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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...
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.


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