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back to article MS beefs up WinXP Pro's anti-piracy nagware

Microsoft wants to rein in more Windows XP pirates over the coming weeks, by pushing out a new version of its “nagware” which detects when a machine is running a fake copy of the OS. The company’s Genuine Windows director Alex Kochis said yesterday that Redmond will release the latest version of its Windows Genuine Advantage ( …

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Pirate

I've got a genuine version of windows

Came of the same CD used to install on each of my entire family's PCs and some work colleagues too! Good job its has a hologram thingy on it!

Of course, it isn't anywhere near as useful as the bootleg copy I got which has SATA drivers built into the install system...

Harrr, me hearties! I see booty in yonder Paris

Anon, 'cause I have to pull me 3-pointed hat down over my internet connection!

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Tom
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

If MS think...

People will say

"Oh dear it seems my copy of XP may not be real, I better go to Best Buy and get a new computer with Vista"

They are dreaming.

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Proudly Pirate.

I have a genuine licensed copy of windows, but use TinyXP, a pirate version, why?? cos every few months, or whenever I change a disk drive it would tell me it needed re-verifying, then fail to verify and force me to use my lunch break to phone Micro$hit.

Why do I still use Windows??

Two reasons, first to keep up with whatever my mother does when she "breaks" her business PC and, well, I'm lazy!!!

Paris, cos she still thinks windows are something the staff open.

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Happy

ohhhh more IT fun for all!

I guess I should thank Microsoft for giving me more job security, because I KNOW there is going to be someone out there that is going to create spyware or a virus that will mimic this process... fantastic.. Not many end-users are going to be able to tell a faked active desktop background from the REAL nagware warning. Woohooo

Thanks to Microsoft... I get to enjoy nightmarish meeting about privacy concerns with implementing IE 8 with its "privacy mode" into an enterprise , Vista and its wonderful enchancements, but we also get to have people calling us saying their machines desktop background of some puppy is now gone and they are getting an endless array of popups. So much for the slow days of work...

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Stop

You're Nicked!

'Ello 'Ello 'Ello Wot's this we 'Ave 'Ere then?

So tell me El Reg, how exactly did you produce that screenshot with the black screen and the counterfeit notice?

I must warn you that anything you say will be taken down and may be used in evidence against you.

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J
Joke

@Microsoft:Racism?

That was a good one, sir... But are you *denigrating* Microsoft, by any chance!?

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J
Black Helicopters

Seriously now...

There should be a law: If the software providers stop selling/supporting a product, they must release the "abandoned" product's source code to the public domain or something like that, as long as anyone can use. That would take care of most of these problems, no?

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Paris Hilton

M$ lost the plot...

...about 2-3 years ago when they in$i$ted on pu$hing out completely unready $h!t whil$t not recogni$ing that mo$t bu$ine$$e$ were very happy $taying on XP, or 2000, or NT4.

Unfortunately, Linux lo$t the plot when they all became "democratic" and offered a million ver$ion$ of the $ame underlying $ound O$, confu$ing the hell out of of potential user$, developer$, etc...

$o, Job$ roll$ onward$ for the kid$, dome$tic and arty-to$$er$ market$ whil$t everyone el$e who i$ not a freetard, commie, or lo$er $tick$ with....XP, 2000, NT4 for the next 2-3 year$ planning horizon.

Linux = lo$er$

Micro$oft = lo$er$

MacO$ = $....despite it being a pile of candy girlie cr@p

I know you hate it, but $$$ because its all all ultinately about more, or less, $$$, whether you like that or not! A bit like Pari$

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Mother support...

Hey guy with Mother problem - you should install a reverse VNC server on her PC for support: http://www.vncscan.com/vs/oneclickVNC.htm

You are welcome...

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Pirate

paint the screen black every 60 minutes

MS, you're downright Boring! Show us all at least the _slightest_ spark of creativity and humor now. Hoist that Jolly Roger backdrop, matey!

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@J ("Seriously now")

The same thought has often crossed my mind, but obviously MS can't go that way. Admittedly XP to Vista seems to have been quite a jump in terms of new code, but NT4 to NT5 to NT6? Radically different chrome but essentially the same engine. Releasing the source of NT4 would probably still constitute releasing a fair chunk of XP (and indeed a reasonably large subset of Vista, I reckon).

Essentially it seems to me that Microsoft's income depends on being able to release a product, support it for a short while, then slow down the updates for a while to build up a head of steam, respray the old crate and fire it out as a new release - basically, they support essentially the same product for 10 years and call it a different one every 2 or 3 so that they can charge for it again.

So getting them to release the source for the 'old, obsolete' version is probably a no-no, simply because it actually *is* the shiny new one. Also, if the excerpts from the Win2K code I've seen are real and are anything to go by it's a little heavy on the expletives and "We are morons" in-jokes so there'd be a bit of an embarrassment factor there.

There must be some kind of half-way house, though - they could keep supporting old versions but cease to promote them. After all marketing must be a bigger expense than R&D for a company that warms over left-overs for a living.

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Gold badge

Re: various comments

"In practice Microsoft is spreading out viruses with which they can control people machines claiming that they are using a pirated copy and everyone knows that thanks to many documented false positives that's going to happen to those that paid for the insanely priced OS license and not just using copies."

Yep, and it's all in the EULA -- Microsoft can put on, remove, or transmit to them, anything from your Windows system they want. They put this in with I believe Windows 2000 SP4 -- there's still hospitals etc. that run SP3 because SP4, XP, etc. violate HIPPA privacy regs.

"You have got to be kidding "Just as good as Windows, except faster, more powerful and less flashing districations.""

You won't hear me laughing. 8.04.1 seems rock stable. I'm even running the alpha version 8.10 on a PowerPC and IT'S stable. It IS faster, and it's not distracting -- you get a fairly unobtrusive thing saying when you have updates, not one per app, and you need your password to install apps (as opposed to the fairly overblown UAC). I suppose you can argue about "powerful", Ubuntu's pretty pointless if you're goal is to run like Visual Studio, but I think it's powerful to be able to install your OS and apps on whatever you want without a single care about licensing, and have a UNIX base when I want to get down and dirty.

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Bronze badge
Stop

Microsoft is still...

...doing everything they can to wipe out the PC hardware manufactures business...

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Every Time I try to use MS OS

I have two or three applications that runs on MS Windows. Every few years I think it would be nice to run these on my own machine, so I fork over the money for MS Windows, install it, go through the interrogation proving I am licensed to use the product I paid for, and go happily on my way. I realize that MS software is really quite good, and wonder why I don't just switch over to it for home use.

Then comes the problem where I have to reinstall, or change the virtual machine, and I get the ominous warning. You cannot reactivate. You will not be able to run this machine after x number of days. You must call in and get a special code. Honestly I paid for the software, and only use it one machine. I am not a pirate. I just want to get my work done without the threats of destruction just because MS thinks I might, possible, be a pirate. I have enough problems without the fear of MS suing me. This makes it pretty clear that MS products are not reliable, and we are better off using other products.

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Pirate

hmm i saw th "critical update" download yesterday...

Luckily i have a genuine CD. but maybe they should offer free downgrades (well there upgrades really) from vista down to XP. That would be great. Im sure alot of people have Vista CD's now and hate it so have just downgraded to XP on a pirate copy... but since they have a copy of vista and a licence for that... it would be great if they could use as an upgrade licence to XP!

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Paris Hilton

@tempemeaty

I'm really surprised that the biggest pc makers have not crawled back to ibm and said...hey, bowsabout an updated os...you had a pretty good one at one time and got bent over by MS....isn't it about time to give it back to 'em?

Paris, because she's not a ME2 kind of girl.

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Alert

I'm not the first, & won't be the last...

About two years ago I purchased an HP Pavilion, direct from HP, with an OEM copy of Windows XP Pro installed.

Slightly more than a year ago, Windows Update told me my copy was suddenly pirated.

I called the Help Line, and got nowhere.

That night I slapped in a spare HD, installed Ubuntu on it, & I've been using Ubuntu ever since.

I still have the original drive with the "pirate" OEM copy of XP Pro on it, but I only boot to that drive when I find something I absolutely, positively, can not get working under Linux.

I've only HAD to boot to Windows *three times* in the last year, and two of those were because I wanted to play a game I couldn't get to run under WINE.

(Which now works under WINE, and runs *BETTER* than in Windows!)

Ubuntu runs my WiFi, USB, DVD player, mp3's, Flash, et al like a champ; OpenOffice reads & writes those stupid Office documents, Power Point presentations, Excel spreadsheets, et cetera; all without the headache Windows provides.

MS, you had the unmitigated GAUL to claim my OEM copy of XP Pro was pirated.

When I called to ask WTH, you asked me if I "purchased it from a dodgy retailer?"

Not unless you call dialing up HP's B2B Direct Sales line gets me provided with counterfeit software.

MS, you lost a customer because of your shenanigans.

I'm not the first, & I certainly won't be the last.

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Gates Horns

ANYTHING to flog a copy of Vista

"WGA validation failures, which have been known to falsely flag up legitimate installs as invalid"

Yes - I know. It's happened to me, oddly enough only since M$ inflicted Vista on an unsuspecting world. AND it took a threat of legal action after three days arguing with M$ UK to get it turned back on.

M$ are frankly, filth. Vista is crap, I know, I've tried it. And I have no intention of buying another M$ OS until they produce something with the speed and functionality of XP Pro. Something they seem to find very hard to understand.

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Gates Horns

You have to be kidding right?

Isn't XP the first OS that MS has been able to track??? That would explain a lot about how it's the most pirated version of Windows to date, mainly because it's the only one that they have semi concrete numbers on.

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Happy

So

So in the ad Mac speaking to PC "Quite a few bootleggers and pirates in your family tree I see , I'm off to use my MSI Wind clone as my Wintel dual boot MacBook pro is in the shop again getting a second or third replacement display LCD screen care to follow me ?" !

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Re:M$ lost the plot...

Is the S button broken on your keyboard?

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Happy

Love black on XP

Desktop is black on the xp box, running high res graphics slow it down, unlike the vista box, so although both are legit copies, might not notice it that much

Considering MS were wanting to dump XP, why get so fussy now ?

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Anonymous Coward

I really hope it fails to detect my valid licenses

Regardless of what their license claims, doing this to my legally licensed copies of XP would amount to intrusion. The resulting time and expenses could quite comfortably lead to claims of "abuse of monopoly", unauthorised intrusion et al, but best of all they will create even more awareness that running MS originated software is a huge risk for anyone who handles confidential information.

What's more, you don't need to go after them legally. The marketing effect of YACU (Yet Another Cock-Up) when using customers as feature beta testers will be enough.

To me, it all smells of desperation to get at least *some* non-OEM Vista sales on record.

Having said that, could someone take a 4x4 clue bat to the moronic idiot who defaults the installation of Safari with Apple Update? Yes, Jobs, you. I use iTunes because it is reasonably useful, but if this crap with Safari lasts much longer it'll be the last time Apple Update has worked on my system. The behaviour of that app alone makes me doubt I'd go the Mac route - it would be swapping one control freak for another (yes, I have an iPhone but that's company issue, my Sony Ericsson P1i is MUCH more functional - and safer).

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It makes no sense

How exactly would MS lose out if they scrapped the whole stupid system?

XP is easy to pirate. Anybody can torrent it and a crack to go with it.

Vista is easy to pirate. Anybody can torrent it and a crack to go with it.

Nobody out there thinks, oh I'll have to buy a copy because I can't get past the activation protection.

You either buy it or you pirate it. What pathetic hurdles MS try to put in your way are merely pushed aside.

MS always like to bring up the fairly unbelievable scenario of some innocent buying a machine and somehow having a dodgy version of the OS on it. Then they're shocked to discover this and MS takes them by the hand and kindly educates them how they're missing out by not having a Genuine (registered trade mark) version.

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Unhappy

For the love of God

Why is it every bloody M$ article we have to get the infantile "I use Linux cos it's free and M$ is the devils own work" brigade jump in. If you have to use Linux then good for you but just stop jumping on every M$ article, it's not big it's not clever.

I can only think that you have nothing better to do with your sad little blinkered lives........

(Steps down from soapbox......)

Thank you and goodnight

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Alien

HaH!

"I just WISH Linux would have better support for windows games. If it did, I think we'd see more home users installing it on their primary PC's. I know I would.. I just can't be bothered setting up dualboot just so that I can play games."

If the 'Penguins' could have fully supported any MS games some time ago, the foundations at the Redmond Castle would have started to crumble long ago too, and I suspect Vista would never have left the drawing board either.

I just love my 'Aces' Flight Simulator X.

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Linux

Another ex Windows user

I jumped ship when the WGA check became compulsory a little over two years ago. I have a fully licensed copy, but I resent the implication that I have to prove over the phone to some twit in a call centre that I am allowed to use the software I bought.

Linux for the past two years has been great. Rock solid, compatible with all my hardware, and a pleasure to use. It is also the closest I have got in recent years to the old geeky buzz i had in the 80s when I was typing in listings from magazines in my ZX81, and trying to learn how the program worked.

With Fedora and WINE, I have wanted for nothing, as the remaining Windows apps I want to run are all pretty low end ones that work fine without an actual copy of Windows. The only exception is Sketchup, but that seems to be getting better support each WINE update. I miss games a bit, and researching my next hardware upgrade, but my favourite game works great on Linux, so it isn't a problem that is worth bothering with.

I'll not deny, it was a bit of a challenge the first few weeks, there is still a learning curve, but once you get into the mindset, it is fairly straightforward. And once you learn how to use a different OS, you have options.. Choice.. you are not at the mercy of Microsoft's release cycle any more.

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Alert

Legitimate XP for Sale?

So I get a new PC (sans vista of course!), slap on a fake, get offered a legitimate XP Licenece and Viola? I just bought XP pro.

Or are they foisting Vista onto peeps with inapropriate computers?

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re: For the love of God

Hell, we'll stop when you do. Pop along to the gOS article and see people bash Linux because it doesn't work "as well" as Windows.

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@Andy Worth

Microsoft are a marketing company. They don't CARE about anything other than the bennies.

Hence, M$.

You still have the "S" shape but now allude to their overwhelming DEMAND that they get the money. All the money, preferably.

If you're that thin skinned this annoys you, get off the internet. There's a lot worse out there.

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re: Hah!

"I just WISH Linux would have better support for windows games."

That's

"I wish games had better support for Linux".

Doom3, RtCW, Q4, Unreal (plus TournamentXXXX) X, X2, X3 are all available for Linux. The X series by the herculean efforts of Icculous in porting to Linux, the others by being made compatible by the creators.

The only reason they don't sell too well is because you have to search them out and they are only internet (and usually US only, so you have the 1$ == £1 exchange to deal with, as well as tax, duty, etc). Then again, have a look in the high street: windows games are disappearing FAST.

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Pirate

welcome to my soapbox

option 1 - i continue with my illegal use of M$ WinXP-pro until such time as they disable my code (and fuck up over 20,000 legitimate users when they do) - and then I'll just pick another code from my list of unregistered machines that were subsequently ghosted with the multi-install code that I currently use.

option 2 - i continue with my illegal use of M$ WinXP-pro until WINE runs my games in X-Nix and then the dual boot system is no longer required either

option 3 - i continue with my illegal use of M$ WinXP-pro until such time as M$ permits my 5 legitimte Win95 licences, 2 legitimate Win98 and 2 legitimate winXP-home licences to be used as valid MS OS licences and thus legimise me

option 4 - i continue with my illegal use of MS WinXP-pro until such time as game developers make an X-Nix version for me to buy.

option 5 - I start using my totally illegal copy of pre-coded, multi-install, all-version M$ Vespa (if ever we get reliable driver support)

Whilst my soapbox implies, "phuk M$", I'd much prefer it to read, "Paris sat here". Anyone who has read the EULA knows that there is no such thing as a legal and legitimate Windows user.

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Flame

MS patches from third-parties? Why?

I have used loads of different versions of XP over the years, both dodgy and genuine OEMs, can't say I have ever failed any tests or been unable to pick up patches directly from the MS servers. I even toyed with a knocked off Vista Premium for a while, downloaded SP1 from MS servers and installed it fine!

A year ago my missus bought a brand new HP laptop, XP Home. Two days later WGA fails and refuses to play! Blasted it off, installed knocked off XP Home, no worries since.

The only ones who lose out are the genuine customers, who have ponied up the do-ray-me to his satanic majesty, dear old Bill!

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Gates Halo

Linux Sucks, Windows forever.

People are pirating XP and not using Linux because well, Linux is rubbish.

Awful software, awful hardware compatability, awful usability.... just awful.

Most people, me included, just want an OS that works and offers decent software to use. Linux offers neither of these. Last time I tried to install Ubuntu my network card didnt work, I had no acceleration on my video card and playing video was an utter nightmare.

I fixed the network card issues (two lines were the wrong way around in some conf file) after a couple of hours of googling, I still can't get the video card drivers to play happy and the shitty software situation will never improve.

I went back to Windows and got some work done.

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Gates Horns

Better Than the Real Thing

Whilst actually owning a real copy/license for Win XP pro, I find that the pirate versions are a lot less likely to come up as non-legitimate copies. I like to tinker with my PC and that means having to re-validate every time I change something except if it is a non-legitimate copy which doesn't give a rats ass what you do with your hardware and doesn't intrude on your life and make you jump through hoops. BTW how soon do you reckon there will be a WGA crack for MS's latest version? If it's not out there already, it can only be a matter of hours from when the latest restrictions, sorry upgrades are released

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Stop

What a waste of time.

Instead of wasting man-hours on this, why don't they spend them trying to fix the problems apparent in Vista? Or at least trying to make the next version of Windows a bit more palatable?

Not that it really matters to me either way, but this does seem a lot like trying to prevent people using pirated WinXP when their only "genuine Windows" option becomes Vista.

@Pete: "I went back to Windows and got some work done."

Funny that. I ran far, far away from Windows, installed Linux and now I spend much more of my time getting work done instead of dealing with the threat of malware and having the OS constantly get in my way because "it knows better than I do". Now I can add "worrying that my OS may be arbitrarily shut down/crippled, probably when I most need to get work done" to the list of things I don't have to concern myself about any more.

If I found myself having enough trouble with Linux to consider switching again, it certainly wouldn't be back to Windows. Microsoft have a lot of improvement to make to their product before I'd consider it as a serious option again.

Besides, exactly what sort of cushy job did you land anyway if you need accelerated 3D and video to do your work? Only time I use those is when I'm goofing off... ;-)

Linux doesn't offer decent software to use? That's news to me. I guess those thousands of useful things listed in my package manager are just figments of my imagination then?

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Thumb Down

Windows Genuine Dis-Advantage

I used to live in a shared house, the girl upstairs had a legit, genuine laptop brought from her home countty, worked fine there, and here for 6 months or so, then WGA or its' equivalent kicked in and crippled the machine.

Couldnt wipe it, as it had her data all stuck in the "My Docs" folder and no backup!

Phoned M$, tried the 6 or so codes they gave going off the legitimate key on the laptops underside, nothing worked. After so many codes, they told me they couldnt help any further.

Finally found a single URL link in the registration process, opened up IE, got to desktop, backed up data then shoved a pirate copy of XP Pro on it - worked fine ever since.

Sad day when the pirate version is cheaper AND better than the real thing, and no... im not getting Vista. Ever. Despite being an avid gamer, id rather have 3.25Gb out of 4Gb of my shiny new Corsair DDR2!

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Flame

whiners, not doers

If you really don't like it or had a real problem with Windows you would sot using Windows and stay off the Windows article comments. It just shows you can't live without Billy G's software. But unfortunetly it appears many of you get beat on in your real life and then take it out on MS or Apple or whoever in a comments section of an article with nothing constructive to so. You might as well get on a video game blog and argue which is better MS or Sony with the 10 year olds who don't know better.

Only reason I even read the comments any more is there are still a handful of people who either say something with content or at least funny.

Speaking of which don'get get me started on all the very lame PH icon jokes. It's been over used and no I wont' add a pun here.

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Pirate

Places still selling XP (please don't moderate me this time?)

In addtion to the already-mentioned ocuk, places still selling XP Home and XP Pro OEM **because it's what customers still want** include ebuyer and scan.co.uk

I'm convinced I wrote a comment yesterday with full details re product code nos, prices, support implications, etc yesterday but it never arrived, can't imagine why (maybe el reg prefer ocuk ;))... cba retryping the details, just go to ebuyer or scan and search for Windows XP Home OEM or XP Pro OEM. Prices start from under £60 for Home, and even XP Pro OEM costs less than the MS price for "make yourself genuine" or whatever it's called if WGA says NoGo.

There are also folks who will still sell you a PC with XP pre-installed: Dabs and Dell to name but two.

Also, re "I purchased an HP Pavilion, direct from HP, with an OEM copy of Windows XP Pro installed.": presumably you mean HP supplied XP Home and you installed XP Pro? I've done that too, from XP Home, and lots of folk are now upgrading their Pavilions from Vista according to the HP forums (which presumably means they are the ones which come with Vista Business or Ultimate or whatever is legitimately upgradeable to XP).

On the other hand, if you mean HP supplied a Pavilion with XP Pro installed, and can quote a part number, I'd be quite surprised (sometimes I get surprises).

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Gates Horns

"some innocent buying a machine "

Happened to a neighbour here. A pensioner, new and naive with PCs and not initially realising the risks, he bought an XP PC at Cocks Moors Woods computer fairs (shortly before Trading Standards raids effectively closed them down [1]).

Eventually WGA came along and said "your Windows is dodgy". I looked, and it was indeed dodgy. He dug out the paperwork and (1) the supplier had gone bust (2) the paperwork actually said "no Windows supplied". Obviously there was no WIndows CD or CoA so I phoned MS WGA line for him and asked whether what they supplied (for £100+) was guaranteed to recover without needing a complete reinstall (he'd installed loads of stuff) and from a very long way away over a very poor quality line they said yes of course it will, so it was paid for because it seemed to promise less hassle than re-installing off an XP Home OEM CD, which would have been more appropriate (than Pro) for a home user, and cheaper.

CD turns up and in due course it turns out MS lied, it couldn't pass WGA without a a complete fresh install, and therefore £50+ had been wasted.

The moral of the story: trust, but verify.

[1]

http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/2003/03/12/quizzed-on-fakes-50002-12726362/

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Jobs Horns

Love the spin!

<...release balances our goals of providing a great experience to those who have genuine Windows and at the same time creating a compelling experience for those who have non-genuine copies to get genuine Windows>

"compelling experience "

Priceless!

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Anonymous Coward

I just can't see the problem here

Simply turn off the updates and invest in a good firewall and anti-virus package.

Plenty of free ones out there that do the job as well as paid versions.

How easy is that? So much for the WGA crap - defeated in a single post lol

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Thumb Up

I hate waiting for new features

I'll have to wait until Tuesday then reboot and start xp then update windows just so I can see the latest annoying feature then restart my puter into the operating system of my choice (Mandriva)

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Linux

linux and hardware support

Bad hardware support has absolutely zero to do with linux, and 100% to do with the producer of the hardware not wanting to support any other OS than windows.

There are some producers out there who won't look at anything but windows, but then chose a laptop based entirely on intel components, or research the components before you buy, and you have a huge chance that it works out of the box, because Intel tends to support linux.

Wireless which is the most difficult to get to run properly on linux, can now be run via nidiswrappers, that allow you to load most windows drivers into an linux environment, however you do need to read a few HOWTOS to do so.

Granted a few things could be easier on linux, but put it this way I remove a lot of those helper applications, as the control you loose, is worse than the help you get, (same can be said on windows).

If you run an .exe program on most linux distributions, then wine will automatically start and emulate windows, linux is not far from being a full replacement for windows for all. My work machines have no direct windows installations, and hasn't for years, only my play machine has windows installed for games, however linux is not far from being able to run nearly all games, which is why DX10 is being rushed out..

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Law
Paris Hilton

RE: whiners, not doers

Paris icon - because she has PMS days too! ;)

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An out for Vista-rers

@ Dave K.

Even M$ have accepted that Vista is crap. I am not 100% sure about other parts of the wurld but here in South Africa we can phone M$ and tell them we are downgrading Vista Business or Ultimate to XP. We give them our Vista Key and they give us a shiny new one for Xp, just like that. Because I refuse to support Vista and most of my clients agree.

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J
Thumb Up

@Geoff Mackenzie

"The same thought has often crossed my mind, but obviously MS can't go that way."

Sure they won't, unless they are forced. I agree with all you said, but that just reinforces what I said. With forced release of source code for "obsolete", unsupported products, they (not just MS, but all software makers) would be forced to keep supporting their products until:

a) going out of business, at which point it does not matter anyway;

b) having a *really new* product, so releasing the old code is of no harm to them.

Another way, not as good as releasing the sources, would be to compulsorily free the binaries instead. Would eliminate the incentive to innovate that forced release of the old code has, but would help somewhat. I mean, there are lots of legacy applications and hardware out there that need old OS to work. We have a couple cases in the lab, expensive stuff that can't be run any other way. If the old computer pops the clog or Windows rots (which it inevitably does), where do we buy Win 95? Not supported or sold anymore, so we should be licensed to download and use it for free.

Of course, the best solution for such problems is still the GPL or something like that anyway, but horses for courses... ;-)

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IT Angle

Where to buy Windows XP

If you can't find XP Home or XP Pro you're not trying very hard. Overclockers was already mentioned, here are a couple of others... some folks might want to look at Media Centre Edition instead but I can't remember where that fits in this picture, and it's not quite so easy to find (£76 at ebuyer)

XP Home OEM :

www.ebuyer.com: code 114048, allegedly in stock, £57

www.scan.co.uk: code LN16381, allegedly in stock, £54

XP Pro OEM:

www.ebuyer.com: code 132195, allegedly in stock, £89

www.scan.co.uk: code LN16382, allegedly in stock, £90

And doubtless others too - whatever Billco might like their "channel partners" to do, some of them have the sense to carry on selling WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS, at least for the time being.

Don't forget to buy some hardware too, as the MS OEM licence is (allegedly) only available to "system builders". Also bear in mind that the OEM licence doesn't include OS support from MS (does anyone ever benefit from MS OS support anyway?).

For folks who want XP pre-installed on new hardware (with OS support from the hardware vendor), places like Dabs still have a selection of Windows XP systems, as do Dell, and probably others.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-xp/future.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/evaluation/faq.mspx

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XP unavailble?

Have you people who are complaining that XP is unavilable for purchase ever looked on Amazon or eBuyer? It's there.

I will agree that Windows is overpriced, but then I brought the OEM version to save myself a bit of cash rather than the Retail version.

I think one of the reasons people get pirate copies of Windows is because they can't actually physically touch it. Nobody seems to like paying for Software.

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