Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stick this in your product and activate it!

I own three copies of Windows.

Three separate and different copies of Windows, not counting the ones that came before Windows XP. There's Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and of course the Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, the most ridiculous name yet. Of course there was the before time, before XP. When XP came out it was a saviour for PC users. It rescued us from Windows Me, and to a lesser extent, Windows2000. I never had Windows Me but I did own a copy of Windows2000. And Windows 98, both the original and the Second Edition (98SE), and Windows95b.

By "own" I mean I paid for them. I have the hologram imprinted discs, the manuals and the Certificates of Authenticity.

Enter product activation.

While product activation and licensing servers are common for business and industrial software ... Windows XP gave many casual computer users their first introduction to it. The system was introduced by Microsoft to curb unauthorized distribution of Windows XP. Activation requires the computer or the user to activate with Microsoft within a certain amount of time in order to continue using the operating system. If the user's computer system ever changes — for example, if two or more relevant components of the computer itself are upgraded — Windows may refuse to run until the user reactivates with Microsoft.

-Wikipedia, WindowsXP, Product Activation

So I tried to install Windows on my computer and got the message to activate Windows or it will stop working in 30 days. Okay, whatever. We're used to Microsoft making us pay extraordinary amounts of money for the privilege of being forced to jump through their many hoops.

Click. Wait.

Turns out I have installed it more than the number of times I'm allowed to install it. Doesn't tell me how many times that was, but the last time was, well, the last time. I have not gone and installed in on several different machines, I have only two computers and the other one is running Vista. I'm just doing a format and re-install here. But here we are, with Microsoft refusing to activate my Windows online.

Fine. Close the stupid activation crap. I still got 30 days. I'll go to the Microsoft website. Maybe there is something there that will tell me why, with my genuine Windows disc and authentic CD-Key, can't I activate my software? More to the point, why the f*** should I have to?

So I'm looking through all this Genuine Advantage crap on the Microsoft site, looking for some way to say, hey, I'm a customer, fix me up here, and all I can find is a page that is basically selling copies of Windows over the net. They say I'm in Australia and my price to activate Windows it $238.00. And when I pay, they'll e-mail me a new CD-Key, activate Windows and

Then up pops a Survey about the Microsoft Genuine Advantage.

Wow. Wasn't that rich?
  • Question 1
    What was your initial reaction to discovering that you do not have a genuine copy of Windows?
  1. No real reaction
  2. Expected
  3. Disbelief or suspicion
  4. Surprise or shock
  5. Other (please specify)
Well, I was pretty bloody surprised that somehow my copy of Windows went from genuine to non-genuine overnight! The CD looks the same... maybe something has changed on the hologram... I bet terrorists had something to do with this!

  • Question 2

How did you become aware you were using Non Genuine Windows software on your PC

(choose one)
  1. Went to download center to download Microsoft Software
  2. Popup appeared on my computer informing me I was running a Non Genuine license of Windows
  3. Went to install Internet Explorer v7, Windows Media Player, Windows Defender
  4. Wanted my updates from Windows Update
  5. Other (please specify)
Again, no option to clear my name. And do I get the feeling that I have already been assumed guilty of using Non Genuine Software? The accusations keep coming.

  • Question 3
How do you feel about not having a genuine copy of Windows?
  1. It does not bother me
  2. Somewhat uncomfortable
  3. Very uncomfortable
  4. Other (please specify)
  • Question 4
After being informed that you do not have a genuine copy of Windows, why did you choose not to click on any links to continue?
  1. Not interested in obtaining a genuine copy
  2. Plan on switching to a non Microsoft operating system (ie Linux, Mac, etc)
  3. Did not understand the steps
  4. Need more information
  5. Planning to purchase Vista
  6. Need time to think about next steps
  7. Believe my copy of Windows is genuine
  8. Need to research price
  9. Concerned Microsoft may be able to identify me
  10. Other (please specify)
  • Question 5
Which of the following actions do you plan to take as a result of finding out that your copy of Windows is not genuine? (Please select all that apply)
  1. Contact my PC reseller
  2. Contact Microsoft
  3. Try again
  4. Obtain another copy of Windows
  5. Purchase a Genuine Advantage Kit for Windows XP
  6. None of the above
I couldn't help notice that Question 5 has no "Other (please specify)" option. Well, that and the fact the there is the presumption that I'm a pirate. Who the hell would take this survey? Who is it aimed at? Surely not their customers that have purchased legitimate copies of their software! It seems a lot like a fear tactic to scare you into buying a CD-Key. Clearly this is aimed at pirates (who probably don't scare easily). I checked out the next page of the survey just to see how much further they could insult me.

  • Question 6
For statistical purposes only, we need to know your total household income for 2006. Please indicate which of the following categories best represents your total family income.
  • Question 7
Are you male or female?
  • Question 8
What year were you born?
  • Question 9
What is the highest degree or level of education you have completed?
  • Question 10
Listed below are different ways people might use to acquire a variety of software, both operating system software and other types of applications. For each of these, please indicate which you would consider as a way to acquire operating system software (like Windows) for your business.

(choose as many as apply)
  1. Buy used software
  2. Purchase from system builder who is a certified Microsoft Partner
  3. Upgrade your software without having a genuine or legal copy of the version to be upgraded
  4. Buy software from a private party, such as a friend, co-worker or at a garage/tag sale
  5. Bring software home from work to install on a home computer
  6. Purchase from a reputable online retailer such as
  7. Purchase software for less money in another country
  8. Access activation keys online that allow you to activate more copies of software
  9. Purchase software from a street vendor or market stall (such as a flea market)
  10. Purchase from a national retail chain such as Best Buy
  11. Download software from a peer-to-peer network such as Kazaa or Morpheus
  12. Purchase software from an auction site, like Ebay
  13. Use academic software for home or commercial use
  14. Use software you already have for one PC on another different PC
  15. Borrow software from a friend or co-worker
  16. None of the above
Well that's as far as I went with that survey. What a bunch of dopes. To purchase MacOS X costs under $200.00 and has no product activation. Besides, MacOS X is what the $700.00+ Windows Vista Ultimate Edition copied all its best features from! Damn, I can't wait to ditch this Windows crap for good.

Oh, by the way, the product activation for my WindowsXP gave me a toll-free phone number to call support. When i rang and gave him the activation number, the Indian guy on the other end of the line asked me three times if I had that copy of Windows installed on any other machines. I assured him that I did not and he gave me the activation code. All is good and that is all behind me.

Still. Can't wait to buy my first Intel Mac...

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