computer, but can't afford much on top of that like software that they see selling for $250.

At this point windows should be much cheaper for MS to sell. I mean they've been selling it for many years. Other products as the economy of scale kicks in they get cheaper. But somehow (monopoly) MS is getting away with increasing prices over those years.

Now all of my copies of XP are legal OEM versions purchased with hardware. As you can see we're on a geek web site and pretty much everyone here upgrades regularly anyway, so getting the OEM version is not that big of a deal. But for the guys who don't know any better, all they see is CompUSA and Best Buy prices.

Now, back to your point, stealing... In the long run the people in third world countries stealing copies of windows will eventually be helping MS in their market share as the standard of living increases in those countries. If I were MS I would go and hand out free or very cheap copies on the streets of China and India. They are next in line for massive computer software sales. And as you know MS wants to establish their dominance there.

RE: The final call.........
By Wwhat on 5/15/2006 12:08:04 PM , Rating: 3
Respect for the law of your country? what country is left on this planet with laws that you can respect? respect laws that were bought by big companies to leech of the user in their 'honesty' you mean, nice job sticking your head in the sand there, must be sand you stole from iraq too :)
Perhaps people don't have money left after supporting those honest and respectable oilcompanies.
Or perhaps you live in a country were big honest and respectable companies outsourced jobs to, so you work 20 hours a day for 10 dollar a week.

Not that we aren't in this boat all together and we can't try to help eachother out by buying stuff fairly and so boosting the economy which brings you more money which in turn allows you to buy stuff andsoforth.
But putting it like crystal clear does is well, outdated and unrealistic.

RE: The final call.........
By crystal clear on 5/15/2006 8:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
"I am sure MS considered all options available to curb piracy & the best options was "shut those PCs down "
I have at no point said pirated software is crippled in form etc.Nor bad/good as legitimate software etc.
I implied MS can through new techniques/methods cripple a
pirated OS via the internet, on computers using them.
I use IBM computers with preinstalled WinXP ,so I consider
them the most reputable source.
Anyway I hope I clarified my point.

RE: The final call.........
By IvanAndreevich on 5/19/2006 11:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
If this was possible, it would basically be a security exploit. If you know what you are doing and shut down all the services responsible for any sort of this crap, you are 100% OK.

And before you say anything about security updates. There are cumulative packs available which you can integrate into the Windows installation files. That way you don't have to sit for 3 hours waiting for Windows update to complete.

To sum up the situation, MS has no way to coerce the illegal users to buy a legal Windows (why would they?) and no way to really inconvenience them. If you say otherwise, then it is likely that you don't really know what you are talking about.

Rationalizations still don't make it right
By INeedCache on 5/15/2006 2:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
"Copying something illegally really isn't stealing." Yea, right, whatever you want to believe. It truly amazes me how all thieves seem to have nothing but pathetic excuses which they use in an attempt to rationalize their actions. All poor people don't steal. Why? Because many know it's wrong, both morally and legally. If you can afford the computer and internet, you can afford the OS, or download a free version of Linux. No, you continue to bitch about MS and Windows, but you still want it more than any other. Maybe some of you should quit bitching, and quit spending $500 on graphics cards, as I know some of you are. And it doesn't matter what you choose to call it, illegal copying is stealing. Hopefully someday you'll feel the joy of having something stolen from you, because I'm sure you'll smile and feel good about how clever someone else was to rob you. Grow up or shut up, you have no defense.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 3:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it isn't. It's not "stealing", any lawyer can tell you that. That doesn't mean it's legal or "acceptable", just that it's not theft.

It's stealing when you take someone else's property without their consent. If you use a pirated version of Windows, you aren't "taking Microsoft's property". They've still got it. They've still got Windows, the application, the trademarks, the source code and everything.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By Nightskyre on 5/15/2006 3:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. It is theft of intellectual property.

From Merriam Webster

steal - to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as an habitual or regular practice

steal - To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Do you notice a trend here? Posession is never discussed.
If you were to come up with a terrific idea for a new product, and someone took all of your notesmade it to the patent office before you, did they steal your notes, or your ideas? They took both, but they took your ideas without a hacksaw and a drill. And, by the way, you still have them.

By Great Googly Moogly on 5/15/2006 5:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
No. The term you're looking for is copyright infringement.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By TomZ on 5/15/2006 7:23:09 PM , Rating: 3
It's unreal to me that you folks would argue about the semantics of stealing vs. copyright infringement. Regardless of what you call the act of copying and using software that you have no right to use, it is illegal and wrong.

By Great Googly Moogly on 5/15/2006 8:05:54 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't argue at all, and I'm not one of these "folks". I corrected his erroneous post, that's all.
Calling it theft is just as ridiculous as someone claiming you have the right to infringe on anyone's copyright. In the eyes of the law, theft is not copyright infringement and copyright infringement is not theft. They are two separate things in the law for a reason.

Semantics, this is not.

By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:07:10 AM , Rating: 2
It's unreal that you keep thinking you know what "wrong" is to anyone but yourself.

No you don't!

It is illegal. Any other nonsense you try to tack on after that basic fact, is a delusion based upon your previous life experiences. No one else shares that same experience set and no one else cares what you think is unreal. Bet you $100 you do something that others find unreal, immoral, wrong, etc and so forth.

You are not our moral compass, unless one's own morals indicate that their actions must coincide with the laws of their land, and even then it is only coincidence that your morals might coincide.

What is really wrong? Taking the easy way out and using Windows at all. What does it do? It prevents innovation, stagnates the market, directly interferes with security world-wide, and evermore important systems society depends upon. Why is this? All because windows made lay people think they were technically savy by giving them a way to control something with the click of a mouse. The classic illusion of power and control, which is in itself, unreal and wrong.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By InternetGeek on 5/15/2006 5:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just to elaborate the point further. Read the License. You don't own the software, you paid for the right to use it. The moment you use it without paying you are using something that you were not given permission for. That's stealing.

Besides nothing says you can't buy an xbox 360 to game and a run a linux box to do the rest. And it is VERY MUCH CHEAPER on the long run.

By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:11:25 AM , Rating: 2
I have to wonder, after someone reads thorough and complete explainations of exactly what it is and isn't, over and over and over

and over and over
and over and over again,
how can they still make the blunder of thinking that if they just write "stealing" one more time, that this time it's magical, extra special super duper text that transforms reality to whatever you just typed?

It was never "stealing" and it never will be.

By jconan on 5/16/2006 2:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
isn't copying the amount to plagarism? not stealing... i'm sure ms copies a lot of stuff from other corporations and ideas or are they stealing and selling you their pirated i.p.?

$150 is no bargain
By Yawgm0th on 5/15/2006 3:23:43 AM , Rating: 3
OEM XP Pro sells for under $150 shipped at Newegg and similar stores. This so-called discount isn't going to sway too many people.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By Knish on 5/15/2006 3:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
$145 if you buy a hard drive or something.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By Tim Thorpe on 5/15/2006 3:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
OEM requires a hardware purchese of some type, This does not. retailers also includes shipping, this does not.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By 9748904947 on 5/15/2006 3:41:38 AM , Rating: 2
"OEM requires a hardware purchese of some type..."

Yes, of course. *wink *wink

RE: $150 is no bargain
By PrinceGaz on 5/15/2006 7:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, the "hardware purchase of some kind". There are plenty of retailers who either ignore that requirement, or would be happy provided you bought some token hardware like a printer-cable in order to qualify for OEM software.

Of course $150 for a full version of XP is still better than $140 or so for OEM because Microsoft often decide OEM copies are no longer valid if you change too much hardware, and most of us probably change hardware frequently.

OEM Is No Bargain
By Pete84 on 5/16/2006 5:03:03 AM , Rating: 2
I add hard drives (or remove them) every month or so, and RAM size is always fluxuating.

I Run Windows 2000 for simplicity, legality, and the fact that I have old hardware. Hoorah for old OS's.

RE: OEM Is No Bargain
By Saist on 5/17/2006 11:47:34 AM , Rating: 2

you do realize that Windows 2k Pro SP4 is identical to Windows XP SP1 and that there are no code differences at the operating system level?

Not that Microsoft would be happy with people realizing the performance differences between the exact same identical operating system.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By Viper007Bond on 5/16/2006 4:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
Eh, the current key I'm using came from a Dell PC I bought like 4 years ago (i.e. it's a OEM key). I've formatted a dozen times or so since then and used many different hardware configurations and I'm still kicking. :)

RE: $150 is no bargain
By Viper007Bond on 5/16/2006 4:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Newegg automatically bundles a free piece of hardware with copies of XP that you buy. It's like a 99 cent power supply wire splitter. lol

So, in total, $141.99 + $2 in shipping = legal XP Pro with a CD and everything. :)

Bah bah! Black sheep!
By AMDJunkie on 5/15/2006 11:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
To fan the flames, I call everyone kvetching about activation the biggest weiners of life. It's OK, we know you're pirating it becuase you're cheap, I did it too. The only activation you have to do on a freshly installed machine is the initial bootup, and downloading the WGA off of Windows Update. Even if you're still loading drivers or whatever malarky excuse you give, those two are the only hassles. Sure, sometimes when you go to that Windows Defender page, it's orange demanding thatyou become validated. You know how long that takes? As long as you've already downloaded the WGA off Windows Update, one click should take you to the download page. For those who think that hoop is a little too much for them, maybe they'll be alleviated by the fact that all pages requiring validation after that should never pop-up with it again (Firefox users not included).

Also, all you need is standalone PCI ethernet card when switching a new motherboard. Activate again and voila!, Microsoft accepts that you purchased something from them and you're free to reinstall the drivers. Of course, that's if you're super lazy, as Windows tends to act up when you swap out motherboards willy-nilly without reformat.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 12:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'll bite. I can give you the single computer scenario but I do not think its whining when you have to do this to more than one computer. Working in a repair shop at least for me and others I know this can become a real hassle especially for activation. You can sometimes spend a good amount of time dealing with this.

In the corporate environment activation is not an issue, but the WGA sometimes is on existing installs. When you multiply this by 500+ workstations then it becomes a real hassle if your say... trying to install/deploy windows defender. Compounding the situation further is when the average desktop user isn't that familiar with the process and they are "What is this message saying I have to install what now?".

My beef about it is why even include this in the first place when its not really stopping those who it should be?

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By AMDJunkie on 5/15/2006 7:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
However, would you really trust Windows Defender on a corporate deployment of that magnitude? Beta software is alright for your personal PC, but just asking for headaches when spread out on a field.

However, I do see your point, and no, it's not that it's completely without its hassles. So why do this in the first place? Because it does stop someone who shouldn't be using it in the first place. For power users like you and me, we're just fine and dandy using illegal copies of Windows because we know what the hell we're doing, and barring sites like Windizupdates, etc., etc., one can still go to the Microsoft download page and get all the essential updates. So, it's a bit more work for a lot of cash saved.

But what about that unscruplous white-box system seller who's been for years loading on Corporate edition onto cheap boxes and reaping a profit? Imagine granny's surprise when that screen pops-up telling her that her software is illegal. Oh, she's going to pitch a fit alright. Even if she never ever paid attention to the fact that her computer never asks for updates, once Microsoft disseminates this patch, all the clueless users might figure out that they've been duped, and will be eager to get back at the guy who ripped them off. That is why it is included, not to stop you and me but to stop those who would use illegal copies for personal gain from others.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 3:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yes, I whine about activation because I'm using a pirated version of Windows. Except that these don't *require* activation.

"Even if you're still loading drivers or whatever malarky excuse you give, those two are the only hassles. Sure, sometimes when you go to that Windows Defender page, it's orange demanding thatyou become validated. You know how long that takes? As long as you've already downloaded the WGA off Windows Update, one click should take you to the download page. For those who think that hoop is a little too much for them, maybe they'll be alleviated by the fact that all pages requiring validation after that should never pop-up with it again (Firefox users not included). "
Yes, it's *almost* no trouble, *if* you use the right browser, and don't mind a few more clicks.
But what if I do? What if I feel it's unfair that I, the legit customer, have to do extra work because Microsoft don't trust me? The situation just becomes more ironic when I know that I only have to do it *because* I'm using legit software. If I weren't, my life would be easier.

Sad to say, you're completely missing the point in your "holier than thou" quest.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By AMDJunkie on 5/15/2006 7:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
Then I advise you to get a security blanket and to hold yourself really close at night and tell yourself that Microsoft is out to get you because you had to change your routine for a whole minute of your life. :)

Also, read the reply above for why Microsoft would do this.

Quite frankly, this reminds me of my old high school. We never spent any time actually learning anything. Instead, we spent twice the time it would take to do that to learn how we could cheat and get around doing the actual work. Compared to the workarounds to get an illegit copy of Windows patched and finding alternate sources for cordoned off Microsoft downloads, I would much rather activate. But that's my opinion.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By bob661 on 5/16/2006 3:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Compared to the workarounds to get an illegit copy of Windows patched and finding alternate sources for cordoned off Microsoft downloads
Bzzzzttt! There's no patching or workarounds needed. Just download and install. Simple as that. That's why people are saying the pirated copies are hassle free because they are hassle free.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By AMDJunkie on 5/18/2006 5:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
Wait a second now. You're telling me that the one time I have to go tell Microsoft I'm an authentic user to receive automatic downloads and installs, is more of a hassle than to go find the links to download manually and install each patch one-by-one? That you have to keep an eye out for, and relegate by date to determine whether or not you've even already installed such a patch? That is a very twisted concept of hassle-free.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
Surely you don't trust a company that could've even make sure the OS didn't need so many patches, to produce patches that are magically problem-free? It would be a bit ridiculous to presume patches are a miracle cure-all, and since they aren't, a bit risky to just automatically download and install them.

The prudent admin will be selecting what to install, and that has nothing to do with being "an authentic user" which I suppose you mean as a licensed user, it's just not wise to patch things that aren't effecting your uses, so the patch could only have a negative effect if any.

RE: Bah bah! Black sheep!
By IvanAndreevich on 5/19/2006 11:29:16 AM , Rating: 2
Do you know that if you replace the motherboard, they will no longer activate your OEM copy? You are left to either lie or get a new one copy of Windows.

And do you know how long a full Windows update takes from SP2 to current - a few minutes? How about a few hours.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By FredEx on 5/15/2006 5:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
I have gotten a hard drive and Win XP Pro for $145. That is the total for both.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By Poser on 5/15/2006 6:48:34 AM , Rating: 2
Awesome job, that's a great price!

But you're not trying to imply that this is a normal, easily available price, right? I mean, that might make it relevant...

RE: $150 is no bargain
By on 5/15/2006 11:56:44 AM , Rating: 3
Ha. He never said the hard drive actually worked. :)

I've bought a few 'OEM' office packages which included old, blown RAM sticks as the 'hardware' purchase.

RE: $150 is no bargain
By granulated on 5/15/2006 9:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
I have never blown a ram and would never remotely consider the idea..unless coerced or perhaps physically threatened to do so.

Aid agency for 3rd world, free OS
By LeRoy on 5/15/2006 12:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
There is such a thing as Honesty and integrity. and there are other options beside stealing. is one

If it was your work that someone was stealing and not paying for you would probably protect it also.

Maybe if Bill had a little more money, he could invest in rewriting windows to be more secure. :)

//Asbestos undies:on//

RE: Aid agency for 3rd world, free OS
By Wwhat on 5/15/2006 12:14:59 PM , Rating: 3
lol, yes poor billy, my heart bleeds.

Little note though, I hate to bring this up but a copy of something isn't stealing in the true sense of the word really.
The owner of the original still has the original after all.
There must be a more apt word, or lets just say 'taking unfair advantage off' or 'robbing of profit'

RE: Aid agency for 3rd world, free OS
By ergle on 5/16/2006 6:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
"Copyright infringement".

It's not stealing, and it's not synonymous with stealing, but "stealing" is a better term for propaganda purposes.

By NT78stonewobble on 5/18/2006 8:05:35 AM , Rating: 2
3 weeks ago I installed linux for the first time since redhad 5 or there abouts.

It was suse linux 10. At the second reboot I (a linux newbie) was stuck at xwindows with only a friggin console. The KDE gui refused to startup...

Atleast it wasn't my computer and it didn't require a full harddrive format (like the ole redhat did) to get the pc in working order...

Linux still has a bit of a way in earning my trust..

Just get OEM
By Sunday Ironfoot on 5/15/2006 6:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
"The OEM version of Windows XP can be purchased online from online vendors, but this discounted version requires the purchase of hardware."

Dunno if they still do but were selling OEM version of XP Pro with a $1 mouse (no not kidding) for around $150. I suppose a mouse technically counts as a hardware component :)

RE: Just get OEM
By bldckstark on 5/15/2006 12:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
I once bought a copy (OEM) because it DID NOT require a hardware purchase. When the box came it had the WIN CD and a CD-ROM audio cable in it. The cable was on the packing slip listed as one cent. They didn't require a purchase because they just threw the thing in the box at shipping time.

RE: Just get OEM
By bob661 on 5/15/2006 9:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with OEM is you can only use it on the computer you installed it on. And I think in our case, when you change the motherboard, you are required to purchase a new copy of Windows. I think that is how it goes. But in all honesty, I don't think M$ is that anal about being legit. After all, you do still have a legal copy of Windows.

RE: Just get OEM
By KenGoding on 5/17/2006 11:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
I've read their actual OEM agreement online, it's supposed to be packaged with non-peripheral hardware. Thus the mouse is illegal and the CD audio wire is legal. However the packaging that I now get when I buy my OEM stuff from my wholesaler indicates that it's only supposed to go with a "complete" computer.

So now I don't fully know what the legal requirements are, at my shop I generally try to get people to buy one of the major internal components, hard drive or motherboard being my favorites, but I'll do a CD drive or even a fan if it comes down to it.

Honestly now.
By Angry Steve on 5/15/2006 8:22:23 PM , Rating: 4
How many of you use Linux or Mac OS X?

Oh, no one raised their hands. Looks like no one has the right to complain about Microsoft.

RE: Honestly now.
By Great Googly Moogly on 5/15/2006 10:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
There's no Life EULA preventing you from complaining about something you don't own a Licence to Complain to. It's a basic human right if you ask me.

RE: Honestly now.
By IvanAndreevich on 5/19/2006 11:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
I run Linux on a few machines

Trust Issues
By Obadiah on 5/15/2006 3:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
So - you are running a pirate version of MS Windows.

And now MS well let you give them your full name and physical address plus $150?


RE: Trust Issues
By Griswold on 5/15/2006 4:00:31 AM , Rating: 2
Not everybody knows, or knew before purchase, that they're using a pirated copy. Think shady OEM version made in china. Or ebay. Or...

Point is, not all pirated software is downloaded software.

RE: Trust Issues
By glennpratt on 5/22/2006 3:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Or there nephew Billy upgraded the computer or they bought the computer second hand. I came accross quite a few unknowing FCKGW's users back in the day.

By gbed on 5/18/2006 5:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
I registered so I could post on this one. Heck after years of reading this site it's about time.

At any rate, as of Oct 2005, Microsoft removed the hardware component from OEM purchases. And yes, many shady companies bundled screws, mice, non-functioning cards to meet the letter of the agreement.

As Microsoft licensing specialist who works for a reseller (Insight in the interest of full disclosure) I know all the licensing rules.

Yes, getting properly licensed can be a bit of pain in the rear, believe me I know. But when it all comes down to it, it's the right thing to do.

OEM Win XP Pro sells (legimately) for between $135 and $150. So MS making it avaliable to someone who's been running it illegally for the past few years is in my opinion giving them a nice option, one that many people (besides us) don't know about.

My largest gripe is just one of being the little people. I build systems for friends and family, so either I've dolled out the $150 or made them pay it. HP, IBM, and the HATED dell's of the world probably only pay between $40 to $60 for their OEM versions because they have the millions of units volumes.

To end my ramblings, to all who've purchased legally, thank you :)

RE: Thanks!
By MercenaryForHire on 5/19/2006 2:16:12 PM , Rating: 1
To end my ramblings, to all who've purchased legally, thank you :)

You're welcome. It's always fun to watch the pirates cry foul when they're too cheap to shell out ~$150 for an OS that will run all the games on their $300 dual-core processor, $150 motherboard, and pair of $400 video card. :D

/XP Pro VLK holder

- M4H

RE: Thanks!
By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
We've been invaded by MS viral agents again.

Eh.....XP Pro isn't that expensive.
By Fox5 on 5/15/2006 1:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
I bought a copy of XP Pro for about $130 at Staples last year after a $50 rebate, so even without it it would have been $180. Oh, and it was retail, which gave me nothing worthwhile other than a pretty box.

By Johnmcl7 on 5/17/2006 6:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Retail means your license isn't tied to the first machine you activate it with, which is a major advantage over OEM.


Justification for piracy?
By DLeRium on 5/16/2006 9:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
So everyone says its a bigger hassle to call and activate, but many of you are just piraters to begin with. The operators ask a few questions at most, and it's an easy task. Have you ever done it? NO. So you're just pulling crap out of your @$$ about activation.

Sure it might be a bigger hassle to have a LEGIT version of Windows, and does this justify the fact that you're pirating software?

No. So shut up.

RE: Justification for piracy?
By Wonga on 5/17/2006 1:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. People are just looking for an excuse to have pirated software. Why they don't just admit the real reason, because they are tight, is beyond me.

microsoft is dumb
By hemmy on 5/15/2006 10:35:06 AM , Rating: 1
I won a copy of Windows XP Pro Corporate Edition in some $5 raffle thing. It doesn't need activation so i win

Lord of War
By BRad1984 on 5/15/2006 10:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
hmmm..... this reminds me of the end of "Lord of War" where the Nicholas Cage (the Gun Dealer) gets released from Jail and the Narrator tell you all the political stuff...

Pirate Windows
By The Battōsai on 5/15/2006 7:44:34 AM , Rating: 2

100 'discount'
By Wwhat on 5/15/2006 12:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
it's silly to claim you get a '$100' discount for if you buy a motherboard of harddisk you are entitled to an OEM version of windows, so assuming all pirates have motherboards and HD's we can safely say they were entitled to opt to buy OEM windows at the time they purchased those and don't get a special pirate discount but merely a 'stay of execution' discount.
Also I don't think anybody that knows his windows is not legit would go for the buy a legit key now option so it's aimed at people who got an illegal version but didn't know AND are willing to correct that, those are pretty decent and honest (and simpleminded or wealthy some would say) people that certainly deserve a discount from microsoft for being so proper.

By the1physicist on 5/15/2006 5:46:51 PM , Rating: 1
Does Daily Tech not own a spell checker? I counted 3-4 errors in this article alone, which is simply unacceptable.

RE: Spelling
By Wwhat on 5/15/2006 7:46:20 PM , Rating: 1
perhaps it doesn't work on pirated windows.

By Wizard Prang on 5/16/2006 4:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am still running Windows 2000. It does everything that I need, and when it falls apart, I will probably replace it with some flavor of Linux as its replacement.

Why? TLAs - Three-Letter Acronymns like DRM and WPA.

Microsoft used to have a slogan "Where do you want to go today?"

Perhaps they should change it to "Where do WE want you to go today?"

Windows should be free
By Narg on 5/16/2006 5:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, why doesn't MS provide a free copy of Windows in a stripped down version. Then sell a "plus pack" with all the nice stuff that makes Windows better to use? Is this rocket science or something?

No More!
By Clauzii on 5/16/2006 9:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
This is basically my last post @ DT in a long time: Just wrote like, well a lot, sending it...........

Ooops, an error occured ----- THIS HAPPENS LIKE EVERY THIRD TIME I POST - I AM DONE!!

See you at Anandtech - at least it works.....
Gotta find my techupdates somewhere else then.

By KMAMF on 5/18/2006 12:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
High Speed Internet Connection - $50.00
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software - $0.00
Cracked Download of Microsoft Windows - 0.00
Getting a $100.00 Discount for Stealing Software - PRICELESS

Retail or OEM!
By smilingcrow on 5/19/2006 3:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
If MS are giving people with non-legitimate copies of XP the chance to purchase a license and CD for XP RETAIL for a substantial discount, then that seems pretty generous to me. After all, if your PC came with a legit copy of XP then it will be just an OEM version. Why offer a retail license at close to OEM pricing! Have MS explicitly stated that this is for a RETAIL license?

One reason why MS are doing this now is surely because Vista is close to release; it’s called milking a dead cow :)
I’m still using Windows 2000 because I don’t need XP and therefore haven’t wanted to pay the price for a Retail version of it, which I would need as I upgrade/migrate my system too frequently. If the OEM version had the same restrictions as the retail version I’m sure I would have bought it by now. But, for my purposes I simply can’t justify the cost of XP Retail for the perceived gains over 2000. I don’t play games otherwise it may have been more of an issue.

Vista is a different ball game as it’s obviously a much bigger change from XP than XP was from 2000. i.e. 2000 = NT 5, XP = NT 5.1, Vista = NT 6.
Therefore, I will consider buying Vista either because I think that’s it a better OS (64 bit etc) or because an application that I want requires it. In the meantime I have to say that I am tempted to purchase a copy of XP via this route, as I can then run it legitimately either as a main OS or as a VM using VMWare.

In a way, this announcement coming in the week that Dell hold hands with AMD, shows that pragmatism does have a place in an industry that often seems that it employs far too many fcuking lawyers. :(

Microsoft Activation Hotline...
By RedBeard on 5/19/2006 5:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft Activation Hotline: Sir, this is the 5th time you manualy had your windows activated this week.
User: Yeah, umm I buy a new PC everyday.
Microsoft Activation Hotline: I am sorry, we can no longer activate your key.
User: What the hell? I actually paid for it this time!!

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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