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SPP failures in critical situations? RRS feed

  • Question

  • what happens if some scientist takes his laptop to the north pole and this "feature" incorrectly tells her that her OS is bunk? do they have internet access up there? could these type of folks request that this "feature" be disabled?

    this could play out thousands of times in less remote examples.  "i tried to pull a patient's records from my PC but it wouldn't work and they died."

    and on and on and on.

    Thursday, October 12, 2006 6:51 PM

Answers

  • Joey,

    You can only validate if you have internet access.

    Friday, October 13, 2006 4:38 AM
  • The genuine check Derrick is talking about only happens via the Internet.  At the North Pole, with no Internet access, an "online" genuine check would never fail 'cause it would never be made.

    ***** If a machine becomes "non-genuine" while up at the North Pole (or in the emergency room, or in some other isolated area):

    1) The user has 30 days of non-genuine grace period before being locked out of the machine.  A few features no longer work when non-genuine, that is true. I know that Aero is one of them, but I'm not informed enough to know what the others are. If there's something specific that might be an issue, please advise and I'll go check to see if we have a mitigation.

    2) A recovery image can be restored; this is a "potential" mitigation for some situations. Backups are always everyone's friend, especially for mission critical clients and servers. If my machine seemingly randomly became "non-genuine," a good mitigation would be to restore the backup image. Remember, I would have had 30 days notice of non-genuine state before being locked out of my machine.

    ***** If a machine isn't "activated" or becomes "unactivated/our of hardware tolerance" up at the North Pole:

    3) If the machine is running a retail version of Vista and its hardware changes enough (many components are considered with different importance to each, but in general changing the physical OS hard drive or motherboard will often be enough) so that our hardware ID algorithm thinks that it's "new" hardware, then the machine will have 3 days of "Out of Tolerance" grace period.  During this time, the user can activate via a telephone call.  If it's life or death, the old hardware can be swapped back in.  If it's due to a hardware failure... keep reading.

    4) Many versions of Vista that ship with new hardware from many major OEMs use a different method of activation: "OEM Activation."  This involves verifying elements in the BIOS, and if they are correct, the machine is considered activated. No online connection or phone call is ever needed. Any hardware can change, even the motherboard *IF* the motherboard is replaced with another motherboard from the same OEM (typically from the same model line). Having a backup motherboard at the North Pole might be a good idea in this case. If the motherboard failed and there was no backup M/B anyhow, the user would be in trouble.

    5) If running a Volume licensed version of Vista, a machine can be activated by finding and getting confirmation from a machine running the "Key Management Service" (KMS) -- this is special code within the software licensing service binary. I hate to say it, but I'm sitting at home on Friday night writing this, and I'm not sure what else I can say about KMS yet -- I can add more on Monday if there's interest AND if I can confirm that it's okay to do so before Vista RTM.

    I believe there will be some situations where users cannot use Microsoft Windows Vista.  We've talked to hundreds of customers, howver, and have working scenarios for all but a very small handful of cases.  I don't want to go all "company line" here and keep rambling on, so I'll stop for now.  It's 8:30pm, and World of Warcraft isn't going to play itself -- For the Horde!

    Saturday, October 21, 2006 3:34 AM

All replies

  • Joey,

    You can only validate if you have internet access.

    Friday, October 13, 2006 4:38 AM
  • i guess that answers that question.  so, a probably policy at many organzations will be - "anything mission critical system, used away from internet access, will not use Microsoft Windows Vista."
    Friday, October 13, 2006 2:53 PM
  • The genuine check Derrick is talking about only happens via the Internet.  At the North Pole, with no Internet access, an "online" genuine check would never fail 'cause it would never be made.

    ***** If a machine becomes "non-genuine" while up at the North Pole (or in the emergency room, or in some other isolated area):

    1) The user has 30 days of non-genuine grace period before being locked out of the machine.  A few features no longer work when non-genuine, that is true. I know that Aero is one of them, but I'm not informed enough to know what the others are. If there's something specific that might be an issue, please advise and I'll go check to see if we have a mitigation.

    2) A recovery image can be restored; this is a "potential" mitigation for some situations. Backups are always everyone's friend, especially for mission critical clients and servers. If my machine seemingly randomly became "non-genuine," a good mitigation would be to restore the backup image. Remember, I would have had 30 days notice of non-genuine state before being locked out of my machine.

    ***** If a machine isn't "activated" or becomes "unactivated/our of hardware tolerance" up at the North Pole:

    3) If the machine is running a retail version of Vista and its hardware changes enough (many components are considered with different importance to each, but in general changing the physical OS hard drive or motherboard will often be enough) so that our hardware ID algorithm thinks that it's "new" hardware, then the machine will have 3 days of "Out of Tolerance" grace period.  During this time, the user can activate via a telephone call.  If it's life or death, the old hardware can be swapped back in.  If it's due to a hardware failure... keep reading.

    4) Many versions of Vista that ship with new hardware from many major OEMs use a different method of activation: "OEM Activation."  This involves verifying elements in the BIOS, and if they are correct, the machine is considered activated. No online connection or phone call is ever needed. Any hardware can change, even the motherboard *IF* the motherboard is replaced with another motherboard from the same OEM (typically from the same model line). Having a backup motherboard at the North Pole might be a good idea in this case. If the motherboard failed and there was no backup M/B anyhow, the user would be in trouble.

    5) If running a Volume licensed version of Vista, a machine can be activated by finding and getting confirmation from a machine running the "Key Management Service" (KMS) -- this is special code within the software licensing service binary. I hate to say it, but I'm sitting at home on Friday night writing this, and I'm not sure what else I can say about KMS yet -- I can add more on Monday if there's interest AND if I can confirm that it's okay to do so before Vista RTM.

    I believe there will be some situations where users cannot use Microsoft Windows Vista.  We've talked to hundreds of customers, howver, and have working scenarios for all but a very small handful of cases.  I don't want to go all "company line" here and keep rambling on, so I'll stop for now.  It's 8:30pm, and World of Warcraft isn't going to play itself -- For the Horde!

    Saturday, October 21, 2006 3:34 AM
  • Here is a serious question.

    I'm a boater and have been evangalizing the use of PCs as a (secondary) form of navigation system.   Over the years the PC systems have become quite elaborate, sometimes controlling equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars.    This issue is coming up in some major boating forums, and even one blogger who is also a journalist has been raising concerns (some of them unfounded -- but what else is new?)   See www.panbo.com, I believe he is a writer for Yachting magazine.   

    I have had pretty good luck with NT as a navigation system, in fact the operating system itself has been flawless for that application.   Is Vista going to work as well?   Although boating is a pretty small market, the systems like this go into very expensive boats operated by people who have a heck of a lot of influence in other markets.   If Vista goes into punishment mode on one of the Murdoch kid's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch) boats in the Bahamas, you guys will be toast.  

    Now cruising boats have intermittent, unreliable, and slow internet access.   My own boat's navigation PC has no internet access at all because I don't believe in mixing life safety and spam.   It does, however, have a local internet that consists of radar and depthsounder units, along with a wifi bridge to beam nav info to a laptop.

    Is Vista going to be an acceptable operating system for this use?   Currently I set up the navigation computer at home, download the latest charts, enable software keys for Microsoft and the nav program, and then unplug the machine and wire it into the boat.   That may be the last time that it sees the internet.    Is vista going to get upset that it can't "phone home" and disable my radar unit in the fog?    Some cruisers may be well more than thirty days away from internet access, and what access they get can cost up to $3.00/minute.     I know that the people who work for MS are not stupid (I worked there myself) so I assume that you at least handle the case of no internet access gracefully -- but what about a case where there is a local internet that doesn't happen to be a corporation?

    Side note-- I'm pretty sure that Microsoft is going to have to make a non self-crippling Vista for Homeland Security, I rather doubt that that US Navy is going to want to have this feature.   (Believe it or not, there is at least one missile frigate that runs the Microsoft Jet (Access) database for something; at least that is what the jet guys told those of us in DART.)

    Side note 2-- You do realize that you have given the hackers a nice fat juicy target, don't you?   All they have to do is break your validation servers somehow, and they can cause millions of PCs running Vista to slowly commit suicide.   

    Thanks for the info, and keep up the good fight!

    George

    Saturday, February 3, 2007 9:51 PM
  • Maybe the answer here

    http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1156049&SiteID=25

    will answer you? Maybe not, as it requires the use of an OEM version of Vista, which is not normally available to the public. I too am worried about the idea of Vista suddenly deciding it is no longer valid. I think your fears are well founded. Windows is used in many places where it never sees another PC. Also, I kinda feel a bit insulted by the whole procedure. Our company falls over backwards to make sure we are legal, and it seems that we are all tarred with the same brush. Sure there are people using non- legal forms of Windows, but not all of us are. I do resent being counted amongst the hackers of this world. But I guess it won't be long before someone breaks the whole system. MS have just  created a new challenge, that's all.
    Monday, February 5, 2007 6:07 PM
  • Hmm, it doesn't look like it but perhaps I do not understand.   I'm talking about a supplier who sells relatively few units (there are only so many mega-yachts in the world.)

     If I put Vista on a customer's navigation computer and send them off around the world, is there a risk that the nav system going to fail somewhere in the middle of the Indian ocean because the computer couldn't access the internet?   What if it starts to get a signal and then loses it?    This isn't a matter of "you have a month to resolve the problem"; in the first place people who are concentrating on navigating are going to pretty much ignore any dialogs that the computer pops up as long as they can click through to charting software.*  In the second place some of them are going to be four months or more without internet access (which is kind of the charm of the thing, in a way.)   In the third place, most of the people who can afford that kind of boat have always let the little guys like us handle all of the technical computer details -- although alas they don't seem to think of taking a crewman along whose job is to deal with computer issues.

    I understand the issues of piracy (although it affects us small developers way more per unit than it affects Microsoft.)   Some companies handle the issue with a hardware "dongle", which is a device attached to the serial port (or some other port) to validate that the copy is genuiune.   This approach at least allows you to supply the customers with multiple "dongles" in case of failure.   It sounds to me that even if I provide two identical VISTA machines with two independent licensed copies, they will probably decide to fail their verification at the same time and both will "go dark."

    Small vendors like boat equipment installers are really not in a position to get volume license keys or anything else like that; often their awareness of PC software issues is limited.   (On the other hand, if you want to know the ins and outs of doppler radar, side scanning sonar, or how to interface 20 expensive NMEA 2000 devices without frying your electronic engine they are the people to go to.)   

    Frankly, I fear that Microsoft has changed a lot since my days there.   We made a great effort to make the products ubitiquous and easy-to-use and it seemed to generate some fairly decent profits (and stock prices...).   Talk of "punishment mode" is a startling regression, and it sounds like you are focusing more on the "bad guys" than on "delighting the customers."   Remember that the most perfect copy protection scheme is to make the software so undesirable that nobody wants to copy it!  

    George Rankin

    *Even my wife still says things like "it popped up a dialog but just clicked 'OK' without reading it.   Do you think it might have had something to do with the problem?"

    Friday, February 23, 2007 5:28 AM