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Vista Kill Switch: Only For Shoplifters

The Washington Post reported that Microsoft is taking Windows Genuine Advantage a little further, sending Vista into a reduced functionality mode within 30 days of being detected as illegitimate. Under that scenario, basically the only program that would work would be the web browser, and will shut down after an hour of use.

Amazingly, this is unpopular at Slashdot. Microsoft’s move, which only disables copies of Windows it determines to be stolen, is somehow “Microsoft screws its customers” (you aren’t a customer if you didn’t buy it), it “could possibly create some serious backlash” among “large corporations” (really? Did Ford and Chase and all the other big companies start using a keygen?), it “prevent me from accessing **MY** data” (stop accessing **MICROSOFT’S** operating system without paying for it). Far more posters, to be honest, seem to think it isn’t a big deal, because they are confident they can crack it.

The fact is, it has been real easy to crack Windows for over a decade, and many of us have loved that. If Microsoft is successful at making an untouchable OS (and I’m not convinced they will), it will make lives harder for those who just download Windows when they build a new computer. It will force them to actually walk into a store and plunk down $200-300 for a real copy. Sorry. Boo hoo.

At least if WGA reports a problem, all you have to do is call a phone number and prove your copy is the real thing. This usually involves saying, “Oh, I changed a key part in my computer”, and while it can be annoying and time-consuming, I have yet to hear of numbers of people with legitimate copies getting locked out. Opponents tend to talk about how evil and non-working WGA is, but if so, where are the customers with problems? It hasn’t happened yet.

Microsoft has at least fixed the real problem: Not getting a reinstall disk from the manufacturer. Since Vista only needs the product key to reinstall properly, you can borrow a copy from a friend, or probably even download it off a torrent site, and still install it legally. All you need is a sticker that came with your computer, rather than paying Dell seven bucks for the DVD.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | one comment

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1 Comment »

  1. Does this mean Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server registered users (application authors running on Windows) will be provided with additional tools aimed to stop and prevent their developed and distributed applications from crack, illegal intrusions, reverse engineering, illegal copying and use?

    Thank you in advance for your answer it it’s possible

    Kidest regards,

    StrongBit Technology authors of EXECryptor anti-crack and anti-reversing application protection and licensing solutions.

    Comment by StrongBit | October 20, 2006

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