Tuesday, April 08, 2008

WindowsSecrets Publishes Misguided Information

It seems that Scott Dunn at WindowsSecrets.com needs to learn how to read and that WindowsSecrets.com - usually a respected site/publication - has definitely scraped the bottom of the barrel this time.

Now, this fuss is over the ability to install Windows Vista without a key to use in a trial mode, for up to 30 days. Microsoft chose to give us this option so that we could trial Vista on a machine and see how attrociously it performed before we had to reformat it and reinstall Windows XP Pro to make the machine usable. OK, maybe that's not quite the reason, but that's the end effect! :)

OK, so to not take my usual "Blundows Fista is crap, slow and crap and slow" approach will take a bit of time to get used to, but heree goes (nothing)...

Microsoft enabled users to install Vista without a key so that they could trial Vista on a machine for up to 30 days. After that time, WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) kicks in and forces you to enter a key or work in "reduced functionality" mode, which is like buying a porsche and only being able to open and close the passenger's side door. Now, if you installed the "Ultimate" option without the key and now use your "Home Basic" key, there's gonna be a lot of crap on the machine that you cannot use anymore. This was also explained very, very clearly when you chose to install without the key. I have no problems (at all) with that.

It is a well known fact that this 30 day period can be extended 3 times for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Standard (and 5 times for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise) by running the "slmgr -rearm" command as detailed by Microsoft. If you run this command just before the 30 day timer expires, you can effectively run Windows Vista for 120 days without being in violation of the Windows Vista EULA. There's also a workaround that edits a Registry key (SkipRearm) and enables an additional 8 rearms of Windows Vista Ultimate.

What is the bone of contention is the ability to use this "no key" method to install a clean copy of Windows Vista on a machine with no pre-existing, qualifying operating system by using the Upgrade version of Windows Vista, the first time without a key, specifying the actual version of teh Upgrade you have (Vista Home Premium, for example) and then immediately re-running the installation but this time using the Upgrade Key that you paid for.

The actual issue here is that an Upgrade License for Windows Vista requires a qualifying product. If this is a brand new machine, then you have no qualifying product unless you have already bought a Windows XP OEM License for this machine (not another machine). The one *big* restriction of an OEM OS License is that it is tied to the motherboard on which it was first activated and cannot be moved (unless the motherboard has been replaced with a similar unit under the manufacturer's warranty). So if this is a new machine that's replacing the machine that got fried by lightning (for example), then you don't have a qualifying product to use to make the Vista Upgrade License valid, and are therefore in breach of the EULA.

In Scott Dunn's article published recently on WindowsSecrets, he claims that just because Microsoft left this feature in Vista SP1, it means that they are condoning users buying the Upgrade License and installing it on fresh hardware. I cannot see how a smart, educated, experienced journalist like Scott, nor a respected publication like WindowsSecrets could allow this totally incorrect, misleading and legally dubious information to be published under their names.

By following Scott's advice, anyone who does this will be in a clear breach of the Windows Vista EULA and will be running unlicensed software, despite the fact that it has activated and will continue to pass Microsoft's WGA tests. And running unlicensed software is not something a respected publication should be encouraging their readers to do. I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't asked for Scott and WindowsSecrets to print a retraction/correction to this article.


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, April 06, 2008


No, not the language, the slithering type.

If you have a look here, you can see the 3m (estimated, though it is a fairly good estimate) carpet python that decided to use the tree out the front of the house as its snoozing location for the day on Friday 28 March.

I know - over a week to post this is a little on the slack side, but that's life.

That has at least got me a little more interested in building (or having built) some cabinets for my LP collection (about 2500 and growing) and at the same time, having an arboreal snake cage built that fits in with the LP cabinets so the whole lot looks like they are meant to work together.
Will be good! Then I'll get a snake or two. But right now, with only a spare 4' aquarium that I could use (which, if I put styrofoam on the sides and bottom will at least significantly reduce any heat losses, however airflow may still not be that great) I'm not too sure if getting a snake at this point in time will be good for the snake.


The Outspoken Wookie