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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Activation problem

    I installed WXP as a clean OS alongside W2000. Activated and worked fine. Although the EULA is clear on the "one computer" rule, this is a beta so I then installed on a second computer as an upgrade to W2000, as a second test. Activation, as expected, said there were changes and that I would need to call MS to obtain a new product number. MS confirmed that it is allowing testing of RC1 on more than one computer. I was given a new numerical code, computed on the characteristics of my new hardware and product key. The OS accepted this and fired up again. THe MS person said all was fine and we signed off. Used system all day, then shut down. On restart, after reaching the "apply personal settings" dialogue box, I was told that activation had expired and to install a valid copy. It did not give me the option of calling MS.

    Do you know what the MS activation phone number is? I need to call them and discuss this. If the final product does this on an upgrade, thena lot of reinstallations will be required. All prior programs and settings will go unrecognized unless the user can start the XP install from within a valid OS. Am I right about this? <img src=/S/yikes.gif border=0 alt=yikes width=15 height=15>

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Activation problem

    You have just discovered why I will never install a product that includes the abomination called the Registration/Activation Wizard. Why on earth would you trust access to your system or data to that code? Reinstallation is required - of a version that does not include copy protection.
    Legare Coleman

  3. #3
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    Re: Activation problem

    Windows XP RC1 is to be installed on ONLY one machine. Just because it is beta does not mean that you can install it on as many machines as you like. If you read the listing it says ONE MACHINE. You have just proved to the world that Activation does and will work.
    I think a TRUE beta tester can use the RC1 on a couple machines, but if you bought the Public release of RC1 then it is to be used on only one machine.
    Hope this helps.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  4. #4
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    Re: Activation problem

    You make a great point but miss what mine is. I'm not trying to get around the EULA. Microsoft told me it was ok to test it on more than one machine and gave me the authrorization code to do so. The testing showed the dangers of relying on their present process if you were to go through the legal process following significant hardware changes (like buying a new computer!). Despite inserting the new number provided by MS during the tech. support call, and having the machine accept it and run all day without problems, it failed to reboot into the revalidated XP! No warnings either about the copy appearing to be illegal and requiring another call to Microsoft. Just a statement that validation had expired, and a reinstall of a valid version was now required. No choice but to hit the "OK" button and be greeted by the usual BSOD with a STOP error.

    I think this tells me, MS and others that the Activiation works fine to spot potential piracy (not an issue with me at all), but that it does not work in making the system legal thereafter if no piracy was involved. Unless changed, this reverification process/code could trash someone's registry settings and weeks of fine tuning if placed on a new system and doing what is required to be legal. I may not be a fullblown tester on this, as I was back in the Windows 3.1 era, but a potential flaw like this needs to be taken seriously. And not providing the phone number in this situation does not help either. I've communicated everything I've told you to Microsoft by e-mail since I cannot call them.

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    Re: Activation problem

    I see your point, but you should have had the NEW code to enter when you installed the OS. If you do a clean install does the new code work? Also remember which code number is for which machine, if needed to reinstall the SAME code will be required for that machine.

    There is a FAQ that address's the use of Multi orders of RC1 at the MS WindowsXP web page .

    As for "like buying a new computer" it will come with the OS, but building a NEW computer you will need to buy a new copy. OS's are not to be MOVED from one machine to another.

    As for "not providing the phone number " the install screens show the number that needs to be called to activate.

    I do NOT really agree with this method, but as long as there are borrowed copies being made to by pass ones cost something needs to be done. I have been ask for to many times by others if they could borrow a copy, so the would not have to buy it.

    Another thing is why don't we make copies of the plates that are on our first car and put the copy on the second and third car?

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  6. #6
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    Re: Activation problem

    I think this type of protection against piracy is going to grow, not go away. All i want is for it to work in the typical situations I face. A year from now, I could have a new HD, an upgraded video card with more memory, and a new wireless NIC. That might be all it takes to render my OS "illegal." Fine with me, IF the reactivation process works. In this case, it failed and I am with your point of view about trusting it in future. Not sure, though, how you or I can demand being trusted ourselves when so much illegal copying is going on.

  7. #7
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    Re: Activation problem

    Thanks for your insights on this. In hindsight, I should have ordered two betas to test on two machines. But, had I done so, I probably would not have discovered what I was trying to test - namely, a "false positive" in which the OS sees itself as illegal on a different or upgraded machine, and tells the user what to do about it, complete with phone number to MS. I did that. For my existing key code (after all, I am only entitled to one) I was given a 42 digit all-numeric to enter into the reactivate dialogue box. The tech support person stayed with me until the OS completed its boot. I was now legal again, and we said goodbye. All was well until I rebooted for the first time. Then, no warning of impending doom or phone numbers to call. Doom itself had arrived and I had a dead OS.

    Unless the internal programming is changed, I cannot trust XP, even with MS support, to get from a suspected illegal situation to a revalidated OS. Hence, lost data. This was a reality 101 test for me. I'm glad i tried it. I like W XP in all ways, but this is a fatal flaw.

    As for the auto metaphor, here is mine: I own a car. The transmission needs replacement. I install the new transmission (e.g. hard drives, NIC, video card, etc.) and the car refuses to start. It tells me I need to relicense it before the engine will turn over. I do relicense it by calling the manufacturer and getting a new code for the onboard computer. It accepts the code, starts and runs once, long enough to get me way out in the boonies. I turn it off to have a roadside picnic. I get back in the car and try to start it. It tells me it will never start again and I need to buy a whole new car! No warnings, no road side assistance to call. Just abandoned by a dead vehicle.
    <img src=/S/frown.gif border=0 alt=frown width=15 height=15>

  8. #8
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    Re: Activation problem

    ACtivation works differently in the Beta version.
    MSFT has even documented how to diable Activation with a Registry hack, but that won;t be in the realeased code.

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    Re: Activation problem

    You will such mechanisms more a more in the future.
    I;m even going to put such mechanisms in my own software.

    However, I do not know why MSFT had to go any further than using the CPU serial number and registered licensee/organization name.

    If they feel it is necessary to include other things such as NIC ID or volume serial number or factory hard drive serial number, they are just making life needlessly difficult.

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Activation problem

    You trust Microsoft to write code without bugs?
    Legare Coleman

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    Re: Activation problem

    You need to change to "You trust <font color=red>All software houses</font color=red> to write code without bugs?

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  12. #12
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    Re: Activation problem

    No, but the others are not writing code that could shut down my entire system on purpose!
    Legare Coleman

  13. #13
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    Re: Activation problem

    I posted the following in a news group recently.
    ----------------------------
    Q292619 - OFFXPDEV Using the Code Commenter and Error Handler Add-in Can
    Cause Compilation Errors.htm

    First, the good news: Microsoft has admitted the problem and given a
    "solution".
    Now, the bad news: Any competent testing, not to mention design, methodology
    would have prevented such an error from being released.

    The implication is that the QA/development teams need a heck of a lot more
    training/guidance in producing quality products, or, MSFT is just not giving
    their people enough time or resources to do the job. Even a crude test plan
    should have led to the detection of such an error.

    Again, I, congratulate MSFT for publishing the KB article, but it is a clear
    demonstration of what appears to be an ongoing problem within MSFT that
    needs rapid correction.

  14. #14
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    Re: Activation problem

    I've been thinking of using the Crypto API, but if it has bugs then I'm at MSFT's mercy, so I may do my own encryption code.

    I can program around most types of bugs, but if the Crypto API fails, perhaps an unlikely event, I'm at MSFT's mercy.

  15. #15
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    Re: Activation problem

    Given the variety of hardware combinations out there, and the new hardware available everyday, there are not enough resources available, even if they were all given to the people producing this code, to insure that there will not be bugs in the activation code.

    I will go back to my story from back in my IBM mainframe days. IBM distributed a program with its OS Operating system named IEFBR14. This program was two bytes in size and consisted of a single instruction (Branch Register 14, the BR14 in the name). This instruction just returned to the operating system. The program was meant to provide a way to have a step in the Job Control Language (JCL) so that JCL statements could be used to allocate or delete files on disk, etc. Now, one would think that a program this simple could be written without bugs. However, someone submitted an SPR (bug report) on this program which IBM accepted because the program was returning to the operating system without setting a return code and this was causing problems for job scheduling software. IBM issued a fix for this program that added one instruction and increased its size to four bytes.

    With Microsoft's track record, I for one am not going to trust them to write extremely complex code that is designed to prevent me from using my system without bugs.
    Legare Coleman

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