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back to article Windows 7 'genuine' nagware winging its way to OS

Microsoft has been keeping a surprisingly low profile about its recent nagware win - could that have anything to do with its latest efforts to sink marauding software pirates? The company confirmed yesterday that it would pump out a Windows Activation Technologies patch for Windows 7 before the end of this month. Microsoft said …

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Bovine Excrement

"Microsoft said the update would scan for over “70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits” in its latest operating system."

Dangerous?

“I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.”

...automatically selected, in the "Critical Updates" section, which your system is configured to install from without asking first...

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Troll

"Dangerous"

To their bottom line I'd imagine.

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Anonymous Coward

WGA

Exactly like WGA. I remember the hullabullo when MS first started pushing that, with a community reaction identical to this Windows 7 version. WGA was never optional, at least on XP. You can fastidiously decline it whenever prompted, and it will still eventually install itself without consent, entirely contrary to all the MS claims about it at the time.

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Apparently no reason for anyone to run it

...unless you don't want to go on being nagged to run it, or don't want to manage manually updates to your system. Which you should do.

Either it does nothing at all, or it decides that you have a bootlegged computer, and cripples it.

No advantage whatsoever in that.

My tip if you do run it: take an image of your legitimately installed system partition first. If the "update" kneecaps your PC, restore from the image and get back a healthy Windows, easy peasy. Unless Microsoft separately stores a record saying that you're a fake, you should be all right.

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Anonymous Coward

or

install linux because windows is crap

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Alert

Hmm ...

Could we have a default first comment extolling the virtues of Linux automatically inserted to the discussion whenever there is a story mentioning Windows ? A fervent pledge to Windows-servitude could be automatically added after that, saving even more time and effort in the long run. These should have a special icon not available to us common riff-raff - like the vulture for the mighty Moderatrix - so that these could be conveniently skipped and ignored. Please ?

[Either that or come clean as to what happened to Sarah Bee ...]

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N2
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Take an image

Everytime I update

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FAIL

Bolleaux

Having had a perfectly legit XP box fuxx0red by Genuine Disadvantage, I ended up with a fresh install playing permanent cat and maus with fking windows update.

I couldn't run the webpage stlye windows update without installing it (it called it a vital update), and every time I refused it in the other update interface and told it never to offer that update again, it kept coming back, Jeremy feckin' Clarkson.

So, I was actually enjoying Win 7, as this huge major annoyance was absent, and it was almost like using a proper computer, like my Linux and MacOS boxes. Sounds like I will have to fiddle endlessly with the Win 7 updater too. It's unfortunate, I had almost got used to using Windows voluntarily on occasions, as the amount of babysitting the damn thing needed was a lot lower than the earlier ones.

Cheers Microsoft, I suppose it was only a matter of a time before you shat on users, shame on me for being fooled. I wish I had pirated bloody Windows 7. I certainly will be for my next Bootcamp install, now. Fucknuggets.

Yeah, ok, so I'm being grumpy, but it's Friday, I want to go home, it's noisy and dangerous here today, and I just had to play yet another game of "dodge the heavy smokers carrying large metal cabinets, which makes it noisy, smelly and dangerous. Oh woe is me!

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Pirate

What's the point?

I have always been and remain mystified as to the purpose of WGA.

I wouldn't use Windows myself even if the alternative were a slow and painful death but my three children do. One of the copies they use is legal (bought with the machine) and the other two aren't. Guess which one has had problems with WGA?

That's right. The only one of the three where I have been nagged was the legal copy.

As a general rule, I have experienced fewer problems with pirated software than legal software (on Windows at least). I still pay for things I like, but even so, I have used pirated copies of software that I have paid for on many occasions. The anti-piracy technology used by most software companies is both annoying and ineffective.

It beats me why a software vendor would think that annoying genuine customers while failing to have any material impact on pirates might be a good idea.

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Coat

Beta Version

Not sure it works,

Im still on Build 7100 fully updated (yep not even RC1) Which is supposed to shut down every 2 hours. It doesn't and continues to work fine..

Mines the one with a unopened copy of win7 in its pocket...

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Boffin

Build 7100 = RC1

To your good health then. Build 7100 *is* RC1.

The 2 hourly shutdown doesn't commence until after 1st March 2010. Run "winver" to confirm. It'll stop working completely from June 1st.

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Pirate

Bye Byte Automatic Update

I'll avoid this the same way I avoided WGA - shut off windows update completely.

Let a third party package handle virus and firewall until I can get wine to run newly released DX games.

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It will become mandatory

It always starts off as optional. Wasn't WGA the same way? The early adopters will be the testers, who let Microsoft work out the kinks ... then make it mandatory!

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It's not mandatory

You don't *have* to install it, but they make you go to an effort not to. If you've got automatic updates, it's installed with them. If you go to the Windows Update site, it's selected by default.

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Yes.

Yep. About 3.5-4 years ago..that was when I switched to Linux.

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WTF?

Wait, what?

“I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.”

I thought you could do that with all updates anyway - disable automatic updates then you will always have the choice to install any update or not.

.... or is there a super-secret level that forces install no matter what?

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Pint

Legitosectomy

Why am I under the impression that some will end up locked out their legit copy?

What can possibly go wrong. Security by patch & update always a nice thing ... ask Apple.

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FAIL

ripped off version?

Surely the author is aware of the completely different meaning of the phrasing used.

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Linux

nag = kill

A little bird told me, "Hey FUgly Pengwyn De author was indEEd feasic

However such nonsense is purely conspiracy theory, cause I can't possibly be talking to little birds. Now could I?

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FAIL

That's why slowly but surely

I'm getting away from Windows. Technically it is not a bad OS, especially if you are a computer literate person (even a moderate one) but I'm getting fed up with the constant humiliation inflicted on me by Microsoft since Windows XP SP3. Up to that point in time I was still treated right by the giant software maker but things have continuously worsened since then. It's been quite a while since I've moved to FOSS even though I'm still on Windows XP for now. Yes, I admit it has a lot of rough edges but at least I'm being treated with respect instead of paying Microsoft to abuse me. Ever since I've seen the Licensing service running permanently in Vista (with a dire warning saying that you can't disable it) my decision was irrevocably made. Sorry, Microsoft, OEMs and retailers, you can count on me for not being your customer.

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Technically

It's shite.

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Flame

Suck it up,

Pay up or fuck off. If you want free, try linux, if nothing else it will make you wish you had paid for your OS in cash instead of your far more valuable time.

Flame on, freetards, it only hurts so much because it's true.

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Anonymous Coward

which bit didn't you get?

The problem with it is that it fucks-ups machine of those who DO pay up. Freetards have no issue with WGA 'cos they get around it.

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Paris Hilton

Retarded Users Still Out There

>>>>Pay up or fuck off. If you want free, try linux, if nothing else it will make you wish you had paid for your OS in cash instead of your far more valuable time.

Flame on, freetards, it only hurts so much because it's true.<<<<

Uh huh. That's why the people with LEGAL copies are the only one's having trouble with this crap. Yeah, you're a retarded lemur ain't ya, Steve?

Paris. Thank God she's legal.

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@The Other Steve

Why the hostility? Fear of the unknown?

On this laptop, running Slackware 13.0-stable, a supposedly "hard to use" version of Linux, about all I do is use it. Here is my entire maintenance routine:

1) crond runs the command 'slackpkg update" 4 times a day.

2) crond emails me notification of any changes in the ChangeLogs.

3) I read the changes (in the email), and decide how "hot" they are.

4) If they are security upgrades for code I'm actually using, I run 'slackpkg upgrade-all' as root and select which of PV's packages I feel comfortable to update without further research[1]

4a) If they aren't security related (rare in -current), I peruse them at my leisure.

5) Occasionally, when bored, I'll run 'slackpkg install-new' to remind myself if there is anything that PV has added to the -stable release (rare).

That's it. Really. Including thru' kernel & major version changes, since Slack10.0-stable (the first OS I installed on this box, right about the time of it's release). Note that I only enter the loop when crond finds changes. If you want to see approximately how much of my valuable time I have "wasted" on this obviously horrendous maintenance schedule, see:

ftp://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/slackware/slackware-13.0/ChangeLog.txt

Now, to be fair, I have other machines running Slackware ... so if everything looks OK, I'll run a shell script that reaches out across the network and updates all of them (it's called UpdateAllSlackBoxen.sh, just to make it hard to run accidentally). After waiting a suitable amount of time (given by me as a command-line argument to the script), the same script makes sure that all the boxen seem to be working fine. If they are, then it sends out a batch of email to 2279 people (currently, 'wc' is your friend) who have asked for a reminder from me when Slackware needs updating (friends, family and ex-students, mostly). In return, said people run a script at their leisure that updates their system(s), and then emails a special account on one of my servers when complete. After about a week, it emails me with a list of names & numbers for people who apparently haven't updated their systems, which I deal with as appropriate to the individual. Occasionally I'll get a call from someone running odd-ball hardware that breaks after an update (sound, mostly), but it's rare. Couple or four times a year, maybe.

Note that the above paragraph is hardly normal, and has nothing to do with a single user running a properly setup Linux box ... but even then, I doubt I've averaged 10 minutes a month over the last 5 years keeping it all together. The Windows networks I used to have to deal with, in comparison, were quite the time sinks ...

[1] I don't allow kernel updates and other large & important bits & pieces until they have been out for a couple days and I've had a chance to read thru' the mailing lists & Usenet, I'm not that stupid! crond also backs up my system several times a day to several geographically diverse servers, so even in the event that PV makes a mistake and trashes my system, I'm covered. Hasn't happened (yet).

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Anonymous Coward

Actually started using.....

I actually started using the Penguin not because it's free, but because "It Just Works" (read: Quality) and it comes with loads of pretty damn good software that can be downloaded out of the repositories, meanwhile commercial OS's, namely Apple and MS are stuck back in last centuries paradigm of software distribution. Oh yeah, no viruses, no defragging, no registry corruption, at this point I pay for Linux support although the system's so stable sometimes I wonder if it's just from paranioa. If fact FOSS has set the bar so high that for Windows 7, I'd require Microsoft to PAY ME to run it, it's that bad in comparison to what so-called "freetard" software delivers and delivers without any drama.

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Coat

This is the kind of crap that pisses me off

Not so long ago, you had to be more than moderately computer literate to get Windows running on a system. And to be honest, you still need to be more than moderately computer literate to fix any problems with Windows. But most of those involve removing viri and spy/ad/scare/mal-ware. The rest of the time is spent getting different crap software to work together to get data passed between them to have productive users.

-Mines the one with the Linux live boot on USB in the pocket.

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Linux

Preah on brother!

I'm running Slackware 12.2 on an old N610c and it boots faster than my XP laptop that is less than a year old. Must be all the extra 'security' features to keep it safe.

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Unhappy

@jake

Although I have scripts that do similar to your setup, I wouldn't post about how this makes it easy to maintain. It comes across as condescending to "normal" users, and frankly is one of the prime reasons *nix is held back. It's not the OS, it's the community that doesn't recognise what Apple and MS have done in terms of embracing non-IT-literate communities.

MS patches/updates/WGAs that completely bork an installation are rare. Generally, they just work.

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Time?

That's the main reason I give old PCs with Linux mint to friends who can't afford a Mac.

Windows is far too much work.

And the activation is a big chunk of time.

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@AC 11:13

I disagree.

My post was in a supposed technical forum (RedTop that it is ...). It was intended for technical people, who hopefully have a clue. I would never approach the issue in the same manor to end-users. There is no point. They don't have the background, and their brain would shut off halfway through the first paragraph.

That doesn't alter the point that Linux CAN be made easier to use than anything that comes out of Redmond or Cupertino ... IF the end-user can be shown how to spend their time/money in the right places.

Someone who actually understands both Linux and how the end-user plans to use the system can usually setup an OS/distro like Slackware to blissfully fade into the background as said user uses the applications to get on with their lives. It usually takes me about 4-8 hours to observe the user and install a system designed specifically for them. I rarely get more than one or two support calls after the initial install and system walk-through (see the Firefox icon? It does the same thing it did on your Windows desktop. Etc.)

My Dad jokingly suggested that I re-install XP on my techno-phobic Mom's computer, because they never see me anymore now that she's running Slackware. I took it as a non-joke, and now the Wife and I make sure we alternate visiting my 90+ year old Great Aunt (also running Slackware[1]) and my parents (mid-70s) on a regular basis. The only difference is that I get to visit with them, instead of working on their computers while my wife visits ... A much nicer turn of events :-)

[1] Funny story about the Great Aunt ... I brought her a Slackware box after spending four weekends in a row cleaning up malware on her XP system. She refused to use it, because it was "too hard to make a change at my age". Several weeks later, I realized that I hadn't had any support calls from her. I called to see what was up. It turned out that her sister in Finland had sent her some pictures right about the time that the XP box crapped out again. Out of desperation, she booted up the Slack box ... and hasn't looked back. Several months later, she asked me to "get rid of that old thing", pointing at the now working again XP box. I couldn't convince her that I could install the same version of Slack on it, with it's more modern CPU, more RAM, larger harddrive, etc. To her, the OS+hardware were a lemon that couldn't be fixed. She's a Linux advocate now, in her "over 90" club ... but unfortunately, she calls it "the version of windows that my nephew gave me" ...

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Gates Horns

RE: It will become mandatory

I think it will stay optional..... until SP1 comes out and it will incorporated into this.

Needlesss to say I won't be installing their service pack or this update :oP

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FAIL

Why do they bother?

I can't believe they pay money to someone to write the code behind this crap... I'm pretty sure it will be cracked in under 48 hours anyway!

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Gates Halo

Err, no, don't install linux...

...just wait for an improved loader from DAZ.

(Yeah, right. I'm gonna switch to a minority desktop OS just because of a little thing like WAG/WAT.)

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Happy

We really don't mind you

running your Windows with this killswitch in it and with the possibility of having to pay again just because because Microsoft believes you are a thief. If a minority desktop OS scares you that much to endure all this then there is nothing that might help you. Just pray every 90 days that somebody else in this world did not manage to get your activation info.

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Linux

Well, that removes a decision...

I keep on flirting with the idea of maybe trying 7, but after all the rubbish with WGA there is no way I'm going back to Wins again now!

My older Windows copy is all tied up, it is authourised through WGA, but some little connected widget is needed to authourise upgrading of .netty things which does not recognise this, which in turn stops me installing useful FOSS software on there.

After spending 2 hours with M$ Customer 'Support' and getting nowhere, I installed Ubuntu in a quarter of that time and all has been bliss for 12 months. Incidentally, M$ had no argument with my copy being genuine, they just couldn't find any way to over-rule the software. Of course, there is always the reinstall but I don't have a full day with no productivity to spare.

Incidentally (II), I have spent less than two hours following up Ubuntu problems in a whole year, being a totally from-scratch beginner. As an experienced 16 years Windows user and one-time-repairer of Winstalls, I never had a year that light!

Ooo, look... Tux!

nK

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FAIL

WAT KILLSWITCH ENGAGED?

WAT is Malware

My only advice is use the correct OS + hardware which get's the job done correctly. that takes a certain amount of pre planning design, financial ability to spend on security, hardware backup strategy, network maintenance, app debugging takes time, if you have 3rd party expensive hardware (like Capture Cards, Cameras, Rack Effects, Mixers, or other such heavy duty nonsense, I even hear PRINTERS Lol ) you would be wise to see if it even runs at all, also same thing for OLD 16 bit workaholic applications. xp vm / WOW my hardware turd stink. My third observation is that already people are calling and asking for my help with win7 problems. (and to my further joy a bunch of different versions of 64 bit vs 32 bit and other fun nonsense like classic vs new desktops. My response is to hand them an XP 32/64 disk / manual and an Ubuntu 32/64 disk magazine. Sad but that's where I am. Software is a disaster also wasting MONTHS to debug to a stable system, only to get zapped at update. I remember the good old days of ftp updates.

now I said WAT is Malware right?

It's a KILL SWITCH that's why I call it malicious. Going to allow that kind of crap in our aircraft, cars, rockets, voting machines next? a kill switch?

Interestingly enough, I notice most Vista users have finally shut up about their unsorted problems. e.g. they have more than one box and run the hardware there.

Win7 users support recent and steady problems . All stubborn problems are ultimately sorted by hardware changes. So that is something to think about. And money .. That's another consideration.

Who knows you might get lucky and really like it a lot with new hardware. I know some with this and they actually have some problems too right now I might note now that I think of it. heh

e.g. They like it but they do got some minor (I hope) problems. Moviemaker Live Download or somethin? That rocked. (I don't use it argh yuck)

In fairness I had the same kind of problems only a couple years ago, with sata and choice of os. Look at OS's now and sata. Smokin Ready to Rock or specifically patched for the initial boost. But what are you doing with the box? Going to the moon or a baby's arm holding an apple?

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Guz

When WAT Fails

Microsoft Phone Support: Thank you for calling Microsoft, all calls may be monitored for training purposes and to ensure quality of service. Now, what seems to be the problem ...

Customer: That's right.

*pause*

Microsoft Phone Support: ... ? Sir, you have to give me more information.

Customer: I'll tell you my problem. WAT is my problem.

Microsoft Phone Support: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question, you haven't told me yet.

Customer: I didn't ask you a question.

Microsoft Phone Support: Then why did you call? Why do you need help?

Customer: WAT's wrong. I can't activate Windows 7 but I just bought it!

Microsoft Phone Support: Okay, let's try to diagnose this problem. What's wrong?

Customer: Yes, I already said that, I know WAT is wrong! That is precisely why I called!

Microsoft Phone Support: Wait, why are you calling?

Customer: WAT!

Microsoft Phone Support: I said, why are you calling?!

Customer: WAT! WAT, GODDAMNIT, WAT!!!

Customer: What's your name? I need to talk to your supervisor.

Microsoft Phone Support: Hu.

Customer: (head explodes)

(shamelessly stolen from slashdot)

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Happy

sounds like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first base"

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/humor4.shtml

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Stop

Article missed the 'periodic (initially 90 day) revalidation'...

Last paragraph of the MS blog post... they intend to have WAT phone home every 90 days to ensure it still is valid.

Opens the door to having a legal copy, someone abusing the key and you (the legal owner) suddenly finding yourself being downgraded through no fault of your own. Rare but still going to happen to someone, somewhere...

I'm happy to have the key checked online when installing/activating for the first time, that doesn't bother me in the slightest. Sitting in the background and rechecking every 90 days when I know my copy is legal and the only "benefit" I'd gain is the (albeit extremely rare) possibility of MS deciding I'm now illegal and downgrading me... yeah I'm not installing this.

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Gates Horns

TRWTF

"Last paragraph of the MS blog post... they intend to have WAT phone home every 90 days to ensure it still is valid"

Yeah, I saw this too. Like, what, did the machine suddenly become illegal? That there is TRWTF..

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Anonymous Coward

Watch my lips Microsoft....

Your operating systems aren't widely pirated despite WAT and other paranoid security devices, which start off as voluntary but very quickly become nothing of the kind. They're pirated - among other reasons of course, some less than honest - BECAUSE of the problems you cause. And of course partly because of your obscenely greedy pricing structures.

I mean - what would you think if the police knocked on your door every month to re-check again and again that your car actually belonged to you? (That's a joke by the way, Mr Plod.)

I'm no Linux fanboi, but it's coming to something when the very best ally Linux has in this world is ... Microsoft.

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Jobs Horns

Microsoft Sales?

(slightly made up for ease of point illustrating)

Buying Windoze 07 online,

Australia costs $400.

USA costs $200.

Australians try to buy from USA.

Microsoft blocks the purchase from their USA site/s on IP address and shipping address.

Stupid Australians choose to pay 2 X as much for their "customer loyalty" as Americans.

Me thinks Ha Ha Ha Ha.... uses Ubuntu Linux.

Microsoft are Arseholes.

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Coat

TWAT update

The Windows Activation Technologies update?

lets all call it TWATting please.

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WTF?

windows 7 wga

if microsoft keep on nagging there customers with there annoying ways of treating them. people will just move to apple cause the way they go on is crazy people its no wonder people move to other oses. people got annoyed when microsoft released the uac program which nagged everytime people opened a program it asked for confirmation i mean how pathetic does microsoft have to go even vista sucked. the problem with microsoft is the only thing they care about is money money money they dont give a shit about there customers simple as that and i have been with windows since me i had a me machine and almost every day i had to take it to this computer store to get it fixed only a day or 2 later a different problem acured. i think its time i moved to applefor a change

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Coat

wat

wat

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FAIL

hmmm interesting, they claim its just being released?

"The company confirmed yesterday that it would pump out a Windows Activation Technologies patch for Windows 7 before the end of this month."

+

"In addition MS will make WAT available for download through its Microsoft.com/genuine website on 16 February. The Microsoft Download Center will get the update a day later, it said."

I wonder just how effective this patch is going to be? every 2 to 3 days i get a little message in the bottom right corner of my screen that says "This copy of Windows is not genuine" it rides there for a day or so, then i get this wonderful little popup that tells me i may be a victim of counterfeiting and offers me a link explaining the "benefits" of having legit software and the various ways i can shovel money to M$ in order to make this message disappear?

Its a very interesting sequence of events, the only steps required to correct the problem is to simply ignore it, it'll go away for a day or so, then come back.

If i were in fact running pirated software, i would say that this technology is working as intended. but i'm not, I have a technet subscription, which i pay for every year, which grants me a license to use all of the titles available on technet on up to 10 computers. not to mention my laptop included a free windows 7 upgrade, therefore i'm covered by 2 licenses...

Excellent work once again microsoft...

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Gold badge

Not much time

@The Other Steve, whatever. Something like Ubuntu installs quickly (about 15 minutes, and that's just on a P4), easily, and holds your hand through everything else. First time I go to a page that needs Flash or Java, it's like "Click Next to install Flash" and it does (if I haven't already installed it). I can install any other apps I want by checking boxes and clicking "install", and it'll download and install them all at once. It's truly not the time sink you think it is. Obviously, if your plan is to install like Visual Studio, Quickbooks, and Outlook, and stick it on a domain, installing Linux then forcing it to do that would be a waste of time (well, other than the domain, AD integration in Linux is easy now.)

The only difficulties I've had with modern Linuxes is stuff that is just considered impossible with Windows (most recently, trying to set up a 10-head computer, with 5 dual-head video cards.)

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WTF?

WGD

I've fallen foul of WGA on a used machine -- it had the license stamp and everything but WGA decided "no" and that was it. Solved that problem temporarily by putting Win2K on it. Solved the problem permanently by moving to Linux.

Modern Windows is a resource hog. It gives you very little value for what it takes away. For day to day use Linux does more with less. If you need the additional eyecandy then buy a Mac -- the hardware's not particularly cheap but its high quality and the OS just works.

Every time I get an upgrade patch for XP the system degrades a little more....

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Gates Horns

It takes a theif

M$ just thinks that Windows users are a bunch of tWATs for stealing it's software built on the corpses of better software houses and dared them to sue.

This could also be the thin edge of a wedge to annoy users into getting used to renting their Windows sic Azure.

Hey Reg, we need a dancing Ballmer of something like that to go along with evil Bill.

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