Print 107 comment(s) - last by glennpratt.. on May 22 at 3:28 PM

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 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.

"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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