Windows Activation: Friend or Foe

I have posted a new article, this time on the annoyances of Windows Activation. For many people, activation of their operating system is a pain in the … well, you know. There are THOUSANDS of posts on Microsoft Answers that relate to Microsoft’s Activation scheme for Windows Vista and 7 (even XP).

I don’t think Microsoft can chalk the activation scheme to pirates. Before Windows 7 was released to manufacturing, OS pirates had already uploaded a working crack to Windows activation. When a new update comes along that “fixes” the activation, telling you that “This copy of Windows is not genuine”, a new crack is released within hours, if not minutes.

Dustin
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Windows Activation: Friend or Foe

The huge downside of Windows, in my opinion, is the activation that Microsoft uses to twart piracy. Every day, I see dozens of posts on the Microsoft Answers forums relating to activation. Their PC says that the key is not valid, it is already in use, or some other odd problem.


The huge downside of Windows, in my opinion, is the activation that Microsoft uses to twart piracy. Every day, I see dozens of posts on the Microsoft Answers forums relating to activation. Their PC says that the key is not valid, it is already in use, or some other odd problem. With Windows 7, you can activate once online, which is easy enough. But, suppose you upgrade your PC, and reinstall a retail copy of Windows 7. This time, you go to activate and it says it is already in use. Of course it is, it was previously activated on the machine before you upgraded. Now, you have to select Activate by phone, call Microsoft’s automated line, be told that you need to speak with a representative, explain your dillema with a man or woman with a heavy Indian accent that can barely understand what you are trying to explain to them (if they understand at all), and repeat the registration key to them, and they finally give you a key to enter to activate your Windows 7 installation. Two months down the road, you upgrade your video card and the process starts all over again.

I don’t think Microsoft can chalk the activation scheme to pirates. Before Windows 7 was released to manufacturing, OS pirates had already uploaded a working crack to Windows activation. When a new update comes along that “fixes” the activation, telling you that “This copy of Windows is not genuine”, a new crack is released within hours, if not minutes.

So, I have come to the conclusion that is it meant for the average consumer that would like to install Windows on their laptop and their home PC. Basically, Microsoft is treating the average consumer like a criminal (guilty of piracy before innocent). I have seen people jump ship from Windows to Linux, not only due to the whole “free” concept, but because you install it, and go to work. Personally, I prefer Windows to Linux, as that is what I have been using since the dawn of time (Ok, so it started with DOS 2.0 for my Microsoft upbringing). Linux is gaining ground, and becoming more and more a decent alternative to a basic Windows desktop.

I have disliked Windows Activation since it’s humble beginnings in Windows XP. It seems that the majority of posts on forums and usenet were related to the buggy activation scheme. People have complained that they have done nothing but Windows Updates, and they are required to activate (typically over the phone, using the process above). Sometimes, a simple reboot can cause Windows to “deactivate”.

I would like to see Microsoft drop the activation requirement for Windows, or at the very least allow the Home Premium version (which is what most home users are running) to have 2 installation licenses (one for laptop, one for PC), and start treating its customers like customers, rather than theives.

As you can tell, Windows Activation is my biggest gripe with Windows. Even with Vista, which was mostly hated by reviewers and the general public, I loved the OS, but couldn’t stand the activation.

Microsoft, please update your activation policy or get rid of it all together. Maybe come up with a new way to thwart piracy that makes it difficult for pirates to crack, but easy for consumers to install and run your great operating systems.

Dustin
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