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One Microsoft executive is rather ticked at sneaky users and their "hacks".

In an openly sarcastic blog entry, Microsoft's Eric Ligman tore into users who have been exploiting a workaround to allow a Vista upgrade to install on a computer that did not previously have a Windows OS, such as a new PC.  Ligman, Microsoft's senior manager of community engagement for small business in the U.S., had no sympathy for these users, who he labels as "clueless" criminals.

It was reported last winter by DailyTech that by using an 11 step process, a cheaper Vista upgrade could be installed on a PC with no pre-existing operating system.  This gaping loophole was apparently left wide open by Microsoft and stood in contrast to previous versions of Windows that required a copy of the previous Windows OS, with no exceptions. 

While many noted that the OEM version of Vista tended to be cheaper, the upgrade version did have some advantages, in that you could switch between 32-bit and 64-bit versions (OEM only allowed one specific OS), it had a more flexible license allowing easier reinstalls, and it could be found at significantly cheaper if you were a student. 

In the Windows Secrets newsletter early this month, Associate Editor Scott Dunn asserted that he believed that Microsoft purposefully left the loophole open to encourage savvy users to adopt Vista.  Said Dunn, "the fact that the upgrade back door is still present in Vista SP1 is a strong indication that the feature has at least the tacit support of Microsoft officials."

In his blog Ligman offers up a raving retort, arguing:

So if you see anyone stating, or writing, that buying an upgrade by itself (Windows Vista Upgrade for instance) without having a full license first gets you the rights to run the software, just realize that what the person is actually stating is, “I clearly have no clue what I am talking about and so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that proves this hoping people will think I have a clue, even though I obviously don’t.

If they continue to tell you that, “But I can get it to physically install, so it must be legal,” this further shows their complete lack of comprehension. Just because something will install does not make it legal. For example, a pirated piece of software will (usually) physically install; however, running pirated software is 100% illegal (and who knows what else it will install on or do to your computer). If you don’t believe me, try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company. Explain to them that you feel it is legal to do so because you got it to physically install, so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. Let me know how that turns out for you.

In order to clarify for "clueless" readers, Ligman offers the shortened explanation on the legality of the upgrade workaround using only three letter words or shorter-- "It is not ok to do so. It is BAD to do so."

Ligman encourages users to voice their anger against the "pirates" who have been exploiting the upgrade "hack".  He also encourages his readers to play advocate and inform news publications that have been writing about the workaround that what they are "encouraging" is wrong or illegal.

While Ligman wants to blame the users and the journalistic community for what he says is unlawfulness, many think the blame rests with Microsoft for not providing clear enough licensing terms and information.  Among the supporters of this philosophy is Paul DeGroot, an analyst with Directions On Microsoft.  DeGroot stated, "Many corporate customers still think they can buy bare PCs and image them with volume media."

DeGroot also blasts that Microsoft won't allow users to transfer installs between computers on some version, stating, "The prohibition against moving it to another computer is counter-intuitive for most people, and it smacks of revenue maximization rather than reasonable restriction."

Ligman's rant is not unfamiliar territory in the tech industry.  From Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs to Mark Cuban and Michael Bay, it seems these days nobody is afraid to opine on tech topics, and oft sarcastically and noisily at that.



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RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By mmntech on 4/16/2008 11:47:50 AM , Rating: 3
Lol. Apple is still pretty light weight on the mistreatment. At least Leopard contains the full version and upgrade tools on one disc. Even MS isn't the worst I've seen though. Big box retail stores have them all licked when it comes to abusing customers.

The whole Vista thing has become a PR nightmare for Microsoft since they bungled the marketing of it, among other things. As of writing, the full version of Home Premium costs a whopping 66% more than the upgrade version at Best Buy here in Canada. However, this work around has proven the upgrade is pretty much identical to the full. Microsoft is definitely ripping off consumers who think they're getting more from the full versus the upgrade, or for people who want a clean install without XP. There's no reason full and upgrade can't be on the same disc, and sold at the lower price.
It's always better to buy the OEM editions since they're significantly cheaper than both boxed versions. Most people outside of tech world probably don't realize this though.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By imperator3733 on 4/16/2008 12:05:20 PM , Rating: 4
If someone gets the full version and does not have a previous version that they could upgrade from, then the extra money that they pay makes their installation legal .

If someone has a previous version that they don't intend to use after upgrading, then they can buy the upgrade version and still do a clean install using the "loophole" method, since they already have a license that is eligible for the upgrade.

I don't know for sure but I think the full versions might have the ability to do upgrades. The upgrade editions exist so that people who already have a previous version of Windows do not have to pay as much money as they would otherwise need to.

The only problem with buying OEM versions is that the support is more limited (which isn't a real issue for enthusiasts) and that it is harder/legally impossible to move the license to another machine in the future.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By mcnabney on 4/16/2008 5:39:26 PM , Rating: 3
No, the problem with OEM versions is if your motherboard burns up, which is really not that uncommon, so does your license to run Windows.


By Durrr on 4/16/2008 7:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
i had a mobo eat the dust, and it had no probs re-activating XP, don't know if that changed with vista. Running OEM XP Pro


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By 4wardtristan on 4/16/2008 7:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
i cant say i know the legal definitions of what is and isnt yours and what you can do with "it"

but when you re-active oem software via MS's phone system, the computer lady asks you:

"is this on the same pc?"

"is this the only copy of the software?" - (repair install for eg.)

so thats alright, but as i said, i dont know all the definitions (of a "pc" for eg., surely a pc is not just a motherboard?) so i could be speaking complete garbage, which wouldnt suprise me.


By johnsonx on 4/18/2008 2:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
I have called to re-activate XP after replacing a failed mainboard. I told the person on the phone quite specifically that I replaced the mainboard. They said ok, and gave me an activation code. So anyone who says that an OEM license dies with the mainboard is incorrect.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By omnicronx on 4/16/2008 12:08:28 PM , Rating: 1
Apple charges how much for an incremental tiger update (which is not a new OS) and you complain about MS?

I can buy a vista upgrade(a new os) for less or the same amount as a tiger upgrade(really just a bunch of updates)
Now who is screwing us more here?

quote:
There's no reason full and upgrade can't be on the same disc, and sold at the lower price
Not that I have done it myself in Vista, but with XP, you can do a full clean install with an upgrade CD, you just have to insert a CD of an ealier version windows first.

I am the first to agree that prices for Vista are too high, but why on earth you think that an upgrade should include a full install. That pretty much defies the purpose of selling an upgrade disk at a cheaper price. It does not make good business sense, and while it may suck for you, they would be stupid as a business to do such a thing. Also as a student, even the full vista versions are really cheap (even in canada). If you are not a student, I am sure you can find someone who is to buy you a copy. I can't say I have paid full price for any MS os/app (windows, office etc) since windows 98 as educational prices are always much cheaper.
Where there is a will there is a way.. unless of course you are looking to find OSX at a cheaper price, good luck with that =P


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By daftrok on 4/16/2008 12:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think it they are simply one in the same. There should be NO upgrade or full install disc, just disc. The disc should save your data (if any) and remove the previous version (if any) and replace it with Vista. And the prices should be as such:

Vista: $100.

I'm tired of multiple versions. Just have one. If it eats too much resources on your computer, TURN OFF AERO. Turn off the stupid animated windows with its transparent bars and "smooth" transitions and animated cascading windows. You'd be surprised how much faster things run. Vista Basic is essentially Windows XP with Vista skin and Directx 10.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By encryptkeeper on 4/16/2008 2:45:58 PM , Rating: 2
Turn off the stupid animated windows with its transparent bars and "smooth" transitions and animated cascading windows.

If you want these features, go with Ubuntu, 7.04 or higher which, coincidentally has a bunch of headaches of it's own, just of a different sort. But at least they're FREE headaches.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By omnicronx on 4/16/2008 2:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
7.10 comes with Compiz Fusion with the default install, and I have had much less headaches with it too than 7.04.
Can't wait until KDE4 with ubuntu 8.04 though, I tried the beta and the effects are amazing. Blows both Mac and Windows out of the water.


By daftrok on 4/16/2008 8:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
How is it on memory usage? And one thing I heard about Linux is that its compatible with games if people out there took the time to make drivers to run them. As of now are there a good portion of game drivers for Ubuntu or am I SOL in that department and will have to go to a different version of Linux?


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By omnicronx on 4/16/08, Rating: -1
RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By goku on 4/16/2008 4:29:56 PM , Rating: 4
omnicronx, you've obviously not been alive or at least conscious very long because had you been, you'd know that only 13 years ago, Windows COULD be had for that price, in fact I believe you could have had Windows 95 for even $50... But I do know that Windows 95 did NOT cost significantly more than $100, so what now?


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By goku on 4/16/2008 4:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
That is bullshit, Vista Basic is NOT essentially Windows XP, XP has a shitton more features than vista basic. And vista basic still uses more resources than Windows XP under any configuration.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By daftrok on 4/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By Hexus on 4/17/2008 2:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but you are false in thinking that XP has more features or it uses more resources.


Everything Vista uses more resources. Games, Programs, all of it. It's because has horrible resource allocation. The Aero and sidebar interface use ludicrous amounts of RAM and expects a lot from your graphics card.

quote:
From my experience the system requirements are about the same


No, they are not the same.

XP:
Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and a Microsoft Mouse or some other compatible pointing device
Video adapter and monitor with Super VGA (800 x 600)or higher resolution
Sound card
Speakers or headphones

Vista Basic:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
512 MB of system memory
20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory
DVD-ROM drive
Audio Output
Internet access (fees may apply)

There is a vast margin in the requirments between them and this gap is increased further when you use Premium or Ultimate versions.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By Hexus on 4/17/2008 2:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
All above Specs were taken directly from Microsoft's site.


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By daftrok on 4/18/2008 11:45:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure for the past four years people have these specs on XP:
1 GHz processor....This has been standard for at least five years
512 MB of system memory....as was this
20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space...and this
Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory...yup
DVD-ROM drive....NO! Just kidding yeah
Audio Output...speakers are soooo overrated
Internet access (fees may apply)...what's the internet?


By Vinnybcfc on 4/22/2008 10:30:38 AM , Rating: 2
Which on XP will fly while Vista will be sluggish with 512MB of RAM.


By Garreye on 4/17/2008 10:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If it eats too much resources on your computer, TURN OFF AERO.


This is not a good idea. Instead of offloading the display processing onto the GPU, which is what happens when Aero is running, you're telling people to turn it off and have the graphic processing be done through the CPU, when it is already struggling to keep their system running smoothly. This is also true for memory usage because aero uses the graphics memory for storing display info, rather than main memory. This is especially beneficially if your GPU has dedicated memory, as it will get used for something other than gaming. But even if you're running integrate graphics with shared memory, running Aero will use up the portion of main memory dedicated to the GPU, and you will have more room in the other portion to run programs.

quote:
Vista Basic is essentially Windows XP with Vista skin and Directx 10.


This is absolutely untrue. Check out this article over at Ars, you'll change your mind on that, I can pretty much gurantee it:
http://arstechnica.com/reviews/os/pretty-vista.ars


RE: Microsofts disregard for customers
By hcahwk19 on 4/16/08, Rating: 0
By hcahwk19 on 4/16/2008 3:41:04 PM , Rating: 1
BTW, I happen to like Vista for the most part. Things run really well, especially since I activated the superadmin account and turned off that darn UAC.


By winterspan on 4/17/2008 5:16:59 AM , Rating: 1
HAHAHAH.. I cannot even BELIEVE you have the nerve to call the OSX 10.4 Tiger to OSX 10.5 Leopard upgrade an "incremental update" versus the XP to Vista upgrade.
Just because MS calls it by a new name, doesn't mean it does ANYTHING remotely useful that the previous version doesn't.
In contrast with XP-Vista, the Leopard upgrade of OSX actually brought *significant* new features to all parts of the OS. And here is the important part -- features which AVERAGE USERS will actually find useful and improve their experience.

Now I have two computers sitting here and zero of them are Macs. One with Vista, and one with XP. The are literally ZERO meaningful differences between them, save some compatibility problems with Vista.

Oh wait, there are some great improvements over XP like that MS Paint now has a CROP FUNCTION! and "Sounds Recorder" can Save WMA files! oohhh and how could I forget "Chess Titans".

The only remotely useful things I can even think of are for developers and system admins, like pre-installed .NET framework 3.0, powershell, admin utilities, reporting, etc.

And for the average consumer?

Aero - piece of crap attempt at a graphically rich, video accerlerated interface. For real effort, See OSX or Ubuntu

"Flip3D" - paaaathetic. Again, for an actually useful implementation
of application windows management, see OSX "spaces/expose" or Ubuntu+Beryl

"Sidebar" - just as worthless as the other implentations from Apple/Yahoo/Google

"Windows Photo gallery/Contacts/Calendar/Mail/Movie Maker/DVD maker/Games Explorer" - All completley useless to anyone but a complete novice.

"Backup center" - I already use an excellent 3rd party backup software.

"DirectX 10" - not a gamer.. but If i was, it would be worthless as well

"HD Photo / XPS" - totally worthless

"SuperFetch"- totally worthless
"ReadyBoost" - has no effect at all. again, totally worthless

"Desktop Search" - Already available on XP
"IE 7.0" - Already available on XP
"Media center 11" - Already available on XP


By dgingeri on 4/16/2008 12:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
"Lol. Apple is still pretty light weight on the mistreatment. At least Leopard contains the full version and upgrade tools on one disc. Even MS isn't the worst I've seen though. Big box retail stores have them all licked when it comes to abusing customers."

From my experience, they are one of the worst. Not quite as bad as MS with Vista, but pretty bad.

Apple: "Oh, you got a DOA iMac, well, we don't replace those. Take it to an authorized service center on your own time and wait 3 months to have it repaired."

Apple: "Oh, you have a dual processor Mac Pro that you paid $16k for with 3 years of on-site service, and it is locking up at random. You must be doing something wrong, but if this persists for 3 months, we'll send out a tech to take look at it. Not repair it, mind you, just to look at it and blame you for the problems until 1.5 years of the warranty is gone, then we'll fix it."

I was impressed with Apple back in the early days, because they truly had superior hardware with SCSI disks and better written drivers, but lately, I feel they have just become the same aristocratic profiteers that the rest of the industry likes to blame for the problems.


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