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 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.

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