How far the rabbit hole goes
While Dissonance's news item late yesterday goes into great depth about the nuts and bolts functionality of WinXP's product activation, this post on the NT Compatible forums puts a face to the beast.
So I got into WinXP and got ready to install updated device drivers for my hardware. The first thing I did was go to device manager and see what was installed. WinXP installed working drivers for my Geforce2, SCSI Card, and NIC just fine.
My sound card was listed in the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" as "Unsupported Crystal Audio Sound Device". I also had three entries in the "Other" field. There were two "Multimedia Controller" listed and a "Multimedia Video Controller" listed. I knwe these devices were for my DVD Decoder and my TV Tuner. I proceeded to update my Nvidia drivers and install my Gametheater XP drivers.All was still good. Next I installed the Hauppauge WDM Drivers for my Tv Tuner. I restarted, and on the next boot, WinXP said that I needed to activate the OS with Microsoft.
This fits rather perfectly with the explanation provided in Dissonance's piece, and essentially depicts a hassle for those of us whose computer hardware lives on the bleeding edge. This situation will only get worse as XP ages on the shelf, causing your computer to be much like mine: after a fresh Windows 2000 install, all the devices are listed under "unknown," and even the motherboard is in need of an INF update.
As the user in the post points out, the issue is easy enough to get around. Activate the OS after you install all the updates. Honestly, though, even that solutions leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I suspect the enthusiast community will need to find room on their phone speed dial for Microsoft.