Whistling dixie

— 12:31 AM on January 17, 2001

SuperSite for Windows gives us a sneak peak at Microsoft Whistler build 2410. This is an interim build until Beta 2 creeps out in a month or two. Since the server version isn't really polished, they focus on the newer features of the desktop version but more disturbingly, Windows Informant sheds more light on Microsoft's "product activation" scheme. This is important enough to reproduce most of it here.

As first reported in WinInfo Daily UPDATE, Microsoft will institute an anti-piracy measure in Whistler, the next version of Windows 2000, that will tie the Product Key to the machine ID of the first PC on which its installed. Dubbed "product activation" by the company, the feature is designed to reduce casual copying by requiring the Internet- or phone-based registration, or activation, of Whistler before it can be used. This process will create a unique identification code for that particular installation based on the Product Key that was entered and certain criteria from the hardware configuration. If the user attempts to install that copy of Whistler on a different machine with the same Product Key, the activation will fail. Whistler's product activation feature is similar to that used by Office 10, which will debut a few months before the Whistler desktop versions.

Users concerned about changing their system's configuration have nothing to fear: Microsoft understands that people upgrade components in their systems and their product activation scheme takes this into account. If a user completely recreates a system from scratch, say replacing the motherboard and other main components simultaneously, they will need to call Microsoft to activate the product when it is re-registered. This process will make it impossible to reinstall the OS on the old system.

This only pertains to OEM and retail versions of Whistler as M$'s corporate customers remain unaffected by this scheme (I wonder why). Regardless, if you have to re-register your version of Whistler after every single component upgrade, this is more than a royal pain for the do-it-yourself crowd. A little Aretha Franklin, please (who's fooling who? / take another look and tell me baby / who's fooling who?). We will see how this goes over with the hoi polloi beginning with Office 10. Meanwhile, Savage News has posted 70 screenshots of Whistler build 2410.

Apparently, there are two versions of NVIDIA's Win9x / Me Detonator 6.67 driver. There is an "unofficial 6.67 driver" and an "official WHQL-certified 6.67 driver," I guess. Grab none, one, or both of them at PCBase. Curiously, the WHQL-certified 6.67 driver is smaller than the unofficial 6.67 driver.

Update: The NVIDIA Win2K WHQL-certified Detonator 6.62 driver can be found at 3D iNFO 2000 or Overclockers Online. Planet 3DNow! reports on problems with the Detonator 6.67 driver.

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