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My poor client got swindled, and doesn't meet the criteria for a free copy RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm not sure where to turn.  Yesterday, I got a call from a potential client who had been referred to me by a satisfied customer.  She's an elderly widow, using a computer purchased at least 7 years ago.  It's equipped with a Celeron 700MHz processor and 256MB RAM, so that tells you something about its age.  Anyway, I noticed that the machine had all sorts of non-shareware applications on it, and when I asked the lady who had provided them, she indicated they had been installed by the "nice man at the computer store" the last time her machine was serviced a couple of years back.

    There were scads of bootleg programs, and when I told the lady they were probably illegal, she indicated that she had not asked for them, had never used them (a truth borne out by the fact there were no user files with any dates more recent than the installation date of the software), and didn't need them to be there.  I removed them all.

    Then, I noticed that Windows Automatic Update service was turned off.  I attempted to turn it on so I could check for updates.  That's when I discovered that her copy of Windows XP Professional as not genuine.

    The problem is that this lady purchased the PC at a local store that is known for being reputable.  I imagine she originally purchased the machine with Windows 98 (although she claims no CD's or documentation accompanied the new computer).  She also claimed that the PC was "no bargain", and that she had assumed all was kosher.

    This woman feels badly about having counterfeit software, but having not received any discs at all, and not realizing that she was missing anything at the time of original purchase, I hate telling her that she needs to spend $199 to update to a legal copy of software that she thought she had already paid for.

    Is there anyone I can arrange to have her talk with, and perhaps be granted an exemption from the normal fees to become "Genuine".  She's a retired widow with no need for anything other than email and surfing to keep her "in the loop".  She doesn't have a budget for a new PC with XP/Vista.  I suppose I could install Linux on her PC and completely wipe out Windows, but she might lose access to her Outlook Express mailboxes, all her previous correspondence, and her address book.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.



    Jack Eisenberg, Owner
    www.safe-and-secure-computing.com

    Sunday, May 27, 2007 1:49 AM

Answers

  • Please follow this diagnostic troubleshooting procedure:

    1. Download and run the MGA Diagnostic Tool:   http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012    

    2. After running the MGA Diagnostic Tool, click
        on the "Windows" tab and then click on "Copy".

    3. Next, visit the following website and create a post in the
        "WGA Validation Problems" forum and paste the
        results of the WGA Diagnostic Data in a detailed post.
        http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/default.aspx?SiteID=25

    4. A WGA troubleshooting specialist will analyze the data and
        recommend an appropriate solution.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007 2:29 AM
    Moderator
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    I would ask her if she still had the receipts or other documentation from the original purchase to see if she indeed did pay for an OS.  If she did, maybe you would be able to convince the shop to provide what she paid for.

     

    If not, the cheapest kind of XP you can buy is XP Home OEM, which is available from reputable online retailers for about $85.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007 3:35 AM
  • Dan,

    Most reputable dealers won't sell OEM operating systems without a PC (as stated on the OEM software package).  So, if they sell her the OS, I might still question its legitimacy.

    I already asked whether she had the original bill (she does, but it's filed who-knows-where).  She needed to look in the local phone book's yellow pages to even remember the name of the store.
    Sunday, May 27, 2007 7:37 AM
  •  Carey Frisch wrote:

    Please follow this diagnostic troubleshooting procedure:

    1. Download and run the MGA Diagnostic Tool: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012

    2. After running the MGA Diagnostic Tool, click
    on the "Windows" tab and then click on "Copy".

    3. Next, visit the following website and create a post in the
    "WGA Validation Problems" forum and paste the
    results of the WGA Diagnostic Data in a detailed post.
    http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/default.aspx?SiteID=25

    4. A WGA troubleshooting specialist will analyze the data and
    recommend an appropriate solution.



    Carey,

    As far as running the MGA tool and posting results, I can try that (it will mean another trip across town to her place, and right now, she's not in the best of moods after getting my previous news); but I already know from the original validation test that she has a VLK that has been blocked.

    If you still think it's worth a shot, I'll take the time to run the test and post the results.
    Sunday, May 27, 2007 7:42 AM
  •  JEfromCanada wrote:
    Dan,

    Most reputable dealers won't sell OEM operating systems without a PC (as stated on the OEM software package).  So, if they sell her the OS, I might still question its legitimacy.

     

    >snip<


     

    I'm not in Canada so I'm not sure of any difference due to the different countries, but as a rule Microsoft license provisions are pretty much universal across the USA and Can.

     

    You are technically correct that the End User License applicable to OEM Windows XP says that the license can only be sold with the PC.

     

    What you have to purchase is the systembuilder one-pack whose contents are the typical Windows XP license materials.  If you buy the one-pack that still has the systembuilder license on the outside, then you are the systembuilder for the purposes of licensing.  The systembuilder is not required to purchase hardware in order to purchase the license one-pack.  Have a look here:  http://www.microsoft.com/oem/english/licensing/NewPackaging.mspx  Click on the tutorial link then click on the scenarios link for further detail.

     

    And you are correct to be wary of what you buy when purchasing OEM XP, since most folks aren't familiar with what they should be getting and don't have much of a frame or reference to compare the materials to known good materials.

    Monday, May 28, 2007 5:10 PM
  • Thanks, Dan, for that clarification.  I don't sell hardware or software - only service.  I am usually on site to clear up someone else's mess, but remember seeing the "for distribution only with a new PC" labeling on my own Windows disc packaging.  I was not aware of the single-copy system builder license.

    At this point, I'm going to recommend the lady reformat her old computer and install Ubuntu Linux.  At her age, she can't afford to upgrade to a legal license and probably doesn't need anything beyond email and a browser.
    Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:28 AM
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    I haven't used Ubuntu but I hear some good things about it.  Thanks for helping your customer stop using nongenuine Windows; since nongenuine Windows often comes with embedded malware, it's for the best if she stops using it altogether.

     

    Good Luck!

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:00 AM
  • My client decided to buy the license.  She is now the proud, legal owner of Windows XP Professional, and the 70+ security updates that had been accumulating for the past two years.

    She's happy, and I'm happy!

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 5:37 AM
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    Thanks for helping your customer get Genuine Windows!

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 7:43 PM

All replies

  • Please follow this diagnostic troubleshooting procedure:

    1. Download and run the MGA Diagnostic Tool:   http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012    

    2. After running the MGA Diagnostic Tool, click
        on the "Windows" tab and then click on "Copy".

    3. Next, visit the following website and create a post in the
        "WGA Validation Problems" forum and paste the
        results of the WGA Diagnostic Data in a detailed post.
        http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/default.aspx?SiteID=25

    4. A WGA troubleshooting specialist will analyze the data and
        recommend an appropriate solution.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007 2:29 AM
    Moderator
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    I would ask her if she still had the receipts or other documentation from the original purchase to see if she indeed did pay for an OS.  If she did, maybe you would be able to convince the shop to provide what she paid for.

     

    If not, the cheapest kind of XP you can buy is XP Home OEM, which is available from reputable online retailers for about $85.

    Sunday, May 27, 2007 3:35 AM
  • Dan,

    Most reputable dealers won't sell OEM operating systems without a PC (as stated on the OEM software package).  So, if they sell her the OS, I might still question its legitimacy.

    I already asked whether she had the original bill (she does, but it's filed who-knows-where).  She needed to look in the local phone book's yellow pages to even remember the name of the store.
    Sunday, May 27, 2007 7:37 AM
  •  Carey Frisch wrote:

    Please follow this diagnostic troubleshooting procedure:

    1. Download and run the MGA Diagnostic Tool: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012

    2. After running the MGA Diagnostic Tool, click
    on the "Windows" tab and then click on "Copy".

    3. Next, visit the following website and create a post in the
    "WGA Validation Problems" forum and paste the
    results of the WGA Diagnostic Data in a detailed post.
    http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/default.aspx?SiteID=25

    4. A WGA troubleshooting specialist will analyze the data and
    recommend an appropriate solution.



    Carey,

    As far as running the MGA tool and posting results, I can try that (it will mean another trip across town to her place, and right now, she's not in the best of moods after getting my previous news); but I already know from the original validation test that she has a VLK that has been blocked.

    If you still think it's worth a shot, I'll take the time to run the test and post the results.
    Sunday, May 27, 2007 7:42 AM
  •  JEfromCanada wrote:
    Dan,

    Most reputable dealers won't sell OEM operating systems without a PC (as stated on the OEM software package).  So, if they sell her the OS, I might still question its legitimacy.

     

    >snip<


     

    I'm not in Canada so I'm not sure of any difference due to the different countries, but as a rule Microsoft license provisions are pretty much universal across the USA and Can.

     

    You are technically correct that the End User License applicable to OEM Windows XP says that the license can only be sold with the PC.

     

    What you have to purchase is the systembuilder one-pack whose contents are the typical Windows XP license materials.  If you buy the one-pack that still has the systembuilder license on the outside, then you are the systembuilder for the purposes of licensing.  The systembuilder is not required to purchase hardware in order to purchase the license one-pack.  Have a look here:  http://www.microsoft.com/oem/english/licensing/NewPackaging.mspx  Click on the tutorial link then click on the scenarios link for further detail.

     

    And you are correct to be wary of what you buy when purchasing OEM XP, since most folks aren't familiar with what they should be getting and don't have much of a frame or reference to compare the materials to known good materials.

    Monday, May 28, 2007 5:10 PM
  • Thanks, Dan, for that clarification.  I don't sell hardware or software - only service.  I am usually on site to clear up someone else's mess, but remember seeing the "for distribution only with a new PC" labeling on my own Windows disc packaging.  I was not aware of the single-copy system builder license.

    At this point, I'm going to recommend the lady reformat her old computer and install Ubuntu Linux.  At her age, she can't afford to upgrade to a legal license and probably doesn't need anything beyond email and a browser.
    Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:28 AM
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    I haven't used Ubuntu but I hear some good things about it.  Thanks for helping your customer stop using nongenuine Windows; since nongenuine Windows often comes with embedded malware, it's for the best if she stops using it altogether.

     

    Good Luck!

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:00 AM
  • My client decided to buy the license.  She is now the proud, legal owner of Windows XP Professional, and the 70+ security updates that had been accumulating for the past two years.

    She's happy, and I'm happy!

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 5:37 AM
  • JEfromCanada,

     

    Thanks for helping your customer get Genuine Windows!

    Saturday, June 2, 2007 7:43 PM