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My take on the Microsoft validation thing.

I keep reading of the hue and cry about Microsoft's new requirement that users must validate their copy of Windows before they can download anything from Microsoft.

I really don't see what most of the fuss is. Microsoft is a business, and businesses are in business to stay in business. Piracy hurts them financially, and if they can do something to fight it, then that's their right. It's not like they are actively shutting down people's machines, as certain other companies have tried to do in the past. Microsoft is still offering security updates to everyone, legitimate or otherwise, and they've even gone so far as to offer free or discounted copies of Windows XP if you can prove that you thought you were buying the real thing. The only real change is if you've stolen your copy of Windows, you won't be able to download all the nice goodies that Microsoft gives out for free. Big whooptie-doo.

I can see, however, how it would be a bit annoying at first for IT Managers (such as myself). Every computer in the company will need to be validated (here, that's 30-something machines) one at a time. But this is a one-time inconvenience, which will add maybe an extra 30 seconds per machine when doing the next round of normal system maintenance.

This is still much less annoying and much less invasive than some of the copy protection schemes that other companies have used, such as dongles, complicated code sheets, requiring a CD to be in the drive, installing things into the boot sector, or constantly phoning home.

So, Microsoft Validation: Bring it on!



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(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2005 11:32 pm (UTC)
I believe Microsoft has stopped asking for the key as part of the validation process. It hasn't asked on any of the 4 or 5 machines I've done it on so far.
Jul. 27th, 2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
The other annoyance, is when they arbitarily decide that your copy of XP is invalid for no apparent reason, and they shut you off and refuse to validate you. I have a -LEGIT- copy of XP, which I should be allowed to install as many times as I wish without having to call in. Granted, I would be okay with it if they would have it report your serial number when you went to do updates. But I had a legit copy of XP with the original CD, and for some reason, they decided, was no longer valid and will not install on any computer without whining about validation...and I'd need to front $150 for a /new license key/. -THAT- is highway robbery. Especially if the key only lets me install up to 5 times. I reinstall my OS maybe every six months or so, for various reasons, especially if I end up with terminal driver corruption and XP's stupid 'Stupid user doesn't know what they're doing' feature prevents me from updating my drivers -properly-.
Jul. 27th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
When you buy any piece of software, including Windows, you're not actually buying a physical product, but rather a license to use that product. If the license only allows you to install it on one machine, that's all you're legally allowed to install it on.

The new validation thing won't prevent anyone from installing illegal copies of XP, nor will it prevent these users from downloading security patches. It just blocks illegal users from downloading all the other stuff (new features, functionality patches, toys, etc)
Jul. 28th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
you're not actually buying a physical product, but rather a license to use that product.

Actually, this is still under dispute, AFAIK. It contradicts the doctrine of first sale, a longstanding legal principle of commercial transactions, and hasn't been evaluated in court. (IANAL)
Jul. 27th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
I don't even have XP, but I suspect this is why update has been next to useless the last few weeks. All of M$'s increasing paranoia about using users running unlicensed copies is fine, as long as they don't make a ballsup of it, or invade privacy beyond reasonable limits in the process.
Jul. 27th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
Part of it might also be that they recently combined Windows Update with Office Update to create the new Microsoft Update, which requires downloading a new ActiveX control and installing an updated version of BITS. Plus, of course, the fact that it's now checking for both products.
Jul. 28th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
Validation takes a little longer when the machine is on an internal network that's not connected to the Internet. Then you'd have to call them to validate. Otherwise, it's not too hard.
Jul. 28th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
I'd have to agree that this seems like a reasonable enforcement on the part of Microsoft. The only problem is when something goes awry and you have innocent people losing their license number; how they handle things on the customer front will be, IMHO, the big factor in whether this is a good system or a big pain in the tuckus.
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