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Microsoft

Driver Update Can Cause Vista Deactivation 875 875

KrispySausage writes "After weeks of grueling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation. Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour."
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Driver Update Can Cause Vista Deactivation

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  • by budword (680846) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:20AM (#21084633)
    Fool me once...shame on you......fool me twice.....shame on me. If you use vista and it bites you in the ass....well.... you deserve it.
    • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:4, Informative)

      by PDoc (841773) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:25AM (#21084719) Homepage
      That's all very well if you have the choice - like it or not, some people *have* to use Vista. I pity them, but the poor b@$tards don't need any more difficulties like this!
      • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by twoboxen (1111241) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:34AM (#21084897)
        I didn't see Vista as any sort of gain when I first started using it (before switching back to XP) on my gaming PC, but now as a developer who has been forced to port applications to the platform I all-out loathe it. It is a disaster to use. I've developed a lot on linux, a lot on windows, and a little on Mac. I've never seen anything like this. The issues you run into--really dumbfounding. People complain about the extra web development time IE causes... Vista is almost as bad from XP! Think about that for a second. This isn't trying to use a bunch of cute IE tags. This is a new version of a "backwards compatible" version of an operating system. Thanks, Bill!!!
        • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:20AM (#21085671) Homepage
          You need to port applications from XP to Vista? Microsoft is normally very good about keeping backwards compatibility - indeed, the need to stay compatible with old badly-written apps is the cause of much of the cruft in Windows. Do you have any examples of software that works in XP and needs rewriting for Vista?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Amouth (879122)
            many games.. (or you have to set them specific to run as admin - doesn't always work)

            they also changed how printers work in vista.. as a result Adobe Acrobat and Distiller doesn't work unless you have 7.2 or later - kinda annoying for people that have acrobat 5/6 and have been happey with it for a while .. and no Adobe didn't release a fix allowing them to work in vista.. Adobe's fix is for you to buy the latest version .. the question i have is... what was wrong with the old printers model? and why not
            • Acrobat (Score:4, Insightful)

              by PadRacerExtreme (1006033) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:25PM (#21086657)

              as a result Adobe Acrobat and Distiller doesn't work unless you have 7.2 or later - kinda annoying for people that have acrobat 5/6 and have been happy with it for a while .. and no Adobe didn't release a fix allowing them to work in vista.. Adobe's fix is for you to buy the latest version ..
              Hmm... An application from 2001 (5) or 2003 (6) doesn't work on an operating system that is from 2007? And the company doesn't want to support an application that is 3 versions and 6 years old? Gee, that is a shocker.

              Are you asking for bug fixes in a Linux kernel from 6 years ago? Nope, And Linus wouldn't give release them anyway. But I don't hear anyone yelling at about that.....
              • Re:Acrobat (Score:4, Insightful)

                by TheGeneration (228855) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:48PM (#21087047) Journal
                I agree, you can't blame Adobe for not wanting to fix a 5 year old application which is 3 versions out of date. You can blame Microsoft though for breaking it. If it worked it should continue to work.
                • Re:Acrobat (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @02:36PM (#21088779) Homepage Journal

                  I agree, you can't blame Adobe for not wanting to fix a 5 year old application which is 3 versions out of date. You can blame Microsoft though for breaking it. If it worked it should continue to work.

                  I find myself doing the unusual position of supporting MS here. A lot of applications did things The Wrong Way or used undefined, undocumented behaviors that they should never have relied upon.

                  An example for coders: imagine a system function named "foo" that returns 0 on success or nonzero on failure. The XP implementation happened to return 1 as its specific, unchanging value of nonzero, although that was never documented anywhere. It just did. In Vista, foo is modified so that it still returns 0 on success, or one of many defined constant values specifying exactly which error occurred. Finally, imagine that lazy programmers who should've been writing

                  if !foo() { handle error }

                  were instead writing

                  if foo() == 1 { handle error }

                  because those two have been functionally identical for a few years.

                  In that all-too-common scenario, what is MS supposed to do? Their main options are:

                  1. Revert to the old behavior, preventing all new software from benefitting from that functionality.
                  2. Keep the new, better behavior but endure endless whining from people using fundamentally broken software.
                  3. Change the program loader to wrap each executable and library with checks like

                    if progname == 'adobeBrokenv1.3' { use old api }

                  I don't envy them the hole they dug for themselves. They would have been far better off if long ago they'd made it clear that their published API was a contract. If you follow it to the letter then your programs would continue to work. If you break with it, all bets are off. Everyone else does this. If you link against GNU libc and your software suddenly crashing, its maintainers would look at what you're doing and either fix libc or tell you that you'd screwed up and to fix your software to follow the published docs. Instead, MS once again used a greedy algorithm to optimize in the short term for developers! developers! developers! no matter how badly that screwed up their underpinnings.

                  Honestly, I think .NET is perhaps their last chance to get this right. I think they should take a hardline and change constant values and randomize undefined return values and otherwise deliberate tweak things so that API-compliant software would still work fine but everything else would crash horribly every other month or so. It'd be a painful transition for people used to the idea of MS doing the work of fixing vendor software for the rest of eternity, but maybe they could finally get rid of the backward bug compatibility albatross around their neck.

              • Re:Acrobat (Score:5, Informative)

                by gmack (197796) <[ten.erifrenni] [ta] [kcamg]> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @03:18PM (#21089525) Homepage Journal

                Are you asking for bug fixes in a Linux kernel from 6 years ago? Nope, And Linus wouldn't give release them anyway. But I don't hear anyone yelling at about that.....

                Linus won't what?
                The latest 2.4 version of the Linux kernel is: 2.4.35.3
                The latest prepatch for the 2.4 Linux kernel tree is: 2.4.36-pre1
                The latest 2.2 version of the Linux kernel is: 2.2.26
                The latest prepatch for the 2.2 Linux kernel tree is: 2.2.27-rc2

                Ok so linux 2.2 and 2.4 are still being actively maintained.. how old are those?
                Jan 28 1999 linux-2.2.1.tar.gz
                Jan 30 2001 linux-2.4.1.tar.gz

                So your wrong.. you can get Linux kernel patches from 5 year old versions and older.

          • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:46AM (#21086059) Homepage
            Many programs written for XP will not install on Vista. This is mostly if you try to launch them from the desktop because Vista automatically gives programs launched from there less rights. Vista moved the location of user profiles. If "Documents and Settings" was hardcoded in an application and now doesn't exist that screws the pooch. Next when it comes to actually running programs again user rights come into play. Even users who are Administrators do not have full administratove privilages. You still have to modify shortcuts to apps to have them run as the SYSTEM Admin.

            Programs that were at one time affected: Adobe Reader Install Blackberry Sync LogMeIn.com Client Cisco VPN Client

            Those are just the ones I come in contact in my job. I work for a Mortgage company and I can tell you that we may never use Vista. Hopefully we can hold on to XP long enough for Microsoft to pull it's head out of its ass.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Ark42 (522144)
              If a program hard-coded "Documents and Settings" instead of using one of many available API calls or even looking at %USERPROFILE% then you deserve the crap you get having to re-write it.
            • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:5, Informative)

              by andy9701 (112808) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:27PM (#21086697) Homepage Journal

              If "Documents and Settings" was hardcoded in an application and now doesn't exist that screws the pooch.


              While technically "Documents and Settings" doesn't exist anymore (user profiles are in C:\Users, which is amazingly easy type given typical MS paths), they put a (hidden) link at C:\Documents and Settings that points to C:\Users so that programs of this nature won't break. Whether they should have done that or not is another topic.

              In response to the GP, basically anything that is security related could potentially need to be rewritten. A lot of this stems from the fact that, by default in XP all users were Admins (yes, not secure...but that is how it is/was). In Vista, even if you are an Admin you don't have full admin rights without jumping through hoops.

              For example, the application that I work on sometimes needs to spawn a child process that requires full admin privileges (the app itself can run as a normal user). In previous versions, we were calling CreateProcess() to start it, and redirecting standard output to retrieve the results of the child process. However, for whatever reason, you can't use CreateProcess() to start a child process with higher rights than the original process - that doesn't trigger the consent (Allow or Deny) dialog. You need to use ShellExecute() for this, which (helpfully) doesn't allow you to redirect standard output.

              This is just one example of the many small, annoying "features" we had to work around in order to correctly work on Vista.
              • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by caluml (551744) <slashdot@spamgoeshere.calum. o r g> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @03:07PM (#21089323) Homepage

                C:\Users
                I didn't know that. Now, if they can just move crucial binaries for system operation to c:\bin, other binaries into c:\usr\bin, and install applications in c:\opt, we'll be getting somewhere.

                (Let's not confuse them with sbin dirs - just yet.)

                What was that quote about understanding, and reinventing - badly? Next they'll do away with the registry and go back to config files, not require a GUI for some server type stuff, and improve their cmd.exe.....
              • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:43PM (#21091885) Homepage
                Anybody want to address whether you can move "C:\Users" to its own partition - so you don't have to worry about losing profiles when you reinstall the OS?

                Thought not.

                See here [microsoft.com] for issues with even trying:

                Biggest problem with backups on Windows - Documents and Settings. Why? Because if you try to back it up, you get errors because Windows has open files in there that you can't touch from within the OS.

                Can you say STUPID? I knew you could.

                Try backing up /home from within Linux. Problems? Nope.

                Try reinstalling Linux with your /home on another partition - the preferred "best practices" setup on Linux. Problems? Nope.

                And if anybody at Microsoft from 1990 on had any clue, they would have looked at how UNIX did this simple stuff. It isn't rocket science, it's common sense and experience running an OS from the 1970's.

                And Microsoft ignored all of it.
          • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:5, Informative)

            by LearnToSpell (694184) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:47AM (#21086067) Homepage
            Are you serious? 2 seconds searching brings up something like this. [iexbeta.com]

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Johnny5000 (451029)
            Do you have any examples of software that works in XP and needs rewriting for Vista?

            One of my job duties is writing installation packages (we use InstallShield) and we have to jump through all sorts of crazy hoops to get around the Vista "security" so things actually install properly.

          • Re:Fool me once..... (Score:5, Informative)

            by ObjetDart (700355) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:57AM (#21086237)
            You need to port applications from XP to Vista?

            I'm also a developer who has had to port apps from XP to Vista, and trust me, the GP is right, it's a nightmare. Most of the problems stem from the "improved" security. Vista locks down certain parts of the system pretty hard (e.g. the registry), in theory to block malware, but they wound up taking out (I'm guessing) about 75% of commercial apps along with it. Just for example, under XP, most application operations that require elevated privileges (e.g. writing to Program Files) will simply work if the application is being run by an admin. Under Vista, the OS will block the operation until the admin approves it, even though the admin is already running the app. That might be OK if it were handled transparently, but the application has to be rewritten to handle this case explicitly.

            Any substantial commercial XP application that has been around for any significant amount of time will almost certainly run into problems under Vista. Perhaps in theory a 100% perfectly well behaved Windows application that doesn't do one thing even slightly wrong anywhere might have a chance of working immediately under Vista, but how many real world applications are 100% perfect?

            • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:41PM (#21086923) Homepage
              MOD PARENT UP. Quote: "Any substantial commercial XP application that has been around for any significant amount of time will almost certainly run into problems under Vista."

              Follow the money. Microsoft apparently wants you to pay, and pay, and pay again. Big commercial software companies will advertise Vista if it is necessary to buy a new version of their software to use with Vista.

              Apparently to Microsoft the user is not the customer. Microsoft apparently considers the user just a dog on a leash.

              I suppose the constant negative stories about Microsoft make it difficult for Microsoft to hire the really good programmers. If that is true, expect more unfinished products with poor characteristics in the future.

              People think that Microsoft is a software company that is routinely abusive. But maybe it isn't. Maybe Microsoft is an abuse company that uses software as a means of delivering abuse. If you look at it that way, Microsoft is excellent at what it does.

              We seem to live in a society dominated by abusers. For another example, Cheney and Bush, who with their friends and family have a long history of oil and weapons investing, are allowed the conflict of interest of deciding [baltimoresun.com] to have wars to get control of oil supply. The result is that the value of your money is falling [google.com]. Rich people who are heavily invested in companies that can raise prices want inflation partly because inflation causes the value of the money they pay employees to drop.
          • Vista is more compatible with Windows 95 apps than with Windows XP applications.

            Registry reflections, file system reflections, DLL reflections/manifests (and other manifestations) are just a tip of the ice-berg. Instead of locking down an administrative account and using a user to run things that then sudo (or whatever) to Admin to install, Windows' admin doesn't have admin rights - you have to jumps hoops though the UAC (or whatever it is called).

            If you ever want to run Custom Actions in an MSI installer t
      • by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:35AM (#21084911)

        That's all very well if you have the choice - like it or not, some people *have* to use Vista. I pity them, but the poor b@$tards don't need any more difficulties like this!

        If the user doesn't have a choice, it's usually because they're using it in a corporate environment, meaning that someone else is the person actually dealing with issues like these, not the user.

  • by Hanners1979 (959741) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:21AM (#21084651) Homepage
    I had to reactivate my copy of Windows Vista Ultimate after updating an NVIDIA network controller driver via Windows Update. Not a huge pain, but it simply shouldn't happen. Ever.
    • by RudyHartmann (1032120) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:34AM (#21084895)
      I just added some more memory to my machine and I had to re-activate. I had 1G and added another 1G. Then it started nagging me about re-activating. I couldn't believe it. Really lame.
    • by varmittang (849469) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:37AM (#21084941)
      Not a pain now, but when you update your drivers for something else like NIC card, well, reactivate again. Then the video card so you can play that new game a with some better frame rates, reactivate again. Upgrade the BIOS on the Motherboard, reactivate again. This will become a huge pain once you have to do this a bunch of times over the life of your computer. And as an IT worker who sometimes have to do these driver updates or BIOS updates for flaws in them that cause problems, especially BIOS updates on laptops to get the fans or docking stations to work properly, this will become a real pain when the Vista upgrade comes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jason Levine (196982)
        Not to mention, what happens when Microsoft EOL's Vista? You might put a new stick of RAM in your computer, need to reactivate, and suddenly find out that Vista reactivations are no longer supported. (The same could be said about XP, but apparently it's harder to trigger a reactivation for XP.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AVee (557523)
      It does provide an interesting DOS scenario, trick a user into updating his driver so he cannot use his PC anymore. So now the advice to people with non functioning hardware in Vista is, don't update the drivers? Wonderfull...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by theantipop (803016)
      If Vista is anything like XP, once you reactivate 5 times you can no longer activate again without hassling Microsoft and explaining what an upgrade is.
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:22AM (#21084673)
    ...to a question that was never asked: Don't say we didn't warn you.
  • Pirated version? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:23AM (#21084679)
    Is there a decent pirated version of Vista yet? I usually use the pirated version of software, even if I have paid for it. Everything works better that way... games don't need disks inserted, XP doesn't need activation or WGA, etc. The pirates have a better product.
    • by digitalunity (19107) <`digitalunity' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:26AM (#21084743) Homepage
      I do this as well. My computers came with Windows XP and a bunch of OEM crap on them. I downloaded a cracked version of XP to avoid the OEM crapware, advertising, 'free' promo software and the bullshit of Windows itself forcing me to reactivate it after making hardware changes.

      So, I paid for XP, and I got XP. I'm happy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is there a decent pirated version of Vista yet? I usually use the pirated version of software, even if I have paid for it. Everything works better that way

      Everything works better like that malware that may be hidden in that piece of pirated software. I just don't see how people can trust cracked software from anonymous sources. I bet these same people complain the most about how unstable an OS or any other piece of software may be.

      I see nothing wrong with modifying a piece of software you bought using a s

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sharkey (16670)

      Is there a decent pirated version of Vista yet?

      Nope. Pirated or not, Vista is still indecent.

  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldosadmin (759103) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:23AM (#21084689) Homepage
    What other industry is there that abuses their customers like this? I feel like I'm being accused of criminal activity from the first second I install a MS product now.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:27AM (#21084761)

      I feel like I'm being accused of criminal activity from the first second I install a MS product now.

      Likewise. This is why I refuse to install Vista on any new PC I'm putting together, or to accept the "upgrades" to things like Media Player that make them worse. I don't even have to jump to an alternative platform such as Linux or Mac, nor do I need to break the law and pirate something: I just buy XP instead. As long as people keep doing this, retailers will get the message and keep supplying it. When enough big retailers are losing out on profits because of Vista [bbc.co.uk], they will make their feelings clear enough to Microsoft, and either the problem will go away or the Microsoft executives responsible will start going away.

    • "What other industry is there that abuses their customers like this?"

      Been on a commercial airliner lately? How about 8 hours on the tarmac without airconditioning strapped into a seat that's 2" too narrow with 300-lb companions on either side of you and crying toddlers behind and in front of you. Vista won't seem so bad after you get off that plane.

      How about Tobacco? They don't abuse their customers, they just cripple and then kill them.

      Meat packing? Widespread E-coli outbreaks. At least Vista doesn't
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      What other industry is there that abuses their customers like this? I feel like I'm being accused of criminal activity from the first second I install a MS product now.

      This is slashdot. I'll give you two guesses, and they both end in 'AA'.

    • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:26AM (#21085759)
      What other industry is there that abuses their customers like this?

      Prostitutes specialising in S&M?
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:24AM (#21084701) Homepage Journal
    Windows for good. I had bought a retail copy of XP(not cheap!) and installed it on my laptop. However, a bug with XP caused it to crash before I could activate it(hell, before I even knew I had to) and managed to reset the clock to 1980. Usually this would just be a minor annoyance, but it turns out that if you monkey with the clock before you activate XP(and maybe even after, I don't know), they assume you are trying to pirate it and refuse to let you do anything. So after I plunked down $200 for the thing, I had to go call their number(and this was overseas, so there were some language issues to boot) and take a half hour out of my day to prove to them I didn't steal the thing I just bought. It was at that point I realized there are other OSs out there, and I have been Windows free for 4 years and couldn't be happier.

    This problem is hardly unique to Vista, and is just going to drive more and more people away from Microsoft. Microsoft still acts like they are the only game in town. They just refuse to accept that the competition has improved significantly from the time XP was released....
  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:25AM (#21084711) Homepage Journal
    "Your mouse moved, click here to re-register Windows Zenith. Make sure you have your birth certificate and blood sample ready. Or click cancel to go into RTFM"
  • by youthoftoday (975074) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:25AM (#21084715) Homepage Journal
    This wouldn't happen on a Mac. 'Cos in most of them you can't even get in there to change the graphics card.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eln (21727)
      All computers are upgradeable, some just require special tools to do the job. Like a metric screwdriver or an allen wrench. Or a crowbar, a hammer, and a soldering iron.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tronster (25566)

      This wouldn't happen on a Mac. 'Cos in most of them you can't even get in there to change the graphics card.

      You are right, if you mean by "most" Macs you are talking about the iMac and those aimed at non-professionals, non-IT, etc. But if you want to compare apples to apples then the PC tower form factor Mac has equivalent (if not more) upgradability than it's PC equivalent.

      IIRC the Mac towers since the G5 have been designed to more easilly swap out memroy, slot parts, and hard drives as well as provide better air flow than ATX and similar PC equivalent form factors.
      http://www.apple.com/macpro/expansion.ht [apple.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        You are right, if you mean by "most" Macs you are talking about the iMac and those aimed at non-professionals, non-IT, etc.

        Macs that have upgradable video cards (and only a handful of suitably blessed cards at that):
        Mac Pro

        Macs that don't have upgradeable video cards:
        iMac
        Mac Mini
        MacBook
        MacBook Pro

        I'd say that wemm and truly qualifies as "most".

        There are certainly good reasons for buying a Mac - but upgradability is pretty low on the list.

  • If Vista had actually done all of the things it promised, and didn't do any bullshit like this then it might actually be a decent operating system. Microsoft's viability might have actually been there.

    Main differences being vs Linux/Apple is that Apple is a hardware company and could care less if a small fraction of their user base pirates an operating system as long as they are buying hardware and are spreading the good word, and linux makers... want either support contracts or nothing.
  • And (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ktappe (747125) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:27AM (#21084747)
    And in completely unrelated *cough* news, Apple said yesterday that 50% of Mac sales are to those who hadn't used Macs before [seekingalpha.com].

    No, seriously folks, at some point these stories about Vista have to lead to a stampede away from the product. Just watch for the signs....like the one above.

  • Notice? (Score:4, Funny)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:28AM (#21084767) Homepage Journal
    your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days)

    I don't know about anyone else, but if my OS stopped working after three days I'd definitely notice.
    • Re:Notice? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:44AM (#21085073)
      I don't know about anyone else, but if my OS stopped working after three days I'd definitely notice.

      That's because, most likely, your OS is not a Microsoft one.

      In all thruthyness there's not much difference between a working Windows install, and a non-working one. In both cases, both user and the computer are un-productive, but in the case of a non-working install only more so.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xeth (614132) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:29AM (#21084797) Journal
    ...this minor inconvenience is clearly offset by the massive benefits inherent in a new GUI skin.
  • by sfranklin (95470) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:30AM (#21084801) Journal
    For those that haven't yet seen the reason why changing hardware hoses your Vista and are interested in the details, I highly recommend this:

    http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html [auckland.ac.nz]

    It's all about the DRM.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:30AM (#21084803) Journal
    ... they should sleep in it.

    When MSFT was touting the The Total Cost of Ownership studies, did anyone ask, if the costs included reacting to unwanted updates? How many times people have spoken about vendor lock and the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket? Trashed everyone as MSFT hate-mongers. It will only get worse. If the revenue stream is threatened MSFT will slip in another forced update make it more and more difficult to switch to alternatives. Because, get this, MSFT can charge you all the way up to your switching costs. The only way it can increase revenue is by increasing your switching cost.

    Put yourself in MSFT's shoes and imagine what you would do. A security issue crops up. One team comes back with a solution that does not break all the competitors products. The other team comes up with a solution that incidentally breaks competitors products. Which one will you pick as "critical security update"? MSFT is doing exactly what it should rationally do, given its market share. It is the customers who are irrationally picking MSFT solutions against their own best interests.

  • by bareman (60518) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:30AM (#21084813) Homepage Journal
    "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour."

    For a percentage of the users being able to use the web browser for half an hour is all they want and need. Not being able to run spyware/malware for that half hour might make this "Desired functionality" mode.

  • by eltonito (910528) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:33AM (#21084873)

    I often wonder how and when Microsoft will lose their stranglehold on the PC market. Because, as Tyler would say, "on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone is zero." No, I don't think anti-piracy strategies like this signal the end of Microsoft but they certainly aren't winning friends with it either.

    It only takes a few key missteps and a to shift the market and open the door for a competitor.

  • Feature? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:38AM (#21084967) Homepage
    Wasn't this an advertised feature of the OS back before its release? Either that, or it was an EFF warning.

    Sure I've heard it somewhere, though.
  • by benmhall (9092) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:41AM (#21085025) Homepage Journal
    Or at least is seems like that some times.

    At work, I have a laptop (ThinkPad T60) that dual-boots Ubuntu and Vista. Vista is on there only as a way to force myself to get used to it, as I have to support it. Early after Vista's release, an update _from Microsoft_ caused it to be deactivated, had to call MS. (This was later an acknowledged bug that they patched.)

    More recently, I used Ghost to go from a 120GB drive down to an 80GB. This too knocked out the activation and the system went into reduced functionality mode. I had to call MS, eventually got someone in India (who I have to admit was very polite and spoke very well.) I had to read off what seemed like a 40 digit code _twice_. Once to the voice-activated system and then again to the person. (No, they apparently couldn't cache this very annoying and labourious bit of data entry.)

    I told him why I was having to call and also warned that, as a SysAdmin, I do this kind of thing all of the time and that I was sure I'd be calling again with this exact same Microsoft-imposed problem on this exact same system. I was politely told that this is how the product works and that there was no way around this.

    This from an MSDN-issued Vista Business edition. Ugh.

    Thankfully, installing Ubuntu on it didn't knock out activation, though I wouldn't put it past MS in the future. If I didn't have to support it at work, I wouldn't touch Vista with a ten foot pole. My hope is that MS eventually tightens the screws enough to push everyone away. So far though, people seem to be much more tolerant of this sort of thing than I would have hoped.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:43AM (#21085059) Homepage Journal
    I've posted about this issue before but was accused of making shit up just to slam Microsoft.

    Wrong. I used to be a die-hard Microsoft fan, until they introduced the broken Activation scheme. Even back in the days of Windows XP. driver upgrades or reinstalls could de-activate Windows. This is why I am so adamantly against Activation schemes - at least schemes which do not allow for license transfers. It sucks, too. If delivering a bunch of workstations to a client where the client wants them pre-activated and added to their domain, you have to activate the system. Now, sometimes one will run into incompatibilities and have to upgrade a wireless driver or video driver (or add additional hardware - and yes, I've even seen USB device driver upgrades trigger deactivation) and if you've got the OEM version, guess what? You need to wait on hold with Microsoft to re-activate the system.

    Granted, it doesn't happen often. It does have a knack of happening at exactly the wrong time.

    Microsoft: you own the market. Drop the activation scheme. Also, where XP is nearing end of life, isn't it time to follow through with your promise to release a patch which will eliminate the need to activate Windows XP? I mean, Vista has been out for nearly a year now. . .
  • Timing (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:48AM (#21085135)
    Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode...

    Would this be a bad time to mention that Leopard has 300 new features [apple.com]?

    Or that you don't even have a serial number to enter, much less activation concerns?

    Windows guys, if you are tired of Mac "fanbois" kicking you in the rear stop issuing us steel-toed boots and bending over with a big target taped to your posterior!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trelane (16124)

      Or that you don't even have a serial number to enter, much less activation concerns?
      Nope. You just have to buy a Mac. No, running it under VMware won't suffice--it has to be a Mac. Apple forbids it from running on any other hardware (or emulation or virtualization).

      At least Vista will (temporarily ;) run in a VM (if you have the right version anyway).

      Glass houses and stones, my friend.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      Windows guys, if you are tired of Mac "fanbois" kicking you in the rear stop issuing us steel-toed boots and bending over with a big target taped to your posterior!

      Maybe software lock in is enough for some not to switch to hardware and software lock in? Just a thought.
  • Crippleware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enrique1218 (603187) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:52AM (#21085199) Journal
    Microsoft has been doing this for years with XP. Now, it seems the company has taken it to the next level with Vista and make it more annoying. Activation is really just a nuisance, but one that illustrates the relationship MS has with its customer. Namely, everyone is a pirate and must be controlled and customers start to believe it themselves! At my school, I need to rebuild the XP Pro on a school computer but I don't have the media. I call the schools IT department and they told me that Microsoft has told them that too many computers have the same license and are hesitant to give me the media. However, the computer came with Windows XP Pro and has a sticker right on the side. Should it really matter under what license the OS is installed? When a company treats you like a criminal and constricts your productivity with draconian policies, its is time to look for an alternative. Let's hope you are lucky enough to not need Windows.
  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:59AM (#21085315)
    My WinXP became "deactivated" after I de-installed the video card driver. This "feature" is hardly limited to Vista, I'm afraid.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:06AM (#21085429) Journal
    MSFT is working so hard to stop people from pirating their software ??? WTF. How did MSFT get to be so damned big and financially well off before they stopped the pirates?

    It seems to me that the real reason for the problems with Vista are not because MSFT needs to protect their product with DRM, but that they need to protect the **AA's products. MSFT seemed to be doing very well for itself before implementing DRM. How is it that they now need that DRM to stay in business?

    This is what worries me. MSFT seems to be looking out for the interests of the **AA, not just themselves. ( putting tinfoil hat on ) If they are looking out for the **AA, you can bet your last dollar that they are also looking out for the interests of Fascist governments. I'm not just trying to bash MSFT, but they are/were the richest and biggest software company in the world BEFORE they decided to install DRM, so what is the point of the DRM? Do you REALLY want to use a product that does that?
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @11:10AM (#21085483) Homepage

    The problem with using device drivers as the basis for activation information is that a change in the driver model which has the result of changing the way that the hardware information is reported back to Windows can be enough to register as a physical hardware change.

    How could MS not know that would happen? It's like they just got into the computer business last year, but they act like it sometimes.

    What a headache for admins. I just can't believe companies take this kind of treatment from a vendor when there are really good alternatives available.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#21086325)
    When I as a customer have to pay for the OS, and then have to put in my own time at $xy per hour to "fix" the OS, when routine actions occur, as described elsewhere.

    Top management decisions at MS are loading up their legitimate customers with extra work, lost income and frustration. Frustration is what doomed T-Mobile's relationship with me, and I dumped them in spite of their cancellation fee (reduce my "plan" and they automatically tack on another 2 year minimum period before I could cancel for free - that is the definition of CRAP.).

    Not all the frustrations come from DRM. For heaven's sake, Registry glitches and other things that don't or stop working are a pain in XP. My WiFi on XP simply disappeared as an option in the Networking section. That has NEVER happened on my Macs.

    If I ever get a chance to run SolidWorks on something other than Windows, I'll be one of the first to jump ship from Microsoft...forever.
  • XP Well Into 2008 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PaulMorel (962396) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @12:06PM (#21086357)

    Yet another reason to stick with XP. Like most people here, I constantly upgrade my computer. Every few months I tinker with something or other. Maybe adding some RAM... maybe upgrading the video card ... maybe swapping in an ethernet card just to see if it is functional...

    Maybe this article is just FUD, but it still makes me glad that I have 3 or 4 XP install disks sitting around my house.

  • by farbles (672915) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:59PM (#21088249)
    I had my Vista drive booted up to update drivers and try out the new video card.

    Warning! Warning! You have three days to activate Vista or it will be in reduced functionality mode.

    WTF? The video card was the first hardware change in six months. And WTF is with the three day warning when I can run Vista as a non-registered user for weeks??

    *Fine* I click on the activation icon and get told my license is already in use so I have to do the telephone activation.

    I hate the telephone activation. First you have to phone them up and type in the 46 number sequence (WTF, am I arming an ICBM here?) then they always tell you that you'll have to talk to a representative who asks you for the 46 number sequence again since the last machine just went and chucked out the one you just spent ten minutes reading into the phone. Then you have to type in a different 46 digit ICBM arming code to use the OS you already paid money for. The call cost $5 on my friend's pay-as-you-go cell phone.

    Hey, Microsoft! I paid $300 for your POS OS. If I had pirated it I would have none of this bullcrap but no, I had to be an honest customer and this is my reward. Do you wonder people hate you?

    And this is caused by driver updating yet. The one thing a Vista user has no choice but to do is update all multimedia drivers every few weeks as new releases come out to fix the previous releases problems with Vista.

    Amazing business model there, Lou. You guys think of this by yourselves, did you?

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