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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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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.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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