Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

MS Expands Anti-Piracy Program, Reissues Patch

Microsoft today began expanding its anti-piracy program by quietly pushing out a software update that in many cases automatically scans Windows computers and reports on whether they are powered by unlicensed software.

The new pilot program is a fairly broad expansion of Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program, under which the anti-piracy check was required only for users who wish to download security updates or other free programs from Microsoft's site. Under WGA, users who chose to receive fixes via Automatic Updates were not prompted to install and run the anti-piracy software.

Starting today, however, Windows XP users in the United States who have set up automatic security updates will receive the anti-piracy tool. After installation and reboot, they may find their computers popping up an alert that reads: "This copy of Windows is not genuine; you may be a victim of software counterfeiting." Microsoft also is pushing the new tool out to auto-update users in Britain, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

I hadn't heard about this program until today, when my laptop -- which of course is running a legitimate copy of XP Home Edition -- received this update today and prompted me to restart. When I rebooted the machine and went to "Add Remove/Programs," the hyperlinked Microsoft Knowledge Base article that was supposed to describe more about this patch was not available, so I sent a few questions over to Microsoft. Below are their answers:

How does Microsoft plan to disseminate this? Through automatic updates?:

"Yes. As part of the pilot program, some customers in the U.S. U.K., Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand will be invited to receive WGA Notifications through Automatic Updates (AU) to learn whether or not they are running genuine Windows. Customers who opt in to the pilot and learn they are using non-genuine versions of Windows will receive a message during logon that their copy of Windows appears to be non-genuine and will be directed to the WGA Web site to learn more. If they choose not to obtain a copy of genuine Windows at that time, the customer will receive reminders until they are running genuine Windows. While the pilot is presently opt-in, as it expands later in the year, AU and WU customers may be required to participate. Users who have not validated their machines as genuine through WGA will not be able to download IE 7 and Windows Defender among other downloads and updates. However, they will not be denied critical security updates" (my emphasis added).

Will the Windows customer who uses auto-updates have the opportunity to decline this update and still install other updates?:

"The pilot is opt-in, so all participants are given a choice about whether or not they wish to participate. The opt-in is via a License Terms dialog, and users can chose to accept or decline. Only users who accept will receive the software. Once installed, participants will have the option to suppress notifications for some length of time. Customers [already] running genuine Windows Advantage will be unaffected by WGA notifications. Users running non-genuine Windows will see the notifications at boot time, login time, and periodically to via a system tray bubble notification. Messages are displayed until the system is running genuine Windows. Users can choose to suppress the notifier. The notifier will remind such users that they are not running genuine Windows and direct them to the WGA failure page, where they can learn more about the benefits of genuine software and take advantage of the Microsoft genuine Windows offers designed to help victims of counterfeit software. All users are able to receive High Priority Security & reliability updates regardless of their validation status. Users will not have the option of uninstalling WGA Notifications" (again, my emphasis).

What has been the rate of acceptance among Windows users to the Genuine Advantage program so far? How many potentially pirated versions of Windows has Microsoft received reports of thus far through the WGA program and installed tools?

"To date, we have already validated more than 150 million systems worldwide with WGA. As of March 2006, the WGA notifications program has been offered to more than 13 million users and we estimate an additional 13 million customers will receive the program with the present expansion. The ultimate goal of WGA is to differentiate genuine Windows software from non-genuine software. WGA also helps Microsoft learn more about counterfeit resellers and their illegal practices. We don't have specific numbers to share."

Microsoft wouldn't acknowledge it, but the folks over at an unofficial Microsoft watch site called Windows Observer have posted a bunch of PowerPoint slides that look like they were designed for dissemination to Microsoft OEM manufacturers. If you scroll through those slides, you'll see that yes, Microsoft has had 150 million validation attempts so far, approximately 35 million of which failed. If true, that would suggest that slightly more than one in every five Windows XP systems is powered by a pirated version of the operating system. Yikes.

What exactly happens in the event that the tool finds a PC that is suspected of running a counterfeit version of Windows (what info, if any, is then shared with Redmond)?:

"WGA Notifications is for Windows XP users. Our client software does not collect any information that can be used to identify or contact a user. We use the same process used by many popular search engines and Web sites to determine where their users are from -- a form of IP lookup. This IP lookup process does not include any information that is used to identify you or contact you, and only gives a rough geographic representation of where users are located."

This slide over at WindowsObserver would appear to indicate Microsoft knows pretty well where all the infringers are in the US.

Microsoft also said it is planning to expand the anti-piracy pilot to Microsoft Office products. Initially this will affect users of various foreign language versions of Office, including Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

Microsoft has every right to defend its intellectual property rights, and I don't for a single second begrudge the company for trying to quash software piracy, which is a very costly and global problem. But I'm a little concerned that this action could cause a number of Windows users to turn off automatic updates completely, and as such leave their systems unpatched and sitting ducks for would-be attackers who might use those machines for criminal purposes.

For my part, I turned off Automatic Updates several months ago, mainly because I got sick of telling Windows not to install its "malicious software removal tool," (even though I checked the box next to "don't ask again" or something to that effect, Windows asks permission to reinstall the program every time other updates are available).

Microsoft also released today an update to fix a Windows security patch (MS06-015) it issued a week ago that caused problems for some users of Hewlett-Packard hardware and software, as well as some Windows users who have certain Nvidia graphics cards installed.

Microsoft said that if you are configured to receive automatic updates, you don't need to do anything: "It will detect if you have the problem and deliver the update to you. If you have not yet installed MS06-015, the revised version will be offered to you." Automatic update users will also get a complimentary copy of the new Windows anti-piracy tool as well.

By Brian Krebs  |  April 25, 2006; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  New Patches  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: MS Office Flaws Ideal Tools for Targeted Attacks
Next: Two New IE Flaws Found


I have a copy of XP, which my retailer verifies as genuine. My COA and CD pass the Microsoft website visual clues test for genuine XP. Nevertheless, it fails the WGA.

I filed a trouble report with Microsoft and the representative e-mailed various inquires to which I responded with the information. The last request was for the Product Key to verify it as valid. At that point Microsoft stop responding which was 9 weeks ago. I now send an inquiry every two weeks to check status.

A solution may be on the horizon as my retailer has stepped in to deal directly with Microsoft. I hope he is successful.

At this point I don't trust the WGA program as being accurate.

Posted by: Don | April 25, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?

Posted by: Wanda | April 25, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

You think you still have Constitutional rights?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The Microsoft software you run on the computer you own is the property of Microsoft. You do not own it. You license it. And Adobe Acrobat Reader is the property of Adobe. And iTunes and QuickTime are the property of Apple. How different is that from books, songs, or movies that you buy?

Posted by: Greg Stigers | April 25, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I had many problems recently due to the XP update you refer to in your article. It was fix just few days ago. Lot of frustration with my two computers for about two weeks. I just wonder how many millions of users got the same experience. Anyhow it is all behind now, until next time...

Posted by: Bear | April 25, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the software you run (if it is made by MS) is owned by Microsoft. You only own a license to use it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

As usual, the usual suspects will be whining about constitutional rights or the violation therof. Fine, that is your right. But while you are at it, might you also consider offering an alternative solution to combat the crime of software piracy?

Posted by: Pappy | April 25, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Just like Genuine it Will probally be hacked later today!! LONG LIVE THE FREE NET

Posted by: Daniel | April 25, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft has used its monopoly to enforce its rules. Unfortunately, we don't have any choice to make rather to follow its rules until there is one that can compete Microsoft for OS and all its software. Until then, we still have to follow another set of rules. What I hope for is microsoft can lower prices on its product to a level that pivary on its products is more expensive. But this is unrealistic, since more and more Bill Gates is richer.

Posted by: Harris | April 25, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The way Microsoft is going out of their way to tell us that there isn't any info that could be used to personally identify owners of non-genuine software, tells me that they know they're know they're flirting along the edge of violating individual consumer privacy laws

Posted by: BigD | April 25, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Excellent warning. Thanks! And Don, your account of MS's intransigence over your COA is disturbing.

Last year, when my computer conked out, the repair shop I visited gave me a hacked copy of Office 2002 for my computer. (Home XP and Works Suite 2003 were already pre-installed.) After loading Office and downloading the updates from MS, I began noticing decreasing functionality of my MS Word--it was completely unusable as an editor for Outlook or IE.

I mainly wanted Office for the Outlook mail client to replace OE, for its much better file system, and its WORD editor capability, so once I found that WORD was unusable, I uninstalled the hacked Office program.

With Office uninstalled, I found I had lost WORD altogether, so I reinstalled MS Works Suite 2003, only to discover that MS would not accept my PID for this program. I also found that much of the functionality of Works Suite was now impaired. I was only able to restore all functions of Works Suite when I was forced to reinstall the OS and all programs following a hard drive failure.

But, my WORD 2002 program is still tagged "Office XP", and I can't download updates from the MS site without being confronted with their "Genuine Advantage" garbage, which I know will hose up my programs once again.

It's disturbing to learn that MS will not rectify this PID/COA issue with users who have taken the time to contact them for resolution.

Posted by: Cliff | April 25, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

If you want to talk about piracy, look at the underlying motivation behind it: Going out and dropping $200 for an OEM copy of Windows that's worth maybe $50, is kinda crazy. Yeah, I know all about the cost of development, yada, yada, but I do believe that the day music CDs drop in price to $5, the music industry will start making more money as the demand for crappy, P2P file-shared songs decreases, due to more value for your money in just buying it for a lower price. Tell me that wouldn't work for the motion-picture and software industries.

Posted by: BigD | April 25, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Wait, what's the rationale for rejecting the Malicious Software Removal Tool? This is the first I've heard of it being undesirable...

Posted by: S. H. | April 25, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't see any Constitutional rights around here.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 6:46 PM | Report abuse

O.K. So if a hacker manages to get a backdoor (Trojan Horse) into your computer it is a crime. But, if it is done by the corprate overlords we have to roll over a take it where the sun never shines?

one reason I have not used pirated software is because I don't trust that the person that cracked the software hasn't planted a trojan in it. So, Why would I pay for software that I know has a trojan in it?

This hostillity towards consumers needs to stop. I have been forking over my hard earned dollars to microsoft for sub par products that cause me more stress than they are worth since Windows 3.1. But, I will not be bullied into submition. It is MY PC. I built it and the last time I checked PC stood for PERSONAL computer not "This computer that I bought or built so that microsoft or anyone else can disable it any time they do not like my computing habits".

Posted by: Microsoft R teh Lewse | April 25, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

This is just another way of spying on us, disguised as a "legitimate" security need. For about a year now if your XP and Office programs were not scrutinized by the Bill for basically the same "legality" you could not update said software. So why do they need to rehash this yet again?

The average American of today is under far more (and far more sophisticated) scrutiny from all kinds of government agencies (and private companies) than the most recalcitrant dissident under the old East German Stasi.

The land of the free...indeed

Posted by: RG | April 25, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

for the people wanting actual constituional rights start checking into Linux. there is a lot of different operating systems and you can have them for free. No it's not a trial period either. and for the people that don't wanna download, go to and find out what the hype is about.

Posted by: Linux user | April 25, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Your computer is owned by you, true. And as such, you have the right to put anything on it you feel inclined. Microsoft software, on the other hand, is NOT owned by you. Ownership of software is generally retained by it's author. You are issued a license that allows you to use that software in accordance with the license agreement. They have the right to update their software as often as they like. You don't, however, have to install that update on your system. But, that could lead to problems down the road. Maybe, maybe not.

Posted by: Robert | April 25, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"

Is it not the case that you do not 'own' the software but rather a license to use the software?

Subtle but important distinction.

Posted by: JJ | April 25, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

>Neither the computer you own nor the >software you run on it is the property of >Microsoft.

That is true only in Louisiana where we have made null and void all shrink wrap licenses. In all other states its a lease that can be removed at any time. We need to push for a federal anti swrink wrap law that says when we buy a software package its ours.

Posted by: tm | April 25, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: tj | April 25, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?

Posted by: Wanda | April 25, 2006 05:42 PM"

Well, if you're not running any version of Microsoft Windows, you won't get this software. (Unless for some reason you download stuff from the internet compulsively.) I didn't see anywhere in the article that people running Debian had to download it. Or maybe you didn't understand the article.

Posted by: Brendan | April 25, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

he who has the MOST green as the
MOST constitutional Rights!

Posted by: definition of constitutional rights | April 25, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

he who has the MOST green
has the MOST constitutional Rights!

welcome to NEO-planet earth, border-less,
region-less & nation-less, only color
one see nowadays is GREEN

Posted by: definition of constitutional rights | April 25, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

MS new plan effectively makes their updates potential malware. I will advise my clients to turn off automatic updates, and use non-MS security tools.

Posted by: Boomer | April 25, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

only applies to government searches. Microsoft cannot unreasonably search your computer through Windows. If you disagree with Microsoft's anti-piracy practices, stop buying their products.

Posted by: The Constitution | April 25, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Even if they are sued, it won't make a difference in there business practices. The damages one might receive will be far outweighed by the benefits they receive by being able to target individuals who may or may not be guilty of pirating (ARGH Ye Matey!).

Posted by: Nathan | April 25, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Automatic Updates completely disabled Outlook Express on my system. I was provided with a 60 day trial of Office which I have never initiated and registered, but it decided it needed to do an Office Outlook update. They update this part of Outlook every single month, and so every month I have to specify that I don't want the update, and to not show me the update again. A new update comes out the next month, and Microsoft's great system again identifies my need for the update, for software I do not and have not ever used on my PC.

In contacting Microsoft, I learned they have no intention of fixing the problem, and the solution they recommend is that I update Office each month and then reconfigure Outlook Express!!!! Now if that isn't hilarious, I laugh because otherwise I'd be crying from frustration with Microsoft all the time.

Posted by: Mary | April 25, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft has every right to put whatever type of checks it needs to stop software pirating. As long as they are not pulling your personal information. Why are so many people trying to cite constitutional rights? Seems to me that the prople that are getting so pissed off by this, are most likely running pirated software on their systems in the first place. If you aren't and all of your software is legit, then who really cares if they check? If you have nothing to hide then it should be no problem.

Posted by: Steve | April 25, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Anything that tries to deal with piracy ends up costing the company who made/requested it more than the actual piracy itself? Furthermore, when you do have a legit copy of any software, it can now be accessed by Microsoft's Anti-Piracy update, which can then offer them hackable access to any Windows XP system even behind any security system.

Posted by: Otto | April 25, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Just another reason to switch to a free operating system with free software like Openoffice that does everything you are paying money for in windows.

Posted by: Don | April 25, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

The constitutional "rights" violations would only apply to the government not a private company. Also all someone would have to do is bury any permisson related issues in a user agreement, and your one click away. Personaly I use MAC and my windoze pc is only for games.

Posted by: Vortex | April 25, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

To Wanda; To clarify, Microsoft does indeed own the software. The money you paid was solely for the physical media and a *license* to use the software under their terms. It's how every piece of software is "sold" and in no way do you ever own the software like you do a car or dishwasher. It's spelled out in great detail in the EULAs/license agreements that you click on upon installation.

Posted by: Steve | April 25, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I think hackers will still create a workaround to making this effort by Microsoft ineffective. I think the better strategy to stop piracy is to make OS and other "essential" softeware very affordable. The increase in sales would more than compensate for the reduction in margins...

Posted by: Piracy | April 25, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

It is opt in. Therefore it isn't a violation of rights.

Posted by: Cais | April 25, 2006 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Your copy of Windows actually is property of Microsoft. You just paid them for permission to use it. Furthermore, I'm sure you had to click through a EULA to run the WGA thing anyway, so you did in fact agree to let them search your computer. I'm no lawyer, but I doubt there's a case here. If you don't like it, switch to linux.

Posted by: PHK | April 25, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Think of it this way, OS's like Linux & FreeBSD are available for free and there are plenty of free applications that run on those OS's. Instead of stealing from the evil empire, contribute to the growing opensource user base.

Posted by: X | April 25, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

..."nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

Read the license agreement. You do not own MS software, you have a license to use it.

It is the property of Microsoft.

Posted by: Mike | April 25, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

should have stopped upgrading at Windows 2000. This is nuts.

Posted by: Geo. | April 25, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

So... they are using some sort of IP lookup to determine this? So if you buy and install/register Win XP in New York, then move to California and install this wonderful piece of software, your PC fails the test? Maybe I just read the article incorrectly, but this seems ridiculous.

Either way, it's a Big Brother scheme and I don't trust it. At the very least, it is going to be one more process to steal cpu cycles and memory. At the worst, annoying pop-up boxes served to legit customers.

Just one more reason to ditch old Bill and get a real comp. Run Linux or OSX.

Posted by: Microshaft | April 25, 2006 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I think this the point where, for me, Microsoft has gone too far to protect their intellectual property. Microsoft is continually pushing users to toe its line and acquiesce to its will. Its not so much that they have WGA itself, but more the fact that they are forcing users to compute in a certain way. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Microsoft begins using these same sort of tactics to make Windows and Office into products that are more like subscriptions than software a user can continue to use. I think it is probably a risk for any person or business to rely on Microsoft software or services due to the fact that Microsoft may change them and force compliance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Let us understand this a little bit. The new tool does not share information with Redmond but it does direct you to a site to receive "information". That and log ip addresses, browser information and so on :).

Posted by: Darku | April 25, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The Consitutional rights protecting us from "unreasonable search" refers to the government and individuals working on its behalf. Your issue with MS would be a civil issue, not a Constitutional one. Hope you have deep pockets.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Uh, you don't have a Constitutional right to break the the person who posted anonymously.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution is a contract between the Government and its Citizens. It does not apply to interactions between people and companies. What does apply, is criminal and civil law.

As long as Microsoft offers you the license agreement, tells you about the tool you are installing, and gives you ability to opt out, it is completely legal.

However, if Microsoft in the future decides to quietly install the tool on your computer, then legality of its actions is in question.

Posted by: neolex | April 25, 2006 8:40 PM | Report abuse

re: "Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"
The software DOES belong to MS you are allowed to use the software, but as stated in the EULA the software DOES NOT belong to you. (otherwise reverse engineering etc would be permissable). Its like renting a house and then claiming its your house... you can use it within certain agreed parameters; however the Agent/Owner of the house is certainly allowed to check that you are the rightful tenant from time to time, and inspecting the house (which, like windows, IS their property that you are using) and is not violation of your constitutional rights ;)

Posted by: Benny | April 25, 2006 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Here is what's scary: while it is small one, it is a step nontheless toward total piracy control from the side of software companies. The future version of Windows and other software, maybe even Vista, will be impossible to pirate due to reporting tools and copy protections, creating a completely piracy-free environment, and reporting back on any attempts at piracy.

The problem with this is that piracy is a very important market control mechanism and balances out monopolies. In case of the one as big as Microsoft it is simply necessary. Otherwise, Microsoft can raise prices as much as it wants too.

If there was no piracy, people would never be able to download songs online at 99cents a song. Although, I consider that too expensive as well.

Posted by: neolex | April 25, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

microsoft wants to own the online world.

Posted by: zmanzero | April 25, 2006 9:01 PM | Report abuse

In response to the writer who said the hardware and software running on it is the property of MS, I say you better read your "license" agreement again. You don't own windows, ou have a license to use it, but it does belong to MS. With that said, I'll add that I don't believe it should be that way. I think software is out of control and will only get worse. To the people who insist that piracy costs MS money, I say prove it. I hear the claim that at least some would have bought copies I don't believe it. I don't defend piracy, but the arguent that it actually costs money is unproven and silly. Greed is never pretty whether it's a company or a pirate.

Posted by: Stan | April 25, 2006 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Use Linux and your Constitutional Rights won't be violated.

Posted by: Donald | April 25, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search."

You really need to read the EULA, the OS is the property of MS and you only have a license to run it. The EULA also grants MS the right to do almost anything they want to your computer.

Posted by: Outsider | April 25, 2006 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Several posters have stated that the software user does not "OWN" the software but only has a "LICENSE" to use the software. Specifically the attached EULAs are cited as the "proof".

Those who believe that are regretfully swallowing the corporate line hook and sinker. Just because a corporation says you are licensing a product does not mean that the supposed contract is enforceable. If a vendor can thrust an EULA at you at the point of sale, what is to stop you from giving the vendor your own version of an EULA at the point of sale? Who's "contract" is valid??? We have a logical absurdity. Unfortunately, the courts have not yet developed a body of decisions on whether EULA's are valid contracts. Please see Reader Voices: Contract or Coercion? at

Posted by: Steve R. | April 25, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

As far as rights are concerned, they are not recording the fact that you have an illegal copy, or at least that's my understanding. They're not gonna come after you (because they don't know who you are), but they are going to make sure that you can't get the new software updates from them because they won't run on your computer.

Posted by: George | April 25, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

It shows a lot by how sneaky they are about it. Note how there was no info given about the nature of the patch as is usually done. In adition this willingness to install stuff in such ssneaky ways is troublesome to me. I shall be looking to their competitors for future solutions.

Posted by: D | April 25, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is if you allow MS to update your system, and MS decides for whatever reason to intentionally degrade your system, its your tough luck. You'll just have to reinstall or go buy (excuse me, license) another copy.

Posted by: Boomer | April 25, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft should have been required to do this years ago. One of the ways that they monopolized the industry was to allow for easy bootlegging of their software. Why would people pay for the competition's product with cumbersome verification codes, when they could install MS products for free. The time has come to pay the piper.

Posted by: Dave | April 25, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

LOL, constitutional rights are what politicians use to subdue the masses....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 10:28 PM | Report abuse

First of all, you don't own the software. You license every piece of software on your computer. Second, you have 100% free choice as to whether you want to use Microsoft software. There is Apple, Linux, and God help you Solaris for you if you don't like it.

Just because you will now get annoyed by popups after stealing software, doesn't mean anyone has taken your rights away from you.

Posted by: D | April 25, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

You got that! Constitutional rights went out the window with Dub-yah...

Posted by: Jay | April 25, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

>.Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft.<

Of course it is. Did you think you were actually BUYING the software? Good Lord, woman, read your license.

Posted by: Bob | April 25, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If we still had the "FREE NET," we would still be dialing into bulletin board systems. You actually have to reward people for their society-changing inventions, not everyone is smelly hippy who will work for free.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Of course your Constitutional rights are not violated. You must check the box to agree to the installation. If you do not check the box, the anti-piracy tool will not install. Its an agreement. In the same way, police cannot enter your house or search your car without your consent.. that is, if you live in the United States. The key is to read the user agreement before agreeing.

Posted by: Eric | April 25, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

You sign away all your rights in the EULA - even the ones that they're not allowed to take from you. Have you read it? it's very scary. The problem with the constitutionality of this (or any of MS's illegal tactics) is that someone would have to take them to court on it, and I don't think that anyone here has the money to battle MS in court. Money is justice and they'll sue you right out. While you may be right, are you going to risk losing and having to pay your lawyer (and MS, and maybe MS' lawyers) instead of just paying the $100 or whatever it is to buy their little OS?

Go to linux. Free yourself for your own sake. You can't do as much (yet), but at least you're not chancing a glance with an evil corporation that has been convicted on multiple continents.

Posted by: cookie | April 25, 2006 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I've worked for three large companies in the last decade. In each case there has been some degree of unlicensed Microsoft software on their machines. It is impossible to keep compliance at 100%. Some things always get installed from a borrowed CD, brought from home or downloaded from the Internet.

Next, some of the OEM keys from major US sellers' stickers on computers I repair will not pass the WGA test when I reload them after malware infestations. Am I going to be accused of installing pirated copies of Microsoft Windows when my customers follow through with the reporting procedures and tell Microsoft who installed their software?

When the Genuine Advantage check came out I stopped reinstalling Windows on computers for customers who did not have a COA for their Microsoft software. Even then, some COA's will not pass the test. I'm now going to refuse to reload Windows 2000 or better on any machine!

It's time for me to dive full tilt into learning how to make Open Source software work for my clients. Soon I'll be advocating replacing Microsoft with Open solutions I will not have to litigate over.

The pirates will crack and patch around this, it won't bother them. Only Microsft's real customers will be put out. Now it seems more private to run a pirated or out of date version of Windows. Is that what you want Redmond?

Posted by: A Microsoft Trained MCSE | April 25, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Astonishing cheek! Protecting an in vestment is fine but this is a burglary. MicroSoft...get bent!

Posted by: Jas Western | April 25, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

Wrong. The software you run on it IS the property of Microsoft. (At least what they created is.) You merely have license (permission) to use it. You did not buy the SOFTWARE. You bought the RIGHT TO USE the software. That's a big difference, and it's not splitting hairs.

Posted by: Chris | April 25, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. Microsoft has no right to scan my computer under the guise of fixing its faulty software. That's adding insult to injury.

Posted by: Samantha | April 25, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

The initial OS installed is licensed to you by Microsoft (or to whoever bought the OS and put it on your machine, in case of buying a used computer).
Beyond that, anyone who enables automatic updates from Redmond is an idiot, and the machine should be taken away from them ASAP. Major corporations don't enable automatic updates, and they have 24/7 tech support onsite - do you??? I didn't think so. MS patches are a joke....its a patch that patches a patch that patches a patch that patches faulty software. I seriously think there must be a building on the Redmond campus nicknamed the Bandaid Building, where programmers laze about drinking cafe latte most of the time and figuring out how to screw up the next patch, just to keep MS users coming back for more abuse.
If software malpractice were treated like medical malpractice, Microsoft would have been bankrupt long ago - it causes far more harm and economical damage.

I do consulting and tech support to individuals and small companies, and the first thing I do is turn off auto updates, and refuse to work for those that don't. I send an email when its 'safe' to install one. Got a late nite call from a friend with a small business whose computers crashed on an update - I asked if she had auto-update on or off? On. I hung up. Can't cure stupid, most times.

Posted by: Michelle | April 25, 2006 11:43 PM | Report abuse

of course companies have constitutional rights, only people don't. how can we have a trade imbalance if asia starts paying for software. How many more sweat shop nikes can they ship through our middle eastern controlled ports? you guys have no sense of reality, nor any sense of humor. just remember the 10 republican commandments, 1 - thou shalt kill and start wars, 2 - love yourself and your corporate boss, 3 ...

Posted by: # | April 25, 2006 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the software you run on your computer (at least, the *Microsoft* software you run) is indeed the property of Microsoft. Read your license agreement.

You're not buying the software, you're buying the right to use it, rather like leasing a car.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2006 11:50 PM | Report abuse

You don't own the software, you just have the right to use it. Read the EULA.

Posted by: GeoAtreides | April 26, 2006 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I turned on my computer today 4/25. I got an error message saying that there was " A problem preventing windows from accurately checking the license for this computer" followed by a denial of access error code. I can't boot my freakin' computer!!!

I have a HP laptop that came with XP preloaded. The windows authentication is on the back. I am 100% legal.

I spent all day trying to figure out what was wrong. I had deduced MS was the culprit.

What do I do? Who do I call? I can't install a patch, I can't boot at all.

Posted by: John Finn | April 26, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse


Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?

Posted by: Wanda | April 25, 2006 05:42 PM


Actually, when you buy most software, it doesn't actually belong to you. You are merely purchasing the licensing to use it. (That's what the license agreements that you're supposed to read before installing any software say)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I turned on my computer today 4/25. I got an error message saying that there was " A problem preventing windows from accurately checking the license for this computer" followed by a denial of access error code. I can't boot my freakin' computer!!!

I have a HP laptop that came with XP preloaded. The windows authentication is on the back. I am 100% legal.

I spent all day trying to figure out what was wrong. I had deduced MS was the culprit.

What do I do? Who do I call? I can't install a patch, I can't boot at all.

Posted by: John Finn | April 26, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, when you opt to purchase a product and agree to the terms of the seller you are giving up any rights you may have. Also, Constitutional Rights limit what the government can do, not what a company or individual can do. If you're so freaked out about getting warnings that you're running illegal software then buy a legit copy, or use some other operating system.

Posted by: Anti-Wanda | April 26, 2006 12:17 AM | Report abuse

if you are reinstalling xp on the same pc.;;;

when replaceing hard drive
place these in c:\windows\system32 folder
to keep it (xp) activated.

1. Double-click My Computer
2. Double-click on the "C" drive
3. Go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder (you may have to click on the link that says "Show The contents of this folder")
4. Find the files "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" and copy them to a safe location. You can copy them on a floppy drive or burn it onto a CD or DVD.
5. After you have reinstalled Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click "No" when asked if you want to go ahead and go through the activation process
6. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (you can either press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal or follow the instructions in Starting Windows XP in SafeMode
7. Double-click My Computer
8. Double-click on the "C" drive
9. Go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder (you may have to click on the link that says "Show The contents of this folder")
10. Find the file "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" (if it exists) and rename them to "" and ""
11. Copy your original "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" files from your floppy disk, CD or DVD into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
12. Restart your system (if you followed the directions in Starting Windows XP in SafeMode you may need to go back into MSCONFIG to turn off booting into SafeMode)

Voila! Your Windows XP operating system is now reinstalled on your reformatted hard drive and you are all activated without having to actually go through the product activation process!

Posted by: pc-repair | April 26, 2006 1:10 AM | Report abuse

It would appear that the way around this is to use the Mozilla browzer by default.

I don't have an illegal copy of anything but notice that MS chose not to fully answer your final question.

It seems to me MS believes they have the right to install anything they want on my computer (that I bought and paid for, not MS) and if I decline that opportunity they will bombard me with reminders every few minutes. How many eventually give up and give in I wonder?

Posted by: Tee | April 26, 2006 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Constitutional Rights are loverly - if you're an American. The other 97 % of the world's population are not covered by the American Constitution.

Posted by: Criggie | April 26, 2006 1:12 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:29 AM | Report abuse

If the purpose of this tool is only to determine the geographical location of users victim to counterfeit resellers, then it will do practically nothing to stop it. Not to mention that it's optional...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:49 AM | Report abuse

To John Finn,
Call HP tech support. HP and Dell like to screw with your mind as much as MS does, but its their machine pre-loaded with MS, so its in their court. They should be able to tell you how to get it back up or, at worst, they gonna ask you to send the machine back so they can send you a new one.
Hopefully, you backup to other media. If you don't, and don't like the idea of trashing current computer for a brand new one, take it to a shop and they can reboot it for you.
Let this be a lesson to you and others to NOT enable automatic updates.

Posted by: Michelle | April 26, 2006 1:51 AM | Report abuse

um, that means you would need to erase your non-legal copy of windows, go to the store buy a legal copy, install it, update it, re-install all other software, update that, copy from back-ups all other personal data? just how many people are going to do all that?

Posted by: johnb | April 26, 2006 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Mary wrote:
"Automatic Updates completely disabled Outlook Express on my system. I was provided with a 60 day trial of Office which I have never initiated and registered, but it decided it needed to do an Office Outlook update..."

Outlook Express has nothing do to with Outlook. You get a free 60 day trial of Office, which contains Outlook (its another MS screwup, what can I say?).

Express is contained within/bundled with the OS (yeah yeah, I know; don't rag on me)
and Outlook is in the separate software package called Office - you get to see/use that for free for a coupla months, then pony up some money or it turns off and refuses to work.
IF you like MS, and have high speed internet, go to MS and buy Office and download it. If you have dialup...sigh...

Posted by: Michelle | April 26, 2006 2:10 AM | Report abuse

You aren't the brightest bulb in the pack, are you. (notice that's a statement, not a question).
"With Office uninstalled, I found I had lost WORD altogether, so I reinstalled MS Works Suite 2003, only to discover that MS would not accept my PID for this program. I also found that much of the functionality of Works Suite was now impaired. I was only able to restore all functions of Works Suite when I was forced to reinstall the OS and all programs following a hard drive failure.

But, my WORD 2002 program is still tagged "Office XP", and I can't download updates from the MS site without being confronted with their "Genuine Advantage" garbage, which I know will hose up my programs once again."

Without Office, you don't have WORD, dude. Duh. Works doesn't have WORD on it that I've ever seen.
Word 2002 and 2003 is also called Office XP, both are a part of it (heh, have you noticed they screw up a little bit at MS?)

Stuff is slow on your computer. Yep, I bet it is...people should learn how to use and maintain their computers, or pay someone to do it on a REGULAR BASIS just like you do your car's oil change, tune up, wheel rotation....or pay the consequenses.
For everyone who doesn't know anything more about computers than to turn it on and browse and send emails...PLEASE DEAR GOD GO SOMEPLACE AND GET INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!!!!!! on how to use your computer and safely use the internet.

Posted by: Michelle | April 26, 2006 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft would know something about software piracy, after all their empire is to a large degree built on it.

Posted by: Andy | April 26, 2006 2:54 AM | Report abuse

You have the right to choose whether or not to install the software, so it stands to reason that what happens on your computer after your acceptance of a patch download (knowledgeable of the effects or otherwise) are your responsibility, so long as said patch is from a respectable source, which is less and less these days in the case of the monolithic Microsoft, who's popularity is dwindling on the security front.

On the other hand, I would certainly oppose any gathering of data upon the dissemination of information about anything running on my computer without my prior explicit consent, even an IP address (since it CAN still be used for personal identification for legal reasons, since piracy is illegal, but legalities associated with the acquisition of personally identifiable information associated with an IP address another argument).

In my specific case, I bought my computer from my previous employer who eventually didn't pay for the computer from their supplier, which resulted in the supplier reporting the copy of Windows on my computer as stolen, in effect rendering my copy of Windows and all software/configuration I've vested into it up to this point at risk (on a buggy OS) until I purchase ANOTHER copy to re-legitimize my own copy of Windows, shelling out yet another couple hundred of bucks.

Posted by: pat [at] | April 26, 2006 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Good for Microsoft! I'm glad they're finally going after people who try to ride on the coattails of those of us who obey the law and rules.

I don't think it's unreasonable for Microsoft to take the additional step of turning off the user's copy of Windows or Office after the customer fails to verify over a few weeks.

They should really implement this in the problem areas such as China, India, Eastern Europe, etc. where piracy is rampant and deliberate.

Posted by: Luke | April 26, 2006 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Constitutional rights only restrict the government, not private companies.

However, if the company that built and sold you your house decided that they had the right to say what you're allowed to do (no more than two people per bedroom, no extensions or modifications, no looking to see how the garage door works, etc). If your building company decided they had the right to randomly inspect your house for violations of their rules, or even alter your house after they sold it to you, that's got nothing to do with the government. The house is, after all, still their 'intellectual property'. Right?

You probably wouldn't want to buy a house with those kind of conditions. I know I wouldn't. And I won't accept the same for an operating system.

Posted by: zcat | April 26, 2006 3:30 AM | Report abuse

What Microsoft fails to realise is that this initiative will actually increase piracy, not decrease it. When customers are treated from the beginning as criminals, resentment builds, and some even feel like if they're going to be punished anyways they may as well commit the crime.

Microsoft needs to drop its siege mentality, and stop treating its customers as potential pickpockets. The way they are behaving now is like a department store that frisks each customer upon entry and exit.

Posted by: Marc | April 26, 2006 3:32 AM | Report abuse

"unreasonable search"? LOL.

I'm sure this is more than legitimate as users must AGREE to a rather broad license before running Windows for the first time.

Posted by: Max | April 26, 2006 4:01 AM | Report abuse

In the end MS has damaged their reputation again. Not with this relatively minor WGA Notifications itself but more importantly with the inclusion of MS office updates as Required in the Auto Update system. This was a previous Opt-in update process. Many companies have problems with some service packs for office 2003 as it has several incompatibility issues with some Accounting software. As such it was never pushed out to users from the administrators. However Overnight they have pushed out millions of Service packs using the new Auto Update feature which includes office 2003 now. With no Warning what so ever.

This will damage millions of systems world wide using certain accounting packages that integrate into office 2003 for reporting.

All I can say is Microsoft had no right to disrupt thousands of businesses in this way, with their abritary change to a security system for WINDOWS NOT OFFICE! Even if there was some warning first it would have been aviodable as Network administrators could have taken precautions to avoid downloading the effected patches. But Microsoft has once more proved to the world it does not care what happens. Just as long as MS gets its way.

Wait till Corporate America turns away from the much touted Windows Vista!!! I know for a fact this has only gone further to pushing my business away from Microsoft products in the future.

Posted by: IT Consulting Services | April 26, 2006 4:32 AM | Report abuse

If Microsoft priced its products better, software piracy wouldn't be such a problem. As most people don't mind paying for software provided its not excessively priced.

Live free, use Linux. :)

Posted by: lloyd | April 26, 2006 4:52 AM | Report abuse

This is all a bunch of spin b.s. to cover Microsoft's ever-growing greed.
I own a legit copy of XP pro, but have 4 computers. I am NOT a business nor do I make any money from my computers, I'm simply a "computer nerd". By Microsoft's reckoning I should be shelling out over $1000 just for the right to install XP Pro on all 4 of my computers. This is neither reasonable nor within my financial means. Therefore I will feeely admit to having "hacked" the copy of XP Pro that I own to allow it to run on all of my computers.
I have never given away or installed any of the versions of Microsoft's OS that I have purchased to others, I just don't believe that's right, but their current policy is, IMO, unreasonable. Allow something like 5 or less activations and maybe you'll get a lot less pirating from home users who happen to own more than one computer and are neither able or willing to have Microsoft's hands that deeply into their pockets.

Posted by: TheWizard | April 26, 2006 5:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm living in Indonesia at the moment, and when i moved here i bought a laptop already with windows and office instaled.
For my suprise they are fake, went to the store and they said that there's nothing they can do... Imagine me now, if i want a legit windows and office i must pay 200 dolares plus... Just my luck... If anyone goes to any asian country be very carefull. Even if the store gives you a warranty, the laptop as those stamps under it, most of it are fake.
I learned the hard way.............

Posted by: Pedro | April 26, 2006 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Windows XP 2006 is the most unreliable windows software I have yet used and I am hoping an alternative operating system will emerge.

Many of MS patches don't function properly.

Posted by: Mike Jones | April 26, 2006 5:45 AM | Report abuse

What concerns me is the manner in which Microsoft are forcing pre-release software on users. They are treating it as High Priority updates. There is nothing high priority about this so Microsoft are not being truthful. They speak of opt in but if you opt out (must people would simply install a High Priority update) then you get the message that you have hidden important updates in Microsoft update. So much for respecting the users right to opt out of software that is not critical, important, nor necessary.
I don't support piracy but equally I don't support heavy-handed untruthful tactics (something cannot be true if thought word and deed are not in accord). Microsoft seem all to eager to find one guilty when one may be innocent with no right of appeal. It is about time they appreciated they are not infallible and correct their errors speedily. Dumping pre-release software when there appear known unresolved issues without the ability to remove it in this manner appears irresponsible.

Posted by: Steve | April 26, 2006 6:03 AM | Report abuse

my pc automatically downloaded and installed this today, only problem is that I do no have automatic updates enabled. I have notification of updates enabled, but not the download and intall. It really bothers me that Micosoft will ignore my settings and automatically install software without my permission, especially for something that is not a very important security update.

Microsoft just lost alot of credibility with me, the mac is looking more and more attractive for my next PC.

Posted by: ralphie | April 26, 2006 6:43 AM | Report abuse

don't use Microsoft products - use Linux, and enjoy software freedom! Microsoft is an evil, convicted monopolist, and the root cause of software woes such as virus, worm, Trojan, and other intrusions...

Posted by: willie | April 26, 2006 6:54 AM | Report abuse

All Your Rights Are Belong To Us

Posted by: MS Alien | April 26, 2006 7:04 AM | Report abuse

It's not a question of Constitutional violation - you're choosing to run Microsoft's OS, and you're choosing to run the anti-piracy check (even if it becomes a mandatory part of the OS).

Many shareware programs check your copy of their software to make sure you're registered on a server database - is this somehow unlawful? Of course not. It's just an attempt to make sure you're following the rules and paying for the software you're using.

If you're concerned about the anti-piracy check, there are always other OS choices. If you want to use XP, though, you're going to have to play by the rules.

Posted by: H.A.C. | April 26, 2006 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Typical MS bait and switch. They package it as good for the consumer as they need to know if there copy of Windows or MS Office is legitimate. Fact is most people tend to remember dropping a few hundred bucks for XP or Office so I doubt they need MS reminding them of this fact. Pirates on the other hand are not affected as they typically have patches pr fixes to circumvent such nuisances. So here we have MS pushing irrelevant files to the user that gives them nothing and the pirates keep on their merry way. I don't have to constantly prove I own my home or car or my shoes for that fact so why do I constantly need to keep proving to MS I bought there software. Mac Mini here I come!

Posted by: Scott | April 26, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

As per Windows' license agreement, the software **IS** the property of Microsoft. We just have been licensed by MS to run it on our PCs.

Posted by: Dan | April 26, 2006 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I will not be updating to the next version of XP (Vista). While I understand the costs of software piracy, the consumer is losing control of their PC. I'm moving to Ubuntu Linux and/or Mac OS X

Posted by: Walt | April 26, 2006 7:29 AM | Report abuse

When freedom is outlawed, then only outlaws, will be free.

Posted by: Gawain | April 26, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Have you ever read an End-User License Agreement (EULA) when installing software? Basically it states that you don't own the software. You spent hundreds of dollars for the right to use the software but do not have the right to install it on more than one computer, cannot reverse engineer it, sell it when you are done with it (or give it away for that matter), talk bad about the software company, or anything else that you might want to do with it. And it isn't just MS that has those stipulations, nearly all commercial software has a similar EULA. So constitutional rights have nothing to do with software.

Posted by: Rog | April 26, 2006 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh C' they're trying to get a handle on how many PCs out there don't have a licensed version of Windows. They're a business! They MAKE money. That's what businesses (good ones at least) do! Quit yer whining. If it chokes up on you, then you're prolly one of the ones they want to know about. I know that if I were a shareholder, which I'm not, I would be happy to hear how my company that I own stock in is trying to make the bucks.

Money makes this world go 'round, not fancy ideas about personal freedom and the likes. Microsoft is just a symptom, but not the problem.

And all you people who end your post with stuff like "Forget Microsoft, I'm moving to [pick one; Macintosh, Linux, Unix, blah blah blah], you're just trying to push your crappy, hard to work with OS on those few imbecilic people who think this is really a big issue. It's Not!

You know, I got pulled over the other day by a cop. He wanted me to provide him with my license and proof of insurance. Do ya think I went off on him about my constitutional rights being violated? No! I had to PROVE that I was a citizen and I had to PROVE that I had insurance....valid insurance. That's the way things go. I had absolutely no problem with him checking, becausde I know how many illegals there are in my area who do NOT have insurance and who have fraudulent paperwork about them being in the country. By all freaking means, go ahead and check. Government or Microsoft. They're both symptoms, not the problem.

The problem is money.

Posted by: Mark G | April 26, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the software you own is the property of Microsoft. You are merely licensing the use of that product. I don't believe there is any Constitutional violation here. You accepted the licensing terms when you installed the software.

Posted by: Aaron | April 26, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Time to switch...

Posted by: lmm | April 26, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Your comment is incorrect. Like it or not Microsoft owns the intellectual property rights of the software you are using. You only buy a liscence for personal use. So they have every right to do what they are doing. If you don't like it, i suggest you find an alternative.

Posted by: Joel | April 26, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The computer is yours, however the software does NOT belong to you. You only have a license to USE it. Better start reading your software agreements.

Posted by: Dave | April 26, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures applies against the government, and although Microsoft is huge, it isn't the government.

Posted by: Gary | April 26, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft, as a private company, doesn't have to pay attention to any of your rights. If you don't like what they're doing, you don't have to use their software. The Constitution only applies to the government or it's entities.

Posted by: Aaron | April 26, 2006 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Windows software IS the property of just buy a licence to use it. this has little, if anything, to do with the Constitution.

Posted by: bobw | April 26, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Just another way for Micro§oft to piss people off. This whole pushing out software through automatic "secret" updates crap is retarded. I haev automatic updates set to ask before doing anything and i saw that sucker on there today. Good thing i have RSS feeds on google to tell me when microsoft is up to its crap again. As i have read that some people are already having problems with this and more will as well, keygenerators used by popular pirating groups dont generate dead keys they generate live keys, so every generated key is probably some poor sap who actually paid for his copy of Winblows and now will be bugged by yet another form of stupid pop-up telling them windows isnt valid, and oh my gosh in case you forget "everytime you turn on the computer". Micro§oft needs to understand it can't stop it, it can't thwart it, it can't even begin to touch it. For every patch, there is a crack, for every crack a new patch. One day they will learn that their over priced high crash rate OS is not as good as they would like to think. Yea its the most popular because its the easiest to run, also the easiest to crash. Anyhow, is anyone else getting sick of hearing news about genuine this genuine that?¿¿?

Posted by: Network Admin | April 26, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft is simply trying to milk it's users for more $$$ via covert marketing cloaked as security under WGA. I am a college student and my version of XP came up as a pirated copy despite the fact that I had the original shrink wrapped CD. At this point I am seriously looking at going to either Apple or Linux OS and abandoning Messysoft alltogether.

Posted by: Kevin | April 26, 2006 8:38 AM | Report abuse

This sounds far too intrusive, and if it is faulty as stated above, many problems will arise from this.


Posted by: C.O. | April 26, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

no unreasonable search argument to be made b/c microsoft is not a gov't actor (yet, anyway)

Posted by: Elmer Fudd | April 26, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft is full of bullsh*t,..according to various websites Microsoft themselves or someone working for them put out copies of XP & XP Professional on the likes of Kazaa and other P2P sites. Naturally people downloaded the junk XP software. Now the whole world of hackers & the like has used their cr*p product to find out & report its many flaws...MS come over as the injured party.

Posted by: Linux user | April 26, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

You may own the computer, but you don't own the sofware. If you read the licensing agreement when you install most software, you'll see you only purchased the right to USE the software. I'm guessing that's why this is legal, albeit, intrusive.

Posted by: Jesse | April 26, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Your right to be free of unconstitutional search and seizure extends only to the government. You might have a private claim against Microsoft (assuming you could show damages and had standing to sue) but they are not bound by the 4th Amendment or any other constitutional provision. Sorry.

I don't happen to have a legitimate copy of Windows - my machine is an ancient Pentium III and I long ago borrowed a buddy's hacked software just to keep it running (my bundled copy of Windows 98 crawled). I'm not particularly sorry about stealing Microsoft's program; they simply have more money than Croesus and could afford to bring prices down to reasonable levels (i.e. $40) any day. In that event I would upgrade.

Computer use is quickly becoming so necessary to the daily survival of people of this country that it is akin to a utility. Utility prices are regulated by the government - and operating system costs should be as well.

I have moved to Mac on all computers but the one in question and will soon be scrapping that. Good bye, Microsoft. OS X is simply a better OS. You had a good run, but I can't take it any more.

Posted by: Lawyer | April 26, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

why dont you sue microsoft then?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Goodbye Micro$oft - Hello Linux!
ps: Someone should pie Bill Gates again just like they did in Europe a few years ago. ;)

Posted by: Dave @ UCLA | April 26, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the software (Windows) you run on it *is* the property of Microsoft. You license it, you don't own it.

Posted by: Frank | April 26, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why XP's users are getting upset about an app that spies on you. What do you think XP is? It's one big piece of spyware.

Windows 2000 was fine and still new when XP came out. Why? Remember the gov was coming down on MS for anti-trust violations? Remember 9/11/01? Strange how the gov dropped everything about the anti-trust right after that.

Enter XP. The government made deals with MS. MS was to come out with another OS that would basically record everything you did. System Restore? Give me a break. Just another way to file away your stuff for retrieving if needed. Caching your mail now with Exchange and Office 2002/XP/2003? Same thing, just making as many copies of YOUR PERSONAL data as it can. Why does it take so long to clear your history in IE, even if you have only visited 1 page since the last clearing? It's copying the stuff you think you are removing to a folder in which you do not have access to.

This tool is only enhancing the largest trojan horse / keylogger ever built... WINDOWS XP.


Posted by: BOB | April 26, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have always wondered about the companies that scan my computer, or place cookies on my computer.
I must have missed that point in the Users agreement that gave them the right to search my computer.

Posted by: J_Mac | April 26, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

While you are correct about the computer not belonging to Microsoft, the software is their property. You should take some time and read the licensing agreement you agreed to when you clicked accept. You will find that you have been granted a non exclusive license not ownership.

Posted by: Andrew | April 26, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know that I have to pay for my XP 199$. I paid 3$ for the cd on flea market and I think it does not worth it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

My pirated copy of XP didn't come with an EULA. :)

Posted by: Chap | April 26, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I think that I've figured it all out folks! Microsoft is merely trying to wrest-back it's historical title as America's most greedy Corporate Entity from the Big Oil Companies who recently stole it with $3.75/Gal Unleaded! "..his eyes opened!"

Posted by: Leon | April 26, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

How do you spell Linux?

Posted by: Gill Bates | April 26, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Actually you don't own the software on your computer, you mealy have paid for a license for permission to run it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Gee, MS could have stopped all the illegal copies years ago. They want you all using windows, legal copy or not. They just timed this to coincide with the release of Vista! In my opinion it is just strong arm marketing. Download and install Linux. Open office is every bit as good as MS Office. PS, Linux is free! Once you get used to it you will not notice the difference, except for the lack of crashing, no viruses, and the performance increase.....

Linux user for 11 years, 5 system crashes in 11 years. Not a virus or security breach to date.

Posted by: Penguinista | April 26, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Looks like M$ is starting to promote Linux. Things just keep popping up and Microsux continously has to keep defending themselves. I refuse to use windoze at home but I have to use it at work.

Posted by: HuFlungDung | April 26, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Microsoft founded on software that didn't even belong to them? What are they complaining about now? What comes around goes around...

Posted by: Wondercookie | April 26, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Funny how I'm in a tough place here, I am a graphic and web designer right now, but I have been an avid pc modder for 6 years. Which means that every 4-6 months I swap out my motherboard, cpu and grapchics card for the newset best out here. Ive had to disable WPA on my previous versions because microsoft doesnt belive that pc builders still exist. So these tools encourage piracy even for a paying customer. I have 3 copies of xp pro and office, I am not a pirate, but I will "adjust" their software to work for me just like I do with hardware.

Posted by: B34NS | April 26, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

How scary. I got the notice to run this update today, but haven't installed it yet. Now I'm not sure I'm going to, even though I have the Dell-installed copy of Windows XP, but Dell didn't send me the XP disc or a system restore disc, so I have no recourse if this addon messes up the computer somehow. No good.

Posted by: Rebecca | April 26, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

This is all a joke. Why do this? Most people who are running a non-legit windows will most likely know about it, and won't bother to participate. And for those that don't know they don't have a legit copy have obviously not had any problems with the software otherwise they would have gone out and bought a new copy. I think its all a bunch of microsoft stupidity.

Posted by: George | April 26, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

We don't have a constitutional right to a computer or its use. The computer and the software included on the computer is all intellecutal property. Furthermore, Microsoft's EULA dictates that it holds any and all rights to any and all Microsoft software (including the OS - Microsoft Windows blablabla) and that the removal of said software from your very own personal computer is at the disression of Microsoft. In order to use any Microsoft software, you agree to the EULA even if it's OEM. If you haven't read it, try it. It's sinfully delicious.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The Fourth Amendment is a restriction on the Federal/State Government, not a private company.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Actually, if you read the "Licensing Agreement," you will discover that all you ever purchased was the rights to USE the software...

Posted by: Scott | April 26, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It free, its better. That is why M$ is trying to destroy it. Don't believe for one minute M$ is going to promote it. Read up on it. Download it for free, use it FOREVER.

Posted by: Move to Linux | April 26, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse


Probably no one red license agreement from top to the bottom and this is sad.
Microsoft clearly described - you do NOT own software, you just RENTING it as long as you agree with these terms.
Microsoft just made one more step to kill itself, good luck in it

Posted by: Vasya Vetroff | April 26, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

If by chance you get the "your software is pirated" message just say you will resolve later. Then go to programs/system tools/system restore. Use the restore point before the update. Then make sure you turn off automatic updates. Viola its back. Just don't update WGA. PS.... Try Fedora linux or one of the other flavors. Just because it is free doesn't mean it isn't good!

Posted by: System Restore is the answer! | April 26, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I can understand wanting your fair share for your product being sold and used around the world but to force people to validate or not allow them certain updates such as IE 7 or Windows Defender is a bogus deal. Updates should be nothing more than Microsoft supporting their product. Much like a warranty is to a car or a toaster. If there is an issue such as a security breach and microsoft patches it, that should be considered nothing more than Microsoft supporting their product and doing their job. If a car is manufactured and it has faulty wiring and the chance to start a fire, I don't believe Ford verifies you still have your stock radio before resolving the problem. As a Windows based IT person for almost 8 years, I think it might be time to learn more Linux.

Posted by: R. Francis | April 26, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

As I sit here (clicking the "Restart Later" button after updating a .sys file from AU for the 100th time) I feel a certain amount of outrage concerning WGA.

Yes Microsoft has the right to verify that the OS is legitimate. No, Microsoft has no right to install something on my computer without my saying it is okay. I don't care if it is their product or not.

I just read an article last wee stating that Suse Linux has just issued a new version that is to compete with Windows Vista. Of course I have to do some research on this to see if I can run all my software on it but three words come to mind - Bye-bye Microsoft...

If the Linux thing fails I happen to know there it a Mac out there I wouldn't mind using.

Bottom line is that there are options out there. Microsoft will push its legit customers away with this WGA.

I'm tired of trying to keep up on my security updates, licensing and whatever else simply because I'm using a Windows OS.

Posted by: Flipknob | April 26, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Why don't we just give "big brother" Windows royalty status. I was forced to use Windows since they cajoled so many software companies into requiring the Windows operating system. When something else comes along and software will run on it I will be the first to say good bye to the seathing monster known as Microsoft. They used unethical albeit legal methods of forcing us to use them. Corporations often do things called good marketing that if individuals did the same thing it would be called stealing.

Posted by: Richard | April 26, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The EULA also states that if you do not agree to the term you can refuse windows.... To date I know of no one that has gotten a refund of the MS TAX on thier computer. Thier licence seems to go only one way, into thier pocket. They force you to buy windows due to the MONOPOLY. They FORCE software developers to make windoze only apps. They use our money to BUY politicians and keep thier monopoly.

Posted by: The EULA | April 26, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

We purchased and installed authentic XP on all our computers. Frankly, we are very pleased MSFT verifies the legitimate use of its products while hopefully putting the screws to all the pirating scum of the world. Keeping their and our costs down, enhancing the interoperability of all computers, and castrating/nutering the global sons-of-bitches seems rational, synoptic, and coherent. Go MS!!!

Posted by: not so s t u p i d EARL | April 26, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As a consumer I am concerned with this new "tool", am I the only person out there that cringes to think of what malicious code writers will be able to accomplish using exploits or bugs with this.

Posted by: concerned | April 26, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry -- but the "unreasonable search" poster is in error. The computer is yours. The software, however, is Microsoft's; under the terms of the agreement you "accept", they are "licensing" you (giving you permission) to use _their_ software, and they retain all property rights, including intellectual property. It's like leasing an apartment -- you have certain rights to "quiet enjoyment", etc., but the apartment still is the property of the landlord, who is allowing you to use the property in return for your rent money and other considerations. This is common practice in the industry.

Posted by: Don | April 26, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Wanda read your EULA! Microsoft does in fact own the software, your simply buy a license to use it. If you break any line of the EULA they have the right to remove the software from your computer.

Posted by: Tyler | April 26, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

A common misconception about constitutional rights is that they apply to actions by anyone and everywhere. The constitution provides no privacy rights to one party of a commercial transaction. The constitution is concerned with what the government may or may not do, not what any particular company may or may not do.

If you don't want microsoft looking at your computer, you are free to not invite them in. Microsoft is not invading your home, depriving you of your right to assemble, stopping you from petitioning the government, etc. If you don't like what they produce as a product, buy some one else's stuff.

The constitution is a wonderful document, but many people who quote it have not actually read it. They assume it says things it doesn't say, and means things it doesn't mean.

Posted by: Constitutional Rights | April 26, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

So if this program is OPT-IN. How come your PC automatically downloaded installed and rebooted?

Mine did the same this morning and I did not opt-in to anything.

Posted by: Steve M. | April 26, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I switched to Linux Fedora a week ago. My four PCs no longer boot XP. The extra security software needed to keep XP safe got too expensive. Linux has 'open office' which is a good replacement for MS office and is free and non obtrusive.

Posted by: Ken | April 26, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What bothers me is the problem Don is having with Microsoft failing to respond and fix the problem. I believe that I would not opt in at this time if WGA is rendering false detections. I know that I have a genuine copy of XP as it came installed on my Dell as received from the factory. They don't even provide an install disk for XP when you buy one of their computers. If this is what they are already doing, I see no need for WGA at all.

Posted by: Gary | April 26, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?" --Wanda

If you have agreed to the Microsoft End-User License Agreement, you have agreed that the software on your computer is not your property, but is the property of the Microsoft Corporation and that your only right is to have permission from them to use it, in accordance to the terms set forth in the Agreement.

You have waived any rights that may have had.

Posted by: Tarik | April 26, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what else WGA disables that MS 'forgot' to tell us about.

Posted by: - | April 26, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If this overides your settings to not install and installs it anyway, that is a violation and should be considered malware.

I love how MS claims it's an ADVANTAGE. What a joke. We are all supposed to be thrilled that we now know our Windows is not pirated. BFD!! I could care less if my copy is pirated or not. As long as it works. "Gee thanks MS for letting me know that my copy is not pirated."

MS allowed their software to be pirated at will. This is how you enter markets. Now that 90% of the world uses it. (And if you are in business, you have no choice, because your clients more than likely use it) they are going to clamp down on it. What a bunch of butt cheeks they are.

As stated, the price for it will not go down. Vista more than likely will be MORE expensive.


Posted by: C.O. | April 26, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

My company is moving to Linux. We have over 65000 people. Tens of thousands of computers worldwide. Our sysadmins are scratching thier heads as to why they didn't do this years ago....

Posted by: Big Company, bankrupt no more | April 26, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It will only be a matter of time before this is also cracked by pirates. WGA can be gotten around I did so for my son's computer when WGA said that XP was not legit when I know it is, unless M$ is in the business of distributing pirated software, since I got it straight from M$ not a reseller. This is just another reason for me to continue to use linux and Mac OS X as my main systems.

Don: for your information M$ gave me the runaroud for 8 months till I finally said the hell with it and got around WGA for my son's PC.

Posted by: kjb | April 26, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

Try again. The Windows operating system, along with most of the software available for it, is LICENSED to you, not TRANSFERRED. You "own" only the right to use it, not the software itself. Read the fine print in the manual you received.

I'm not saying I like that little fact, just pointing it out.

Posted by: Todd | April 26, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"MS allowed their software to be pirated at will. This is how you enter markets. Now that 90% of the world uses it. "

That's right just like a drug dealer. Get them hooked and they HAVE to keep paying you.

Posted by: 1st joint is always free | April 26, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The software DOES belong to Micro$oft. Check the EULA.

Posted by: Joe Mamma | April 26, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Windows will always be the property of Microsoft regardless if you use it or not. You never "own" the "software" when you buy it. You buy a license to use it. Microsoft owns Windows and you own a license to use it. Thats the fact.

They have every right to manipulate "windows" any way they see fit even without your full knowledge of it. But they are limited to the software they own. If this anti-piracy software starts looking at everything on your computer, thats a totally different story.

Microsoft has every legal right to install a piece of software that retrieves the license that they leased to you. They have the right to take that license to verify that its authentic. They have the right to press charges on every single person they find not using a valid copy of windows or the person responsible for loading the non-authentic copy.

This is no different then the adobe license system. It periodically checks your serial against their databse and if you arent using a valid serial then the program becomes useless.

People should be lucky that microsoft doesnt make their non-authentic copy of windows un-usuable like what happens when you dont activate in 30 days and that microsoft will still let them download updates.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This Notification works like a Virus.
For any updates which are downloaded automatic from Microsoft the user should be ask if he wants to install it or not.
By the way.
Got rid of this WGA notification within 15minutes.
Thanks Linux!
A tip to Microsoft.
IE7 has nice security holes.
I would warn everybody to install IE7.
The Hackers will have really fun to get infos.
Make your Operating system cheaper and you will beat Piracy.
As long MS software is so expensive it will never beat Piracy.

Posted by: Khalid | April 26, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

There's one for Office that overrides your install settings too. Causing all kinds of issues in the business world. I am in IT, and I decide when and what updates to load for compatiblilty issues with specialty software. No longer apparently. Go ahead MS, crash my business.. thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I see the future of a Linux dominated computer society on the horizon.

Posted by: Joe | April 26, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

good thing apple is rolling out to the intel chips. i wonder how long till apple starts monitoring piracy.

Posted by: man | April 26, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Big Mistake MS. Maybe Billy is not as smart as we think.

Looks like some new thrash MS documents are in order.

Posted by: Jack | April 26, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

No rights? You must be one of those illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Great article, thanks

Posted by: Donald Burchell | April 26, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I have an idea! Why doesn't M$ just make Windows XP "unstable" if it is pirated? Oh, wait, that is a standard feature in the OEM version... Sorry.

Posted by: Compromise | April 26, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft is making a big mistake here.
Any software which a user install on their system should have right to uninstall it again.
I hope that some people are waking up and bring Microsoft to court.
Users have right!
If somebody decides to use pirated software because windows is so overpriced when I support the decision.
Windows has so many security issues and I can not understand how they get away with it.
If anybody would sell a car with so many issues the car would be banned from the market.

Posted by: Tom | April 26, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Windows has so many security issues and I can not understand how they get away with it."

Easy, they bought all the politicians in the USA! They have more money than the courts. Nice to see the EU isn't shying away though.

PS if Windoze gave you all it claimed you WOULDN'T have to buy the next version in hope that it would actually live up to it's claims!

Posted by: Money talks | April 26, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

What a surprise! Microsoft has a long history of predatory marketing practices that stifle competition and drive up prices? Their operating systems and Internet Explorer are bloated and filled with security holes. Now this! What's next?

Posted by: Get real | April 26, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Well stealing is wrong, and I don't think anyone is going to say it's okay to take from Microsoft just because they are a big company. If you do believe that then maybe be can all come to your house and take what we want because you want to sell it for more than its worth. The problem we all face is that Microsoft products are very expensive, and you really have to have them to able to do anything that is compatable with everyone else. Or that is easy to use. I like alot of us tried Linux, and I got sick of commands to do what I used to do with a click. It was like going back in time, and was just not for me. I have 3 PC's on my home network running Windows XP professional, and Office XP professional. This means that I am to spend at least $1200.00 or more every time Microsoft releases the next version of its products. We dont get money back when they release a turds like Windows 95A and Windows ME. There has to be a better way. Computers have become a way of life for us, so I submit to Microsoft that they offer a cheaper alternative OS that is stable and allows the less fortunate a legal place in this digital age.

Posted by: Tom Townsend | April 26, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, I believe you are incorrect. I believe Windows is the property of Microsoft and users of it have a license to use it.

Microsoft has every right to have their products purchased, not stolen. The method they are using to check for valid licenses, as described in this article, is, in my opinion, very light-handed. They are NOT stopping your computer from working, they are NOT uninstalling the software, they are NOT suing you, they are NOT even sending you a letter. They are merely popping up a window letting you know you may be using an illegitimate copy of the software.

Get Legal !

Posted by: Mark | April 26, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The constitution protects you from the Government not Micro$oft. Micro$oft can do whatever they want with the software they produce. Until we do something to stop them, we are at their mercy.

Now if only the software I use would support an alternate OS, I'd love to go away from Windows completely.

Posted by: Kevin | April 26, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I would love to try UNIX but it isn't going to work well with my other PC's at home and I happen to like gaming. It's not problem learning to use it and I have no doubt that it is a better experience in terms of OpenOffice and all that. But how long am I going to wait for the rest of the world to start coding all the hot apps. i like to use for UNIX?

If all you do is surf the W3 and word processing then UNIX is an option. If you like to tinker and work with (unfortunately) real world issues and problems in I.T. then you have to stick to Windows [insert Ursula: It's sad, but true!]

Please hurry with the software development for UNIX!!!

Posted by: Yeah, but... | April 26, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Being of a suspious nature I'm wondering if Micrsoft initiated the WGA for other reasons. One posibiity would be that since it would have access to gather information about your computer it would be able to determine how many computers would be eligible for upgrade for new software.

Posted by: George | April 26, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Security fix???
What is MS Talking about?
They come with WGA.
They Patch WGA!
And now they come with WGA-Notification?
They have to patch their own Patches!!!
It is sooooo easy to get rid of this notification and still we can download from Microsoft Update.
Wonder when the WGA-notification patch comes out.
A true Business Man would reduce drastically the price of WinXP and
Let the people get on with their life.
Does it really still matter how many people run a Pirated version?
Greed will bring your business to fall.
You will never beat piracy if you don't do sacrifices.

Posted by: John | April 26, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's to spy on us. Who believes Bill isn't in with George on the NSA crap? M$ jiggles the government whenever it wants it. Who would be surprised by the whole thing being a front for data mining and key logging?


Posted by: Or maybe... | April 26, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

When is Google coming out with their OS? I'm so hot and ready for their move into the OS world. I'm moist!

Posted by: Google Lover | April 26, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I think it is about time they started doing things like this. Only by doing what they now do, we can all be sure that Linux is going to grow. Switch now, and relax!

Posted by: FedoraFan | April 26, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft cannot violate your constitutional rights, because the constitution protects the government from doing things to you, not anybody else.

Posted by: Otto | April 26, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I am not a rep from MS and no way a spokesperson for them, but I worked for a large computer company. The comment about the computer you run or the software you run is not the property of MS leads me to believe you are a confused individual. You definitely own the computer. The problem is if you want it to boot up and run programs, means you need an OS. The MS OS or any other OS you might run is licensed to end users just like any software OS's companies run for business. People think because they run pc's, they are entitled to use this stuff without regard to license fees. If you don't connect outside you home, there is no way for anyone to check what you are running. Also, as you might already know, you need to worry about virus's from the software you are getting from the sneaker net. If you do connect to the outside world, you really need to be protected with updates. The MS OS usually comes with the PC you buy anyway, unless you are building your own. You may not like these answers, but companies go to great expense making sure the OS's come out as clean as possible, and then provide fixes when needed to the public. But no OS is 100% perfect, and if you run into a bug, it's nice to know updates are available to support you. All companies that provide OS's or business software, use some sort of software key to allow the software to work. Even OS's that are sold at the processor level on multi processor machines, require some sort of key to allow the software to work. From what I can tell here, no-one is taking this to the stage where you could be prosecuted and fined for illegal use, which they really have a right to do if they start checking down to the pc user. Like I mentioned before, once you get 'connected' to the outside world, you expose your compter and are vulnerable to all sorts of stuff. You are basically on your own to protect yourself against any and all attacks, including software that checks your computer for software usage.

Posted by: Bob | April 26, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You think you ever had Constitutional rights?

Posted by: R | April 26, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

uh.. Constitutional rights protect you from the government chief

Posted by: Hmm | April 26, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

> Neither the computer you own nor the
> software you run on it is the property
> of Microsoft.

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Windows is the property of Microsoft. You have only bought a license to use it.

Posted by: AS | April 26, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Micro$soft are using their automatic updates system to push updates on users that only benefit themselves?

Now there is a suprise.

Just one more reason to disable automatic updates and background inteligent transfer service and make certain your firewall is configured correctly before plugging your box into the LAN following a system build/OS re-build.

Posted by: Razor | April 26, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Of course im not the admin but microsoft is so stupid You want to end piracy DONT LET THEM GET CRITICAL UPDATES since you dont need the other garbage y bother with it most people who use windows updat use it for the critical updates not the other stuff.

I payed for my windows xp and i dont want so BS software running for no reason i say no to WGA it pointless.

Posted by: Admin | April 26, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Constitution prevents unreasonable search *by government*. People and companies can agree to such searches, and you probably did just that when you clicked 'agree' on some EULA along the way.

Posted by: ac | April 26, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

[sarcasm] What's the constitution? [/sarcasm]

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm Glad I'm Canadian!

Posted by: Space | April 26, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wanda said that "Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft." It's true that you own your own computer hardware, but you don't necessarily 'own' the software and firmware that runs on it. Microsoft OWNS the copy of Windows XP that you're running, what you purchased is a license to use an instance of it, and they reserve the rights to revoke that license. Read the license agreement and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: Eric | April 26, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft is not a government entity. The search is private and you consent to it. Therefore there is not unconstitutional search.

Posted by: John | April 26, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Of course we still have Constitutional rights...they are just all but worthless...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"

Um, sorry but you are wrong. You own the computer but you do NOT own the software. You are licensed to USE it, not do whatever you want with it. That is why they can do this. Understand you do not own stuff anymore, u rent the ability to use it.

Posted by: JT | April 26, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: kdjzhfnvbio | April 26, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Our client software does not collect any information that can be used to identify or contact a user. We use the same process used by many popular search engines and Web sites to determine where their users are from -- a form of IP lookup."

Sorry, but an IP can (and probably will be) used to obtain your identity. The RIAA is doing just that right now.

Posted by: Bastet | April 26, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The hardware you purchased is yours. You don't own Windows, you don't even own the copy you use. You purchased a license from Microsoft to use the software and they included the installation disk with the license, or through an OEM agreement you got it pre-installed. Microsoft is not a government agency so the Constitution is a moot point. The Constititution and amendments enumerate and limit the abilities of the government not private (or publicly held) companies. People need to get those two ideas straight.

Posted by: Doug | April 26, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The software you run is the property of Micro$oft. They are only granting you license to use it. Similar to granting police the right to search your property/possessions, you are similarly granting M$ the right to search your computer by agreeing to the EULA.

Posted by: The Kernel | April 26, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The 4th ammendment refers to "Unreasonable search (..) by the STATE".. Unless MS has become an agent of the government, you are not entitled protection from searches of your property by MS.

Switch to a Mac or file a lawsuit :-)

Posted by: Pete | April 26, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Will Microsoft be offering a system whereby victims of software counterfeiting are able to purchase a valid license key online, having their system instantly legit without having to go to the trouble of reformatting/reinstalling windows just to get rid of the notification.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Last time I read a EULA, it was clear that the company continued to own their software and I was just licensing it. The software I was reading the EULA for, and I assume this is true for all software, said that it is sold 'as is', with no warranty for bad behavior (security holes). Legally,the company is using their software to verify that it is properly licensed, while giving you a free security update, without which the computer is useless, unless you don't connect to the internet.

Posted by: terry31415 | April 26, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

If Microsoft would refuse to give pirated versions updates it could cause chaos in the world.
They are dumb but not stupid!
I have the beta Version of IE7 and found 3 critical holes already!!!
I would advice not to use IE7.
They said Vista will be the safest!
Vista is full of issues!
Vista is made to control the user!
I will use Linux instead.
The price tag for windows Vista is just what the Pirates need.
I feel a little bit sorry for Bill.
With such a dumb strategy you are planning your downfall.

Posted by: Carol | April 26, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Not the property of Microsoft? Did you read the EULA? Sorry Wanda, its, OWNED...

Posted by: readaeula | April 26, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Under the terms of the End User License Agreement you agreed to when you installed the software, Microsoft does have the right to "search" your computer in that manner. Whether or not click-through EULAs constitute legally-binding contracts or not isn't quite settled yet, but for now Microsoft isn't doing anything that violates anyone's rights - what they're doing is intrusive, annoying, and disrespectful of their customers, but illegal it is not.

This is why I won't be using Microsoft software any longer. Linux is free, and Apple treats their customers with greater respect than does Microsoft. The inconveniences of being tied to Microsoft are rapidly outweighing the inconveniences of switching to a better platform.

Posted by: Jay Reding | April 26, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Don't you think that the MSIE market share will be lowered? What is easier - register your Windows OS and pay money to recieve MSIE7 update or to install, say, Firefox?

Posted by: Jan Philein | April 26, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

One thing I did forget to mention, is that if you want to get past all this stuff with MS, try using Linux as an OS. You'll have to search and find applications/games to replace what you are using in MS. Also, Linux doesn't require a beefy machine to run it.

Posted by: Bob | April 26, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Wanda actually it is totally with in M$ rights to do this, as you actually only own your hardware. You do not own software you license it. Which means that you are allowed to use it for a price under the terms established in the EULA (End User Lincense Agreement). There are many editorials and blogs about the current state of the computer industry and EULAs in genreal. Here is one that enjoyed reading:


Posted by: Zac | April 26, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Glen | April 26, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm regarding the last comment "Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft." If you check your licencing agreement, you'll see that you don't really 'own' that copy of Windows, you're just licenced to use it within their very strict usage guidelines. I think there is a provison in there that also states they can pretty much do whatever they want with 'their' software, without having to consult the end user.

If you want big brother to stop snooping on your machine, perhaps try one of the flavors of linux. This is just another nail in the coffin for MicroBloatWareSoft. Not sure why everybody keeps sending their money to Microsoft anyway. I think they have more lawyers than programmers, and their best software is stuff they have aquired through hostile takeovers (MS Navision, MS AntiSpyware, FolderShare, Hotmail).

Posted by: Craig | April 26, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Get ready, folks, if the DMCA 2 legislation passes, mere possession of software that CAN crack a DVD, say, will be a felony. This doesn't matter whether you're operating a counterfeit-for-pay operation, or making a disk image so you can watch a movie on your laptop while you're in a hotel. When you combine the technological illiteracy of the average congress critter and the "generosity" of the people who want to own the internet, we're in big trouble.

The vast power of the internet is under seige. The powers behind this crackdown are like powerful forces trying to make public libraries illegal. After all, you might borrow a book for free and make a xerox of one chapter for school.

Posted by: Jim H | April 26, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If the software you run is Windows XP, then they DO own it. You are only purchasing a licence to USE it and only on one (1) computer. Sad but true.

Posted by: Mitch | April 26, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Since when does "Unreasonable Search and Seizure" apply to private companies?

Posted by: Bill Gates | April 26, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

You license the software. You don't own it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately most ripped/stolen/cracked versions of Windows, do not update anyway. So the would - be - culprit is still avoiding detection. And yet again, we have to deal with more irritation and annoyances from these types of programs.

Posted by: Bequinoz | April 26, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I received this update yesterday without any warning or agreeing to any terms, my computer just said that it will reboot in x seconds. So I was opted in automtically because I had updates on? hmm...

Posted by: SPR | April 26, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

'For my part, I turned off Automatic Updates several months ago, mainly because I got sick of telling Windows not to install its "malicious software removal tool," (even though I checked the box next to "don't ask again" or something to that effect, Windows asks permission to reinstall the program every time other updates are available).'
That's because their is a new one every month as new malicous software is created every day.

Posted by: Rick | April 26, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Err.. if you read the EULA you'll find that you DON'T in fact own the software, Microsoft is only allowing you the USE of the software, they still own it.

Yes you own the hardware, try and find an operating system, MS, APPLE, LINUX, UNIX, FREEDOS etc., etc. that actually SELLS you the software.

Posted by: Kurt | April 26, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that you run Windows, then the software that you run on your computer IS owned by Microsoft. You own a license to USE that software; however, the software itself is owned by Microsoft. While I doubt anyone will try to argue that this practice isn't shady, Microsoft is within their legal rights to do it.

Posted by: Kyle | April 26, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

I suggest you re-read the Windows EULA - you don't own Windows, Microsoft licenses its use to you. It's not your property.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"You think you still have Constitutional rights?"



isn't Microsoft wealthy enough? The fact that MS is going through all this trouble, wasting valuable company resources, is a testament to the greed that's inherent within that overly bloated, corporate giant. MS is using the piracy excuse to fatten up their wallets even more with this 'we want it all' mentality. Has nothing to do with piracy, or has very little to with it. It has more to do with money, and with controlling the industry more than anything.

The more MS tightens it's greedy grip, the more computer users worldwide will look for alternatives.

Posted by: Yacs | April 26, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow, glad I use a MAC - and I have no interest or plan to install windows on that MAC. Perhaps it's time for you guys to switch?

Posted by: Jonathan | April 26, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The government has been in bed with Micro$oft for quite a while now. They certainly aren't going to do anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Um, hate to say this but constitutional rights apply to the government only, in other words a PRIVATE company such as Microsoft has no responsibility to your CONSTITUTIONAL rights. Just like a web site can restrict your free speech. Now I am sure Microsoft is guilty of something else altogether, but constitutional violation does not apply.

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

actually you do not own the operating system, you are just leasing it from microsoft.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah! I think we lost all our rights a long time back.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

MS is going after users because it has had little luck against the Chinese cartels who produce counterfeits. These cartels, protected by corrupt Chinese army generals who do not answer to Beijing, run FACTORIES that stamp out thousands of CD's day and night. The factories are guarded by regular army troops who probably do not take kindly to MS lawyers or their cease-and-desist orders.

There is no advantage to "Genuine Advantage." Unless you count the warm, feel-good afterglow that comes from sitting quietly and obeying all MS directives without question. I'm sure the various hacker communities, white or black hat, will figure out how to uninstall or disable it, and post their solutions for everyone else to Google them.

Given the problems caused by Windows "automatic updates," you're better off downgrading it to "Notify of available updates but do not download or install."

I prefer to review the bulletins first and let other users beta-test the update for a few days before I permit any patch to install.

Posted by: Ken L | April 26, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

your worried that people, knowingly using pirated software will get infections?

Posted by: wayne | April 26, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

>"Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?<

Please take a civics class. The constitution only applies to government, not private, action. The sole exception to this rule is slavery.

Posted by: Matt | April 26, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft." !!

What? Don't you read the License agreement?? Microsoft still owns the software, the license gives you the RIGHT to USE it once you pay for it. You dont OWN the software once you buy it. You own the CD it comes in and the product key and the license but not the software.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

MS DOES indeed own the intellectual property rights to the XP OS as well as any other MS software one might be running; regardless of it being an OEM installation if indeed it is, it is still the property of MS. I suggest you read your license agreement as that is all you are entitled to, license the software that is.

Posted by: Luvwknd | April 26, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You own your hardware, but you only own licenses to the software, not the software itself. This is old news as far as that goes, and has been beaten to death over the years.

Posted by: Jaegernaut | April 26, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse


Per the EULA you do not own the software, you are merely using it. They do have the right, I believe to do this.

Posted by: Dave | April 26, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Wanda: Be sure to read the User Agreement in full. The software that you are using DOES belong to Microsoft - you simply run their product on your PC. You don't pay to own the software, but rather pay to use it.

I'll be the first to say that I had an illegitimate version of Windows for quite some time. I think it is 100% fair and constitutional for them to check to see if I am stealing their software - even moreso if they are not going to pursue me in any way.

If I wrote a really cool program (or OS) and was asking people to pay for it... I'd get really angry if a huge number of people started sharing CDs and CD keys. Not only is it profit loss, but it would take money away from the development of new software.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

only the government or its employees can violate your constitutional rights. the constitution is between people and government everything else is a civil or criminal matter. MS would be trespassing in this case.

Posted by: wikipedia=good lawyer | April 26, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft is not a government entity, so it cannot violate your constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search. In addition, you agreed to the search by agreeing to the license agreement. If you don't agree with the license agreement, you don't have to use Windows.

Posted by: Keith | April 26, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Actually, technically, I'm pretty sure the software on the computer you own is the property of Microsoft, you're just borrowing it. Sorry about that. Go get a Linux distro.

Posted by: Dylan | April 26, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Wanda: You might want to read the EULA before making that statement. According to most commericial EULAs the company retains ownership by grants you a revocable perpetual license to us it. If you agreed to the EULA, then they have the right...

Posted by: cb | April 26, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Even though I run a legitimate copy of Windows, I choose not to use automatic updates because I simply don't trust Microsoft. They are evil, proven so on many occasions. evil, evil, evil.

Posted by: aaah | April 26, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

i can say i did not care for the box that TOLD me windows would reboot in 4 min.
i use firefox , but still use windows

Posted by: wayne | April 26, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

1) Customers agreed to terms; their fault if they didn't read it.
2) Microsoft, not being a governmental entity, isn't covered by the 4th Amendment, so it's either an illegal wiretap or nothing.
3) Good luck convincing a court that this counts as a wiretap, particularly considering 1) above.

Might want to brush up on that Constitutional law there.

Posted by: sfsdfsd | April 26, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing that the posters who complain about the violation of their Constitutional Rights seem to know the least about the operation of our legal system and the rights of individuals.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be a lot of lawyers reading this today... Cut these people some slack they aren't as smart you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

I thought the software we run is property of Microsoft, and we are given a licence to use it?

Posted by: Jake | April 26, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse


The police can't come in your home and search unless you give them permission. When you install this software and accept the EULA, you are giving Microsoft permission. If you don't like it, let them know by spending your money elsewhere.


Posted by: Jeremy | April 26, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If you read the EULA you would know that you do NOT own the software. You purchased a license to use it. The software company owns it and has the right to stop you from using it at any time (or do anything with it or to it that they wish).

Posted by: Ken | April 26, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

my dog has more constitutional rights than i do..

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of MS's attempts to go back and make a profit off of existing software instead of coming out with something worth buying. The only thing it is doing is alienating existing customers and driving them to alternative solutions.

Take my situation for example. I have a valid copy of XP that came with my laptop, but it also came bundled with all of the Dell crap I don't want. I had a volume licensed copy of XP from work which I installed instead.

Now I cannot get updates from MS because it fails validation, if I want to pass validation I have to reload my laptop with the Dell bundled version.

My solution? I'm getting a Mac. I'm sick of MS's viruses, security problems, and OS instability. The final straw was the DRM they are trying to force down my throat.

Posted by: Tony | April 26, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The only reason I keep Windows on my PC at home now is to play games. I can do everything else, (usually in a better way) using Linux.

If only more games companies would take the initiative and release hybrid windows/linux versions of their games! Then more people would be free to switch from Windows completely and all of this crap would be a thing of the past!

Posted by: Jim | April 26, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Most companies nowadays create incentives to gain adoption of their products and services. Especially now that web 2.0 is bursting at full force. On the other hand, you have MS policing its services so tightly because they feel they have nothing to lose except revenues.

The only reason they continue to have market dominance is that when you purchase a computer, it arrives as a MS solution.

It's a distribution game, if the rumored Google PC ever launches and is sold at Walmart for $300, then Microsoft will start abandoning these stupid policies.

Ubuntu is supposed to be super easy to install and is 100% hassle free. No mounting / driver issues... everything i've read seems to say this is a plug and play OS. check out this:

Posted by: alejandro | April 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder where is DOJ now?

Posted by: Athan | April 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Carol - critical updates would still be downloaded and installed. Not being genuine would prevent you from getting the IE, Defender and other sundry stuff they provide above and beyond the normal OS and critical updates.

Posted by: RAH | April 26, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I had Pancakes for breakfast.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft has total split personality. They will sell Xbox 360s at a loss, physically losing money for every unit sold, in order to attain market share. Yet, Microsoft tries to discorouge non store bought copies of Windows, for which they do not lose a single cent, even though it will help them maintain their ever so slowly eroding market share.

If someone has a second hand or copied Windows install, they are much more likely to buy other MS products and services then a linux or Mac user. Simply having another Windows user, whether or not that Windows install was purchased, ensures that Windows will have more users, more developers, more applications, and more mindshare. Lost perspective sales are not the same thing as "piracy" or "stealing", no matter what kind of creative financial contortionist spin you put on it.

Posted by: ZylogZ80 | April 26, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The problem if I remeber correctly is with the way they handle such requests. In the original setup of XP SP2 if you have a machine already on the internet using the same CD key (IDK if it's only if they are running windows update at the time) but setup will be unable to "activate windows" because the key is in use. So in theory it is possible to be using a valid key however if a pirate has decided to randomly generate your key then it's possible for you to now be an unwitting accomliss.

Posted by: Marc | April 26, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Here we go. 74 responses until somebody makes an analogy to Hitler.

Posted by: hehe | April 26, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

Technically, your copy of Windows IS the property of have merely purchased a license. While I don't think this should give Microsoft the right to snoop on your machine, I seriously doubt any claim of unreasonable search would stick.

Posted by: CocaLola | April 26, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If the program is "opt in," then user who says yes to allowing the update is saying, "I am allowing you to search me." I'm not lawyer, but I suspect this means microsoft isn't technically violating the fourth ammendment. If a police officer asks to search your car and you say it's okay, they don't need to get a warrant either and the evidence is admissible in court.

Posted by: p | April 26, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

My Linux install is looking better all the time. It'll be a good day when I don't have to boot up Windows anymore for a few programs I still need.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Makes a valid case for open source, does'nt it?

Posted by: WIthheld | April 26, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, You have not read the Microsoft License or User Agreement. The software you "buy" from Microsoft is not your property. By spending the money, you get a license to use the software.

Posted by: Harold | April 26, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I baught an e-machine a couple of years ago with XP-Home built into the "e" bundle. I cannot install XP as a seperate application without erasing everything and must install the complete bundle pack that includes an automatic installation of AOL. If my XP-turns out to be invalid how do I defend the rest of my data & system? Is MS truely checking the bundle packs and holding the PC manufactures accountable or are they holding the end user accountable?

Posted by: Mike P. | April 26, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

You all will know my power!

Posted by: Bill | April 26, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Nobody seems to remember the semi-good old days when a Windows OS was YOURS if you bought it. Now, yes XP is basically "leased". Microsoft DID warn everybody but since they have a basic monopoly, they knew they had us by the gonads. However, we lease lots of things (cars, houses, etc.) without giving the holders of the lease the "right" to snoop into our private files. Car lessors don't, for example, keep sending you reminders to come to the dealership for mandatory installation of their brand-name products! And you can pretty much drive the thing however you want. AND if you pay a flat fee for that car (as you do when "buying" XP), or even sign a loan...then it is YOUR FREAKING CAR! What Microsoft is doing may not be unconstitutional or even illegal, but it is certainly nasty. I don't see why more people aren't switching to Mac or Linux! (I certainly like Louisiana's solution of the anti-"shrink-wrap" law!)

Posted by: athenastemple | April 26, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

A fix for this issue is available at

Posted by: BillG | April 26, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Anti-Privacy †

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

My computer is mine. The software on it is mine. I treat it however I see fit. An EULA can say that I don't own my OS. A laywer can say it. A TV pundit can say. Santa Claus can say it. I don't really care. I know what is and isn't, and no matter how much untruth is spouted at me it doesn't change a damn thing. What's mine is mine. If one doesn't have the same outlook, then what does one really own? Could your car come with a EULA if your OS does? Could your microwave? How about your beer, or your notebook. Does it already and your too thick headed to realize it?

If I want to grab a copy of XP from a friend, I do it. I want to install one copy of OS X on 3 computers? I do it. These pathetic half-measures have never stopped me or anyone else who knows what's what, and they never will. Mad at Microsoft? Don't be, they do as they are allowed to do. If you don't have the where-with-all to claim ownership over your own property then you get what you deserve.

Those of us who use technology will always be unhindered. Those of you who are used by technology, go back to sleep.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

There's no Constitutional right involved.

Posted by: pramjockey | April 26, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

unbelievable, one person doesn't understand the idea of licensing and 100 ppl come on here to correct Wanda. Jesus, once is enough

Posted by: unbelievable | April 26, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, you need to read the licensing agreement a bit more carefully. You don't own the copy of Windows you are running. You own Microsoft's permission to use it which they can recend at anytime.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I think in the license agreement user's concede to have MS search their computers for illegitimate copies. I think.

Posted by: Bah. | April 26, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, it sucks, but if you accept the terms of the download/update you give them permission.

Posted by: Matt | April 26, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I think that consumers are going to opt out of some of these heavy software packages with nagging messages. Yes, Microsoft should protect their product. The security updates are needed because the products draw the attention of hackers who bear grudges against big business. What this anti-piracy program may do is drive some consumers towards online software such as in an effort to avoid the messages. The online office suites are not as robust as the Microsoft product, but may meet the needs of home users.

In any case, Microsoft won't be losing market share by moving pirated software users to online software providers as they are not seeing revenue from these sources. I can clearly understand Don's problems with verification. I wonder how Microsoft plans to resolve this issue as it is likely to be common with smaller legitimate resellers.

Posted by: Fara | April 26, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"There seem to be a lot of lawyers reading this today... Cut these people some slack they aren't as smart you are.

Posted by: | April 26, 2006 12:34 PM"

Not a lawyer. I just try to be an informed citizen.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Ok, MS is going after the dirty pirate, nanging people who use pirated version of XP. That may be MS right to protect is asset. But pushing so hard at the end of a product cycle is really questionable. Vista is arrounf the corner.

Posted by: Enzo | April 26, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Marcelo acevedo | April 26, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look at at all those replies that weren't on the page when i first viewed it... Sorry... I only took 5 min to read the article. Not sure why they didn't appear when I first viewed the article.

Posted by: Matt | April 26, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Per most software Terms of Use or EULAs (End User License Agreements), you do not own the software on your computer if you accept their license terms when you install it. Most of them, MS being one, say something to the effect "this license grants you permission to use one copy on one machine". Ownership is never given, and sometimes is explicitely withheld.

So long as WGA does nothing other than try to verify that your copy of their IP (Windows XP) is a validly licencesed product, they are not conducting unreasonable search. If they look for, say, the presence of competing products or do anything except examine properties of their product, then you may have a case.

Most certainly, we still have constitutional rights. One needs only contrast public discusions on policy in the US with those in China. And you can install Linux.

Posted by: JC | April 26, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, they are just trying to make sure everyone is running legit copies of the OS and try to prevent theft of their product.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

i saw on a web page that there is copyed windows programs from the real thing. would that still be a (fake) copy?

Posted by: thefallen | April 26, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

This new WGA method essentially amounts to a shareware nag, and will be quickly circumvented by the same groups who originally cracked Windows activation. But there is some benefit to updating the nags and activation checks periodically: casual users who installed their friend's copy of Windows XP will be more likely to just go buy an upgrade license rather than wait for the crack, which may or may not work on their particular edition of Windows.

There is a point at which software becomes worth the price the vendor is asking for it. I think MS is justified in asking a paltry $200 or so for the software which supports so many other activities, including a vast array of free software available for it.

Posted by: DW | April 26, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

it isn't unreasonable search because you are not forced to allow it. you can either not agree to this particular download as detailed in the article, or if you want to get pro-active, you can turn automatic updates off altogether. don't be such an alarmist, sue-happy wacko.

Posted by: ian | April 26, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft isn't violating anyone's rights because they ask for your permission to install the software. If the police come to your house without a warrant but you let them in anyway your rights also have not been violated. It's your choice to let Microsoft or the police search your property.

Posted by: Fred | April 26, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Wanda is only partially correct. The hardware is yours, obviously, but when you "buy" Windows software, you are obtaining a license. To install their software, you must agree to the terms of the license.

Posted by: Bill | April 26, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

and in addition, those of you spouting off gibberish about privacy laws and spying and other nonsense about how MS is some kind of boogyman in your PC, here's another solution for you: quit using their products. there's a ridiculous number of alternatives to ANY MS software. quit whining like little idiots and use one of them instead.

Posted by: ian | April 26, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, you are funny.
Don, why would you want to sue anyone wanting to protect their product? Copyright is copyright and unless your copy is pirated, I suggest you do more research about "reasonable search" before you continue your path.

a copy Running a plate on your car as you ride down the road is completely legal as it does not infringe on your privledge to drive. (stopping you just to get your id to check your background, IS illegal as a comparison.)

IF Microsoft blocked all use of your company until you ran this software patch, then YES, that would be unreasonable search.

Posted by: mohammad | April 26, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Read your Microsoft license agreement. "Your" software is owned by Microsoft.

Posted by: MG | April 26, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Not to be pro MS (Lord knows I'm really not) but the software you run on your machine for an OS (Windows) is IN FACT the property of Microsoft. Read the license agreement. Your "purchase" of the software actually is a lease and MS retains the right to yank the software out from underneath you whenever they want.

Sad and scary, but very very true.

One last thing. Don's problem of inaccurate reporting aside, what are you afraid of? Is there something on your computer that you don't want MS to know about? If you didn't do anything wrong then this is no big deal. If you did, you get what you deserve.

If it was your company, your intellectual property and your bottom line you would see it in a completely different light.

Posted by: Silrond | April 26, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

i like my computer to muckh to just throw it away but i might just go back to mac.

Posted by: thefallen | April 26, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wanda is confused.
Contitutional rights do not apply when the involved patries are not:
- the government
- the people

The relation we have with Microsoft is Contract law. We do not own the copies of windows we buy, we are only licensed to use them under certain conditions. If the conditions bother you, stop using it (free equivalents existfor just about everything) and stop whining about constitutional rights you clearly do not understand.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Re; Constitutional rights

The 4th only protects you from law enforcement and other official bodies. But if you think MS is violating your civil rights, sue them.

Posted by: Andy | April 26, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

i saw on a web page that there is copyed windows programs from the real thing. would that still be a (fake) copy? is this true

Posted by: the fallen | April 26, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: 666 | April 26, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

666 you are wrong people are just mad becouse they cant get there point across

Posted by: the fallen | April 26, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The constitution is now about as useful as a wet paper towel.. and other violations are just grains of sand as to what the future holds for the "American" people...

Posted by: Mick | April 26, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I think the Fourth Amendment search and seizure stuff only applies to law enforcement agencies. If you don't want them looking on your PC, say "No" to their software.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Your computer may be your property, but Microsoft Windows does not belong to you according the license agreement that you agreed to either when you installed Windows or booted up your computer for the first time. I am not saying that the license agreement is right or legal, but it is Microsoft's view that people buy a license to use the software, not own it. If you do not like the license agreement, there are other options for operating systems. Many of them are available for free downloading.

Posted by: eBob | April 26, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Wanda: companies are not bound by the constitution. The constitution is a contract between *government* and people, not between companies and people. If you don't like the product, use another. If you think this should be illegal, get laws changed.

You clearly forget that you click a EULA to install, and most of what is in that EULA is perfectly legal and backed up by court cases. The rest might be a gray area.

The final word is that you do *not* own most software products, you merely license them under rules set forth by the software owner, which in this case is Microsoft. Thus MS has the right to do this with their software, and you have the right to go elsewhere.

That said, I do everything I can to migrate my company and all recommendations away from MS software just for this behavior. It makes it a serious pain to run a tech company with all the license and reinstall hassles, not to mention the lost revenue when their license cops screw up and force us to spend *weeks* hassling to get licenses back online.

Posted by: Scooby | April 26, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow, M$ really makes this sound like they're doing you a favour with their free, 'complimentary' software. I would think that a lot of people wouldn't know how to decline it, or even know that they're running a pirate version.

Posted by: Michael | April 26, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

As a private institution and not an agent of the government, Microsoft (as well as all individuals and companies) is not held to the bill of rights. When a user accepts the License agreement of Windows, there is a part of it that allows Microsoft to verify the software is legit in a manner of Microsoft's choosing

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It seems entirely reasonable to me that Microsoft requires a proof of purchase in order for the customer to receive product updates.

The alternative is that Microsoft should be expected to provide product updates for free to anyone, period. This seems extreme to me.

If you don't like Microsoft products, then don't use them. Apple and Linux are reasonable alternatives.

Posted by: coder94 | April 26, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

So you know the reason why you are being prompted to download the malicious software tool again is because it is not the same tool you checked as "do not prompt for again". They updated it to include the new threats of the month, so each time it is a new version of the program, so it asks. Why you wouldn't run it is beyond me.

Posted by: Jimmy | April 26, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Do you read ALL of the dialog boxes that come up when you installed XP and all subsequent patches?

In those it says Microsoft basically owns the software.

Probably says you have no constitutional rights either.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft makes enough money, and should kiss our asses for trying to squeeze more out of us with this monopolisitic attempt to patrol the world with Windows XP

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The software you run on your computer IS the property of Microsoft (or at least the operating system is, if you run Windows). You use it by either license agreement or piracy, you do not own it.

Posted by: Doug | April 26, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Constituional rights... That's a good one.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, the Constitution of the United States details interactions between the People and their Government. Your relationship with Microsoft or other coperations are usually through contracts; if you read the article, you'd know that they way to not get this update is to not agree to the contract.

Know that I am no fan of Microsoft: I don't care for their software, and their business practices were found to be illegal in a court of law. But this bit of including "authenticity checks" is within their right, and it is within your right and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to read these damn End User Licence Agreements and decide whether or not you're going to accept them. When you get tired of MS's "do this or stop getting security updates" attitude, move on to a real, free (in every sense of that word) operating system: OpenBSD (

Posted by: Not Wanda | April 26, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This may increase the popularity (and shortly after, usability and utility) of Linux.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

anyone who addresses Wanda about Microsoft's ownership of the software below this post (as stated in the EULA) is a total LOSER.

Posted by: unbelievable | April 26, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search.

Um... read your EULA. You never actually buy software; you license it for personal use. That's one of the big problems with IP.

Posted by: Valerie | April 26, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It can be uninstalled. I found a way and I'm just a standard poweruser.
Look, any barriers they put up will be destroyed within days if not hours of release.
Microsoft should change it's market strategies. Aim for a larger market share by lowering the price of it's software.
Otherwise, I predict a growing popularity in Unix based systems...

Posted by: Papers | April 26, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

MS will do whatever they want (always have) and no one is going to stop them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Wanda, all software is owned by the company or person who wrote it. Just like music or literature. Just read the licence agreement that you agreed to comply with. This is why everyone is taking Microsoft to court over it's monopoly. They dictate and we have no alternative to Windows or Office.

Posted by: Shagy | April 26, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I found the updates to my Gentoo Desktop system works much better, and I'm not a 'pirate' if it install it on all my boxes.. Use Linux, be happy.

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

1st off, constitutional protections apply to the government. A private person/company can't "infringe your rights" no matter how hard they try. You have the choice to simple not use their product. The reason we have constitutional protections is because you don't have a choice when it comes to obeying gov't laws.

2nd, the reason the author gets prompted every month for the malicious software removal tool even though he checked "don't ask me about _this_ update again" is because a new version of the tool is released every month, for new threats.

Posted by: Aarg | April 26, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

turn off automatic updates.
or switch to Mac\Linux.
I have to admit.. I am considering the thought.

Posted by: Homer | April 26, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

What is the name of this patch for the piracy tool? Do they relize that 2 wrongs dont make a right?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

DO...we still have constitutional rights?

Posted by: Michael | April 26, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I just got a shiny new Dell. I went through all the licence pop-ups, the interminable McAfee pop-ups and reboots, and managed to get all the patches for Windows installed after I had been using the box for a great length of time.

Now Microsoft wants to spy on my. It's a good thing I found OpenSuse; no licensing pop-ups, all patches installed before I can surf the web, no "Security center"'s wonderful. And no spying! I'm not looking back.

Posted by: Doug | April 26, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes it is wanda - Windows is property of Microsoft. Stop whining.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

So much for "opt in", this update installs automatically with widows updater (unless you have desabled the automatic updates ability).

Also why on earth woudl anyone who has a coppied version of Windows ever "choose" to have a warning message displayed every time the computer loads. Sounds silly to me. This update will not help anyone but micorsoft. It wont stop piracy because its only opt. It will cause problems if anyone has got a genuiun verson but it is detected as fake, and it even if it was compulsary, it would only be successful for a day at most - untill a hack is released onto the net.

Yes I agree that Micoroft has right to protect their software from piracy, but dont think they should install rubish unbenone to users, desguised as a genuin software update.

Posted by: Keeves | April 26, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Poor Wanda. everyone's scolding her. And, hey, how in the world did it take 200 comments before the obligatory "Buy a Mac!" comment showed up?

Posted by: Bk | April 26, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I declined the update. Luckily I have my automatic updates set to 'do not download or install, but tell me when updates are available'. One more step towards getting a viable alternative OS, IMO. Enough people get sick of this crap, more companies will make software for other OS's, and more people will have the ability to switch.

Keep on trucking, Microsoft.

Posted by: Me | April 26, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Our rights disappeared years ago when my Social Security taxes on our wages went into someone elses pocket (just like evreyone else in the country), when Micorsoft decided that The first release of XP Pro wasn't good enough to patch and so SP1 wouldn't update it (this was at my office mind you on a volume license), and most recently when Microsoft decided that they liked the name "Windows Defender" and sent lawyers out to steal the name from the man that had been writing software for Windows for years prior to this.

Rights? We have the right to be harrassed. We have the right to pay too much money for things that are already broken or out-of-date right outta the box. We have the right to have our computers, our information, and out very lives opened up to Big Business for them to toy with as they wish. We have the right to get sued over anything (legal or not). We have the right to be trodden like the good little minions we are.

We also have the right to take control and change things for the better.

Anyone care to step up? I'm too old and tired to fight anymore.

Posted by: Bill | April 26, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

they may not own your computer, but they do own their software. maybe you should actually read the license agreements before clicking "i agree" you only are given the right to "use" their software when you purchase it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Which reminds me...

If this is an opt-in process, then when will I be asked to opt-in? This "update" is already installed on my machine by the Automatic Updates routine, and I was never asked about it.

Unless my use of Automatic update is considered an opt-in by itself, in which case I'm goin ghome and formating hard drives on a few servers and loading BSD when I get home. I own copies of NT, 2000 and 2003 server, and I'm certified in most of the M$ OS's, but this is rediculous. I have to put up with this kind of bull* at work, but in the privacy of my own home, I don't have to allow anyone to render my hardware (big, little, or otherwise) inert or have them label it one way or another.

I checked a server at home since my last post. I've got a an XP Pro machine coming up as illegal. Odd since I purchased the software from the local computer chain-store (on a sale thank the byte gods) and it was in the original packaging and such.

This leads me to think that maybe M$ isn't sure of whats its doing and decided a broader net was needed so us legit software owners can get caught up in the piracy craze too.

FreeBSD works just fine, can and in most cases will do everything a M$ Server of whatever can (usually before the M$ Server was ever capable of it to begin with). Don't take me wrong here; I'm not one of those "You've gotta us *nix or your worthless!" people. I'm just a server admin that used both for quite a few years, and now I'm inclined to move off of M$ servers onto something just as capable that won't end up costing me money to get, install or maintain (or at least no more so than I'm already investing/paying to M$).

This also seems to be a good time to introduce a couple more BSD servers at work since I'm quite sure that some of M$ servers are going to come up with this message about be un-Genuine, and we can't afford downtime of any kind. Say goodbye to SQL/IIS and hello to MySQL/Apache!

Posted by: Bill | April 26, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

lol, yeah, those are pretty much gone, the ones we have left are slowly being litigated away!

Posted by: revDJkev | April 26, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I was refering to the constitutional rights, that was the last post on the page showing when I posted the above comment!

Posted by: revDJkev | April 26, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The software "is" Microsofts! Read the EULA. They state you are being granted a license to use the software. You don't own it. So if they want to verify that the software you are running was legally purchased, I think they should.

Sort of reminds me of illegal immigrants. Nobody can complain if they try to stop the selling of illegal software, but if users already have, people complain that they are trying to fix it. Once illegals are in the country, there are many people frown upon removing them.
(no opinion however on the immigrant subject, I know this is not the forum for that, just thought it was an interesting relation)

Posted by: Rick | April 26, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Response to:
"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"

The program is "opt-in", but M$ (and most every other compamy) knows that users do not read the text before clicking on the "I Agree" button when installing software. So, this does not violate anyone's rights. It does give reasons for people to consider their choice of operating systems.

Unfortunately, there are only two alternatives, both with a high cost of switching.
1. Linux- This is free and will run on the computers the users own, but they will not be able to function or run the software they need in this environment. Without expert knowledge in computing this is not a viable alternative for PC users.
2. Apple- They can buy a new machine from Apple and have a very user friendly computer. This option has three strikes against it.
a. Large out of pocket cost. (Although, if someone is buying a new computer, now it the time to truly consider this alternative.)
b. There is still business software some users NEED that is only on Windows (AutoCad, Paragon, etc.). (and no, Boot Camp does not apply because you still need a copy of Windows)
c. Finally, it also has "urban myth" obstacles that are just as real to consumers because the beliefs are so prevalent. These being that users feel that they will not know how to use an Apple and that they cost more, neither one is applicable anymore, but the perception is so ingrained in popular culture that they truly effect consumer choice.

The end result is that consumers do not have (or feel they have) a choice. M$ knows this so they are not worried in the slightest about annoying their customer base in order to squeeze more cash out of them.

Choice leads consumers to be empowered. Lack of choice leads to disenfranchisement. Guess where we are today.

Posted by: Ernest Dambach | April 26, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I love the moron users who cry about "unreasonable search" and "Constitutional rights", yet have obviously never bothered to read and understand the Constitution. The Constitution protects citizens from "unreasonable search and seizure" FROM THE GOVERNMENT. It does not protect you from some company running a piece of software that scans your PC for warez, porn, etc...

You are a fricking moron, "Wanda".

You are probably the same type of person that screams about "Freedom of Speech" when a post on a non-government message board gets edited.

Posted by: Jerky | April 26, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

What's that?

Posted by: Jim | April 26, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Constitutional rights? are you kidding me? You don't own the software you run on your computer. You own a license to that permits you to runthe software. Its even in the EULA, which is the End User License Argreement

Posted by: bob | April 26, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually Wanda, as I understand it, the Windows software installed on your computer IS owned by Microsoft.. they have merely granted you permission (a license) to use it. You don't own the windows software; you own the license and privledge of running it. Just my two cents, I could be wrong.

Posted by: Steven | April 26, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft." This is not correct. The EULA (End User License Agreement) which is accepted before installing Windows explains this, although in "Legal-eze". Microsoft does own the software and not the end user. This is why it is called a license because you have permission to use it, which can be revoked at any time per the issuer, just like a driver's license, liquor license, business license, ect.

Posted by: Dave H. | April 26, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Constitutional Rights?

That's aiding the terrorists!!

Posted by: Harry | April 26, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The computer is yours, but the software isn't. Read the EULA, MS can revoke your right to run it at any time, really. Most EULAs are nasty contracts that we are forced to accept if we want to run the software we LICENSE (not purchase a copy of outright).
But you are right on that MS has no right to search our computers like they do, or report back our multimedia viewing habits (like Media Player does). Whether we unintentially agree to this type of spying or not, that type of snooping has no business going on, EULA or no.

Posted by: NCIceman | April 26, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

M$ may have every legal right to enforce their Copyright, but please do not forget that M$ gained a great deal of their market share by making DOS easy to copy.

Posted by: Larry | April 26, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I have legit copies of all my software and the WGA installed itself without issue. Then, inexplicably, it blotted the copybook by installed itself twice more wasting my download bandwidth and shaking my already shaky confidence in Microsoft's lumbering software distribution system.

My old laptop, that I have been trialling with Debian Linux, Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice 2.0, is looking better and better. Microsoft is ensuring my next new machine will be opensource based, free of paranoia and free of cost.

Posted by: Lee | April 26, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, its their software, so yes, they do have a right to do this.

Posted by: Mark | April 26, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Just another reason to switch to a free operating system with free software like Openoffice that does everything you are paying money for in windows.

Posted by: ReeseA | April 26, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like all it does is nag you at the moment... but all it would take is one automatic update and they could lock you out of your computer until you buy another key from them if they wanted.

I recommend just switching to Linux - avoids all these licensing problems.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"I hadn't heard about this program until today, [snip] so I sent a few questions over to Microsoft. Below are their answers"

Wow. It must be nice to write for the Washington Post - the typical consumer could never get answers from Microsoft that fast, if at all.

A good article on some of their intrusive practices. Personally, my own "Genuine Advantage" consists of using less and less of Microsoft's software, and advocating open document formats along with more secure software at school, work, and home.

Posted by: Lawrence | April 26, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Installing software that cannot be removed is unacceptable. I wonder if it slipstreams itself into your restore points too? Furthermore, I would like to know just what this tool is looking at to determine "authenticity".

Posted by: casey | April 26, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse


You're totally INCORRECT. If you agree to the End User License Agreement (necessary to install most software), including the part that basically says "You can use the software, but we still own it and have the right to do with it what we see fit. Screw with it in any way, including making or running illegal copies. and you're in for it." Then there's nothing unconstitutional about it.

Don't like it? Learn Unix and code your own stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, sadly, the software *is* technically Microsoft's -- that's why it's a "license."

You don't buy programs outright, you buy only the right to use them, hence all the Terms and Conditions you agree to when installing them.

Posted by: Noah | April 26, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Don, my toshiba laptop came with genuine xp pro on it and verifies successfully but fails most of the tests microsoft have listed for looking at the labels on the bottom etc to check if its valid (its an oldish laptop so maybe the labels are outdated). However, I have automatic updates disabled and don't intend on turning them back on. Similarly to the author of this article I don't want any of that microsoft malicious software removal stuff on my computer. Mainly because windows defender decides at the worst possible times that it hasn't scanned my computer recently enough so it uses up all of my system resources doing so whether I like it or not and the schedule options don't seem to make a difference. Even if you disable all the automatic scans totally it still seems to scan if it thinks it hasn't recently enough! I would prefer if all windows users used legal copies though as half of my customers complain if I write software for the .NET 2.0 Framework because 2.0 requires genuine windows but 1.1 doesnt.

Microsoft must be aware that 99.9% of the people with illegal copies of windows downloaded it to avoid buying it (and when you aren't allowed to install a single copy on multiple pcs anymore, that can sometimes be understandable when you have 8 pcs or more!) so why don't they just say it's to annoy people into buying future versions of windows instead of downloading it rather than saying its to make people aware that they may have a counterfiet copy?

Thing is, if people can get past the current Microsoft anti-piracy things such as a licence/activation key etc I'm sure they will quickly find a way of stopping this annoyance. Knowing Microsoft its probably just a registry key to change..

Posted by: George | April 26, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

There has never been a better time to switch to open source "gnu" software.
Microsoft is abusing all of us with their unparalleled greed and agressiveness.
The who notion of intellectual property rights is mistaken. If microsoft ran the car business you would need a 4 user license for a family of four to ride in "their" car, plus pay royalties for the use of the wheel and the asphalt

Posted by: Bruce Elniski | April 26, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

There has never been a better time to switch to open source "gnu" software.
Microsoft is abusing all of us with their unparalleled greed and agressiveness.
The who notion of intellectual property rights is mistaken. If microsoft ran the car business you would need a 4 user license for a family of four to ride in "their" car, plus pay royalties for the use of the wheel and the asphalt

Posted by: Bruce Elniski | April 26, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"

Actually the licence of winxp states that when you buy the software you actually only buy the right to use the software but you will not own the software itself. What comes to your hardware, is true.

Posted by: suna | April 26, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Your constitutional rights can only be violated by the government. Last time I checked, Microsoft was still a business, although I know some suspect otherwise.

Posted by: Steve | April 26, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

You think you still have Constitutional rights?

Posted by: | April 25, 2006 05:48 PM


Posted by: Uncontrollable Retard | April 26, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Cool your jets, Wanda. The Constitution of the United States protects against unlawful search and seizure by the Government, not by private companies. Second, Microsoft DOES own the Windows OS and MS Office on the computers that run them, check the EULA. All the user owns is a license to use the software consistant with Microsoft allowable uses.

I'm not saying that the current system is right, but that's how it stands now.

Posted by: Greg | April 26, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

A lot of time, effort and money is being spent by MS in their attempts to minimise software piracy. In my view, and in that of many others I have spoken to, they could save themselves all that angst by simply making their software a lot lot cheaper. Then more people would willing buy it. And don't give me this BS about recouping R & D costs. After all, IE wasn't developed for free but they have been prepared to give it away for free where there was already a dominant player and a genuine challenge in the marketplace. MS, you only have yourselves to blame.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Q: "You think you still have Constitutional rights?"

A: Thanks to Bush, we don't have rights.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

We "should" still have constitutional rights, except that people sign them away without thinking about it.

The WGA is worthless, and for the 2% of people who don't know they are using a pirated version, it's a benefit. For those who are running legit, it's a pain and I take offense to it. For those who know they are running pirated software, it's really going to be annoying.

I don't want to call MS everytime I format or upgrade my computer.

Posted by: d | April 26, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@Wanda: Technically, while the computer is your property, it could be argued that the software you run on it is not, if you read through the EULA. If you want to have an acceptable level of control over your computer, my opinion is that trying to get it from MS and Apple is futile. Suing them, for whatever reason, is merely a bandaid fix: their overall motives will still remain the same. If you want to maintain control over your computer, run a free OS.

Posted by: Simon | April 26, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

how about in third world countries where anything "genuine" is way more than monthly salaries?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

That would be correct about the physical machine however you are only licensed to run the Windows software, you dont "own" your copy.

Posted by: John | April 26, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

After happy update on my genuine XP, verified on Microsoft website visual clues test for genuine XP I found extra 10 Giga on my hard drive,thanks Bill

Posted by: Anna | April 26, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

i think microsoft has an issue with becoming TOO rich,being so wealthy has given them the impression that they may do what and how they please.

Posted by: travis-michigan | April 26, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if a full version copy of windows wasn't so expensive to begin with, there would be fewer people who chose not to pay.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

For microshaft to crack down on piracy is laughable; how much technology have they themselves STOLEN from other companies?

Posted by: FedUpWithRedmond | April 26, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

it seems as if there is no recourse for users running genuine windows that fail the test. I worry that Don's experience in the comment above will be very, very widespread and annoy many people and companies.

Posted by: Dave | April 26, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches by the Government only. That's a very important fact that is often overlooked.

Posted by: Cornloaf | April 26, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Constitutional rights? Last time I checked, Microsoft is not the government. You are free to choose another OS if this really bugs you. Also, if you read the legal stuff, the Windows software is the property of Microsoft, you are just licensed to use it (or maybe not licensed at all!)

Posted by: C | April 26, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Actually, if you read the OEM License you more or less renting the software. If you read the EULA you are not able to transfer the OEM copy you buy for one computer to another. Basically the only option you have is not use their AU system, not use their free utilities, and be open to security flaws, or make sure you have a valid copy of Windows/Office. In some ways this could be a good thing for us IF MSFT sees a surge in sales and lowers their prices. It probably won't happen, but there is always hope!

Posted by: Tracy | April 26, 2006 6:35 PM | Report abuse

If Bill did,nt want so much money for his software I would buy it. My computer cost me £200 to build the OS and applications I run cost £3000 how can a low paid working man pay that kind of money for software. so I have to run pirate software

Posted by: Terry Lees | April 26, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Constitutional rights can only be enforced on the government, companies are not held to the same standards. Technically they have the right if you agree to the License agreemnet, Read before you acept.

Posted by: Aaron | April 26, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the land of the free. Wasn't it?

Posted by: Aballs | April 26, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

how is the software not the property of the vendor? if they (MS) created the software (Windows) they have every right to verify if your copy is legal or pirated. this is no different than the music download sites, than stealing a car, or robbing someones house. does microsoft need money from everyone who has a pirated copy - probably not. but they do have the right to it

Posted by: james | April 26, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I hate microsoft, I hate microsoft, I hate microsoft, I hate microsoft, I hate microsoft... (deep sigh) constitutional rights are only valid if you have enough money to afford them

Posted by: John H | April 26, 2006 7:47 PM | Report abuse

its already been cracked and new patch is out to get updates

Posted by: cyborg | April 26, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I do, and I think Someone SHOULD find out how to do that. That is a Good Idea!

Posted by: Gene Starwind | April 26, 2006 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Crap! Millions of Posts have come between what I have Said and What I was Replying to! I was Agreeing with the "Sue Microsoft" Person.

Posted by: Gene Starwind | April 26, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Krebs,

I chose not to download the update right now, because I was too busy and wanted to read into it further. I left my computer running for an hour while I headed across the street to talk with a friend. When I got home, the update had installed itself, and restarted the machine. I wonder if this has happened to others. Plus, it's now 8:30 pm on April 26th, and in my Control Panel, it says that patch was installed on the 27th (tomorrow). This makes me pretty mad/concerned. Should I be overly worried about this?

Posted by: imgoph | April 26, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Wanda, I believe the unreasonable search and seizure amendment refers to searches by the government, not corporations. This is probably an issue of privacy. And, as the article stated, the "pilot" is installed only if the user accepts the license. I'm sure in the future it will be required. Software companies are generally serious about copyright protection...

Posted by: wes | April 26, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

You think the software you run on your computer belongs to you?? Not according to the DMCA.

Posted by: Sean | April 26, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I got my Windows XP Pro SP2 OEM bundled with my IBM A51 I bought directly from an authorized local reseller. It is clearly legitimate, it passes online validations when downloading software from Windows Update or

But WGA says my XP is not genuine.

What on earth is Microsoft doing? To frustrate legitimate users?

Posted by: William Ng | April 26, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Microsoft DO own Windows. All you do is maintain a copy of their original that they maintain. You are basically paying for a lease.

Posted by: Jack | April 26, 2006 10:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ... | April 26, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

How many people are going to reply with "you don't own the software, you just own the license to use it"? Enough already. It's been said - let it go.

What I find bothersome is that with the last widely publicized security issue IE had, they waited until the regularly scheduled monthly patch window to push out a patch ... despite the public response wanting it fixed sooner. And here this thing has been deployed off schedule, as a "critical" update. I wish they had as much urgency around internet security as they do with this.

Posted by: RJ | April 26, 2006 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"Guilty until ... well...just guilty" is the new justice motto, as written by business today. Government of the people, by the corporations, for the corporations! Watch for legislation... support net neutrality, help stop the DMCA expansion... while you're still allowed to have your own opinion!!!!

Posted by: Scott | April 26, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I just stopped the auto update service completely. For power users, for example, it's just adds bloat to the system. Plus, I don't see any benefit in Microsoft's continued push to "upgrade" my system. It's a joke.

Thanks for your well written article.

Posted by: Scott | April 27, 2006 12:08 AM | Report abuse

If microsoft is doing this does this mean they are spying on you which is illegal? and prevent you from freedom of right?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Just tried using Microsoft site for a download following a virus attack and read EULA (I'm semi-geeky...gotta know what they're up to) and saw this. Declined.

Sounds like same ol'... Beta on unsuspecting users, then fix it after causing hours of problems for same users and making them spend a lot of time on phone with tech support.

Posted by: jellygator | April 27, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

You seem to be confusing Microsoft for the Government, which happens to be bound by the Constitution. Try a civics class, Wanda :)

Posted by: Joe | April 27, 2006 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I believe if you read the EULA, you do NOT own the software. What you have paid a bajillion dollars for is the "license" to use "their" software.

I've just got a new to me laptop. Instead of installing illegal software on it (because I can't afford/will not pay $300+ for software!) I installed OpenOffice. I've been using Office since near the beginning, and even though it's not perfect, for the peace of mind that Billy Boy can't do anything to me, it is awesome!!! I've now convinced 4 other people to use it and a business (admittedly a small business) is considering not buying the next latest and greatest MS Bug!

Pushing small timers away from your software is not smart - it can turn people away from the product. Soon a trickle turns into a flood!

Don't get me started on RIAA either!

Posted by: CelticStorm | April 27, 2006 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Forget windows, use linux.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 1:15 AM | Report abuse

A recent batch of genuine XP Home we had would fail to be activated. The Product-ID would let you do the full install, but on an attemp to activate, MS reports an invalid key... Eventually they verbally gave us new Key's after giving them info written on the inner hub of the CD's...

Posted by: flip | April 27, 2006 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, did you not read your software license agreement? Microsoft owns the software. You are paying them a fee to USE it. Not to own it.

Posted by: Chris B. | April 27, 2006 1:47 AM | Report abuse


The WGA tool has validation problems if you have multiple user accounts, and particularly if you have mixed restricted and admin accounts where you have changed the accounts' permissions back and forth between admin and restricted in the past. To solve your validation problem open REGEDIT (get an experienced friend to help you if you don't know what this is or how to use it) and locate the following two keys in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT branch:


Right-click on these keys in Regedit and select Permissions. For both SYSTEM and Administrators set the permissions to "Full Control". Then close Regedit, log in to an administrator account and run the WGA update again. It should now work.

Posted by: Khoji | April 27, 2006 2:27 AM | Report abuse

This was not part of the license agreement (EULA) defined by Microsoft when I purchased my laptop, which came pre-installed with Windows XP Home edition. Every person who owns a legitimate copy of XP who if forced into this breach of contract should take MS to small claims court to sue for for damages (the cost of the license, which is factored in to the cost of the hardware). They should also contact their PC manufacturer with a subponea for the cost of the license as evidence in their lawsuit. If the legal teams at Dell, HP, et. al. are forced to respond to hundreds, of not thousands of these requests, they will make a stink and convince MS to stop this nonsense.

Posted by: Sam | April 27, 2006 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Constitutional rights only protect you from the government. They do not apply to private firms. That's why a private investigator can do things the police cannot.

Posted by: || | April 27, 2006 2:34 AM | Report abuse

may I say 2 things?
1st: about what u said :"For my part, I turned off Automatic Updates several months ago, mainly because I got sick of telling Windows not to install its "malicious software removal tool," (even though I checked the box next to "don't ask again" or something to that effect, Windows asks permission to reinstall the program every time other updates are available)."
the "explanation" (if you wish to call it like that) is that every week/month (I don't know 4 sure) there is a new release of the "MS malicious software removal tool", that's like an update on another spyware checker, and (for what I know) this tool runs itself once, clear the "malicious software" (it missed windows LOL) and then it uninstal itself. (correct me if i'm wrong)
2nd:you can sue... but will you win to MS' lawyers? ...good luck on that...

Posted by: Sedado77 | April 27, 2006 2:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it is right for Microsoft sell Software which you don't own at the end.
I switched a year a go to Linux and all my friends did the same and I can tell you that it is easy to get used to another operating system.
Especially if it is free!!!
Microsoft goes down because they are control freaks.
If Ms is so worried about piracy why do they sell everything so expensive?
Billy go home!!!
The Penguin is getting very strong this year!!!

Posted by: Karin | April 27, 2006 2:41 AM | Report abuse

3rd: Run linux!! you won't regret it and you'll live happier and probably longer!! Stress can kill you :)

Posted by: Sedado77 | April 27, 2006 2:52 AM | Report abuse

The writing was on the wall when Billy Catbird stepped out of his love-nest with Janet Reno. Those clamoring for justice could perhaps take the time to realize something: the Feds will not do a bleeping thing about it. Most of 'em don't use Microsoft for much other than insecure office fodder anyway. In fact, the DOJ "settlement" was entirely predicated upon the condition that in return for laissez-faire, your computer would allow root access upon demand by Federal agencies. Have a look at your Trusted Root Certificates sometime---read and weep. Besides, M$ owns big steaming chunks of the intestinal end of the propaganda pipeli...sorry, MEDEA these days. With today's high-speed internet, your computer's file system can be scanned in a matter of seconds, then flagged for suspicious content, or at the very least used to generate an effective marketing profile. I'm Alfred E. Neuman as far as that's concerned. Should other folks worry? I'm not sure I want to know.

The biggest security problem with software (and not only software) these days is consumer wilful ignorance and myopic trust. Joe and Jane Average don't know about things like firewalls, multiple layers of hardware NAT, blind proxies, etc., and they don't want to. And they don't realize that surfing the Net with Imminent Exploiter's active scripting etc. turned on is like having unprotected sex with the real world, its base human ambitions, its degeneracy into a self-consuming pit of unrestrained greed and sleaze. Should they have to protect themselves? Ideally, no. Do they? Absolutely. Life is a food chain after all. Why aren't people better informed and proactive? We have driver education, firearms safety courses, and trigger locks, don't we? Common sense indeed tells people not to use fingers to push stock thru the table saw, right? Any tool is every bit as much of a potential danger to the user as the user is to themself. Fact is, if all that fluffy stuff were turned off there'd be largely no need for "security upgrades" in the first place. Prime example of people hamstringing themselves by assuming what they don't know won't hurt them. Sorry, I have zero sympathy. Besides, it's job security...

In today's world of manufactured conflict and terrorism as pretense for unrestrained snooping for everything including political advantage, and military tech sector profit at everyone else's expense, Microsoft and the Feds are strange bedfellows. All lobbied---rather effectively, I must admit---by rapacious industry leaders whose sole objective is guaranteeing the enforcement of various profit dependencies by hooking the consumer into a perpetual "upgrade" cycle. Based on the fine print of future "necessities" hidden among the lavish "conveniences", and abetted by the titillation of our vanities, of course. Upgrades consisting of marginal enhancements sometimes originated by third parties and co-opted in historic Microsoft fashion, and fixing of stuff that should have never been shovelled out the door at gold date. And the lure of fluff and features like Aero Glass nonsense, inevitably resulting in delivering compromises and platitudes at your expense. Setting the stage for people to be maneuvered as hogs up a treadmill powering the engine of their own destruction (so how's everyone's credit history, not to digress too much?). Ritalin software, perhaps? Oh, not to mention making examples out of grandmothers, kids, and average Joes like our entertainment industry evil clowns are insulting our intelligence with to instill fear of retribution. Posting security bulletins in a bizarre Machiavellian parallel of the time-honored tactic of dragging Bin Laden out fromunda the bed every time people start asking too many of the right questions, like "why are we paying for this BS?". Or worse: sitting on the real threat info (sounds like some bellicose Texan we know sitting in D.C., on multiple occasions no less, perhaps?) like Symantec did, until they can market an effective solution. Mind you, there is no justification for theft or piracy, though perhaps it can be effectively argued that what these companies are doing is just as unethical. My main objection with this "Windows Advantage" doublespeak is that such measures inevitably seem to really inconvenience only the honest folks, because where there's a will, there's a pirate, cracker, or diligent student of reverse-engineering, if you will. Oh, and there's a China too---huge Oriental market for warez there, where we get a good portion of our computer hardware, no less. To all the warezers out there: if you have the stones to use Windows Update after ripping off their product, you deserve what you get. To us honest folks who resent inconvenience because we have better things to do with our time: learn how to slipstream service packs and updates, and how to hack authentication. It's not terribly complicated. Pirates do it all the time; thieves are by nature not terribly high-wattage individuals.

Ultimately, we have only ourselves to blame. Why? We bought in. Freely of our own volition, we paid for the inconvenience, naively assuming that mega-corporations really want what's best for us. We enabled this whole mess. So: our choice. We can continue to feed the monster next door in the facile assumption that it won't get big and hungry enough to eat us (software and media industry, government, oil companies, pharmawellnessfraud/FDA/AMA/WHO conglomerate, etc.), or we can choose to move away, give it squatillious, and let it eat its own greed until it chokes, shrivels, and gets weak enough to stomp upon as it should be, so falleth Rome. Consumers unfortunately do not realize the power they hold en masse. Too many people are too blindsided by the hype and lies to let such considerations affect planned purchases and impulse buys, it seems. The only real dependencies besides our basic needs that exist are those we manufacture for ourselves. Microsoft: "You depended upon us, we made you insecure, let us help make you safer, just download this patch...never mind what it does...oopsy, your third-party software won't run now? Call the author! Please insert an additional five cents for the next three minutes..." Scientology has nothing on Billy and Mr. Developers, Developers, Developers! Ptooey!

Let me ask this: would you rather be a wolf, a sheep, or an elephant? Each has its seeming rewards and pitfalls. To wolves and sheep, for different and obvious reasons, ignorance is bliss. To the elephant: "I've seen you before. I remember. You smell just as bad as you did years ago. Please do not impede my forward progress or your new name might be Patty." (I prefer elephants, can't you tell?) The choice is ours. Don't be afraid to vote with your dollar and go against the flow. The rub is in weighing your priorities effectively: material reward vs. dependency, inconvenience, and possible eventual insolvency. People like Gandhi and King have effectively demonstrated the power of masses doing nothing but sitting there refusing to may or may not be surprised at the number of people still using Win 9x (which is actually MORE secure these days, go figure...) and all the businesses still using Win2k (still a good option) and refusing to subject themselves to the trouble and expense of an "upgrade" rollout. Or using Linux, BSD etc., which, despite what these bought-off market survey shills tell us, have a far lower TCO. The rest of the masses believe what they are told. And so it goes.

As for Microsoft's little lie of non-collection of personal info: if that were true, why is the OS tied to your hardware, and a minor inconvenience to upgrade? You really think the authentication process doesn't send all of that? I have a bridge to sell you if so. You call 'em for activation, what do you give them besides maybe your phone number? And what if you have a static IP? Hmmmm? So if activation works so well (it doesn't), why the ongoing authentications? And if there are ongoing authentications, why the need for product activation in the first place? It's nothing but an ongoing river of fresh, steaming horse-plop, a bunch of needless hoops honest people must jump thru for having the "privilege" of having Microsoft render your PC (like a suspected terrorist to a CIA torture camp) at their disposal to audit as they see fit without your consent. Microsoft exists to violate your privacy for corporate gain. And they're hardly alone. How long will people let Microsoft bite the hand that feeds before people get tired of being bitten and forced thru cattle chutes? Given that this country (may or may not have) re-elected Dumbya, Tricky Dick Rerun and his cabal of Zionist globalists and Nixon cronies, who knows?

All that seemingly pointless and disjointed coffee-spiked rant lavished on y'all (me not cynic. me realist and survivor.), I think bootable Linux running off a CD is really cool, and quite functional and workable with for daily practical use (not gaming), also for finding out what's happening behind the scenes after mounting NTFS partition and snooping around...but that's just me. Some advice: pick your poison carefully, lest it give you a big tummyache on your way out...and trust no one unconditionally but yourselves.

Posted by: Joseph F. Schmow | April 27, 2006 2:54 AM | Report abuse

It's only scanning Windows itself, and I think that Microsoft, as mentioned in the article, has every right to protect its intellectual properties. The first paragraph makes it sound like all software on your computer is scanned, but it becomes clear by reading the whole thing that only Windows itself is checked. Did you read the article?

Posted by: Vince | April 27, 2006 3:44 AM | Report abuse

I had a power failure last year that caused my computer to malfunction. I brought the machine to a local geek show to have XP Pro reinstalled. I gave them my copy of the Dell supplied ( legal) XP SP1 CD. They were able to save my files and apps, reinstall Xp and send m on my way. Months later I went to update MS Antispyware with Windows Defender. I received a message that I did not have a genuine copy of Windows. I contacted the geeks. It turns out they decided to use their multiliscence copy of XP Pro rather than mine. Now, short of reinstalling XP (again) with my copy ( now I can't find the product key), I'm SOL on new MS programs.

Now it apears I'm going to be reminded often that I'm not legal.

Posted by: Brian | April 27, 2006 6:06 AM | Report abuse

with the rampant piracy of Office and Windows, I'm surprised that microsoft can't live with one or the other. There are numerous 'how microsoft benefits from piracy' articles that illustrate a don't ask don't tell type policy on piracy. This is simply a money grab. Get it? Why should MS care if XP is pirated when Vista is on its way? I'm looking forward to Vista. I hope there are better anti-piracy measures so people don't keep running spam-kit (tm) versions of their software, but to start w/ xp is just pushing too hard.

Yes, people do have Constitutional Rights. Regardless of things like the DMCA, there's a little thing called consent. You can only uphold a EULA or TOS for so long before comparisons to the Paperwork Reduction Department start being drawn. The question: would you knowingly install software that may inaccurately flag you as a pirate and reveal your location?

It's not too difficult to see where this will end up. 'Windows hotfix 198473123212: WGA tool TOS installer and removal option'.

The vast majority of people can be tracked online to their exact name and current location (give or take some cable or about 150ft) anytime they visit a website. Installing and running a program that automatically reports this and other personal location without user approval is far different from clicking committing a user action to access the internet.

Bye bye people trusting microsoft (see first post), bye bye more reputation, but hey....might get some needed funds from an EOL dying product...gotta turn of automatic updates now.

Posted by: bye customers | April 27, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft."

Read the license agreement. You don't own the software.

Posted by: Les | April 27, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

To Wanda:

You don't own your Windows XP operating system software (or pretty much most any software). You are granted a LICENSE to use it by the software publisher. Read your End User License Agreement.

Posted by: Albus Dumbledore | April 27, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Hey Wanda, get a clue. Microsoft owns Windows, you merely bought a license to *use* it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

After the first 100 people pointed out you don't own the software, I think we could have stopped. You're beating a dead horse.

Brian, just curious why you don't like the Malicious software removal tool? (I dont really have any opinions for or against it, would like to hear yours)

Posted by: CGZ | April 27, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Why do I think a lot of the naysayers about constitutional rights and Microsoft owns everything, arre acytually Microsoft employees? I would bet the significant # of them are Gates Hates Mates people!

Posted by: Joe H | April 27, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Bill Gates thinks he is 'BIG BROTHER', take a look in the mirror mister, you GEEK, I HATE MICROSOFT EVEN MORE THAN I EVER HAVE.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Umm, the software you are running on your computer (at least windows) IS the property of microsoft. You aren't buying windows, just a license to use it. There is a reason it is called an end user LICENSE agreement.

Posted by: Jon | April 27, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bust the bastards for installing spyware. Go the way of Sony you evil beast...

Posted by: greg chesney | April 27, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The constitution covers what a government can do.. not what a corporation can do. That is why the laws are written 'disallowing' a company from doing something versus allowing them. So in this case, unless a state or federal law RESTRICTS what Microsoft can do, they are within their rights from the EULA (End User License Agreement) that you clicked through when you installed the software to do whatever they darn well please.

Posted by: smoogen | April 27, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If you want to continue using Windows XP then you will purchase an authentic copy. If you plan on pirating, then expect some of our own "pirates" to come visit your Windows XP installation soon... very soon... muwahahaaaa!

Posted by: Bill Gates | April 27, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Well that what happens when people trust MS and want the latest and greatest OS. If people would just stop giving into the hype and go back to version 2K. Ever since XP came out and had the story that you could only reinstall the OS 3 times due to a lock out, I stayed away.

Buyer beware!

Posted by: Bob Deziner | April 27, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Respectfully, this has nothing at all to do with US Constitutional rights. The First Amendment only restricts the government, not private corporations.

Microsoft has every right to publish this patch, and you have every right not to install it.

Posted by: Robert | April 27, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Would system restore - to a previous date - remove WGA ?

Posted by: Jack | April 27, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I have an unlicensed copy of Windows XP pro on my PC, and is set up to receive automatic security updates. All of the current updates are installed on my PC, and I get no message or alerts.

Posted by: Rusty | April 27, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

system restore

Posted by: jack | April 27, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. constitution only applies in the U.S. Furthermore, it protects you from the Federal Government -- not necessarily from corporations.

The crime here, imho, is that the user purchases software for which the EULA is in the sealed box. Once the box is opened and the EULA read, it is too late to returne the software. And M$ modifies the EULA basically at-will. You purchase the software under one agreement, but to install valid security fixes, you may have to agree to other terms, including unreasonable search and invasion of privacy.

Posted by: Lane | April 27, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This "Genuine Waste of Time", er, "advantage", is going to deter folks from buying Microsoft software.
I download a number of optional utilities from Microsoft for Windows or MS Office. And sometimes, I get the "you must validate" your Windows to download. It annoys the heck out of me.

So far, it's validated my valid Windows every time. But it's only a matter of time before there's a glitch.
* I have had a valid copy of MS Office XP invalidate itself (de-activation) in my office, which required a full uninstall, then re-install. The poor end user only needed Outlook for email (he used CAD - never used Word or Excel), but company policy required that we get Office Pro with any computer. So the re-install took him away from being productive before of a MS mishap with an Office XP "activation" error.
* There were two computers with valid MS Office 2000 licenses that would not load the Office service-packs and updates because they required the Office CD in the drive and would not recognize it as the correct one. Some little glitch somewhere in the mish-mosh known as the Windows registry, no doubt, was at fault. Uninstalling and re-installing Office did not fix the problem. Formatting the computer and starting over was required. Thank you, Microsoft.

Like Don, I don't trust the MS validation system as being accurate. And with experience as the reason.

Posted by: Not looking forward to more MS errors | April 27, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Re: Will the Windows customer who uses auto-updates have the opportunity to decline this update and still install other updates?: "Yes. ..."

But compare an answer by Microsoft on another topic, germane to this one:

Frequently asked questions about Windows Defender (Beta 2)
Q. Does Windows Defender (Beta 2) require customers to participate in the Windows Genuine Advantage program? A. Yes. You will be required to verify that you ... - 60k - Cached - Similar pages

Posted by: rom | April 27, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

You think you know what the hell your constitutional rights are?

Doesn't look like it.

Posted by: Jaybird | April 27, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

To all those people endlessly and needlessly reiterating that you do not own your software, you only license the right to use it under Microsoft's terms: how many times has it been said already? Every third comment? Have a cracker, Polly, and give the beak a rest. It's bad enough we really don't own our homes (you say you do? Try not being able to pay your property taxes on time...perhaps because your veterans' benefits were scratched and you still need medical help, like some people I know), and that the "privilege" of success is granted largely upon those who can afford it to begin with (this from one who can, but who will never forget about the time when it wasn't so). I don't recommend Windows any more anyway, and I have been "downgrading" hosed XP installs to a much more serviceable and FREE fully patched and tweaked Win98 SE wherever possible (no support? EOL? End of obligation to pay! That simple! It's like making payments on an uncollectible junk car there are no parts made for anymore...not for anyone but those who can't figure out how better to spend their time and money), and I advocate open source wherever applicable.

Let me give you an analogy of M$ policy: you don't buy movies or music (mostly overhyped pablum shlock these days anyway), you only license the "right" to enjoy this media, and not to deejay it, make comp CDs for your friends or for band practice, or to play it for a crowd for fun and starvation musician wage. All of which could actually be viewed as free promotion, if one wants to be honest about it. Or copy it under Fair Use, or do anything for that matter to IMPEDE THE FLOW OF PROFIT TO THE COMPANIES MARKETING IT. Well, sure, people should be paid for their intellectual property (the original artist gets what---10%?). I would support this 100%, but if you actually are licensing the CONTENT and not the MEDIUM OF DISTRIBUTION (the CD, the DVD, etc.) as it seems to be, what happens when that medium is destroyed? Well, I feel since you licensed the CONTENT and not the PHYSICAL MEDIUM itself (otherwise you've paid way too much for a fragile piece of metal-film covered plastic frisbee, suckah!), then if the MEDIUM is somehow rendered unuseable, you should be able to OBTAIN FREE DUPLICATES, since you have already paid for THE LICENSE TO USE IT. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way all the time. Why? Greed. Pure and simple. The points of intellectual property statutes seem not to take into account ANY area of relief for THE CONSUMER for shoddy product, easily b0rkable media, invasive bloatware, Fair Use, anything PRO-CONSUMER for that matter. Why? Profit dependency.

Why should we feel sorry for these companies when not only do they NARROW CONSUMER OPTIONS, TREAT YOU LIKE A POTENTIAL THIEF BEFORE THE CRIME, INCONVENIENCE YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY, and end up laying off workers (Microsoft is generally not too bad an employer as far as this goes) so their upper management (who have forgotten how to get their hands dirty, it seems) can walk away with golden parachutes and screw their employees out of retirement. Corporate culture these days equates to nothing but greed and testing the limits of CONSUMER PATIENCE in order to maximize profit. While these companies are selectively failing to address the real wholesale pirates (Chinese, Russian etc. black market), the rest of us are being forced into a position of comping for lost profits, especially in America the Disposable. From people making entirely too much money for substandard product in the first place. When are people going to wake up and quit buying in?

When you add up all the complications, lost work, and hidden costs some of the rest of us face for having used such an insecure product, or by having been rootkitted by some Sony-type software, clearly the accountability is not in the consumer's favor AT ALL. If Microsoft can go to these lengths to protect their profit structure, well, what about all the losses their Swiss Cheese Active X root-level privilege crap has allowed to be incurred upon the rest of us? If the seatbelt does not work, or the airbag doesn't go off, or breaks your kid's neck in a collision, the automaker is perhaps negligent. If Microsoft's OOTB install defaults to a similar level of insecurity, what happens? Oh well, reinstall Windows, and jump thru hoops AGAIN. Ad infinitum. This creates an entire job industry just to deal with these holes! On another note, if nobody commits enough civil infractions to guarantee legal system profits, watch how quickly bylaws are enforced, and new offenses are invented.

Consumer protection and intellectual property laws are COMPLETELY LOPSIDED. It is nearly impossible to get EVERYTHING right out the door with a new product. But do either the product costs or the forthcoming preventative measures (after all, we are really overpaying to be beta-testers, when it gets down to it)---often too little, too late---even remotely spell good faith for the buyer? Rhetorical question. By forcing the pitfalls of a questionable and ill-conceived business model upon the consumer, all these companies are completely succeeding at, really, is insulting consumer intelligence and integrity. This is precisely why ALL home users and media mavens buying these days are just fooling themselves, and wasting their money on commodities besides overpriced gasoline. So we can be herded into TCPA, privacy violations, and egregious penalties for EULA infractions...when in MOST STATES you can't even RETURN the product after it's opened and the EULA is not EFFECTIVELY and HONESTLY summarized ON THE BOX COVER. If it was, in PLAIN LANGUAGE, a lot of people would be scared away, and please don't think the fine print exists to benefit the buyer, because it NEVER does. It is a crock, and it stinketh.

Of course, NONE of this is covered under the piece of toilet paper that our Constitution is becoming. The Constitution was written when none of this applied. Therefore it is up to We the People to guarantee we are given what we feel is our fair share. And the best way I can think of to guarantee this is by simply refusing to buy or use products licensed under what we view as unfair terms. You don't mind being patronized and treated like a potential criminal? Well, be my guest. Roll over and let it hitcha where the Good Lord splitcha! It hurts? Awww. Told ya so! Those doing nothing about it will be left with exactly that at the end of the day. Here's your reward for apathy and conformance, and HERE'S YOUR SIGN! Sorry, no kiss first!

Remember when you could make compillations or copies from vinyl (showing my age) or cassette at will, and nobody complained about lost profits? This WGA and IP flap is nothing but a big rake that inspires indie production and distro infrastructure. How much more pie do the greedy twits need to stuff themselves with anyway? I'd feel bad for them, but the standards of living for the management, vs. the BACKBONE of the company are in serious contrast. I hope nobody is fool enough to think that companies are trying to enforce these policies so they can give anyone but upper management more perks and slush. What's next? Toaster ovens that are bread-specific? That detect the refracted spectral signature thru your bread slice and shut off if you try to put wheat or rye in your White Bread Toaster?

I will not be buying any more Microsoft, or Sony products, or a whole list of personal boycotts too numerous to name, or music or movie CDs. I can live without it all. I am happily spreading the word as a consumer advocate so that people are not so easily fooled by these lies. The picture is simple: a bunch of overpaid, smarmy fatcats digging around the crumbling lid of their septic tank trying to stay out of the sewage they rain down upon the rest of us. Caveat emptor. Save your money for the overpriced gasoline, skyrocketing medical and insurance costs, and major price hike of necessities as a direct result of this administration's bankrupting of our nation. By the time you retire, you won't see anything but more gouging and debt anyway. Quit spending your deflating dollar on their retirement fund and start hedging your bets that only you will be able to provide for your own, for that's where things are headed.

Or follow the rest of the lemmings. Be my guest. Profit is the motive, not your satisfaction. Just don't beg for charity when you maneuver yourselves into living out of a cardboard Windows CD box, your kids are dumbed down and decultured from the Glass Teat, bubblegum and rap, and our failing education system, and you are eating your faith in the purveyors of this mess to make it right. You did it to yourselves.

You want to simplify your life? Hoard cash, pay off your credit cards and return to sender, take the time to educate yourselves about human nature, and quit buying this garbage. Plenty of USEFUL, FREE alternatives out there. And DO NOT BUY VISTA! It is even less visible to the end-user than XP, and MORE rife with anticonsumer profitmongering schemes. It reminds me too much of Mac OS, and I won't touch Steve Jobs' proprietary pack of typically stolen ideas with a barge-pole!

Posted by: Joseph F. Schmow | April 27, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Microsoft has every right to publish this patch, and you have every right not to install it."


I'm not so sure it is (or should be) quite that clear cut in the case of a patch -- as opposed to an original sale.

Consider, for example, a pharmaceutical company selling a drug which is either defective or ineffective. In one case the replacement will work, in the other case the replacement will not. Offering an ineffective patch to an ineffective product is not a good faith remedy it is fraud.

Posted by: GTexas | April 27, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Neither the computer you own nor the software you run on it is the property of Microsoft. The program amounts to unreasonable search. Is someone suing MS for violation of Constitutional rights?"

Well no you don't own the software on your computer. You are Licensed to use it. Owning it and using it are 2 different things.

Posted by: Wes | April 27, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: noone | April 27, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The license fine print says that Microsoft grants you the right to USE their software; if you disagree, you MUST return all software and activation keys to Microsoft (it says nothing about monies). The compliance of this contract can be reviewed by the grantee any time he wishes. In the fine print you accept to abide by this clauses so you automatically grant Microsoft the right to intrude your computer to check compliance. They are not violating YOUR privacy, since they're not collecting information outside the realm of the contract you accepted; maybe they're violating the rights of your COMPUTER, but I don't believe the Constitution provides for innanimated objects rights...

So back to the neverending discussion about Constitutionals rights. For me, is all about big dollars.

Posted by: Diego Zenizo | April 27, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@ zcat:
>>You probably wouldn't want to buy a house with those kind of conditions.

This analogy breaks down on the crucial point that you can in fact line-out those parts of a home-buying contract that you object to,

whereas no (readily-available) mechanism exists to line-out those parts of Microsoft's EULA that you object to (and I'd bet money that this "feature" is no accident). Add to that the fact that, with the house, no sale has yet taken place; whereas with your copy of Windows one already has ("if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...."), and the manufacturer is attempting to impose post-sale conditions on your use of their product.

* * * * *

You know, the abovementioned Windows XP Home EULA grants Microsoft the contractual privilege (not the "right") to make software changes on the end-user's computer at its whim -- but it's not clear on exactly *how* Microsoft is permitted/privileged to make those changes. I find no language in the EULA which forbids the end-user to disable system services that open access ports by means of which Microsoft gains the ability to make software changes on remote, e.g.: "You shall make the Computer Workstation accessible to Microsoft by network at all times", or "You shall not defeat or disable any part of the Software by which Microsoft accesses the Computer Workstation by network".

"2.3 Internet-Based Services Components. The Software contains components that enable and facilitate the use of certain Internet-based services. You acknowledge and agree that Microsoft may automatically check the version of the Software and/or its components that you are utilizing and may provide upgrades or fixes to the Software that will be automatically downloaded to your Workstation Computer."

(Note well: "may", not "shall".)

"2.4 Internet Gaming/Update Features. If you choose to utilize the Internet gaming or update features within the Software, it is necessary to use certain computer system, hardware, and software information to implement the features. By using these features, you explicitly authorize Microsoft or its designated agent to access and utilize the necessary information for Internet gaming and/or updating purposes."

("If you choose to utilize....")

Isn't that interesting? I wonder why that is. Did Microsoft's crack team of legal eagles somehow forget to include that language? Are they incompetent, or might they have had an extremely-good reason why such language was not included? If the latter, what is it? If the inability to make software changes at its whim is *so* harmful to Microsoft's interest, such that they'd draft language to expressly grant themselves that privilege in a EULA, then why isn't disabling said services specifically forbidden by the EULA?

If I do disable said services and close said ports, will Microsoft complain? Is Microsoft going to petition a magistrate to issue a court order compelling me to re-enable said services? If so, on what grounds? If not, then what does that tell you about the practical &/or legal limits to their contractual privileges?

If I never connect the computer to the Internet at all, does the EULA distinguish between that case and the case of having said services disabled and said ports closed? If so, how? If not, why not?

If said services are disabled such that Microsoft doesn't even know my computer exists, then what facts does Microsoft propose to cite as evidence of their claim of my non-compliance with the EULA? Is there language in it compelling me to connect my computer to the Internet so that Microsoft may gather such evidence? If not, why not?

"14. TERMINATION. Without prejudice to any other rights, Microsoft may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of this EULA."

("May", not "shall"? You mean, you leave open the possibility that there are conditions under which you *wouldn't* terminate the EULA for non-performance by the other party? Why would it ever occur to you to do that, if adherence to the EULA is really so important to you as its very existence logically implies you claim?)


Just out of curiosity: Are there, like, bots or something that respond automatically to any demurral or uncertainty about Microsoft's "rights" with argument-by-repeated-assertion/pre-programmed talking points? Or are readers supposed to believe there are that many warm bodies reading this blog (and sporting either no name or a convenient 3-to-5-letter first name) who are both knowledgeable enough to venture, *and* care enough to volunteer, to correct Wanda on *points of Constitutional law*, no less?

Posted by: Mark Odell | April 27, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

One way to battle Bill's greed is for all those who find ways around his newest squeeze play to post them on as many sites as possible. People will use them. Microsoft will have to battle them all and that will hopefully cost them more than what they will squeeze from us.
With luck those who pirate programs for a living will soon find a hack and then even those of us who do not buy pirated programs will/should start purchasing pirated Microsoft products out of spite.

Posted by: Joe | April 27, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Hah, no joke dude.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Wanda (above) may want to read her Microsoft License Agreemnt a little closer. She does NOT 'own' the software, she only has purchased a license to run it on her computer. Since she does not have the right to modify or redistribute it, she does not 'OWN' it....

Posted by: Bill C | April 27, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

We are all slowly being indoctrinated into a purely profit-governed society where we vote via our purchases and privacy is cause for suspicion. We are no longer citizens - we are consumers. I would love for you to be able to prove me wrong, but look at the facts and the changes of the past six years or so. Tell me we're not going the way of Rome.

Posted by: Porkpie Hat | April 27, 2006 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Constitutional Rights pertain to protections citizens supposedly have against the government's oppressing folks.

MS is big, but not that big.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Microsoft pirate it's software from Apple which pirated thiers from IBM?

Posted by: Goofy | April 27, 2006 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I ment to say...didn't Microsoft pirate thier software from Apple which pirated thier software from Xerox? Does Microsoft legally own the software they pirated? Maybe copyrights have run out? So many questions. So little time.

Posted by: Goofy | April 27, 2006 11:44 PM | Report abuse

One of the problems with Windows XP these days is that you don't get a copy of it along with the computer. You don't even get "restoration disks" anymore. This became a problem with me recently when a brand name computer of mine bought through a major chain had a hard drive crash. The protected partition was no longer available; to have it fixed under warranty would have required me to give the company my drive with too much sensitive data on it; and not only would I have had to pay for restoration disks but they were out of stock and would have taken 2 months to get.

I need my computer every day. My fix was to but another hard drive and install a "borrowed" copy of Windows. Unfortunately, hardly anyone has a full version of XP home, so I couldn't install that. If I did, the license key that's printed on the side of the computer would have worked, since you're just paying for a license. I could only find a copy of XP Pro, so I had to install that and make up my own key.

So, the long and the short of it is that if I Had done things 100% legitimately it would have taken me 2 months to fix my computer and I would have had to give my hard drive to god knows who with data on it I'm entrusted to keep to myself by the people I work for.

When Microsoft gave out full OEM Windows 98 disks back in the day everyone had a copy, everyone could easily reformat their drives or install new ones, and Bill Gates still became the richest person in the world. People were happy. Now, they're so greedy that it's become an almost unbearable hassle to deal with them. Since I had to go through a runaround to fix Windows this time I went the extra step and made it so my drive will dual boot Windows and Linux. This is for the *rare* occasion Windows decides it doesn't want to work anymore I can still get on the interweb and do what I gotta do so I can eat food every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Bill Gates has more money than my daddy.
No Fair! wah wah wah!

Posted by: Giorgio W Bushyhead | April 28, 2006 3:12 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Wanda, aren't you sorry? What a blizzard of useless posts.

Posted by: Pete in Arlington | April 28, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

This is very unconstitutional. MS broke all our privacy

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I am a Microsoft Partner, and have never liked their WGA program that they are touting to fight piracy. I have Windows XP Pro. It is a legal copy as Microsoft gave it to me for attending a TS2 event. I wasn't going to run Microsoft OS's anymore until they gave me that copy. I didn't like the direction that Microsoft was going with product activation. Once a product was activated and a customer returned the product, Microsoft told it's partners that they could resell the activated product. The caveat was that they had to tell the new customer that it had already been activated, and that the customer must call Microsoft to let them know. As a business, I am not going to put my customers through those hoops.

Now Microsoft wants to push yet another scheme onto its users with the WGA. It will be only a matter of time before WGA will no longer be optional in order to install patches to fix their OS, other product, or a broken patch.

I have a client still running Windows 98 SE because Windows XP won't run on her hardware. The computer meets the minimum requirements for Windows XP, but it was a hardware issue with Compaq. It took me 2 days to restore her computer back to Windows 98 as I had to do a complete reinstall of everything, and patch them. Due to Microsoft's limited patch policy for Windows 98, I simply couldn't download the patches to burn to a CD. I had to use the Windows Update site with that machine on her slow dialup connection.

The Technet and TS2 events that I have attended are mainly yes men attendees that bowdown to Microsoft. They don't like to hear critism or decent. Heck, just to get the Windows 2003 SBS Pro SP1 patch on CD, I was told that I needed to call one of my clients up and ask for their product key. Microsoft wouldn't simply let me have the patch on CD to deploy to all my clients.

Bottomline, is that I am seriously considering switching to another OS such as LINUX. I am getting tired of the Microsoft BS.

Posted by: Navigatr1 | April 28, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I also want to mention that WGA was required for anyone wanting to access the windows update website. They automatically downloaded and installed WGA on users machines without telling them that is what they were doing. I can't quite remember how they were doing it as I haven't accessed their update website in a long time. Now they are pushing WGA via automatic updates.

There are a couple of patches that I haven't installed as they require WGA to be installed before Microsoft lets you download them. Even though my software is legal, I refuse to let them check my machine. It's a matter of princible as they already know it was legitimate when I activated it.

By the way, WGA can easily be defeated by hackers as it is a registry key if I remember correctly.

Posted by: Navigatr1 | April 28, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, WGA can easily be defeated by hackers as it is a registry key if I remember correctly."

Whichj key?

Posted by: Joe | April 28, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Why bother? Mac OS X is so much better than anything Microsoft has now or is likely to have in the near future it is not funny. Don't believe me? Would you believe Microsoft's own employees? Check this link out and the comments from a LOT of MS employees One of the comments asked the question "What's the difference between OS X and Vista?" The answer? "Microsoft employees are excited about OS X..."

Posted by: Robert Hanley | April 28, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

You own the hardware, yes, but you only lease the software. At best you own a license to use it (basically a CAL). The only way you own software is to code it yourself.

This is annoying, and there wiull be problems. But if every copy of XP in the world is genuine, perhaps it will cost less (like when Vista is sold) or they will have a larger budget to include better faetures. Or maybe they will just rape the consumer... Either way it's their perogative.

Posted by: Dave | April 29, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I bought a Toshiba notebook and it came with WinXP Home. Well it failed the WGA test. Microsoft does not want to help me and Toshiba isn't anymore help themself. I myself have turned off the WGA. Besides I own the software not microsoft since I paid for it along with the notebook.

Posted by: Santana | April 30, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I feel I own the software since on the package there is not any mention of that you only get a license to use it. Plus if you buy it from a store or online you do not get told it is for a license to use only either. Seems to me that is misleading advertisment and it gives the implied consent that you own the software.

Posted by: Santana | April 30, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Checking their own software for legitimacy is hardly 'unreasonable search' is it?
Provided that's all they're checking!

Posted by: George Mcdonald | April 30, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

MS has every right to validate their software before giving you an update. They should however in no way slip the WGA checker into your software without you being well aware of it. Also with Vista you will not get the nice Glass UI unless your software passes WGA.

Posted by: Anon | April 30, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I think you will find that Microsoft does own the software, at least if you have a legitimate copy as all you have ever bought from them is a license to use THEIR operating system/application/etc. Beyond this, by installing and using either autoupdate or the online update service you have invited MS to examine your system--just the same as inviting warrantless police to search your home.

Now the "legitimate copy" part does raise an interesting issue--if you do have a pirated version then Microsoft doesn't own it, and you have no legal relationship with them--nonetheless, the "invitation" part above would no doubt hold water...

Posted by: Cliff | May 1, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Read the EULA carefully. At least in the case of most (or probably all) MS products, you do not own the software. You purchase a license to run it on a computer, but you do not actually purchase the software itself.

Posted by: Samuel | May 1, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I had always thought that the point of WGA was to discourage users using WINE or WINE like products (crossover office) with windows patches and windows runtimes (like the C++ and VB runtimes). I didn't know that this was a checking utility as well.

I think that with our laws the way they are that Microsoft (legally) has the right to make sure people aren't stealing their software, though I would seriously question why they need to charge users $200.00 to upgrade their version of windows. Not that Apple is any better ( I pay extra for the hardware, and the OS still costs 129.00) so I am not neccessarily bashing microsoft. As one guy said on a message board that I look at (it was Steve from users would be less apt to steal software if it was more affordable.



Posted by: Aleksei | May 1, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

And one other thing, if you don't like the Microsoft policy my suggestion is to use linux.

Posted by: Aleksei | May 1, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but, the software you run on your computer DOES remain the property of Microsoft. You don't buy software, you buy the license to USE the software. Don't believe me? Read your "Terms" statement next time you install Windows (or any other Microsoft product or any software product from ANY major vendor for that matter) before you click "I Agree" or press F8.


Posted by: Jeremy | May 1, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

First, you're a little off track invoking the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. It applies only to the U.S. government, regarding the police and other law enforcement officers searching without a warrant or without probable cause. It has no bearing on companies controlling how their software is used.

Second, Microsoft does indeed own the software you are using (assuming they published it). You do not own it. You have purchased a _license_ to use it.

All that being said, I think Don makes a good point that the WGA isn't entirely trustworthy. How can they be sure that they have covered every possible scenario? And what do they do when they come across one where the user has a real copy, but the WGA doesn't think so. I would be livid if the copy I bought failed the WGA test, especially if Microsoft let me languish for 9 weeks.

Posted by: Jaellon | May 1, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, while Microsoft may seem heavy handed in their approach, they do own the software. You also agreed to that when you installed it. If you did not want to just own a license to it you should not have installed it on your computer (which you do own). Remember, you don't have a "right" to run Windows on your computer, just because a person doesn't like how a company chooses to sell it's products doesn't mean that they can break the law in how they use it. There is plenty of open source software that one can use how they see fit. The ubiquitousness of a product does not change the ownership or terms accompanying it.

p.s. The unreasonable search clause in the Constitution only applies to government searches.

Posted by: Tom | May 1, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What I love here, is no mention of the billions of people who are probably pirating it in China...oh wait, that's right Mr. Gates is friends with the Chinese leadership, so why would he go after them... they don't have any money, where as we do. What goes around, comes around, Mr. Gates. Don't you have enough money already? or are you like Pinkey and the Brain, trying to take over the world.

Posted by: Dave | May 1, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course you don't . The Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the Patriot Act etc etc removed most of your 'Constitutional Rights'.

But hey, you did vote for Goerge Dubbya didn't you (much to the amazement of the rest of the world)? I think this is an example of "you get the leaders you deserve".

Posted by: Cyberspy | May 2, 2006 5:35 AM | Report abuse

By accepting the terms and conditions to the installation of the package, you are agreeing to these checks. It has nothing to do with constituional rights. Its a license agreement.

Posted by: Whome | May 2, 2006 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Obviously Wanda does not understand copyright law. You do NOT own a copy of Windows. You have a license to USE a copy of Windows and it IS the property of Microsoft. The same applies to all software and printed works. This is basic copyright law, I suggest taking Business Law 101.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The validation process fails on genuine Windows if the user is not logged in as a system administrator.

This patch is as buggy as can be - was it even tested before distribution?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2006 6:42 AM | Report abuse

There is no opt-in agreement, it installs silently in the background through automatic updates.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2006 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Windows does belong to Microsoft, when you purchase it all you're purchasing is the right to use it. You don't own Windows, if you did, it'd be open source.

Posted by: Steve | May 3, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, read your end user license agreement or if you don't have one, find the Windows EULA. You will find you do not own per say the operating system even if you paid money for a copy of Windows. By purchasing the Windows OS, Windows has agreed to allow you to run the source code they own on your PC. Think of it as a one time rental fee.

Posted by: PC Tech | May 4, 2006 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Another septic tank ( yank ) attempt to control the free world.
Down with the USA, freedom to the people

Posted by: OZ | May 4, 2006 7:26 AM | Report abuse

You own the computer itself but you do not own the software running it. You license software. (Unless you wrote it yourself or are using software in the public domain.)

Every time I see or hear one of those commercials for music or movies it makes me mad. They say, "OWN IT TODAY ON DVD" or something like that. It is a lie. You can not own it because it is not really for sale. If you did own it then you would be free to make copies and give it to whoever, play it infront of 50000 people, or anything you like. They should not be allowed to lie outright in this way. It is false advertising. It is the same as me tricking someone into thinking they have bought a house when they are really just renting it from me. How about "LICENSE IT TODAY ON DVD"?

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

If microsoft would just lower the price of Windows XP to something reasonable, like $50, then I think they would be able to persuade the average joe, who one way or another happens to be running a pirated version of Windows XP.

Posted by: slapjammur | May 4, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

A simple solution to this:

You will notice that system restore function will only take you back to when you installed the WGA check which led to annoying pop-ups reminding you of your pirate copy of windows. As it would appear you are scuppered... but no! Look where the two arrow tabs are in blue in the restore point box click back one and you will see a hidden restore point which will take you back before you installed the WGA. Simply restore and disable automatic updates when windows loads and your back in play!

Posted by: Kill Bill | May 5, 2006 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Well this patch broke my installation of the sims 2 (i am certain, i am a pro :P); now I have to reinstall windows again, and disable updates X_X

Posted by: fabzor | May 6, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Whatever I know my IP's tracked, where're the boundaries - what's stopping MS from installing little spies in the operating system? Just stupid that we have to worry about all these problems - the old days for personal computing with modems were just much easier...

Posted by: Wellness 4 da world | May 6, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I simply don't trust Microsoft. I've personally witnessed software of theirs transmit data without any action on my part (I happened to catch it with a network sniffer), and after having disabled any features that might require network access.

They want to increase market share, not build better products. I only wish for more able competitors, and a level playing field.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2006 11:14 PM | Report abuse

"All users are able to receive High Priority Security & reliability updates regardless of their validation status."
This statement is incorrect. Once the new update is installed and you're told your copy isn't kosher, you WILL NOT get any updates until you purchase another copy of XP.

Bill Gates is the pirate, milking PC users for every penny he can. The vast majority of PC's are sold with XP, why go for the kill?

Posted by: MIke | May 9, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Microsoft has every right to put whatever type of checks it needs to stop software pirating. As long as they are not pulling your personal information. Why are so many people trying to cite constitutional rights? Seems to me that the prople that are getting so pissed off by this, are most likely running pirated software on their systems in the first place. If you aren't and all of your software is legit, then who really cares if they check? If you have nothing to hide then it should be no problem."

Posted by: Steve | April 25, 2006 07:13 PM


Posted by: MIKE | May 9, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

my xp software came bundled with my hcl pc now wga tells me that my copy is pirated

Posted by: justanotherguy | May 9, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

How do we know which update contains this piracy tool? is there a specific title to this update?

Posted by: Don | May 10, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

How do we know which update contains this piracy tool? is there a specific title to this update?

Posted by: Don | May 10, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi all. Some quick facts about this...

The banner and the pop-up can still be uninstalled if this is really needed. Also, Auto-updates can still be received.

On another note, stop pirating. You will only support MS with that. The money they lose from you not buying their software is neglible compared to the profits they get from you not using anything else but windows.

Just for a second imagine what the world would look like if Windows would have 60% market share, Linux and OSX around 15-20% each and *bsd ~5%. Most probably most software would run at least on Windows, Linux and OSX.


Posted by: Hermann | May 11, 2006 5:33 AM | Report abuse

It's still a nice pipe-dream to believe that we do, but I have troubles believing that MS is doing anything wrong. Peoeple that bought their product won't /shouldn't (sorry Don) be affected and those that didn't pay get bothered with a little popup annoying thing. Not only that, but if you know what you are doing, you should have never receieved that update, read and know what you are downloading, I have a pirated version, and I don't have the warning...

Posted by: alex_b | May 11, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Alex: Not yet...

Posted by: Hermann | May 11, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Read the EULA! It says that Microsoft will collect information about your hardware and software. It also says Microsoft will share this information with Third Party Vendors. If this is actually about Piracy, then why do the need to collect information about your other software or hardware. And more important then that is why should they be able to share it with anyone? About the Privacy Rights. If you read the Privacy information on the Update site, it makes a claim about your right to privacy. If you do not install the software, you can only get High Priority Updates. The other software updates will not work. I have tried it and it required installation of the WGAN software.

Just for the record, My software is Legal.

For those of you who would say that this is no big deal or that this is a opt-in program. I think Microsoft is just setting us up for a pay as you go type of system.

The information Microsoft collects has your IP address too. For most of Us, that means they already know who you are. And now they will be sharing that information with others. So much for Privacy!! I guess, rather than complaining about it, We should just quit using their software. The only way to make a point with them, is to hit them in the wallet!!!

Posted by: Roy | May 12, 2006 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I too have a genuine copy of windows and have today got this annoying message and star symbol on the taskbar. My copy is legal, how am I supposed to get rid of this message? Are we all expected to pay for windows a second time.
These are very underhand tactics by microsoft to bring in more revenue I feel. Do they not dominate the market enough with windows?
I'm annoyed, as I know contacting microsoft will do no good, and expect this error message and pop ups will be on my computer for some time as there's no way i'm paying again for something I bought from the shop already!!

Posted by: Tony | May 13, 2006 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I see someone from microsoft has typed "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting. The Windows product key installed on this computer is not genuine" into google and found this site.
Microsoft agents give it a rest, how many goddam times does the words "read the licence, microsoft own the software", we get it, i got it the first time, how many times does it need repeating?

IT IS, however OUR PC, and the main point is that people have been targeted by MS who HAVE LEGITEMET WINDOWS such as myself, yet we are still expected to PAY MORE!!!

Microsoft, you penny pinching, lowdown, underhanded organisation is recieving no more money from me.

I have been thinking for a long time to change my browser from IE to firefox due to the terrible problems with IE. I feared making the change, NOW I DONT, and I will be now changing my whole operating system.




Posted by: tony | May 13, 2006 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I feel that Microsoft has gone too far into people's lives with WGA.

It is my opinion that Microsoft is exploiting software piracy as a way to earn more revenue.

Don't get me wrong as I enjoy Windows XP but what people do and what they run on their computers should be their choice, not Microsofts.

Maybe instead of trying to stop people from stealing their software they should make the system they have better by offering more reliable customer services, making their current updating systems more compatible with other browsers such as Firefox and Mozilla, and by offering updates to people everywhere as before the WGA came along.

If people are determined to steal, they are going to find ways around any kind of measure to stop it. Is Microsoft helping to set up millions of users all over the world to be more vulnerable to computer crimes such as identity theft and making it easier for people who make viruses and mal-ware to cause problems? Where is the line between company and consumer going to be drawn? How far is too far?

Posted by: A Concerned Citizen | May 13, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I have been a faithful user of Windows since 3.1 and have only one nice thing to say about Microsoft: You truely need to stop trying to make money and actually try to make a decent, well-rounded, operating system.

I, for one, have had it with security issues, bugs, leaks, having to reinstall, call customer service, and wait.....and wait....and wait.......for a stable, freely updatable, and reasonably priced version of Windows and as of 6:17am today I am FREE!!!

I am now a proud user of Red Hat Linux the hour and 20 minutes I have been running it I have not recieved one pop-up, software piracy nag, error message, and best of all, it hasn't crashed or froze up.

You have gone too far, Microsoft.

Posted by: had enough yet? | May 13, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Khaled | May 13, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

just as an update and info that me be of help.
I discovered this problem earlier today, i've managed to combat it for now by going to system restore, I then restored back 2 months, and have now turned off auto updates.
This has removed the annoying pop ups.

I'm still having a look at LINUX now!

Posted by: tony | May 13, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Just a teaser

Micro Monopoly

A thirty-two bit extension and GUI shell to a sixteen bit patch for an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor and sold by a two-bit company that can't stand one bit of competition."

Posted by: Searching4freedom | May 14, 2006 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft does something incredibly stupid again! Damnit him and George Bush both have way too much power. Imagine what could be pulled off with Bush authorizing all kinds of privacy invasions like the wiretaps and holes in Windows Vista. I know I won't be installing it.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft should really look at the prices it charges the public for an operating system which has bullied its way into the market place. The reasons why people obtain pirate copies, it's because they cannot afford to pay for the versions which keeps coming at least yearly.

I used to buy all the previous versions and I do have the original floppy disks, CD and packaging and genuine serial numbers.

But since I bought Windows ME, I got fed up buying windows operating systems at a horrendous price. Surely Bill Gates must realize he has the world dancing at his feet, and he does not take into consideration that some people are just too poor to even consider buying legitimate authenticated software.

I strongly believe the PC and software on any personal computer is private property and for Microsoft to infringing on people's rights, not only that they are just as bad as the perpetrators who transmit viruses' to your desktops there is no difference, the biggest Spy Software is Microsoft themselves. Shame on you Microsoft as you are becoming greedy and greedy and you will stop at nothing to get more money from the public.

The solution for members of the public is not to purchase Microsoft software and us Linux which is relatively cheap if not free. There is apple and other OS out there; this is the only way to deal Microsoft a heavy blow just stop using their software. Mind you all of their software including their windows consists of rip-offs from other software, thus giving them control in the market place. They are worried about piracy, but Microsoft is the biggest pirate going amongst corporate companies, they themselves have been stealing parts of other people's software and in cooperating into their OS and other software.

Shame on you Microsoft


Posted by: Michelle MEW - UK | May 16, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

who's deleted all the comments?

Posted by: tony | May 17, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

you all these idiots that keep stating its a license to use it must do everything their wives/girl Friends tell them to do too. yes you license it but its install on your computer and that Trojan WGA is installed on "YOUR" computer the only one able to permit anything to be installed on 'YOUR" computer is you!not Microsoft or any other software company.but they don't give you that option do they? oh sure opt in BS do you opt in to jump off a bridge too? yeah its your choice whether you do that or not also isn't it. if it was truly an opt in then you can assume its not an critical update and then it should be a optional update should it not ? then why is it ranked as critical then.its not like anyone can access your computer without it is it (actually the opposite really)

then again I assume you were all fine when Sony installed a root kit too right! oh wait nobody liked that because they were forced to install that hmmm

licensing a software does not give the owner the right to take over your computer unless I missed something about that in Eula like "by accepting this agreement you transfer ownership of your computer to Microsoft Inc to install and do with as they feel is needed"

Posted by: dbhvn | May 19, 2006 2:23 AM | Report abuse

I came across this article today because I just got the notifier software in my automatic updates. It made my PC unusable - not because of nag screens but because after installing, everything just became incredibly sluggish (Word taking two minutes to launch, that kind of thing.) I had to use system restore to get things working again.

I understand that MS wants to prevent piracy but this is ridiculous. I wound up turning automatic updates off (now it will notify me but not install anything) - frankly, I just don't trust them not to screw up my PC after this.

Posted by: John | May 23, 2006 1:25 AM | Report abuse

I received a download of the security alert for a genuine windows checker. Before I install the genuine windows xp checker I followed the recommended steps to verify COA.

in stepping through the COA procedure

I came down to this message:

"You should have received a recovery solutions CD from your PC manufacturer. To verify that the recovery solutions CD that came with your PC is genuine, please contact your PC manufacturer."

Unfortuantely, the PC maker is no longer in business.

Now what do I do ?........the security alert icon is hanging in my system tray waiting for an install of the checker and I have no way of checking .

any help ????

Posted by: Dee | May 23, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

What is worse is that if you have a legitimate update, which an enthusiastic son didn't use when we rebult the machine after a major rebuild because he said it was too slow, we are now told you can't replace it with the legitimate disc without having to wipe everything and start again.
There is no simple way of changing the code to the legitimate one!

Pay-up or else - surely this is an penalty or fine without trial and no right of appeal.

Posted by: UK | May 29, 2006 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually Wanda, Microsoft does own the software. It is in your liscensing agreement. What you pay for is the right to use it. It's tricky wording in their liscensing agreement.

If you refuse to accept the agreement, the software will not install. I always had a problem with Microsoft's liscensing agreements. It became the defacto standard for all liscensing agreements for just about every retail software sold.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Robert | May 30, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

that's true, it's not very accurate

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Good time to think about start using Linux...

Posted by: Anglia - UK | June 1, 2006 3:42 AM | Report abuse

They must be living on fantasy island.

They sell these round plastic discs for over 100$ each, yet they want me to buy one? Really, is that their mindset? With every backdoor, every virus, every spam e-mail that I get, and they expect me to go shell cold-hard cash out of my pocket just to see my poor laptop burn to peices? That is bunk. Ok, Microsoft. You construct a stable operating system, instead of the hole of mediocrity that I dimwittedly put on my computer now, and I'll happily spend 100+$ on it. Until then, don't try to stifle my right to use my machine because you're a bit bummed over losing a couple mil.

Yep, I think this settles it. I'm buying a Mac.

Posted by: XanthicSchistosome | June 1, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Since microsoft is not the gov't the right against unreasonable search does not apply. If you want them to stop, you must communicate in some fashion that what they are doing is trespassing. My guess is in the EULA there's some clause that gives MS the right to do what they are doing.

If WGA is really supposed to save MS and give them revenue, how come MSFT's sales have been declining and their stock is in the crapper?

MSFT has the same problem as the RIAA and MPAA, piracy is done by those that will not or cannot pay a dime for the product. The funny thing is they may end up hurting sales more, by bad publicity, and by the fact that pirates that aren't willing to sink 300$ for an OS, may be willing to sink 50$ in an app by MSFT

Posted by: Mike | June 3, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

WHERE IS THIS ARTICLES DATE??? I want to know what the day, month and year of what it is I am reading. If there is an "Article Date" printed somewheres on this page I sure cann't find it!

Posted by: kathy Laine | June 5, 2006 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Publication date is at the bottom of the post: April 25, 2006; 4:03 PM ET

Posted by: editors | June 5, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I purchased an Academic Version of XP PRO, complete with the Holographic CD. Unfortunately the store installed it on a new hard drive purchased at the same time as an E: drive, which cannot be changed. The upate that loaded the WGA check failed to finish loading - I left it running all night and it still could not finish.

So I now get the warnings, but no other information. I am not directed to any web page, but I do get the Microsoft dirty tricks. If at login I click on the option to resolve it now, then the CPU is running flat out at 97%-100% capacity, making it hard to do work, and if I click at login to resolve later, the PC now is shutting itself down after a few minutes.

My PC is being rendered useless, primarily to a bug in the update.

Posted by: Don | June 6, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Click Start, Help and support, then on "Undo changes to your system with System Restore" and pick a date before you got the update. Problem sorted!!!

Posted by: flaxvert | June 12, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

To get rid of the prob once and for all Click Start, Help and support, then on "Undo changes to your system with System Restore" and pick a date before you got the update. Problem sorted!!!
(and dont update again till theres a hack)

Posted by: flaxvert | June 12, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Need to be readed.

Posted by: rape stories | June 15, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

you encouraged us.. took our money.. like putting a carrot infront of a rabbit..I am over 65.. been there done that as you might say.. but this at a time in life people like me have spend so much money to keep intouch with the outside world.. you killed us !!

Posted by: Polly | June 26, 2006 12:23 AM | Report abuse

When I read the alert "This copy of Windows is not genuine," I thought it was a hoax. My copy of Windows XP was purchased at a legitimate retail store a few years ago and registered with Microsoft. It seems odd to me that Microsoft now declares that my copy of Windows XP is not genuine. Frankly, I find this to be incredibe and highly disturbing.

Posted by: Naomi | June 28, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The WGA program says mine is an illegal copy. It came installed on my computer. If it is an illegal copy, why should I, as the victim, be the one to pay Microsoft $150? Why is it that MS is not even asking where the counterfit software was purchased? Or offering rewards or incentives for turning in pirates. It's pretty clear to me... money! Why stop the counterfitters, if MS can just get $150 from each victim? Their not after the counterfitters, they're after your money. If you don't pay it, it seems their only recourse would be to go after the counterfitters.

Posted by: Roniray | June 30, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I use ubuntu linux on a linux-ready laptop (came with ubuntu 6.06 preinstalled on it) so I rub all the M$ crap on the part of my body that the sun never shines in.

Posted by: Juan Márquez | July 3, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

My copy of windows is also genuine but says its not. I looked up on how to fix it and found a way to on the microsoft website of all places. The only thing it does though is fool your computer into not running a genuine test on startup. Its still not genuine and I now cant use Windows Messanger or Media Player. This is a bit ridiculous and i have no wayof knowing how to fix it and windows support staff are completely useless idiots who just copy and paste their replies to customers. I think i might just get the new mac operating system when it comes out instead of vista. It will take some learning but at least people dont have the troubles they have with windows.

Posted by: Scott | July 10, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: jack m peaker | July 13, 2006 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Can we not get a patch for this software and again supress the nagging patch of MS ???
if available, where can it be found?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2006 6:58 AM | Report abuse

The Operating System is owned by Microsoft and licensed to you for your use. They have the same rights for validating your license as the treasury department has for validating its currency.

Posted by: Logan | July 16, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

A EULA could technically include the line "All your protperty is in possession nof the microsoft coroporation and you are their slave" and it would be true accordiing to this argument. And legally the first clause could be allowed under UK criminal law as according to that - you knew what you were geting into. Microsoft has a cheek in working these little clauses into Eula to basically destroy people's computers because of microsofts utter incomptence. And if your copy of windows is genuine and has been hindered by microsoft it is technically possible to sue them for violating their own licesnse. SOmeone ought to do that.

Posted by: Mad Dave | July 18, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, someone actually is suing Microsoft over this. I have to admit that I, too, as an American citizen, I'm pretty concerned about this. But I can also tell you that there's a solution!

I've been using "Ubuntu" Linux now for about a year on my home PC, and it has been so easy to use. My daughter installed it for me (she was a George Mason student at the time). She told me that she was "upgrading Windows" for me and that it would "look better" afterwards. Well, obviously she pulled a bit of a fast one on me. :-) She finally spilled the beans when I asked her what the heck "Ubuntu" was. You should've seen the look on her face--it was priceless!

However, she was right--I hadn't heard of either "Ubuntu" or Linux before, but it's been great! I've got my recipe program, my genealogy program (I track our family heritage), I've got email, and obviously I can browse the Internet, since I'm writing this. :-) I've got a picture viewer from when my daughter goes on trips and emails them to me, I can play my CD's...and if I need anything else, there's this great tool called "Synaptic" that lets you install just about ANYTHING that you'd need! That's how I got the recipe and genealogy programs. All I've got to do is click on it, and off it goes, no computer wizardry required. And it didn't cost me a cent.

Oh, and I'm not getting spied on anymore, either.

Posted by: Mom of a (former) college student | July 20, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

thats why we use LINUX , its more secure and FREE OF ANY B.S. and charge. microsoft maybe good for a Real hacking pro or a dummy but LINUX is for everyone. download it/ burn it to cd's / reformat your hard drive SCREW Microsoft/ install linux . no more Genuine Windows!! whhoooaa whhoooaa whhoooaa whhoooaa

Posted by: bubba | July 28, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I have a Computer that was puchase almost 8 years ago. It originally had Milllenium on it. I purchase an official Windows XP Update about 3 years ago. Last year I had to bring my computer to a local computer shop who had reformatted my hard drive. I now have the message that I may be a victim of Counterfieting. I have contacted Microsoft several times and have come to the realization that the people microsoft has working for them either do not know what they are doing or just do not understand english.

I want to get the version that is running on my computer to be authorized. I do not want to reinstall Windows XP and loose all my data. Microsoft does sell such a fix for $149.00. But since I own the product they should email me the fix with a new product key. They do not seem to comprehend this idea?

Posted by: John | July 30, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Henry | August 1, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I have genuine windows and I'm sick and tired of windows harressing me to buy another copy of Windows XP. If this is your case too come on let's sue MS!!!!!1

Posted by: john doe | August 6, 2006 1:01 AM | Report abuse

I believe it is very important, as the small guy to retain every ounce of privacy we have left.
This measure being instituted by Microsoft may be introduced with good intentions but remember, it's harder to get rid of something when it is in place already.
Nip this one in the bud or start getting ready to hop over into Linux if you care about keeping your freedom.
Trust in the fact that I'm talking about what is to come in the next decade or more.

Posted by: Thomas | August 8, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I had a problem with IE which AOL explorer took over which prompted me to do an update to have IE be the default brouwser. (none of the uninstalled worked) To the point, after installing the updates I was hit with the WGA which said I did not have a genuine version. I bought the Laptop used and thought it was. The problem is it does not let me do ANYTHING past the login. IT jsut sits there. So it effectively holds my system hostage no matter which button I choose, the get genuine or the repsond later. I am sure there will be a class action suit against microsoft for this intrusion as if this is not a genuine version, I would get genuine but it has invaded my acces to the hardware I own and all files on my system. Does anyone have an answer for this???

Posted by: Greg | August 9, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I have a HP computer which I bought new at Sam's Club, and which I have used for more than four years. In the past, I have had to enter the tag number for the Microsoft people. Microsoft has repeatedly responded that my version of Windows is genuine. Tonight, I get this annoying pop up telling me that my version isn't genuine. I wonder what triggers this. It upsets me that the computer companies can cause pop ups to continually come up on what is supposedly my computer. I am afraid to follow the instructions that tell me to "get genuine," afraid it will just give them a greater control over my computer, which I paid for, and which is running a genuine copy of Windows. We need some method of saying that this computer belongs to me. This copy of Windows is licensed to me. And you can't cause annoying pop-ups to invade my turf. I guess we have no such right.

Posted by: Nigel | September 2, 2006 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I am sure that I have a genuine Windows XP, but when I installed this update, my computer says all the time:This copy of Windows is not genuine; you may be a victim of software counterfeiting. I'm desperated. I asked a computer engineer and he told me that it's a hacker that tries to enter your computer... Has anyone heard something about it??

I'm sorry if my english is not good, i am spanish...

Posted by: sandra | September 7, 2006 7:09 AM | Report abuse

I purchased my computer from Future Shop in Coquitlam British Columbia,there is a label on my hard drive outlining the Microsoft Product numbers to verify I have a legitimate Version of Windows XP Home Edition.I still keep getting messages my software is not legitimate.When I try to correct the problem I am invited to buy a $199.00 new version. How can I get this sorted out?

Posted by: Arthur Zink | September 13, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I purchased my computer from Future Shop in Coquitlam British Columbia,there is a label on my hard drive outlining the Microsoft Product numbers to verify I have a legitimate Version of Windows XP Home Edition.I still keep getting messages my software is not legitimate.When I try to correct the problem I am invited to buy a $199.00 new version. How can I get this sorted out?

Posted by: Arthur Zink | September 13, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company