We’ve dealt with this topic previously, but Ars Technica has decided to get beyond the rumors and asked Microsoft for the truth. Believe me, if you have any chance of buying Vista, you won’t like this!

Ars Technica – 10/30/06:

A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that “the hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP,” indicating that re-activations caused by minor changes to a PC should be less common. “We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers,” the spokesperson said.

So far so good, let’s see what else he had to say…

“Validation will fail if the software detects a substantially different hardware configuration,” the spokesperson said. “At that point, the customer is able to use the one reassignment for the new device. If, after using its one reassignment right, a customer again exceeds the tolerance for updated components, the customer can purchase an additional license or seek remediation through Microsoft’s support services.”

What exactly is remediation? Are they assuming we already went through mediation once already?! And why should anyone have to ask to use what they already bought?!

Ars Technica has a great solution to this:

We still believe that the best license, if one must be used, is that which is assigned to individuals and not devices.

Will this action force the built-it-yourself enthusiasts to switch to Linux? Or better yet, is this an opportunity for Apple to get enthusiasts to switch to OSX by releasing and selling OSX for all X86 hardware? I know I’d buy a copy. I went through three motherboards last year alone.



  1. Higghawker says:

    My understanding is if you call and explain what happened, (motherboard failure, etc.) they will allow this, just as with XP. Now, if you just want to upgrade your system as with new notherboad and hard drive, they consider that a new machine, and will only allow this once.
    Yes, I think this will drive the enthusiast to Linux, but, the enthusiast is probably already using Linux anyway?

  2. ezma says:

    …oh, yeah, the spamming, phishing scams and viruses… they burden the windows user enough to consider some other OS without Microsoft leaving them little choice. So how many viruses are there for Apple OS bad enough to destroy the fruits of your work? Any with Linux?

  3. Scott Gant says:

    Yes, it will force…at least for me…to move to either Linux (I used to run Gentoo exclusively) or OSX (haven’t had a Mac since the System 9 days). I’m leaning more to going with Apple instead of building my own machine again. Seems that the “build-your-own” crowd is a dying breed and moves like this certainly isn’t making it easier. But what happens when more DRM enabled hardware comes out more…will it be able to work with Linux?

    But I wonder what happens to the poor slobs that get a fried motherboard? They only get one chance to fix it and if it goes out again you might as well buy a whole new computer?

    I suppose Microsoft can do what they want, as they can force people to do this. But no, they’re not a monopoly, are they? Is there really any compelling reason to go to Vista? Seems to me that the only thing Vista is made for is content providers and Microsoft themselves. But for the people actually using the computer that Vista is on seem to be the losers.

  4. Roger M says:

    Although I can’t find a satisfactory explanation of
    “…or seek remediation through Microsoft’s support services.”
    I tend to expect the worst. And it dooms my goodwill for Microsoft.

    I have made my own computers longer than I’d like to think, and have had numerous “upgrades” due to failure of this ‘n ‘that. So for me, this looks like very bad news. Or confirmation of old, bad news.
    It really looks like Vista is no go for me.

    How would it effect me? Well, I will not upgrade my PhotoShop CS. And I will not buy any more new games that make use of Vista’s, eh, fabulous GUI.

    So, Adobe and the whole computer gaming industry:
    It’s been nice. RIP.
    I might as well cancel all the MS computer related magazines I subscribe to. PC Gamer, CGW, Maximum PC …… R. I. P..

    Another point that upsets me is that MS now have managed to effectively make any user pay for the OS. And what do they do? They fuck it up! Way to go assholes!

    I’ve said earlier that a reasonable price for a piece of OS that in reality has monopoly of the world, would be $49.99 at most. And with one full version for everybody. Install what you need.
    Now, multiply $49.99 with few billion users, and even Gates should wet his pants. Apparently, it won’t happen.

    I don’t see much hope in this picture.
    Maybe Adobe, the gaming industry and whoever will loose sales if MS goes for this, are the only ones able to make Kim Jong-il, eh, Bill Gates listen.

    And we have a winner; Linux. Maybe even Apple…..

  5. The thing with a large portion of enthusiasts is that they are gamers. After all that is probably the most popular application for some additional percents of power gained by upgrading you motherboard. Now, games are still the domain of Windows and whoever says running them through emulation would be just as well has no idea what he is talking about (bevause wheres the point in gaining 5% through hardware and then lose 20% through emulation…). Therefore I conclude: once games or applications in general come out for Vista exclusively gaming enthusiasts will quite simply be f*cked….or forced into hacked copies.

    (oh and in case this comment was already in here, my first attempt was sucked up by the spam filter…)
    Why are the honest users always those screwed the worst by all sorts of copy protection? I most certainly will stick with my XP for as long as possible.

  6. Matthew says:

    I purchased windows xp professional retail along with office developer retail for a hefty sum, more than one paycheck. Neither has ever been installed on more than one machine. Both refuse to activate over the internet.

    With each phone call I make, the tone gets clearly more accusatory – especially for office. I insisted on getting a new product key so this will stop, and was successfull only for xp. I do not think I will be able to install my copy of office again.

    My computer phones home to microsoft every fucking day (wga). They should know exactly where I’m using this software, that it’s not being used illegally. I upgrade often and reinstall often, and keep more than one install on this machine at a time. Heck I have an install just for playing games with many many services disabled. So yes, I am clearly an enthusiast. A pirate? well…

    If I see a cracked copy of office, heck maybe the newer version, I’ll snag it and I’ll use it. And I won’t feel bad about it.

    So will I buy vista? I already know whats going to happen to me. Maybe I’ll buy it and keep a pirate copy in case. Maybe I’ll just pirate it outright.

  7. Roger M says:

    #6
    ….. gaming enthusiasts will quite simply be fucked….
    Agree. (And I fixed the typo 😉 )

    Maybe I’m getting old, but I can actually see my self playing less and less PC games in the future. And Bil Gates is certainly speeding up this process.

    Besides, I have tons of good old games on the shelves anyway. So I’m waving the industry bye bye. Maybe I’ll get a Wii 😉

    I most certainly will stick with my XP for as long as possible.
    Me too. It’ll probably be the last MS product I have and have paid for.

  8. Roger M says:

    #10
    Replace that #6 with #8
    (I’m definitely loosing it 8) )

  9. Roger M says:

    OK, I give up 🙁

  10. Angel H. Wong says:

    Never underestimate the power of a pirate copy 😉

  11. ECA says:

    It is interesting,
    that IF they would put 90% of the energy into making a BETTER OS,
    Insted of 90% of there energy into SELF Security features…

  12. Murdoch says:

    Madness! Technically it’s probably permissable in the US but I doubt it will get past the European Commission who tend to take a rather more robust view of consumer or user rights versus those of companies.

    In one way it makes sense, though, and that’s as part of the long vaunted move towards sealed (computing) boxes with specific and limited capabilities and particularly where claimed property rights are involved. Not that I’m expressing approval – GNU/Linux or some similar open OS is clearly far preferable.

  13. Chris says:

    This, like the XP Activation, is as stupid as the Crusade Against Those With Sinus Problems (the branding of all pseudoephedrine purchasers as criminals). In that case, they make it nearly impossible to purchase any sinus meds with pseudoephedrine, and limit what you can purchase to an amount that would allow a person to breathe only 11 days out of a month. Supposedly, this is to prevent criminals from obtaining enough pseudoephedrine to make crystal meth, but the reality is that someone with such low scruples as to do that will just hijack a freakin’ shipment of pseudoephedrine…or at the very least shoplift it.

    Likewise, this ‘Activation’ garbage just penalizes those of us who actually pay for the (lousy, broken, unreliable, if it was a car the lemon law would apply) OS…the pirates will ALWAYS be able to copy it. Heck, I gave up dealing with the BS and downloaded and installed a pirate copy of XP, just to make my life easier (I still comply with all other EULA stipulations, I just won’t Activate). I have to pay for the software, then LOSE MONEY dealing with their crappy ‘security’ policies? Where can I submit a bill for that?

    Is all of this that tried-and-true American philosophy of “Set up something that LOOKS like we are addressing an issue without actually DOING something about the issue?” Or is it something more insidious?

  14. Richard says:

    I think Microsoft is trying to kill the home user market.
    Because there is much more to be had in the corporate sector.
    Have you noticed Apple is for the young fun hipster and “PC’s” are for the boring corporate slaves? It’s almost as if Microsoft told Apple “you can have the home users and graphics pro’s will take allof the business sector. I know it sounds a little like a conspiricy but they are definetly making it very uncomfortable for most home users to feel safe with there investment in a Microsoft OS.

  15. JackNco says:

    What about student open licenses, where uni students are entitles to a copy of the OS, if this is a separate licence i give it a week before a copy of it ends up on a torrent site and the pirates have free copies.

    Linux is looking more and more appealing

    John

  16. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #16 – If MS told Apple to take the home market, they forgot to tell the gaming industry. You cannot game on any other platform PERIOD.

    The product isn’t out yet, and misinformation about MS is too common. Power users like ourselves blow a lot of smoke and predict a lot of doom and they find out that reality isn’t quite as bad. Well see if Vista really is that Draconian… But if it is, we need to find a work around because there will be no DX 10 for XP and developers will use Vista and not XP as the base for game production.

    That said, I do run the WPA Killer application each time I reinstall my legal copy of XP because I just do not have the time or patience to ask mother for permission…

  17. Austin says:

    Could it be MS attempt to drive gamers to the console gaming? They will be making a BIG mistake as I will make the move to LINUX and PS3 if this turns out to be the case. I will not support MS in any way as I’m sure many will. Of course there’s always a corporate copy??? Or sure a hack for it??? which will blow up in Microsnots face?

  18. Scott says:

    I think Linux developers need to step to the plate and make Linux the dominant gaming platform. Selling the games disc AS a Linux Live CD that can add a Linux partition, install a gaming and graphics optimized distribution… Any takers?

  19. gquaglia says:

    I’m not surprised. When you are basically a monopoly, you can pretty much do what you want. If you don’t like, too bad, use another OS, if you can. While many home users could do quite well with OSX, business pretty much has to use Windows. Ballmer can dictate any policy he wants and he know we have to take it. Full Metal Jacket quote comes to mind.
    “its a big shit sandwich and we all have to take a bite”

  20. ECA says:

    2 things…
    I think we all agree on the basics…
    BUT, 99% of Intel based machines come WITH windows installed..
    TRY to get it removed, before you get it.
    They will tell you, that the preinstalled softeware is Making the price LESS.
    Second, is that we ALL agree, that MS is LAZY..
    you try and take 1000 programmers, and they ALL make their own parts, and THEN take 100 that TRY to integrate what has been done.
    THEn add security…

    Lets see.
    If they took security(internal) OFF of windows “How much could they save”, and PASS onto the consumer?? 10%? 20%?? 30%??

    distribution costs??
    sign up for a copy on the NET..Drop the box, drop the packageing, and the Pretty deco, and save another 10%?? 20%?? 30%??

    Think of the cost savings…THAT we wont get.

  21. Richard says:

    I know most gamers are pretty screwed and Microsoft is just testing like they always do. They play games just like oil companies and see how much the market will tollerate.

  22. sdf says:

    Speaking of gamers, the Vista EULA apparently wants to censor benchmark reporting. But with the pimped out candy packaging, I’m sure this is a minor quibble for the gamer elite.

  23. sdf says:

    Speaking of gamers, the Vista EULA apparently wants to censor benchmark reporting. But with the pimped out candy packaging, I’m sure this is a minor quibble for the gamer elite.

  24. sdf says:

    apologies for the dual post.


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