July 25, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Piracy-check mandatory for Windows add-ons

From now on, customers looking to get the latest add-ons to Windows will have to verify that their copy of the operating system is legit.

Beginning Tuesday, the piracy check will be mandatory for all customers worldwide who want to download add-ons for Windows XP.

The only exception is for security-related patches. Regardless of whether a system passes the test, security updates will be available to all Windows users via either manual download or automatic update. The Microsoft Update and Windows Update utilities, which provide notifications of new patches, will require validation.

It's all part of Windows Genuine Advantage, a stepped-up effort by Microsoft to increase the number of Windows users that are actually paying Microsoft for its software. Currently, the company estimates that roughly a third of Windows copies worldwide are not legitimate.

"We really want to cut that rate," said David Lazar, director of the Windows Genuine program.

With Windows' share of the desktop market estimated to be well above 90 percent, cracking down on illegal copies of the OS is seen as one of the few ways for Microsoft to grow its Windows business. The two other main ways that Microsoft has identified are increasing the number of PCs per household and expanding computer usage in emerging markets.

Lazar declined to say how much Microsoft hopes to cut into the piracy rate with the Windows Genuine push. However, he said the company does see a need to create a clearer distinction between genuinely purchased and bogus copies of the OS.

"One of ways we are going to do that is by enhancing the value of genuine Windows," he said.

As part of that, Microsoft is adding a few more freebies to the "carrots" it gives to those whose Windows copies pass muster. Lazar said that Microsoft has also refined its online tool that checks for genuine copies such that customers won't have to enter their Windows product code, as was sometimes the case while the Windows Genuine program was in testing.

Meanwhile, those who fail the validation test will be presented with two options. People who send in their CDs, show proof they bought Windows and fill out a piracy report will be eligible to get a legitimate copy of Windows at no charge. Those who don't have CDs or a proof of purchase but fill out a piracy report will have to pay for a licensed copy--$99 for Windows XP Home and $149 for Windows XP Professional. Those prices are higher than the upgrade cost for Windows XP, but lower than the price one would have to pay for an entirely new copy of the OS.

Microsoft has been testing the Windows Genuine program since last September. At first, the program had neither benefits for those who passed inspection nor any penalty for those who failed or opted not to go through the piracy check. Gradually, though, Microsoft has been adding perks and moving to make the process mandatory.

Lazar said the company has erred on the side of caution, noting that Microsoft does not know of any cases in which its piracy check falsely concluded that software was illegitimate. There has been a hack reported in which customers who have one genuine copy of the OS can pass along a validation code that can be used with nongenuine copies of the OS. Lazar said that method would require someone to get hold of a new code each day he or she wanted to download new software, though.

"It doesn't really scale," he said.

92 comments

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The only way to enhance the value.
Is to fix security issues. Now that might be worth $100+, maybe. At least they are not going down the road to disaster by restricting security updates. Although, if this doesn't work, they might start to play around with the meaning of security update.

Someone who has a illegal copy is not going to give a hoot about crappy add-ons that just bloat an already bloated OS.

As for the silly program to get free windows, all that will do is cause poor users to get an illict disk and trade it in, at best. It will also **** off their honest customers, since they are effectively being fined $100-$300 for being honest.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Check your facts
The point of Vista is security. The rest is just marketing.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
The Only Way to Make OSX Successful
Is to lower the price and STOP RIPPING PEOPLE OFF :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
So whats the problem?
Sorry, I fail to see an issue with a company - no matter how much money they make - only providing a value-add service to the customers that have actually paid for a product.
I do however think its a bad idea, more so for the legit customers that have lost their install disks etc. Microsofts choice though...
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Who Cares about those Add-Ons?
If we are talking about security updates, then MS has gone too far. But add-ons? Give me a break :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Market Demand
Microsoft software is highly desirable and the black and grey markets exist because customers want Windows, but they dont want to pay for it. Even with a multitude of open-source licensing options available, people continue to break the law to obtain copies of Microsoft Windows.

W.S.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=a26a584d-14a3-45a8-8d21-c4786adb8332" target="_newWindow">http://www.inaniloquent.com/PermaLink.aspx?guid=a26a584d-14a3-45a8-8d21-c4786adb8332</a>
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Market Demand
It shows people don't even CARE to pirate that crappy OSX :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
If they already have a pirated copy...
By telling them they cant have add ons right now near the end of the life of windows XP, and they can still ahev security updates, im sure all these people are going to upgrade ;)

Im suprised that microsoft has only recently done piracy checks. Back in the days of windows 98, everyone passed around a windows 98 cd and everyone used it, and used windows update and such.
Posted by wazzledoozle (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Many Companies Are Facing the Same Issue
Hey, I have friends who still use Norton Systemworks 2003 and burn copies to others because NSW2003 does not require online activation :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
3 Questions about Vista
Probably not the correct area to post this but close enough anyway...I have 3 questions about Vista and seem to be finding conflicting answers everywhere.

1. Is it worth upgrading from XP to Vista? I mean, is the difference between the two very obvious??

2. Since they're not going to get round implementing the new file system and Avalon, why would it worth upgrading?

3. What are the most obvious technological advances with Vista that will entice people to upgrade?

I'm not that familiar up with these issues, so a few brief answers would be cool.

thanks
Posted by City_Of_LA (118 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Many Things
Vista is based on Windows Server 2003. alothouh, its does not offer hugly new thing but many things are good that xp and all other win users can thingk of it as a upgrade. like inbuilt anti-sayware, anti-virus, 3d interface, scalable window, fast file search, virtual folders, preview file without opening, better hardware support, auto-virus stop (if using Athlon 64). and many thing.
Posted by (128 comments )
Link Flag
re
1. No one really knows at this point. All Vista is, are a few promises about how they are going to do things right, for once. Look at the(so far) minimum requirements. Outlandish for an operating system. If you need a gamer system, just to run a OS GUI, something has gone seriously wrong. We will see as the beta progresses.

2. Probably not. More defragging, more third party apps to secure it, blah blah blah. If they fix most of the security issues, it might be worth it, then again, it probably isn't since other OS'es have been reasonably secure for years. Look at the underwhelming upgrade numbers from the NT and 98 paths. It doesn't matter how old a piece of software is, if it get the job done, why waste money?

3. For a complete list look at what has been going on with the last 2-3 OSX upgrades, and what has been happening with the Linux kernel and desktops. Seriously. What they will use to entice people is a vague and deceptive use of the word innovation and its derivitives. One good thing is that IE7 will not be a part of the OS, hopefully that will cure a few of the security issues, for the rest of IE7 innovations, look at current and upcoming features of Firefox.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
OS
An OS upgrade for which you have to ask yourself "is it worth is" probably isn't. Maybe there will be more reason for upgrading once they release the full version, but I doubt it. The one reason would be WinFS, but even that isn't that interesting.

So it seems like MS isn't offering any reason to upgrade, but maybe there will be some must have 3rd party applications that will *require* the new GUI, but that seems unlikely since it's just eyecandy. To be honest I'm using 2000, since XP offered next to nothing for me. When I got my laptop I had a choice between the two (2K or XP) and I chose 2K and am glad I did. Next time I get a computer, probably in the next three years, it will have Vista on it, but maybe I'll buy a 2K disk and downgrade it if it annoys me.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
It's a fair move...
.... whatever else, MS deserves to collect from anyone using their
software. So the requirement for 'proof of purchase' is totally
legitimate. I am not a fan of MS, but I did pay real money for the
copies of XP on my five PC's. And should I ever consider moving to
Vista, I will pay for that too. (Just don't hold your breath....)
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
they assume you are stupid.
So the only place online to get updates is from the microsoft site? I would assume that if you are smart enuf to have a pirate OS that you can find pirate updates...
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People don't always know
That their OS is a pirated copy, for example if they got it preloaded on some home made pc or on eBay where this is rife. Microsoft will now go after the unscrupulous sellers who put out bad copies. Not that long ago I bought "Quicken" on eBay and it turned out to be a pirated copy. I posted negative feedback, but it seems like nobody cares (including Quicken). Now the next time I buy a pirated copy of MS product at least I'll be able to file a report and maybe get a new CD.

The add-ons offered are generally pretty lame (wallpapers), but not always, I like the MS Anti-Spyware, for example. They might extend this to other products, such as office and their games (which I don't play, but there's room for value there). So it's not like this will end piracy, but it will have some effect especially for those who got pirated copies without wanting such a copy.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
big business mentality
"...one of the few ways for Microsoft to grow its Windows business..."

You have to love the big business mentality. Keep growing no matter what... keep those share prices rising...
Posted by Efrow (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open letter to Microsoft
While I am deeply concerned over Microsofts bottom line, and outraged over the reported loss of $41 billion in revenue to your company in 2004 as a result of alleged piracy, I want you to know, and I would ask that you also inform Mr. Tim Prime in your Canadian subsidiary, that my privacy is even more important to me than my substantial ire over the crippling losses Microsoft now suffers at the hands of ruthless software pirates.

All businesses must take legitimate measures to protect their investments and intellectual property. A virtual pat-down every time I have to download another patch to fix another bug in the alpha-priced beta-release of your software is not a legitimate means of protecting your interests. Fortunately, I think Ive found a way to protect my legitimate expectation of privacy and my reasonable demand that my business relationships be based on freedom of choice and good will: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.linux.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.linux.org/</a>
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Replace "Virtual Pat-down" with
Virtual Cavity Search. OOooo. That kinda tickles, don't it? :D
Posted by (461 comments )
Link Flag
I think
You are overreacting a bit.
Posted by Sboston (498 comments )
Link Flag
Dangerous slop they are standing on
Here's a way for microsoft to increace their revenue:

Every few months after some major security update is released, and they tell you that your copy isn't valid. You don't have your origional recipt, so they tell you that the sticker on the top of your computer is fake, thus making you buy a new copy. The problem, several months later, it happens again and you have to buy ANOTHER one.

This may be extreme, but can't see it not happening. Once they start this, it would be easy for them to turn it into a subscription service.

The people who are good at pirating are probably going to find a way around this, so it's the honest user who will be taken for a ride.
Posted by startiger (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who does it stop?
Security measures don't stop pirates or hackers. Such measures are designed to keep legit users in line.

For every wall, there is a ladder.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Getting around Piracy Check.
This is not a tutorial.

I have already seen sights that have those add-ons and updates available for download. Guess what you don't have to use the Piracy Checker to get them either.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who validates the validaters?
I just tried to validate the copy of XP that I bought through Amazon.com for $100 about 6 months ago. Guess what? M$ says it is invalid! Big surprise, they want me to buy another copy! More theft from M$; of course, that's what I expected the validation program to be all about anyway. By the way, the last time I installed, after a crash, I had to get a new code over the phone from M$; now they say they never issued it.
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about Compaq
Compaq does not supply an individual oem copy of XP. it is part of a restore cd set which you must burn when you purchace the computer, the only product code it supplies in the paperwork is one for the MS Office trial it also includes, So how will a user like myself be able to verify ownership of a copy?
Posted by Maniacus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simple
Go to HP for the updates, not MS. When HP (Compaq) bought the
OEM license, they also agreed to provide all support for the OS.
MS doesn't really want to hear from you if you didn't buy the OS
directly from them.

Personally, I think that this is one very big wimp-out by MS. It IS
their OS, no one has changed anything, but this was MS gets out
of having to provide any support for their own product. Must
save them a bundle, plus the bundle they got for the OEM
license - looks good on the bottom line........
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
The "Microsoft Windows Update" site FLAT-OUT LIED...
When I ran "Windows Update", I was told that, "Your Windows installation requires a software update". The reason for this "update" was stated to be that, "some of my software components" required "updates". The further explanation given, for the "update", was that this "update" was designed to give me "Faster Updates" and "Better navigation" of the "update-process". It said nothing about trying to "Validate" my copy of Windows".

And then, ...surprisingly, ...the ONLY-THING installed, WAS the Microsoft "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool".

Let me make this PERFECTLY clear...

The ONLY REASON I regularly run "Update" is to patch the ENDLESS series of SECURITY-HOLES, and BUGS in "Microsoft Windows".

I did not load any "add-ons".

I did not authorize the "Piracy-check".

I was NOT informed of the REAL nature of the "...update".

I was NOT allowed to decline the investigation of my PERFECTLY-LEGAL-COPY of Windows.

In short, Microsoft LIED TO ME to get what they wanted. They commandeered MY COMPUTER for THEIR OWN business-whims.

And, you wonder why I am now, also, running "Linux", ...or, why I have "Automatic Updates" turned-off..?

Here is a suggestion for Microsoft, to help cut down on "piracy". Produce a BETTER PRODUCT (instead of the JUNK that you have FORCED upon the world). And, charge a BETTER PRICE (instead of DEMANDING profit-margins that exceed those of ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, ...including ILLEGAL-DRUGS).
Posted by Gayle Edwards (262 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Microsoft does what it does
Microsoft did all those things for one reason and one reason only. They assumed you are stupid and don't know any better. Big Brother took it upon itself to check your machine and install updates that aren't really updates.

Luckly for us, we actually do have a choice. We can all abandon windows and become mac users. We can also all switch to various distros of linux or even FreeBSD.

We still have the power to choose, no matter what Microsoft tries to convince us otherwise.

Personally, I'm considering switching to linux. I've been eyeing fedora core 4 myself.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Perception of need...
As long as they can provide a perception of need for any update, software or configuration setting that benefits them, they will push that perception out to the users.

You don't own the software anyway, they do.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
1 Billion served
1 Billion served. So, let me see....

They spend 1 billion us$ on a good set of OSs for systems from 100mb up to current dual core 64s.

They sell them through downloads for 5 us$ each.

That's a 4 billion us$ profit...not enought for anyone?

PS...they haven't lost anything by illegal loaders, those people wouldn't or couldn't pay and today they have an excellant alternative in Linux with only a small learning curve (even the games work when installed through WINE...I even got a foxpro database program to load through WINE).

end rant
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft Windows Update
The ONLY REASON I regularly run "Update" is to patch the ENDLESS series of SECURITY-HOLES, and BUGS in "Microsoft Windows".

I did not load any "add-ons".

I did not authorize the "Piracy-check".

I was NOT informed of the REAL nature of the "...update".

I was NOT allowed to decline the investigation of my Windows.


I hear what you say. Last Tuesday Microsoft LIED TO ME as well so that they could hijack my system. When I updated all I saw was the WinXP Pro logo in the top right of the screen then suddenly all of my system files and DLLs were being attacked, identified as corrupt and immediately erased. Yes the system was completely erased, by a MS virus/trojan

I was not even given the graciousness of being able to submit any kind of report and claim a free copy of WinXP.

The only compensation I ask of these creeps is that they kindly replace my 10,000 odd archived emails which have been kindly destroyed by this laffarious act of wanton stupidity BY MICROSOFT
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
If You are So Unhappy With MS
Why not switch to the crappy and overpriced OSX or "free" and user-unfriendly Linux? I believe those open source fanatics will welcome you :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
It's Downhill from Here
The first sign of a product in decline are draconian tactics to boost sales numbers. The problem is that it is a temporary (if it works at all) increase in revenue.

Windows has hit the ceiling. It faces increased competition from Linux, which once commoditized will force Microsoft to drastically reduce the price of Windows.

It faces adoption of Linux by some of the big kids on the block (IBM, Sun, even Intel). Mac OSX is moving to Intel, and though it remains to be seen how that will effect the PC market, the potential is for more commoditized versions of Macs as well.

While MS will continue to be dominant in the OS market for the foreseeable future, I think it is entirely possible that their marketshare will sink to 70-75% within five years.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
My real OEM software doesn't work now...
...and I just don't get it. It is sealed Microsoft product that I bought on Ebay as an OEM product. It has a real COA/Product Key and until yesterday, was allowed the updates. My question is: Why is this product now not valid? You can buy OEM OS from TigerDirect and Amazon. These companies are not going to put themselves in the position to get MircoSoft upset with them, so what is the real story behind OEM software?
Posted by jjsweeney2000 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
OEM Licence
Actually no company can sell an OEM copy of Windows with out approved hardware (mouse, memmory, full pc, etc.). Now, as far as I know Microsoft doesn't have a way to keep track of whether or not you purchased and OEM copy with approved hardware, but companies like Amazon or just an individual can be in violation of the OEM licence agreement if they sell it without approved hardware.

Another part of the OEM licence is that it can't be transfered to a different system. For example, if your computer is hit by lightning and turned into a door stop you are supposed to buy a new copy of Windows with your new PC. Unless of course you purchased it with a mouse and you move the mouse to the new system, but if you change a mouse you have to buy a new copy of Windows.

Ever wonder why Microsoft doesn't charge for the point upgrades like Apple does? Because they are charging you for a new OS everytime you buy a new peice of hardware if you follow the rules. Most people don't.

Buying from Amazon or eBay doesn't mean you are getting it from a reputible source. Amazon has listing from other companies. eBay doesn't sell those products either. If you get a copy of Windows Pro Full OEM for less than a $100 then you probably should be worried.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
You don't own....
... a legitimate copy. In other words, you were ripped off.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
You don't need them?
So you are saying your computer is fine with only the lame MS security center up and running?

In your dreams.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You Don't Need Crappy Linux or OSX
Of course, unless you only care about beautiful UI :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
You Gotta Love Microsoft-Euphemisms...
"Software Assurance" - Whose only "assurance" is that Microsoft maintains a bloated revenue stream, by requiring its customers to lock themselves into future Microsoft-software purchases, and agree to upgrade on Microsofts time-table, ...not when customers want to, or actually need to.

"Get The Facts" - Whose only real "fact" is that Microsoft has spent tens of millions of dollars in a huge, anti-Linux, disinformation and propaganda-campaign.

Trusted Computing - Which is actually designed purely to insure that Microsoft, and their "licensees", can "trust" that your computer will only obey them, ...not you.

And now...

"Genuine Advantage" - Whose only actual "advantage" is apparently to give Microsoft even more, compulsive-control, over computer-users.

These Microsoft initiative-names would almost be funny, if Microsoft werent a repeatedly- convicted Illegal-Monopoly, who has been caught, on numerous occasions, lying to, cheating, and stealing from... people, institutions, governments, and elements of the computer-industry, all over the world.

You know... The more I think about it, the more such Microsoft-isms remind me of "new-speak" from George Orwells book - "1984".

This "Orwellian-connection" would also explain why, of all the posters here, there are only a few who consistently support all of Microsofts actions, ...no matter how outrageous, or unreasonable. Maybe, its just their job. Perhaps, these people actually work for the "Microsoft Ministry of Customer-Love", and the "Microsoft Ministry of Computer-Industry Truth".

Perhaps, Microsofts "War against Piracy" is just a manipulative social-policy designed to maintain the Status-Quo of Microsofts-monopoly, ...at all costs.

HHmmm...

Microsoftia is at war with Software-Pirates. Microsoftia has always been at war with Software-Pirates.

Proprietary is Freedom. Open-Source is Slavery.

2 + 2 = ?

Does Microsoft actually think that Linux is being used by Linus Torvalds (Microsofts "Emmanuelle Goldstein" ???) to lead the ignorant-proletariat into the unspeakable "Thought-Crime" of user-controllable Open-Source, and societally-subversive free-competition?

Just a thought...
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
Reply Link Flag
microsoft initiate to die
I think Microsoft fill it is initiate a sadly dieing , very slowly but centanly will finish.This polocy, investigate if some one has payed for the OS is not correlate to a "great company" If they are so better be tolerant with poor people that are using his programs sounds good! I'not a Linux or others "ux's".I'm too a Microsoft-Windows user because I fill that is the BETTER ass RCurvello from BRASIL
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The Next Step...
OK you are all going to be real upset when you learn what's next. The next step will be the much anticipated and dreaded renewal fees. You will buy a new computer, set it up and have 30 days use before you have to BUY it again. Sure it won't be 30 days at first, more likely 1 to 2 years.

With the OS cost going up while hardware goes down it will soon be the norm to throw away an entire computer because the software license expired after 1 year.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft's Future
They just have not realized that the Operating System market that they practically invented is going away. Their monopoly in this market has been their biggest advantage in the online services and other software sectors.

Microsoft has been able to diversify and grab large market share in non OS dependant markets. However their continued growth has been bullied by their dominant OS. They have literraly been able to smother competition through the use of their OS leverage. If they lose this advantage it's going to be a very interesting fight for their continued survival.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS will not respond.
I am a victim of a bogus validation code number that I purchased from one of thier authorized OEM computer builders.

I have provided them with everything they asked for, Company name, address, sales reciept, time, date, original sales reciept, even advertisments. Including digital pictures of the boot disk.

That has been three months ago when they announced thier "Amnesty" program. The only response I have is that the program was not yet in process.

MicroSoft have not performed to thier promise.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Ms not respond to my piracy report
Informed ms that i have a counterfeit copy of windows xp, although we never dicovered this til we connected to the internet &#38; were checked for validation, 6 months had pc &#38; it was bought as a xmas gift to my 3 children from my mother in law.
filled out an online report form but have not heard a thing..not even an email to thank me for reporting it.....I'm a victim too, think on MS&gt;
Posted by heidiwelstead (1 comment )
Link Flag
MicroSoft.......
The actually have the nerve to set how many times thier products can be installed...I have a home network and kids..In my case that equals VIRUSES and other problems and resulted in having to install Windows XP enough to where it can't be re-installed again from the OEM Disk that cme with my compaq computer...I can instal from the disk,but it won't activate...I got the crappy restore disks to work and Now Have Acronis Trueimage running on
my system...reboot,activate acronis and 15 minutes and my system is factory fresh again....with all my games and added software also...Hicrosoft is just money hungury...pure and simple..
I called them About this and wanna know what they said ...Sorry sir,you'll have to buy another copy of Windows XP because we can re-instate your cd-key
do to excessive installs...Like hell...Found my way out...

And as for the add ons......well ever here of E-mule????
Posted by Raven20430 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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