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Microsoft doesn't want you to pirate their software, but if you must choose between illegally installing Windows or a competitor's operating system, Microsoft would prefer that you choose them. While the company obviously won't endorse the illegal use of software, it does believe that piracy can result in profit.


At the Morgan Stanley Technology conference last week in San Francisco, Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes commented on the benefits of software counterfeiting. "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," he said. "We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software."


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Yeah and the moment someone does use an illegal installation of Windows it will start to bark at them once Windows Genuine Advantage, and Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications are installed - which will result in no downloads let alone updates from Microsoft. It's one of the news articles that makes me scratch my head.

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What he is saying makes sense, but I think he is saying it just for the hell of it.

I don't think he truely believe that, or like andavari said, they wouldn't be using WGA.


Photoshop is like that though. I bet 60% or more of home users that have it installed don't have legal copies. But the fact that they are using it is good because maybe more business will buy it if thats what their employees use.

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Microsoft allows bypass of Vista activation


By Brian Livingston


Microsoft always says it opposes "software pirates" who sell thousands of unauthorized copies of Windows.


But the Redmond company has made things a lot easier for pirates by adding a line to the Registry that can be changed from 0 to 1 to postpone the need to "activate" Vista indefinitely.


Activation doesn't stop true software piracy


As most Windows users know, Microsoft has required "product activation" since the release of Windows XP in 2001. XP must be activated by communicating with servers in Redmond within 30 days of installation. By contrast, Microsoft Office XP, 2003, and 2007 require activatation before the package is used 5 to 50 times, depending on the version, according to a company FAQ. If a PC has no Internet connection, a user may activate a product by dialing a telephone number in various countries.


The activation process will complete successfully only if the software has not been previously activated, such as on a different machine. If activation isn't completed within the trial period, Microsoft products temporarily shut down some of their features. MS Office loses the ability to edit and save files. After Vista's activation deadline runs out, the user can do little other than use Internet Explorer to activate the operating system or buy a new license.


Microsoft describes its product activation scheme as a way to foil software pirates. However, as I previously described in an InfoWorld Magazine article on Oct. 22, 2001, activation does nothing to stop mass piracy. The Redmond company actually included in Windows XP a small file, Wpa.dbl, that makes it easy for pirates to create thousands of machines that validate perfectly.


Far from stopping software piracy, product activation has primarily been designed to prevent home users from installing one copy of Windows on a home machine and a personal-use copy on a laptop. As I explained in an article on Mar. 8, buying a copyrighted work and making another copy strictly for personal use is specifically permitted to consumers by the U.S. Copyright Act and the copyright laws of many other countries.


For example, courts have repeatedly ruled that consumers can make copies of copyrighted songs or television programs for personal use (not for distribution or resale). This principle is legally known as "fair use." The home edition of Microsoft Office 2007 reflects this principle, allowing consumers to activate three copies of a single purchased product. Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, however, allow only one activation.


Surprisingly, Microsoft has embedded into its new Vista operating system a feature that makes things easier than ever for true, mass software pirates. These tricksters will be able to produce thousands of Windows PCs machines that won't demand activation indefinitely ? at least for a year or more.


Leaving the activation barn door open


I reported in a Feb. 1 article that the upgrade version of Windows Vista allows itself to be clean-installed to a new hard drive. The new Microsoft operating system completely omits any checking for a qualifying previous version of Windows. This allows the upgrade version of Vista to successfully upgrade over a nonactivated, trial version of itself.


After my article appeared, ZDnet blogger Ed Bott summarized the secret in a post on Feb. 15. He flatly states, "You satisfied every condition of the license agreement and aren't skating by on a technicality. The fact that you have to use a kludgey workaround to use the license you've purchased and are legally entitled to is Microsoft's fault."


In my own piece, I had speculated that clean-installing the upgrade version of Vista "probably violates the Vista EULA (End User License Agreement)." But more and more computer experts are saying that the procedure is fully compliant with the EULA and, in any event, is perfectly legal.


I wrote a follow-up story on Feb. 15. I reported that Microsoft includes in Vista a one-line command that even novices can use to postpone the product's activation deadline three times. This can extend the deadline from its original 30 days to as much as 120 days ? almost four months.


PCWorld.com posted a report on my story on Feb. 17. The magazine quotes a Microsoft spokeswoman as saying that extending Vista's activation deadline as I described it "is not a violation of the Vista End User License Agreement." I'm glad that's clear.


The feature that I've revealing today shows that Microsoft has built into Vista a function that allows anyone to extend the operating system's activation deadline not just three times, but many times. The same one-line command that postpones Vista's activation deadline to 120 days can be used an indefinite number of times by first changing a Registry key from 0 to 1.


This isn't a hacker exploit. It doesn't require any tools or utilities whatsoever. Microsoft even documented the Registry key, although obtusely, on its Technet site.


But dishonest PC sellers could use the procedure to install thousands of copies of Vista and sell them to unsuspecting consumers or businesses as legitimately activated copies. This would certainly violate the Vista EULA, but consumers might not realize this until the PCs they bought started demanding activation ? and failing ? months or years later.

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I was a big fan of MS. The more I learn, the less of a fan I am. There is big money in MS products and all the spin-off business related to it.

Anti-this-n-that and back-up software for starters.

The only reason games are designed for MS is because of the base. If Linux, Mac and MS were 50-30-20, who do you think the games would be designed for?

MS is afraid of losing it's base because of this. It is better to get something than nothing. If only half the people were legal, there is a lot of money involved with the purchase of 45% of computers on the market. If they were to slip to 45% of the base, legal or not, software developers and in particular games, would change with the landscape.

Personally, I think you are going to see the landscape change anyway. People want a computer they can turn on and use. I'm talking your average user, like me, not the more experienced ones on this site.

Please don't tell me the younger generation is computer savvy and that this will change. I work at a College. I can guarantee that I see more young people using computers than most people do. We have one room, of many, that houses over 300 computers. I see kids digging for calculators all the time while sitting at the computer, some with Excel open on the desktop.

It costs the game developers big bucks to comply to the new OSs' that MS is always forcing you to update to. I believe this is part of MSs' overall plan. Force out the little guy and be the only guy on the block.

If you think it is hard to get a driver for Linux, try to get one for Vista. Yet gamers seem to be upset at the game developer, not MS, who should have released the code for the developers to do their job.

Linux has a lot of support sites out there. Next time you have a problem, post a question on one.

Here is a good start page.


Vista is more secure? Why is everyone concerned about anti-virus for it then? How come we can get a virus but not a driver?

UAC? From what I have read, it pops up in your face so often that most people will quickly tire of it and just keep clicking ok without reading what it says, or they will just turn it off. Big improvement.


Can anyone tell me how I change my user ID on this site?

Former MS fanboy.


Vista $500

Upgrade RAM(for my machine to run Vista) $400 (I know from friends that if you really want to use Vista, you need at least 2GB of RAM)

A good graphics card to use aero?

I can pay $100 to buy an emulator that will run games designed for MS on Linux or I can use the free WINE but would have to set it up.

Linux has Beryl. Check it out here.


Yes, I watch all these videos on my PCLOS. Right from default settings. No get this or that.

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Photoshop is like that though. I bet 60% or more of home users that have it installed don't have legal copies. But the fact that they are using it is good because maybe more business will buy it if thats what their employees use.


This one is gold, this has to be one of the easiest programs to get around my campus, and the real kicker, if you don't have it and know how to use it then you will get nailed hard in the interviews when the company's ask you about it. I'm not saying its right to have it just because everyone else does, but its a definite disadvantage to not have it. Personally I have a copy of it, but the only time i really use it is at work where their copy is real, so what is the real harm anyway.

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