Microsoft sued over WGA checks

Two months ago, Microsoft used Windows Update to roll out a Windows Genuine Advantage
Notification application that checks users’ Windows licenses and
displays warnings if a pirated key is found. This notifier app has left
Los Angeles resident Brian Johnson less than impressed, and he has filed
a lawsuit against Microsoft
claiming the software violates spyware
laws. Indeed, the WGA Notification tool sparked controversy earlier this
month after Microsoft admitted
that the app “phoned home” at every system startup without first seeking
user consent. Microsoft claimed the checks were harmless, and it
eventually decreased
their frequency in a WGA Notification update, promising that they would
stop entirely by the end of the year.

However, Johnson believes Microsoft mishandled the software’s
introduction. His lawsuit says Microsoft “effectively installed the WGA
software on consumers’ systems without providing consumers any
opportunity to make an informed choice about that software.”
Additionally, initial versions of the WGA notifier “didn’t explicitly
state that it was making the daily check-ins,” according to the Seattle
Post Intelligencer. Microsoft retorted by saying the lawsuit is
“baseless” and that labeling the WGA software as spyware is incorrect.

Spyware or not, the WGA notifier may not be as harmless as Microsoft
claims. In a report unrelated to the lawsuit, a ZDNet blogger quotes the following
statement
from a Microsoft support employee:

In the fall, having the latest WGA will become mandatory and if its not
installed, Windows will give a 30 day warning and when the 30 days is up
and WGA isn’t installed, Windows will stop working, so you might as well
install WGA now.

An official statement from Microsoft adds:

As we have mentioned previously, as the WGA Notifications program
expands in the future, customers may be required to participate.

If Johnson’s spyware allegations don’t hold up, such changes in the WGA
policy could certainly raise the heat against Microsoft.

Comments closed
    • stmok
    • 13 years ago

    dmitriylm says:

    /[< *[<#31, Ahh...Linux will never be viable as an operating system that is suitable for every consumer. There are people who have been using Windows for years and still dont know whats going on, can you imagine these same people at a linux command prompt? Windows isn't exactly difficult to figure out. Every current GUI that I've tried for Linux is simply not able to reach the ease of use and accessibility you get from Windows. I don't think things will be much different even five years from now.<]* <]/ I'm curious as to which distro you've tried. Because it sounds like utter nonsense and excuses to continue living with Windows fustrations and pointless Microsoft schemes. Please name the GUIs, desktop environments, and window managers that you've used...I doubt you've even used Linux at all, let alone criticise it. (I can tell who knows what Linux is about, and who doesn't have a clue). So far, I know Ubuntu, Xandros, OpenSUSE and a few other "easy to use" distros, do NOT need the user to learn any command lines. I've tested the recent versions of these myself, and I got them set up on my notebook without needing to open the command prompt at all. They all have GUI style package manager that allow the user to install drivers and additional software with mouse clicking. The only LEGITIMATE excuses (which you fail to even suggest), not to use Linux are: (1) The applications you use are Windows specific and there are NO open-source equivalents OR no way to run that Windows app with 100% stability. (You can try the Windows-layer called Wine OR virtualization, in which case, you can install an older copy of Windows in its own virtual machine...If the Windows install dies, you can roll back in minutes). (2) Windows games. Its possible to try Cedega under Linux, and see if you can run that Windows game. Linux won't be viable in those areas. Not because some experienced Windows user who thinks they're an expert in computing, but when it comes to Linux, they fail miserably, so they recommend no one else try it. The thinking here is: "If I can get it to work, no one can" syndrome. The majority of people out there, are afraid because they think Linux is all about keyboard bashing and command prompts. (like the person I'm replying to). You don't bash any keyboards unless there is a problem or you are programming, or if you don't want to install a GUI for your setup. (say for a server or firewall, etc). That's a common misconception that people will keep repeating. (even when its obsolete!). If you need help, go to a forum that has a "newbie section". If its a good place, there will be someone to help you with your problem. Linux requires a different approach to use your PC. It requires some preparation, some patience, and being open-minded to new things. Preparation is important, as you need to check for hardware compatibility, and if the apps you use can run under Linux via Windows-layer, or if some equivalent solution is available. You also need to understand your requirements, and if Linux is able to work with your needs. Nearly all the failed attempts to try Linux (that I've seen, both in real life and experiences in blogs), is because Windows users are trying to take their experience/skills onto a different OS. And it won't be any different if they buy a Mac. (although Mac is more polished in this respect). Blindly dive in without much thought. The other reason is often because the hardware they have, isn't supported in Linux to begin with. (This is why preparation is important! You don't go on a overseas trip without packing or some preparation, do you? Then why would you do the same when migrating to a different OS?) Its like riding a bike. Your first time will always be a failure or its gonna get a little tricky. But that doesn't mean you should throw in the towel. Remember why you wanted to quit Windows in the first place. (Through my experience of teach Linux noobs, I find hatred and fustration of Windows is a good motivator.) Linux offers choice, freedom, and independence. The cost is, you have to learn and be open-minded about how things are done, and how the community thinks. (Yes, there are politics involved...I usually stay out of that. But its mostly about giving the computer user the freedom and the right to use their systems the way they want it...And now you people see why this is important in light of this WGA fiasco! You'll soon appreciate such thinking as DRM technologies become more widespread). When I started hearing rumours about Microsoft's "Windows Geniune (dis)Advantage", the first thing I did was look for a distro of Linux. I knew something like this will eventually happen, and I also knew it was gonna get worse in the future. (as Microsoft was publically leading the way for DRM to be widespread). Yes, it was hard at first, because back then, Ubuntu just came on the scene, and it was nowhere like it is today. So I went with Fedora Core, as it was a nice balance of GUI and Command Line. (Since I wanted to learn how to hack, program, etc...Basically, I really wanted to learn Linux and appreciate what it can offer). Today, I'm using "hard" distros like Debian, because they offer much better control of certain aspects compared to distros like Ubuntu. (Ubuntu tends to install things that I don't use, by default...I prefer lean and mean). You don't have to use "hard" ones, its all up to you. You can have it easy or hard, with a GUI or without, etc. The point is, one shouldn't blindly accept some generalistic view yacked on by others. One should go and try it for themselves. Form your own opinion. My only hope is that some of you folks try Linux now, because then, you do have a choice when Microsoft becomes more "stringent" (read: Pain in the a$$) about their anti-piracy nonsense. Otherwise, they "own" you for life. ("My way or the highway")...So think of Linux as the door that will always be open. Its up to you to take it.

    • ej4love
    • 13 years ago

    i have 7 original window xp cd’s, window 2000, 2000 advance sever, just to name a few, i dont keep track of which computer they are on, so i end up loading one of more copies on one or more computer i have at home, now i have this icon telling me one of me cd’s is not legit, i purchase them online and at frys, i give up, im making the jump, i already have two systems with linux running on them, i guess i will use them more, good bye ms.

    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    I also have to say…

    I was planning on (finally) upgrading a couple of the desktops here at home to WinXP in the very near future. The fact that MS has apparently started imposing unreasonable restrictions on legitimate re-activations is causing me to reconsider.

    Way to go, Microsoft. You just lost yourself a couple of WinXP sales.

    • nonegatives
    • 13 years ago

    The problem I have with this is that MS has changed requirements since the product was first released. In the Steam model, you know they are “watching” you and have to log on to download and validate/unlock the product. When WinXp first came out, all you needed was the CDkey printed on the back to have a full valid working product. Now that product requires you to have a network connection, or make a phone call. You could make a few hardware changes to your system before it would force you to get their permission to keep running the software. Now you have to connect if want to keep your system secure from bad programming, or even every time you reboot.
    They have the right to make changes at anytime they want to licenses, but I don’t have to like it. When a credit card company changed the rules, I dropped the card. To keep running my software I’m stuck with MS.

    • PerfectCr
    • 13 years ago

    Charge $50 for Windows and the piracy problem disappears.

      • Vrock
      • 13 years ago

      That would help in America/Europe, but in Asia it wouldn’t make a difference. MS could give it away for free in Asia and people would still copy it and sell it.

      • Jaydar
      • 13 years ago

      Microsoft doesn’t really want to eliminate piracy, it’s their excuse for the ever increasing price of their software. Anyone else remember the BS about how cheap things would be if there was no piracy. They just want to make it a major hassle for the majority of those so inclined.

    • duffy
    • 13 years ago

    As much as I hate software companies that treat me like I can’t be trusted (Microsoft), I hate even more the ones who won’t let me download drivers if I’m not at the PC that contains their precious hardware (Creative), or the ones that are continuously checking for new drivers for an item that hasn’t had a driver update in donkey’s years (HP), or the ones that automatically search for updates unless I override their program’s default settings (too many to name).

    My favorite system isn’t connected to the internet. Anyone who needs to call home can go to hell.

    • BSFilter
    • 13 years ago

    Getting fed up with this nonsense if Windows was $20 piracy wouldnt be a problem in the first place..

    and to preempt the replies nothing in windows justfies it being more than $20 to buy in the first place.

    A bunch of pirates (M$)hoodwinked everyone into paying for software that basically makes your hardware work.

    Welcome to Williams Genuine Advantage.

      • Severus
      • 13 years ago

      Oh, piss of and run a free OS if you don’t want to pay the MS tax. If you want to use their software, cough up the green. When I was 14 and had no money I used to pirate Windows but these days there’s no way I’m going to risk something as fundamental to my productivity as my operating system not working, so I spend the $$$. Money well spent, in my book – the combined cost of my XP-32 license and the XP-64 upgrade are less than any hardware component in my PC other than the individual sticks of RAM and have lasted far, far longer.

    • Vrock
    • 13 years ago

    If MS makes this mandatory, then that’s actually something legitimate to be upset about.

    • bsteff
    • 13 years ago

    I have already installed Ubuntu Linux – and I like it very much!!

    The new move by Microsoft is just like the Sony RootKit and the RIAA who sue people because their IP address appears on some Kaaza type server.

    I am getting fed up with this DRM CRAP. I will not get Win Vista voluntarily, although my employer will probably buy me a copy. If I have to run Vista at home, it will go on a minimal box. All the rest of my stuff is in the process of moving to Ubuntu. My main Gee-Whiz-Do-Everything-PC will run Ubuntu.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 13 years ago

    wow, im glad i’m still using win2k.
    this is probably the last ms product i’ll own too, vista looks like draconian drm bloatware, so its probably linux next for me.

    on a sidenote, im getting pissed off that companies like creative are sabatoging driver support for 2k.
    their newest beta has an OS checker to keep 2k users from accessing any of the tools. the driver does work, but you can’t change any settings, or run the programs.

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    Seriously, WTF is Microsoft thinking? It is ironic that priacy is the very thing that greatly assist Microsoft’s near-domaince in OS/Office Suite market and now they are vilifying 60% of their userbase (OEM/Priates) via WGA.

    Vista looks like it will be another “ME” for different reasons. Microsoft is deseperate enough to force exclusive titles, APIs and drivers for it in hopes that users will upgrade to it upon release.

    I do not promote priacy, but these tactics are just counterproductive enough to sway legit users to go the other way.

    Ninja Edit: I also find it odd that Microsoft is suddenly reacting to the XP/Office priacy issue at this time. If they were truly concern then the entire WGA ordeal have been done years ago namely around XP’s launch.

    • Forge
    • 13 years ago

    One critically important detail is being overlooked by many here.

    Pirates are bypassing WGA and ignoring it. Many many pirates.
    Legit customers are getting bitten by WGA and are NOT being allowed to fix it, since MS has recently started some ridiculous ‘no OEM copies are legit anywhere, ever’ internal directive.

    My 100% legit Windows XP Home that came with my HP laptop will not activate. Why? Because it’s an OEM copy. It has only ever been activated twice, the woman at MS agreed that it was true. She refused to give me an activation code, however. Her supervisor gave me one, but that was thirty minutes later.

    My mother-in-law’s Dell desktop has XP Home as well, has never ever been reinstalled or reimaged, and it started failing WGA for no obvious reason a few weeks ago.

    My father-in-law’s retail XP Pro won’t activate and MS won’t give me a code to activate it on the phone. I faxed in proof of purchase and a scan of the hologrammed CD, box, and COA/sticker as requested, but MS apparently doesn’t want customers any more.

    None of these copies are anything less than 100% legit.

    MS seems to be heading for a train wreck at max speed, from where I’m watching.

      • readysetgo
      • 13 years ago

      Thanks for the post. Valuable information there.

        • Severus
        • 13 years ago

        Information certainly, but it flies in the face of my personal experience – over 500 systems at work had the WGA patch accidentally authorised and installed, where it has caused not a single problem. Not one… I didn’t install it on my main desktop (retail XP-64) but allowed it to install on my (OEM) MCE PC where it has caused… no problems. So, you know, I don’t think its as bad as all that.

          • just brew it!
          • 13 years ago

          Well… are those using a corporate volume license key? I imagine the rules are different for those.

      • Logan[TeamX]
      • 13 years ago

      I’ve been making sure family and friends are legit as well.

      I’ve been ordering XP Pro CDs for them and activating them without much grief, but one machine on a clean install refused to cooperate. It was well over an hour on the phone with MS about it… and finally they issued a code.

      If they’re going to get this strong-armed about it, a lot more geeks will help a lot more Joe 6-packs get Linux savvy.

      • arb_npx
      • 13 years ago

      Yeah, it’s funny how they’re doing this so they can try and squeeze even more revenue by getting those who did not pay for Windows to pay up, but it’s going to end up alienating their legit user base over to other alternatives that don’t phone home and call the Gestapo on a false positive or an OEM license.

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      The laptop I write this from has an OEM XP home on it and it failed activation the first time I reinstalled XP using the OEM disk. I waited 24 hours and it passed. Very disturbingg{.}g

    • Bensam123
    • 13 years ago

    Good thing I haven’t updated my computer in the last two months. Wow, no pop ups or anything. I win!

    Just hope things get sorted out before I have to do a fresh install -_-;

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    LOL! end the task in your task manager and quickly delete it from your windows folder. no mo nag! its your system. take control of whats running on it. william should be neutured for this annoyance.

      • A_Pickle
      • 13 years ago

      You’re the chairman of a large software company, and a large percentage of your profits from your product aren’t coming to you because people are pirating it.

      I suppose you wouldn’t do anything, then?

    • Chrispy_
    • 13 years ago

    Once again, this is crap that only damages Microsoft’s relationship with the paying customer who gets WGA problems anyway….

    Finding a crack/workaround for WGA is as easy, if not easier than finding a pirated CD key, the pirates already know that they have a pirate copy of windows.

    The giveaway in my case is that my WinXP Pro disc is a CDR with “XPSP2 slipstream + key changer” written on the front in pen. It was originally bought by Dell, to be included with a Dell system at a sickeningly low price compared to what joe average will have pay for a legit copy of XP.

    I’m not proud to be using pirate software, I’m proud that I’m not a Microsoft victim.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      I like how people make excuses as to why they shouldnt have to pay for things. I suppose you also steal cable television and turn back the meter that monitors use of electricity.

    • PerfectCr
    • 13 years ago

    Luckily I caught this early and I have my Automatic Updates set to Notify me first so I can chose what NOT to download. I have OEM copies from Newegg and I don’t need this crap.

      • zgirl
      • 13 years ago

      Really? I was under the impression that you cannot get any new updates unless they validate your copy of XP. At least that is what I have found.

      Tell me how you are getting around that part?

        • droopy1592
        • 13 years ago

        You can get the necessary updates without validating (don’t want a mass OOS). Just do manual/custom download and select all except the wga.

        • Convert
        • 13 years ago

        MS still supports pirated copies and legit copies that fail the WGA check and always has. You only get critical updates though, you don’t get windows defender or stuff like that.

        You only need to let it do automatic updates. Manual updates don’t work unless you type something into your browser while you are on the update page.

        However, if you dl all of the new updates automatically, without doing what Perfect Cr describes, that means you get the pirated warnings and all that fun stuff. Although there is a way to get around that completely (for the time being of course) even if you already dled it.

    • droopy1592
    • 13 years ago

    Meh, after the problems I’ve had with customers and their wga issues (some even had legit boxes or stickers) I’m almost getting to the point where I’m gonna learn to use linux or go mac os x.

    • My Johnson
    • 13 years ago

    Lawyers just finding work for themselves. This will be as baseless as WDC’s settlement.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      Agreed, even if MS settles it really wouldnt do much to change my opinion. This case isnt based so much on protection of consumer privacy as it is on greed and finding an easy win.

        • My Johnson
        • 13 years ago

        I was Trolling. If there are legal issues than they need to be challenged.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 13 years ago

    Switch to OSX, easier to pirate. Seriously now, wait until SpyBot or AdAware flags this as spyware and removes it.

    MS is too huge NOT to tell people about potential software installed on your machine. Unfortunately they ARE too huge to be able to detail the things that are going onto your box.

    MS won’t “disable” XP boxes (pirate or not). Vista is another story — consider WGA a first step (of several) to indeed disable your use of Windows w/o an authorized key.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      Adware is going to flag WGA as spyware? It just doesnt get any more ridiculous. Again, I’m pretty sure no members of these forums support the act of pirating software. Microsoft has the right to do everything in their power to ensure legitimate use of their software. If you’re an advocate of software piracy I suggest you join another forum.

        • StashTheVampede
        • 13 years ago

        I’m not advocating pirating Windows. What I’m saying “if this kind of lawsuit can get attention in court, what’s to stop Spyware companies from removing it?”

          • dmitriylm
          • 13 years ago

          1)How about the fact that it would be illegal to remove it? 2)How about the fact that WGA is not Spyware. I would hate to be in the same court room as Microsofts lawyers with MS being the one pressing charges.

            • StashTheVampede
            • 13 years ago

            How is it illegal to remove a portion of Windows? Last time I checked, I can NOT install and definitely uninstall specific components. Also, WGA was pushed to XP machines with NO documentation about it’s functionality (hence the lawsuit).

            WGA may NOT be “spyware”, but what’s to stop any commercial product from flagging it as “potential spyware” and removing it (besides MS’ lawyers)?

            • sigher
            • 13 years ago

            It is installed with automatic updates, however it’s clearly NOT an update but a new program.
            It connects daily to microsoft’s server, although now that people found out microsoft says they will reduce the times it does that some.
            It collects lots of info according to microsoft, amongst which the serial number of your HD and the PC manufacturer , WHY IF IT’S NOT SPYWARE or planning to turn spyware?
            quote:
            The genuine validation process will collect information about your system to determine if your Microsoft software is genuine. This process does not collect or send any information that can be used to identify you or contact you. The only information collected in the validation process is:
            * Windows product key
            * PC manufacturer * Operating System version
            * PID/SID
            * BIOS information (make, version, date) * BIOS MD5 Checksum * User locale (language setting for displaying Windows) * System locale (language version of the operating system)
            * Office product key (if validating Office)
            * Hard drive serial number

            makes you laugh how they say “only” and then have that list eh.

        • sigher
        • 13 years ago

        I’m an advocate of illegal windows, and decided YOU should find another forum, cya, have fun.

          • StashTheVampede
          • 13 years ago

          The last thing I want to do advocate pirating Windows. I want Windows on as many machines as possible, with as little hassle to get it running as possible.

          • dmitriylm
          • 13 years ago

          I dont know about you, but I’ve been on these forums since 2002. If you’re an advocate of piracy go talk to Scott about it and tell him about the agenda that you are pushing. I’m relatively sure he’ll be none to happy about it.

      • A_Pickle
      • 13 years ago

      You can’t install Mac OS X on standard x86 PC’s. It’s against the law, mores specifically it’s against Apple’s Terms of Use. So that’s out of the question.

      WGA is nothing more than a part of Windows that legitimate customers will have that doesn’t affect them. Big deal. You expecting that we’ll see a lawsuit in August saying, “Microsoft deactivated my illegal copy of Windows! Sue!”

        • Bauxite
        • 13 years ago

        “You expecting that we’ll see a lawsuit in August saying, “Microsoft deactivated my legal copy of Windows! Sue!”

        I fixed your post…that is a possibility.

        • Kurlon
        • 13 years ago

        Correction, the Apple EULA kindly requests that you not install OS X on third party hardware, but it’s not been proven that the request has any legal backing. That said, 10.4.7 has already been cracked. : )

    • normalicy
    • 13 years ago

    This unfortunately only really hurts the consumers who paid for Windows & those who were tricked into buying a fake version (probably who Microsoft is wanting anyhow). Most of the people running a fake version of Windows already have the ability to disable the WGA or will find out quickly rather than buy it. So, the only ones that will really be bothered by it are oddly the Windows Genuine Customers.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 13 years ago

      Kinda like Sony’s rootkit. The pirates never got the rootkit.

      I know often times that getting a pirated copy of something is just easier, with less hassels and problems. It seems that the more these comapanies try to thwart pirates, they just end up driving more people to piracy.

        • odizzido
        • 13 years ago

        100% true. I…..err I mean someone I know…..ended up getting a pirated version of UFO:AS as the legit version came with StarForce. It was a shame he had to wait for starforce to be taken out by pirates before he could play it.

        If windows gets annoying like SF, im sure he will end up getting a superior pirated copy of that as well.

    • lex-ington
    • 13 years ago

    I really like how the word “may” is used so much.

    The word used should really be “WILL” as in. . . The user WILL be required to install WGA cause if not, they’re screwed.

      • My Johnson
      • 13 years ago

      Good catch. That’s bull with the wording.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 13 years ago

    That WGA nag screen came up on my laptop (which has a perfectly good key) – I know how to haxxor it out, but decided to just wipe it clean and put Kubuntu on there. So far it is working quite nicely, even if they wireless drivers were a slight pain to get working. Honestly, if this stuff keeps up, I can see this being a huge boon to Linux – if even a tenth of pirate and/or legit Windows users mistaken for pirates switch over, that will be a very nice increase in Linux market share.

      • albundy
      • 13 years ago

      what market share? isnt it suppose to be free?

    • dmitriylm
    • 13 years ago

    I think people have gotten too damn paranoid over the years over software protection schemes. MS has every right to verify that you are using a legit cd key, and that you are the only one using it. It’s a protection on investment and this one in particular has a high percentage of pirated copies on the market. No one will be in a hurry to switch to OSX, because the average joe would have hopefully attained his copy legitimately and have no issues with WGA. The only people who should be afraid are nut jobs who have something to hide, or your average bittorent user who probably runs a pirated copy and again, has something to hide.

      • Bauxite
      • 13 years ago

      Thats debatable, EULAs are not god contracts, especially self-updating crap. (if this is even in their eulas from XP release)

      “EULA retail box v1.0:
      By opening this package you agree to the EULA.
      This EULA can be updated in any way at any time for any reason by us. No refunds.

      EULA v1.1 next month:
      Bend over.”

      Thats what the eula reads like in many software packages today, and it doesn’t hold a cup of water.
      The courts will agree in the end…eventually.

    • Vaughn
    • 13 years ago

    You may have a point, but u just gon’t get it, pirates will crack it shortly. and only the legit users will suffer. People will do what they like with the software they buy or choose not to buy. U can put all the security checks u want it in someone will find a way around it. i’m not saying pirating software is ok, but get with the f*ucking program already, u are not stoping anything by doing this.

    • ssway
    • 13 years ago

    95% of the users out there have *[

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      Yeah, but too bad every other Windows user is runing a pirated copy. MS isn’t doing this just for the hell of it. They invest money into a product and expect certain returns on it When half of the market is using your product but never actually paid for it, well I’m sure you can see why they’d be pissed off.

      • nonegatives
      • 13 years ago

      So I should switch to OSX where I will be required to pay $100 to update my system everytime?

        • dmitriylm
        • 13 years ago

        Yes, but only if you agree with the rest of these overly paranoid nut jobs. “Oh no, MS is going to find out I stole my copy of Windows, I”m going to lash out and call it spyware/malware/virus/etc to divert attention from my theft and to look really l33t since ragging on Microsoft is the thing to do.” Oh please, for people who complain so much I’m betting more than half of you are running Windows at the moment.

    • Scorpiuscat
    • 13 years ago

    Why dosent MS just use something like a USB key that has to be plugged into the computer for Windows to work.

    Each copy of Windows comes with one key.

    That way they can eliminate any possibility of pirated software and not have to resort to these draconian measures that they are doing now.

      • poulpy
      • 13 years ago

      Dongles are slightly more secure than serial numbers but it’s still not perfect (as nothing is).
      ‘Big’ softwares like LightWave, 3d studio max, Solidworks, … use them but given time (and motivation, pretty sure a Windows dongle would get a lot more attention than a LightWave one) people always find a way to circumvent any protection.

      So between a free serial that’s going to be cracked within a week and a $5 (give or take) dongle which will last maybe a couple of weeks/month MS has chosen the serial.

      Plus as they provide global licenses for X posts it would be a pain in the ass for them and the customers to ask for like 200 dongles, and then deal with the broken ones, etc, etc

      Edit: Linux is the way to go I’d say, serials and dongles are not on the menu :p

        • Capsaicin
        • 13 years ago

        They’d need a built-in device on laptops — I hate dongles sticking out.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      Dongles are easily circumvented or emulated. It would cost too much money and probably cause more problems in the long term.

      • sigher
      • 13 years ago

      Oh that’s what the TMP chip will be used for once they suckered people into having it on their mobo, don’t you worry..

        • dmitriylm
        • 13 years ago

        If the chips will be used to verify whether or not I actually purchased my software, then by all means go ahead. Sadly they carry other implications that make them undesirable.

    • alex666
    • 13 years ago

    Where does this end? Just with Windows? Who else will “phone home”? How about Office, or Photoshop, or Doom 6, or Quicken 2009, or . . . . .And what happens if you’re not connected on-line? Is MS now going to require that one have an internet connection at all times for your copy of Windows to work? I don’t recall reading that in the EULA. Are we going to be driven nuts with flashing icons in the system tray or in the center of our screens warning us that we’re doing something wrong or illegal and the consequences will be dire if we don’t do as we’re told?

    I think we’re all going to be singing the DRM blues over the next few years.

      • sigher
      • 13 years ago

      Uhm, WGA for office is already a reality, it also check office legitimacy.

      • A_Pickle
      • 13 years ago

      What the hell is wrong with not pirating software?

        • DrCR
        • 13 years ago

        You’re joking, right?

        We’re really talking about intellectual property in general here. It’s just as wrong to pirate as it is to carjack, rob a bank, or steal bubblegum from the grocery store. Property is property.

          • Corrado
          • 13 years ago

          He said what is wrong with NOT pirating software.

        • MorgZ
        • 13 years ago

        I think the issues here spring up with people who have NOT pirated software but are getting grief and people getting grief from OEM versions provided by mass system retailers.

        My dad has gotten grief from the WGA scheme on his pc he has bought from dell.

        My laptop for example comes with a Windows XP Pro key and yet will not ever work. The only way i can get windows xp pro onto my laptop is system recovery disks which dont work if you change any of the partitions (something which a lot of advanced users would do). So im sat here with a XP Pro cd key and yet i cannot actually install the OS.

    • sigler00
    • 13 years ago

    New Licensing tactics = Spyware. This goes for all companies. May this see the same fate as the infamous Sony rootkit.

    • Thrashdog
    • 13 years ago

    Meanwhile, the crackers disable WGA on their pirated Windows, leaving only the legitimate users of Windows to deal with Big Brother Bill looking over their shoulders.

    • SGT Lindy
    • 13 years ago

    It is about time they made it mandatory. IMHO they are behind the times when it comes to this kind of stuff.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 13 years ago

      You’ve got that right.

      Microsoft has the right to put any and all restrictions they want on their software – it’s licensed, not sold, after all.

      It would be dumb to do so, and would kill their market-share, but that’s their perogative.

      It’s really a win-win when you think about it – Pirates get punished, and so does Microsoft. And more people get to try out OSX and Linux.

      The only “court” that matters is the Court of Public Opinion, and MS doesn’t want to go there.

      Oddly, someone mentioned that US $50/year is too much for Windows, but I already pay that amount for Object Desktop, ZoneAlarm, and each and every new PC game. I get a lot more out of the OS than any of those individual apps.

      I’m not seeing the fearsome overcharging for Windows at “double the current price”, sorry.

        • droopy1592
        • 13 years ago

        Meh, that’s debateable if you agreed to eula only to have it beefed up a few years later.

          • Vhalidictes
          • 13 years ago

          It doesn’t matter what I agreed to, or what they do. Really. Do you honestly think that I’ll keep buying MS products if they go insane and try this stuff?

          They can do whatever, and I’ll react accordingly. Microsoft isn’t really screwing the consumer… only themselves.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 13 years ago

    So what happens when WGA arbitrarily decides that an XP Key on the side of your OEM box is invalid? Microsoft is likely just going to say that the user is SOL, and should just buy XP again. Even if the user has the sticker right in front of them, AND the original CD. Not all OEM’s are going to be interested in fixing the users problem, no matter how much business they do with MS.

      • ssway
      • 13 years ago

      They are potentially opening a huge mess of worms for themselves with this. Can you imagine if the scenario you mention were to occur on a large scale? MS would be in a very very bad way.

      Wouldn’t it be great if some malware author’s were to find security flaw in a future version of WGA with the kill switch that enabled them to shut down legit XP copies en masse? Yeah, Bill you may wanna speed up that retirement plan.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      How many people had problems with legit cd key’s on windows xp? As far as I know it isnt a common occurance unless you were sharing keys with other people. So the likeliness of this happening is pretty slim. Even if a small fraction of users had this issue, they would just call in, verify the key, and be on their mary way.

        • Bauxite
        • 13 years ago

        Plenty.

        Wait until a whole division of some gov’t agency gets owned by this MS malware/spyware/rootkit/eulabomb/extortionware/needsnewterm. Heads will roll.

        BTW guess how many pirates are truly affected? Not many. Probably far less than legitimate users will be. Many people are pirates by proxy (esp outside head-in-sand markets) their OEM pirated it and many of them keep up with whatever crap MS programs each month.

          • dmitriylm
          • 13 years ago

          Last time I checked plenty is not a statistic. How about a link to a non biased site that documents legitimate customers getting hosed.

            • Bauxite
            • 13 years ago

            Go read their own damn forums.

            Plenty of people speed on my highway trip every morning. Its good enough.

            • Chrispy_
            • 13 years ago

            Haha, good comeback.

            I’m tired of having to justify things to shut the trolls up these days. If they want a link to something as obvious as that they can go and find one themselves.

            Also, when did opionions need justification, they’re opionions, not press-releases….

          • PerfectCr
          • 13 years ago

          Definition of “Plenty”? 1? 2? 1000000? 5? ???

        • DrDillyBar
        • 13 years ago

        Well, I’ve run into this myself actually. Calling into WGA and trying to prove to them that you possess the real thing just net’s you a thick middle digit. It’s then up to the OEM to fix the situation, and they have to Eat the cost of another COA. Smaller players in the OEM market will likely disavow any responsibility for MS’s actions. What if this happens to a volume license, where by design you can install it on 10+ machines legally? Chaos.

        • cass
        • 13 years ago

        Yep, it has already happened to me too… it ain’t about the key, it is about the license. When you buy and oem key from newegg or anywhere you are only allowed to put it on one hard drive after that … technically they can cut it off and are going to. I bought a coa from a reputable source (well 2) and one didn’t work. I finally called three times and got around it, but it is a major hassle when the internet act. fails out. I am working on a Gateway right now that bombed and I am already having trouble there… I feel confident I will get it going, but how long till you have to buy another copy of winblows every time a hdd fails?

        My god I wish linux would get to the point of being viable.

          • dmitriylm
          • 13 years ago

          Ahh…Linux will never be viable as an operating system that is suitable for every consumer. There are people who have been using Windows for years and still dont know whats going on, can you imagine these same people at a linux command prompt? Windows isn’t exactly difficult to figure out. Every current GUI that I’ve tried for Linux is simply not able to reach the ease of use and accessibility you get from Windows. I don’t think things will be much different even five years from now.

        • Forge
        • 13 years ago

        As far as I can tell, ALL of the OEM users are now having trouble; OEM copies just don’t activate anymore. You reinstall that freaky HP image off the not-an-install-CD that they give you, and it installs just fine. You boot up and all things are good, then there’s a little popup that says you need to activate, click here. You click and it says to call MS. You call, and no matter if it’s your first activation or your fiftieth, MS reads you the riot act and all but outright accuses you of being a pirate. After half an hour of proclaiming your innocence, MS just maybe might give you the code to activate, but they might not, either.

        And this is with a fully legit OEM copy!!

      • jbgtly
      • 13 years ago

      I have 2 copies of OEM windows XP prof. that I bought from Newegg with hardware and have not used the keys on more that one computer. Both of these computers now have the WGA notification on them stating that they do not have legit keys. I have called Microsoft tech suppost more than 10 different times now and every time I have gotten a person that can barely speak english, and is very rude. And they all talk to me like I am some kind of criminal after I explain my situation to them. They tell me that since I have reformated and reinstalled the OS that my keys have been flagged as illegal keys. They then offer to sell my another key. Then I explain to them as nicely as possible that I have already paid for these keys and that I am not spending another dollar. This is the point where everyone of them either transfers me to someone else on just hangs up on me. I tried to write down some of their names but could not understand their accent enough to get the spelling right. So basically if you buy an OEM copy of windows make sure you dont ever plan on upgrading your computer because if you reformat and reinstall your key will not be good anymore, which I personnally think is bull****. If there was any alternative to windows that you could game on, I would never buy another Microsoft product ever. Just my $.02.

        • StashTheVampede
        • 13 years ago

        Your keys are flagged as bad and you paid for them — WGA is a pain.

        The changing of keys is also an issue. I’ve had an XP install for years on a non legit key. I then go and buy legit keys for my machine. Trying to change it is an exercise in futility — I have to reinstall Windows to get it done.

        Yes, I’m a bad person for even running the non legit version — but there are plenty of people who don’t even realize what they have installed isn’t legit. If they were to go and try to change their keys, they would have an uphill battle that a majority of people wouldn’t know how to fix.

        MS should just affix the cost of Windows to $49/year, tied to your CC.

          • dmitriylm
          • 13 years ago

          $49 per year? With a yearly subscription they would only increase the number of security software already within the US and people would be forced to dial in on a yearly basis. I would have no problem witht his, but obviously a lot of people on these forums do. Also, what happens when a new version of windows is released and you prefer to run the older software? Would you still pay $49 a year for obsolete software. Imagine all the people still running Win98.

            • StashTheVampede
            • 13 years ago

            I didn’t give a flawless argument, but I did state what I’d rather see with Windows. Instead of $99/$149/$199 for a copy, it’s $X/year for all the features.

            When MS changes the version, you could pay a “reduced” rate for your current one until Y date (they determine, obviously). After some “update”, Windows no longer checks for a valid key and just continue to “run”.

            There are LOTS of holes with this argument, but it’s something MS would prefer to move to (just with MORE money than what I’m asking for).

            • dmitriylm
            • 13 years ago

            Lets see…$99 for a copy of windows I can use for four years (as I do now) or $49/year which would equate to about $200. Why would anyone choose to pay twice as much? It would be very difficult for MS to get the public to accept this kind of pay structure. Plus, it makes it seem more and more as if you’re not actually the owner of your software (something people are already worried about). So not only will that kind of Windows phone home often (something I have no problem with) but you will also technically just be leasing the software for the time that you use it (something I do have a problem with). All I can say is good luck with that.

            • fishmahn
            • 13 years ago

            #41: Actually, no one has ‘owned’ the software they’re using for years. (home-grown & open source excepted of course) You are only licensed to use a copy of it. Generally its an open ended license – i.e. no time limit. – but they still license it to you, so you only have a license to use, not ownership. I’d have to look to be sure, but I think that was (in much simpler form) already the case on my copy of PC-DOS3.0 from the ’80s.

            And #37 If i was MS, I certainly wouldn’t make it free after 5/10 years. I mean, if they can get you to buy new by shutting it down, why let it keep working?

            Mike.

          • d0g_p00p
          • 13 years ago

          You can change the XP key without reinstalling.

            • StashTheVampede
            • 13 years ago

            You can’t switch between the different “kinds” of keys that are installed. Also, you *can* reactivate the Windows install and put a different activation code, but that doesn’t change the *key* it was installed with.

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