March 30, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Microsoft makes copying Vista a monster task

With Windows XP, antipiracy measures were a bit of an afterthought. But with Windows Vista, Microsoft had pirates in its sights from the get-go.

Even the unique Vista retail packaging--a plastic box with one round corner--was designed, in part, to thwart counterfeiters. And the packaging is just the start; most of Microsoft's antipiracy work is built-into the software itself, meaning that just copying the code and getting a product key isn't enough.

Photo: Microsoft aims to stay ahead of pirates

"It's a different game for the counterfeiters," Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative, said in an interview. "They're having to resort to this full attack on the product."

One such exploit was dubbed "Frankenbuild" because it merged bits of the beta versions of Windows Vista with the final product in an effort to defeat the validation checks built into the software. But, thanks to technology built into Vista, Microsoft was able to update its defenses and start flagging such systems--even those that initially passed activation--as illegitimate.

The antipiracy effort has been building slowly inside Microsoft. Microsoft began quietly testing a Windows Genuine Advantage program in 2004 with an optional check that offered no benefits for taking part, nor penalties for machines that didn't pass. The company quickly expanded the program, adding some incentives for those machines that were verified. The company later made the checks mandatory to download most Windows updates and add-ons.

Microsoft has seen reducing piracy rates as a way to boost its sales, particularly given that the fastest PC sales growth is coming in emerging markets where piracy rates tend to be higher.

"It's a different game for the counterfeiters. They're having to resort to this full attack on the product."
--Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative

With Vista, checking for pirates was always part of the plan. Technology built into Vista allows Microsoft to periodically evaluate the OS to make sure it is legitimate, rather than just having one opportunity, when the product key is first entered at activation.

That's important if Microsoft learns, say, that a once-valid product key has been compromised. Microsoft also used the validation mechanism after Frankenbuild was discovered, forcing machines to go through validation, which the Frankenbuild systems failed because the software was not an intact copy of the OS.

There are a number of features, including the new Aero user interface, that require genuine validation. As part of Vista, machines that fail validation go into reduced functionality mode if not remedied within 30 days, meaning such systems can be used only to browse the Internet for an hour at a time.

Microsoft has also tightened the rules on volume licenses, largely eliminating the ability for businesses, even those with bulk purchase deals, to use one product key across an unlimited number of machines. Microsoft has two options with Vista. Companies can either use their own PC or server as a sort of hall monitor to make sure which Vista systems are out there, or they can get a multiple-use key from Microsoft, though such keys have a set number of activations. Businesses can also use a combination of the two approaches.

It's a little early to tell how all of the efforts are working, but Hartje said there are some reasons for optimism.

"We see indications from our channel that they are concerned they get genuine product," Hartje said. "We're optimistic the technology changes are going to make a difference. The fact we haven't seen any high-quality counterfeits is a good sign."

While engineering is a big part of Microsoft's efforts, the company is also doing other things. One recent move was to change the way copies of Windows are produced. Rather than just license replicators to build as much of the software as they might need, such disc makers are now required to pay a part of the cost of the software when the discs are first burned, discouraging large stockpiles of authentic discs from building up in warehouses.

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Wasted Time and Money.
And yet...a glance at any warez forum or torrent site will reveal an ever-growing library of hacks, cracks, and workarounds. "Frankenbuilds" or not, Windows Vista is not one iota less "pirateable" than any other version of Windows.

The only people whom these anti-piracy measures are hindering are everyday consumers who suddenly discover their computers have become unresponsive thanks to the inevitable glitches in the validation process. *I* have not had any problems with my Vista or XP installations in this regard, but I know of *many* others who have. Luckily, these folks are all quite computer-savvy and have managed to rectify the situation; but what about the Average Joe who only understands how to turn his computer on or off? What does someone like that do when Vista goes into cripple-ware mode or XP fails a Genuine Advantage check?
Posted by pegritz (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy to make it $39.99
Agreed, it's easy to hack. ...And people hack it because it costs too much for (non-business) individuals.

As a business model, you can chose to sell a few at $400-$600+, or you can sell mega-millions for $39.99. I've NEVER understood why they didn't choose the latter.

You can take their hundreds (thousands?) of programmers, and all their millions (billion?) in R&D, and all their years of effort, and all their WGA customer support costs, all the negative press, and built-up Microsoft hate from customers...all to thwart piracy ... I could resolve that in ONE easy step; Sell it for $39.99 and it won't be worth any normal person's time to pirate it unless they're doing it purely for hacking.

-Now multiply that by the mega-millions of "pirates-no-more" (who are actually now paying you money),
-remove all the insane costs of anti-piracy development,
-remove so much microsoft hate from the world.
-add all the people who now would automatically buy vista without a second thought
...and might actually be more profitable. Not to mention being a forward moving company in good standing with the world.

Just my $0.02 ... err $39.99
Posted by smarty_pantz (15 comments )
Link Flag
Wasted Time reading your ignorant comment.
A glance at any warez forum or torrent site will reveal an ever-growing library of hacks, cracks, and workarounds.
And yet... none of these things fully work.
Whether you want or not, Windows Vista *IS* much harder to pirate than previous versions, that's a fact and only an ignorant person like you could deny that. The *REAL* only people whom these anti-piracy measures are hindering are people like you who suddenly discover they no longer will be able to go to their favourite warez forum or torrent site and download and install Windows for free without paying Microsoft a dime thanks to the ingenious measures Microsoft took with Vista from the ground up. *I* have not had any problems either with *any* Microsoft software ever in my life and I also know of *MANY* others who *CLAIM* they have; can you or they prove it though, that they have in fact had problems with genuine Microsoft software validation? Luckily reality is much brigther and, as long as yours software is in fact genuine, you have nothing to hide or fear and all you have to do is click a button who says "Validate" and wait a few seconds; but what about the average "pegritz" who only understand how to download a pirated version of Windows from his favourite warez forum or torrent site? What does someone like that do when Vista stops working after 1 month or after the first update when all the legal users like me are experiencing Vista with no problems at all?
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
The only concern regarding company purchases
Let's say some old guy named Ted has been working for some USA company for 30 years and is retiring.

Most USA companies have a "Buy a company purchase plan" or he gets one for free when he retires.

Will that Windows install now be invalid since it is now a home pc? Or will the key be tied to the PC? If Vista is installed then the old man must down grade to XP?
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buy a Company?
If you are talking about employee purchase plans they he should be getting a full copy. If you are talking about the Home Use license option in the MS Open License program then his license is terminated once he leaves the company.
Posted by pmfjoe (196 comments )
Link Flag
Re: The only concern regarding company purchases
Volume License agreements can contain a home use policy. If the company has this home use policy; machines/software can be given to employees or donated to charities when the machine becomes obsolete. If the PC was initially licensed via a volume license it can be re-licensed using the home use policy and their is no need to down grade to XP.
Posted by Blog Poster (3 comments )
Link Flag
Everyone's guilty!?
What I hate is that they just assume everyone is guilty of Piracy.
It seems like every time I update my XP Pro machines I have to
jump through some new hoops to update the updater and re-
validate my installations. It is inconvenient to ME! Why should I
have to spend several hundred dollars per machine to buy the
software and then have to spend my personal time trying to
convince Microsoft that I really gave it to them.
I refuse to be forced to PAY for the privilege of being treated like
a criminal so I will NOT be upgrading to Windows Vista. I already
use Apple's Macintosh as my primary computers and have been
testing Linux on others, so I foresee a Windows free future
coming to me.
Posted by rhett121 (73 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Windows Free Future"
What a wonderful future it would be (for the world).
Someone should invent a virus that turns Windows into Mac OS or
Linux, and unleash it upon the interwebs. Oh, wait - M$ already
tried to turn Vista into the Mac OS...
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft subscribes to the new RIAA model. Treat everyone as a
thief, regardless of the true facts.
Posted by m.meister (278 comments )
Link Flag
1984 in 2007
Antipiracy is one thing, but to all of us who have already bought the software, we have to prove to Microsoft periodically that we didn't cheat, is like under house arrest!!! Just because Microsoft can does not mean it should be legal. Think of this way: can LV or Coach come to our house periodically to check in our closet to see if we have fake hand bags?
Posted by winstein (460 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The natives are restless
And the monopoly is showing cracks around the edges.
Posted by William Schnippert (21 comments )
Link Flag
Different markets
You can't compare buying a product to licensing a product. A company licensing a product can put any demand they want (within some limits that are way beyond this) in their contract. If you think you are not having a good deal, you just don't buy the product.
Now, what is the big damage they are doing to you? The product is not even "periodically" being checked. It is when you ask for some maintenance (such as a fix or an update) that the product gets checked.
It would be like Coach or LV verifying a product you bring for repair is authentic before giving you warranty service. You wouldn't complain they are abusing you then, would you?
Posted by herby67 (144 comments )
Link Flag
You have no grasp of relatity
But LV or Coach could refuse to offer you product support if you didn't buy a legitimate version.

There are a lot of costs associated with keeping an OS up to date, perhaps Microsoft has a right to check the "quality of the workmanship" before offering these expensive free services.

Try sending in your knock off Coach wallet to get it repaired and see what the company tells you? Are you upset that the company checked to see if your product was legit before servicing it?

Also, you should read 1984 before making poor references to the work. Microsoft has never sent identifiable information along with activation. If you are using illegal software the company ISN'T recording your IP to give to the FBI.
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
"It's a little early to tell how all of the efforts are working..."

really means:

"No one's buying it, and even the pirates are staying away from it - but not b/c of the copy protection..."
Posted by david_g17 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Copying Vista is like . . .
copying a bad comic strip that continually appears in all the papers, but is badly drawn and only provides illustrations for puns.
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get Linux instead
no Anti-Piracy code to give you a false positive in Linux like Vista has. Nothing like a false positive to ruin your day on a legit version of Vista. I heard of people getting their legit versions locked down and having to call Microsoft to get a new key or something.
Posted by Orion Blastar (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People don't want Linux
which is the root of the problem, actually. If people did want linux, they wouldn't be pirating Windows, would they?
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
I'm runing linux on one system. Have been messing with it since 1992.

Linux still has a long way to go to be adoptable to the mass's.

When something goes wrong, IE, you get a new kernel update. And you NVIDA or ATI driver goes sideways. You need an easier way to fix it. Sadly most times you don't even know your system is in trouble until you reboot it. And sit there looking at a flashing _ or a command prompt.

When the system patch's there should be a system in place to warn of all the things that it breaks along the way.

It would also be nice to have a video player that works, not just sometimes but works. I have tried most of the ones I can find. And I still don't understand why sometimes I will open the video file and it plays. Then an hour later I click on it, and nothing happens.

Lasst night I played around with Ubuntu 7.04 just to see. I hate messing with Wine, so tend to use codeweavers.

Again even at that it took me 4--5 hours to get WoW to run. And then it was not stable at all.

Heck even google earth linux client. I tend to use it as a test to make sure direct rendering is running. I do not trust what the video card applet says. I do not trust fglxinfo, sometimes it says everything is fine and nothing works.

I lover beryl, and compz but the number of times it will just randomly crash back to the fall back manager is frustrating.

Time is worth money. And the amount of time, I sink into each build to make simple things work like playing a game. Far exceeds the $ value cost of a comprable MS product.

It holds lots of promise but it has been doing so since 1992. 15 years later, it seams we are still trying to play catchup to Mac and Microsoft. And yes I know you can make Linux do tricks with beryl that no MS product can do. But having it crash left right and center is not fun.

On the ID thing, its the way the world is, not only in software but real life. Go to your bank, you been going there every week for years, foreget your bank card. How many forms of ID do you need to show to prove to the teller that you have stood in front of so many times, that you are you.

Take your short form birth cert, go get a long form, how much ID, must you show how much paper work must you sign.

The main reason for most of this, is people take advantage. So yes there are hicups as a system smooths out. Homeland security anyone? But would this all be nessasary at all if people just played by the rules? Heck even with Linux read the license, its a surprising thing.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Link Flag
I heard that too
yeah me too, thats because once you load vista and if you ever have to reload it you have to call and get a new product key from M$, but the downside is that you can only do it once or something like that.
Posted by eatmyflash (2 comments )
Link Flag
They never worried, until now
I talk to alot of small business owners as a consultant and let me tell you something, none of them have ever worried about their copies of windows being legit, until now.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy solution...
Vote with your pocketbook. Despite Micro$ofts efforts to ram Vista down everyone's throat, I'm going to stick with XP Pro until it is no longer practical. I don't see very many compelling reasons to change especially with all of the license BS. I can live without Aero Glass...
Posted by bschmidt25 (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I will never pay for a product that requires "activation"
Being treated as a thief is no way to thank me for my $$$.

I have been burned twice by "product activation".

Once, the company went out of business and I could no longer user my bought and paid for application.

A second time, the manufacturer stopped selling or supporting the product.

Both pieces of software were valuable to me and had cost me hard earned $$$$.

In both cases I had to purchase a replacement that cost me additional $$$.

So, I will NEVER pay for software that requires "activation".
Posted by sismoc (119 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Will Never Pay?
If you will never buy software that requires activation, sooner or later you will no longer be able to use a computer because it is almost inevitable that all OS software will require it. That will be true of even Linux and Apple if they ever manage to gain sufficient market share to make piracy worthwhile.

In any case, your examples have nothing to do with activation. What has activation got to do with a company whose software you use going out of business? Nothing in fact.

There is no reason to stop using an application just because the company that produced it goes out of business. You can continue using as long as you like. There will be no upgrades of course, but if the software already satisfied your needs, why would you be concerned about that?

On my Windows machines, I still use some applications made by companies that went out of business years ago. They continued to work even though the Windows OS went through a number of version changes in the meantime. There is no longer support for them, but why would I need support for applications I have been using for years without problems?
Posted by gmcaloon--2008 (72 comments )
Link Flag
Was one of those companies 321 Studios ?
Thias happened to millions of people. If you still have your original install on your HD you can continue to use the product. If, like me, you rebuild your entires System (HArdware and OS) periodically, you are RIGHT. You can't use the 321 Studios product anymore unless you pay a third party company to sell you a new license key.

I for one, did some searching on the Internet...and you'd be surprised at the FREE software you can get. In fact, it's been around for quite come time.

The "Corporate Bullies" will ALWAYS be around..and there will ALWAYS be a camp that works tirelessly to make sure we can all get the functionality we want, even for FREE.

You just have to do some creative searching on the INternet.

Product activation is here to stay. Work with it or AROUND it.
Posted by enscorp (49 comments )
Link Flag
I doubt that you really mean that
your cable tv was probably activated when it was installed
You likely activated your credit cards when you got them
You sort of activate Netflix, iTunes, etc when you sign up for these sort of things.

So you're not paying any of these products? Have fun with that life.
Posted by shoffmueller (236 comments )
Link Flag
Get a Mac and a game console
Even though M$ is doing this, the competition is at the level that you can get past windows.

Get a Mac and have professional-quality desktop software, and get a game console (Xbox, PS2) for your games. Unless you're into war RTS-strategy games, you're covered.

I think this is necessary because M$ has flown the coop.
Posted by bob donut (90 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Already did that....
I have enough hassles with XP asking for re-activation just because I moved a couple cards around to different card slots and upgraded a couple things, or a motherboard went bad. Now with Vista, they're forcibly LOCKING the purchase of Vista to a specific motherboard. Board dies? Too bad... A replacement is considered a NEW PC by Microsoft and you may need to buy a new Vista for it. And the idea that MS is checking up on my installation every once in a while now too? No deal! Vista's a memory and CPU hog with little to offer but eye candy in return. I switched my main desktop and laptop to OS X Macs and got a PS3 for gaming too.
Posted by twyrick (38 comments )
Link Flag
another clue
and you can make copies of your lovely ( if I see that stupid Mac vs POC commercial one more time I am going to take a knife to that corner of my monitor) Mac OS? and install it on another computer. Apple is far worse than MS. They build in code to check that you are only running teh OS on a machine with their BIOS chip. And you call that being more open than MS. More Koolaid please.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
And pay 3000$ for it?
No thanks. For half that you get a nice game playin' pc.
Posted by godam_registration (113 comments )
Link Flag
Good for Microsoft!
I'm sick of computer crooks. Good for Microsoft--the more security, the better!
Posted by Greg5A (113 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about all the people affected by the false positives. Deny it all you want, but it is true.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
computer crooks
Ahh what't the point?
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, good for M$
So they have crushed the competition through illegal tactics (which continue to this day) and have never really been held accountable. Now that they have a monopoly and people don't have a choice, they force all their customers to waste their time and money going through endless validation procedures purely for the benefit of M$. Like you said, it's good for M$... but bad for everyone else. How often have we be turned into unpaid employees of M$, spending OUR time enforcing their stupid licensing schemes. Meanwhile the world is full of zombie windows-based computers propagating crime throughout the world while Billy Gates sits on his almost $60 billion dollars, immune from any resposibility for the shoddy software he has created. What's wrong with this picture?
Posted by C_G_K (169 comments )
Link Flag
Reloading Vista
What are we suppose to do when we purchase a license of vista and we put it on a computer we built and later have to format because of problems or we build a new PC. If the license can only be used once this is bull because we bought it we should be able to format our computers as much as we like and reload as much as we like with out M$ saying the license is already being used.
Posted by eatmyflash (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just buy another copy, of course!
Or maybe if you call them up and beg them to let you reinstall it, they will. Of course, if Microsoft treats their customers like this, why not just "pirate" it? You'd be better off with a hacked version that doesn't require check-ins with Microsoft. If I had any desire or need to use Windows, that is how I'd feel about it. I'm not saying I'd actually get an illegal copy, but that's how I'd feel.

Apple couldn't buy better advertising than this. Except for a few people that need specialized Windows-only apps, I think there will be a lot of people taking a look at the Mac. Not all of them will buy, but some will.
Posted by chris_d (195 comments )
Link Flag
Not true
the license can be used multiple times just not simultaneously on
multiple computers.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
Lest we forget....
Microsoft Windows is worlds defacto standard desktop BECAUSE it was so easy to copy, not because windows is a better OS. So I suggest the folks at MS go watch a little Star Wars...

"The tighter you squeeze, Lord Vader, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
Posted by LarryLo (164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The correct quote is

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will
slip through your fingers."

But I knew what you were saying.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
Right on the nose, and the harder they make it to copy in those underdeveloped areas(the new market) the more market they lose to Linux enmasse!
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
MIcrosoft security?
Microsoft security is great, good for them in the effort to thawrt piracy. but they spent so much time on that, that they forgot to be innovative elsewere so they secured vista, but they took the best of the software other operating systems are already doing and slammed it into their program now there is nothing new in vista that others haven't already experienced before. may be they should have name the OS securia then at least it customer will know what they really put the effort into instead of really bringing together a user friendly enviroment.
Posted by Luke_Cage (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh there are new things
Its just not really in the eye candy part of things. Most of the
changes are under the hood so to speak. The use of a flash drive
as write through very fast cache is really clever and makes a
difference. The automatcially adjusting tcp receive buffer isn't
new, but its implemented to respond to application pressure
rather than just network issues. The presentation layer is pretty
well done as well. etc etc etc

But yes, many features are seen elsewhere. Its just the nature of
the industry. OS X, for example, really copied huge chunks of
itself from other sources. Even some design elements of the UI
were borrowed from pre-existing sources (fvwm for example).
But this happens and crying 'theft' is pointless as everyone is
stealing from everyone else. Mac borrows from Unix borrows
from Windows borrows from Mac borrows from Windows
borrows from Unix etc etc etc... Its actually part of what has
made technological progress so breakneck in the industry.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
Its an adequate OS, not the taj mahal
As someone who was raised on the slime that emanates from the television, I'd guess they're not winning over too many converts by --with a straight face-- equating their OS release to some of history's and life's truly magnificent things. It's an OS! And a simply "adequate" one at that. It doesn't compare AT ALL with things like the first moon landing, a good lightning storm, surprising a buck in the wild, or the taj mahal (my examples, I only remember that some of the examples given in the commercial were on a similar level of ridiculousness). If these commercials were presented as humor they'd be ok. As it stands they only make me feel embarrassed for Microsoft. Perhaps they'll claim later that these commercials WERE presented as humor, it wouldn't be a first for them. Does anyone remember the bathroom window?
Posted by StoshNick (14 comments )
Link Flag
Wonder why ppl get upset here?
When a company makes money without its own contents, it's called 'new media.' If another company uses net to protect their IP, called a name. Just buy the darn thing and get over with it. It's like going to Wal-Mart and ******** to the customer svc desk that it's very hard to break-in and steal, and calling it 'evil' for its alarm system... Man...
Posted by jongdaelee (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I think it a bit more complicated than that....
The problem with your analogy is that most of the items in Walmart are (1) not priced excessively high for what you are getting and (2) most items in Walmart are not neccessary and controlled by a monopoly.

Just look throughout history for similar actions. Anytime people have perceived a NEED for a product (and there is definitely a NEED for Windows if you are to stay current in business or IT) and they cannot afford that product (the pricing for Vista is excessive and not based on real value) they will find a way to own it (i.e. they will steal it).

Microsoft is as much to blame for piracy as anyone else. Creating a monopoly on the desktop, then pricing the products out of reach of most of the developing world is just asking to be hacked.

IMHO, Microsoft would make more money if they priced their offerings according to actual value (taking their bugs and vulnerabilities into account as well as the cute, shiny interface) and in line with other desktop OS versions like Red Hat, Suse and Linspire.

All in all, Microsoft does NOT offer an OS that is more secure than the competition. It does not offer an OS that does more than what is available with the competition. But, it does have the largest user base and software library.

And, if you are going to do business or work in IT or be a knowledgable student of IT you MUST have Windows.

We could change this....but we won't.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
Lower performance for piracy protection
The real issue is that everyone using Vista will suffer with slower
performance of their computers so that Microsoft can go after
the pirates.

Once again, the paying customer suffers. The pirates will find
away around whatever tricks Microsoft comes up with.

A brief history lesson: Software protection was rampant in the
early days of personal computers (80s) and the software was
priced outrageously high. Then someone wised up, lowered the
cost of the software, removed the copy protection (which didn't
stop pirates and only hurt customers) and the market exploded.

Apparently MS was too busy to see that lesson. I think the real
issue is that MS doesn't have much more to offer customers, so
they see "enforcement" as the only means of growth.

Microsoft is very much like RIAA. Both are dinosaurs. Both treat
paying customers with disdain and contempt. Both believe that
everyone is a thief and it is only through their police actions that
they "protect" their assets.

I'm not condoning piracy -- I'm just offering up the point that
the reason for the crackdown is because there isn't anything else
MS has to offer. And because they are a monopoly, they can get
away with it.
Posted by m.meister (278 comments )
Link Flag
Wonder why ppl get upset here?
BRAVO!!! Someone who makes sense and cuts to the bottom line. One some who steals or plans to steal would make a deal over this. "It ain't no thing." Microsoft is not evil.

It would also be great if these Mac "freaks" and Linux geeks would get over it.
Posted by Jenny3426 (10 comments )
Link Flag
Two things in common in these threads: linux and osx are better and why do I have to pay for Vista? What!!no ones forcing you to buy it!! buy your beloved MAC already!! MS spends several billion dollars to make it and these people are aghast that microsoft has the nerve to charge for it!!those bastards!Unlike apple who never charges for any of their products or support...And if we don't like paying for it MS has the nerve to try and stop us from stealing it..!!!how pathetic
Posted by ITprosupport (30 comments )
Link Flag
I could care less
If I purchase Vista and activate it, why would I care. Pretty much no hassle for me. Why would anyone (besides pirates) really care?
Posted by shoffmueller (236 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here's why
Microsoft's "Genuine Advantage" features are known to be quite flawed and have caused many false positives. Why should I buy a product and have it stop working due to an anti-piracy glitch?

Pirates really don't care either way because this stuff doesn't really stop them.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Why should I care?
You obviously haven't dealt with activation, reactivaton, and Windows Genuine Advantage verification much, if at all! Your argument is one I have heard many times from different people when they say why do you care if the gov't knows who you call on your phone, or how much money you have in the bank, or your credit rating? What do you have to hide, and this keeps going until they run into something that is so obviously invasive to them that they say: "We have to do something, they don't have any right to do this!" However, they do, because people like them just keep giving it to them, until it affects them!
Posted by dland51 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Hard but not impossible
Obviously it's more difficult than ever to copy Windows, but the one sure fire method of getting hold of a free copy is the Enterprise license key.

Microsoft said that prior to the business release of Vista that they were going to defeat the easiest way of getting a version of Windows that would never fail any genuine compatibility test.

How? By changing the way enterprise PCs activate Windows. What was supposed to happen was every 6 months instead of dialing Microsoft, a PC with an enterprise key had to be activated by a local area network license server. Therefore if you installed the enterprise version of Vista outside your company's local area network, after six months its activation would expire.

Great, except they didn't bother to implement this. Instead they cheerfully informed corporate license holders that PC would continue to dial Microsoft, however as they could count the number of activations per enterprise key, everything would be fine, because they could simply adjust the cost of licensing based on the number of copies of Windows activated.

In other words although we want to make this look a tiny bit like we may discount your licensing costs - the reality is if your security is too lax and your enterprise key makes it into the wild, we will charge you for every pirated copy of Windows activated under your key. Of course you can get your key invalidated, but the chances are you won't do that until after you receive a huge bill from Microsoft - and then have to input your new key on every one of your corporate PCs.

Bottom line for the pirate is that the easiest way of copying Windows is still available, and because you will have a valid key unless the company that owns it gets Microsoft to invalidate it, you will never fail to pass any of Microsoft's "Genuine Version" checks.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista was cracked even before it was launched. All protections that were introduced were cracked in a matter of weeks. A Windows OS remains Windows.
Posted by TheJae (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who Cares??????
I will bypass Vista, What's next?
Posted by coachgeorge (233 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft OS Are Not Volume Licensed
A look at the license agreements shows that Microsoft operating systems are ONLY licensed via OEM and full packaged product (retail full versions) versions.

If a PC is licensed the OEM or FPP terms agree: for the former the license is tied to the motherboard of the PC; for the latter the copy can be moved in entirity (not copied) from one PC to another.

OS upgrades are available via volume license. I am not completely sure what the license status of a "home use" OS upgrade is when an employee leaves. However an employer would have to expend considerable expense to downgrade an employee machine in thiose circumstances, greater than the acquistion cost, so I expect that the employer would not want to reclaim the license. As long as they did not try to count that in their internal usage, I'm pretty sure that Microsoft would be indifferent, and the employee would be safe. After all, that is a valid license as installed.
Posted by pmchefalo (135 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Press release copy
I can't beleive that chose to just copy and paste a press release as article without any research. During my recent visit to Chennai a 12 grade kid was explaining how you can change few bytes to get license for 99 years.

Since then there has been many such hacks.
Posted by peacefulsoul (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wake Up
Take a look at licensing, activation, W.G.A. etc. as a system and analyse it in the cold hard light of day and see what you come up with.
Software Licensing and all that go's with it is a counter market "RIP OFF' system designed to get their money back because the piraters ripped them off. 2 wrongs don't make a right If somone steels $10.00 from your wallet dose that entitle you to steel $10.00 from someone else's wallet to get your money back.
That's what software licencing is really all about.
As you all have benn saying, a pirater is a crook who will find a way around all this anyway. So who doe's all this really affect, the honest person who pays for their software.
Posted by KEITH-1 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who wants to copy anyway?
My feeling is that MS recently *only* invests a lot in copy
protection, but it seems to me that testing their software is no
priority anymore.

I installed my (BTW, legally purchased) copy of Visio 2007 last
week and after it had destroyed my Outlook 2003, it went on
crippling my whole system (first sound, then network). So I have
to thank MS for my weekend job, reinstalling the whole system,
since the network part of the Windows kernel itself is even
damaged (!!!).

(BTW, I am sending this from my MacBook...)

Have a nice day,

Posted by gmesaric (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Terrible OS.. not worth bootlegging.
Used Vista on demo PCs at OfficeDepot the other day.. terrible! Everything is aesthetically SLOWER. I could find plugins for XP to do the same darn useless thing.

Say goodbye to crapware.
Posted by tenaciouse1080 (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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