Skip to comments.Microsoft: Legit Windows or no updates
Posted on 01/26/2005 1:59:43 PM PST by Happy2BMe
Aiming to crack down on counterfeit software, Microsoft plans later this year to require customers to verify that their copy of Windows is genuine before downloading security patches and other add-ons to the operating system.
Since last fall the company has been testing a tool that can check whether a particular version of Windows is legitimate, but until now the checks have been voluntary. Starting Feb. 7, the verification will be mandatory for many downloads for people in three countries: China, Norway and the Czech Republic.
In those countries, people whose copies are found not to be legitimate can get a discount on a genuine copy of Windows, though the price varies from $10 to $150 depending on the country.
By the middle of this year, Microsoft will make the verification mandatory in all countries for both add-on features to Windows as well as for all OS updates, including security patches. Microsoft will continue to allow all people to get Windows updates by turning on the Automatic Update feature within Windows. By doing so, Microsoft hopes it has struck a balance between promoting security and ensuring that people buy genuine versions of Windows.
"We think that the best foundation for the most secure system is genuine software," said David Lazar, director of the Genuine Windows program at Microsoft. "We want to urge all of our customers to use genuine software. (At the same time), we want to make sure that we don't do anything to reduce the likelihood that a user will keep their system up to date."
The program, known as Windows Genuine Advantage, also offers perks to those who verify their copy of Windows. Those who do can get free software as well as discounts on other Microsoft products and services. Microsoft is upping the ante a bit, adding some additional discounts on MSN Games as well as on the company's recently announced Outlook Live subscription service to the existing list of benefits, which includes free access to the company's Photo Story 3 program.
Customers do appear to be interested in double-checking the status of their operating system. Some 8 million people have been asked to participate in the program since testing began, and more than 5 million have taken part.
And those numbers have come with very little recruiting on the part of Microsoft, Lazar said.
"More and more we will be marketing the offers to broaden the participation," he said. "People do like free stuff."
Piracy is a major problem for Microsoft and others in the software industry. One software industry study estimated that more than
a third of software is pirated, costing the industry $29 billion a year. Microsoft won't put an exact figure on its losses, but said it is certainly in the billions over the past 10 years.
The validation effort is just part of Microsoft's threefold program, which focuses on educating users, engineering products in ways that minimize piracy, and enforcement through the legal system.
As for the added security risk, Directions on Microsoft analyst Michael Cherry said that people are putting too much of the blame on the software maker.
Cherry said it is not necessarily Microsoft's responsibility to protect people who aren't paying the company for its products. He likened the situation to buying a fake Rolex and then expecting warranty service if the product breaks.
The problem with that analogy, Cherry acknowledged, is that a broken Rolex doesn't put other watch owners at risk, whereas vulnerable computers connected to the Internet threaten all PC users. However, Cherry said that many of the computers that are at risk are using genuine, but older versions of Windows.
"There's a growing chance that the people whose machines are being taken over are running older systems which aren't really securable," he said.
Cherry said he thinks the company is acting appropriately, noting that making sure people are running genuine Windows is important for all customers.
"I think they are entitled to do this, and I think it is in customers' best interest to know that they have a genuine version of the software," he said. Counterfeit copies could contain their own bugs or viruses, and there is no way to guarantee that security patches will work, even if the user can download them, he said.
While Microsoft is the obvious beneficiary if piracy rates go down, Cherry said programs like Genuine Advantage also help level the playing field for smaller computer builders who play by the rules and find themselves undercut by dealers offering PCs with bogus copies of Windows.
"Those are the people I hope the program is helping," Cherry said.
Linux has a looooong way to go.
Microsoft: shooting themselves in the foot for a new century.
People say Mac is better for graphic apps and well... thats mainly what I do... So.... Maybe I should learn to use it.
"I try to talk them into upgradeing to XP because it is more stable and secure,"
That is a matter of opinnion. Most of the virus that are comming out exploit XP and not 9X. Also I see XP machines crash all the time.
Give me just one example of a virus that will attack Macintosh OS X. Just one, that's all I ask.
Walt Mossberg writing in the Wall Street Journal last week:
In addition, the mini comes with Apple's latest operating system, called Panther, which has so far never been attacked by a successful virus and has been plagued with little or no known spyware."
But unfortunately there will always be people who manufacture FUD to make a buck.
I have firewire (installed it after I bought the system, $30); better video/graphics is subjective; did I mention it has a DVDR? Yes... it burns them quite nicely, thanks.
The only... ONLY problem I've had with this computer is the sound when speaking on Skype or Firefly... too much static. But I could have bought an Apple with no keyboard or monitor or mouse. Damn I'm stupid.
I think the largest PC maker in CHina, Lenovo, is already using linux.
Wireless works great with linux. Mandrake 9.0 on my laptop works at home, at the office, or when wireless is offered in a hotel, etc.
For fun, my son has tried many versions of linux on his 6-year old thinkpad. As far as I know, he's never had trouble getting wireless to work.
You do need to be fussy about your wireless card. Make sure it is suppored.
With linux computing is fun again.
I am no great fan of Microsoft, but this is not about them - it is about pirates who take things that aren't theirs. Since when does FR endorse Robin Hood socialism? Just because the owner is a liberal weenie?
This is about folks like the Chinese stealing our technology - which they can't seem to devise on their own (look at the missile technology they stole when Loral's satellite mysteriously "blew up" during an failed launch).
Microsoft could cut the price in half and some third world j$rk $ff would still bootleg it.
If the Chinese really want to steal from Microsoft - legitimately - they can use open source Linux and develop the apps for same. Only then will MS think about reducing its price.
That I can confirm. Some of the nastiest crashes I've experienced have been on XP as opposed to 98SE, which I still prefer to use.
"Linux has a long way to go"
I would qualify that with: As a desktop business or gaming computer. It's a good operating system that needs to be a little more user friendly for those people who aren't programmers or network specialists. Standard business and gaming software is almost exclusively written for Windows boxes. WindowsXP is pretty easy to install and maintain. It knows the new hardware and makes network setup a snap.
If you are running an internet server, I gather Linux is most excellent.
I have XP SP2 and don't have any problems... Best OS I have tried yet.
There was no link
"That is a matter of opinnion. Most of the virus that are comming out exploit XP and not 9X. Also I see XP machines crash all the time."
XP with SP2 and the latest security patches is far more secure than 9x ever could have been. Also if you have problems with XP machines crashing then you either installed it wrong or have a piece of software your trying to run that has sloppy code. You can look all over the net and find the reviews that support that it has been proven over and over again in several tests.
Thanks for the reply, I've been all over the linux boards, helpful, but still no solution. I've ID'd my wireless chipsets as Prism 2.5 and tried to make drivers, make install etc., no go!!!! I'll keep trying and will also try the Suse version you mentioned.
Linux has come a long way and is close to breaking out mainstream. Knoppix 3.4 picked up all my hardware, minus the wireless usb adapters. If it did I'd be typing to you from a Linux box.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.