Stupid Step Added? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I fail to see what activating the OS has to do with whether or not it is genuine.

    I just completed assembling a new computer system and elected to put Windows MCE on it.  I then went to the Windows Update site to load up the 20 or 30 patches released since SP2.  Here's the process there:

    Step#1 - install the new installer.  OK, fine.

    Step#2 - requested updates.  Was told I needed to get WGA installed first.  Ok, fine.

    Step#3 - well, never made it to step 3 because before step #2 could complete I was informed that before it would install/use WGA I had to activate the product.  DUMB.  On a couple of levels.

    Level #1 - doesn't matter if it is activated or not, it is still either going to either be genuine or it isn't.

    Level #2 - do you think anyone who has a copy they know not to be genuine is even going to try activating, or hasn't already. 

    The activation process and the WGA process should either be entirely separate OR the WGA process should be accomplished before activation can occur.

    In case anyone is wondering why it isn't activated yet, the reason is that this is a new hardware build and I never activate before a system has burned in from 24 to 72 hours.  Past experience has taught me that the fickle finger of fate will reveal an error in the installation or a hardware hiccup requiring a reinstall about 10 minutes after I activate the OS if I do it immediately after bringing Windows up the first time for real.  This results in a 'wasted' activation, meaning that the potential for wasting a bunch of my time and Microsoft's at a later date going through the activate over the phone thing is increased.

    This thing needs to be quieted down a lot also.  As a moderator at www.dslreports.com where we have a very active Microsoft product support forum (with some 20+ MVPs registered as regularly participating members) one of the big complaints I see about WGA is its continual running and calling home to revalidate.  People don't like software bloat just for software bloat's sake - and they see this as simple unneeded bloat.  If it's going to validate, do so immediately and then get out of the picture.  If it's going to continually validate - do so at system startup and then get out of the picture entirely, i.e. unload from RAM.

    Microsoft, in its product lines needs to keep some thoughts in mind:
    Not everyone is a corporate user and they don't need corporate features.
    Most people are actually honest in their software purchases, especially if the price is right.
    Not everyone has broadband, at least not in this country.
    Many people would actually rather see a product fixed and updated until it becomes a stable product than to get something new and shiny that they just know is going to be bug filled and contain not only the bugs that weren't fixed in their last version of the product but is going to have a whole new nest of bugs to deal with.
    Finally, many people keep wondering how long it's going to take to get the word out to all the development groups that there is a continuing problem with Buffer Overrun, and that it is probably something that standard program development practice should guard against during the design phase.

    Monday, June 26, 2006 12:18 PM


  • JLLatham:

    Thanks for your feedback. Product Activation, in the most sense, takes a "snapshot" of the hardware configuration (information can be found here at www.howtotell.com). Many times, EULA regulations aren't followed and a user may inadvertently install ONE product key for MANY PC's.


    Notes about Product Activation will be discussed in our upcoming MVP presentation.


    -phil liu

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:22 AM

All replies

  • JLLatham,

    Since "burn-in" is a hardware concept, you don't even have to install Windows to do it, just use a benchmarking or burn-in utility.

    If you want to proof your installation of XP, the simple answer is to do whatever burn-in you want before activation, then activate and update.  You have 30 days.

    If you want to install all updates before you activate, then keep an eye on the Bob team at oem.microsoft.com, they are due to release (or have already released) a tool that allows systembuilders using the OPK to install updates while in factory mode.

    Monday, June 26, 2006 3:28 PM
  • In this case, it's not a purely hardware consideration.  I've had installations in the past where perhaps a file didn't get installed properly or some OS hiccup shows up about 30 minutes after I activate.  That required re-installation and another activation. 

    By "burn in" I'm not just talking about making sure the hardware will run for some time without releasing all the magic smoke, but making sure that the system with OS is reasonably stable.  And since you cannot do that until you've installed all of the OS with patches as it's going to be run, this process puts a halt to that.

    If the intent of WGA is (and this is the way I understand it even though it may be wrong) is to:
    #1- prevent access to use of illegal versions, or
    #2 - push those who may have inadvertently purchased an illegal copy to purchase a license,
    then isn't allowing Activation without FIRST validating it as Genuine a step in the wrong direction?  It would seem to me that the first step in a home build setup as this was would be to validate as Genuine at the front end of the activation process.  Presumably this would even identify those home users who've tried to stretch the EULA a little by installing their one and only copy of the OS on a 2nd or 3rd machine?

    Once you've activated the product, you've given them full use of it.  They can then elect to simply do without updates and continue to use it without even dealing with WGA.

    Of course, since methods for turning off WGA are already on the street and there are other ways of getting the updates for installation, perhaps all of this is a moot discussion?  For example, I have 4 other WGA "approved" systems - I could use any one of them to download updates from Microsoft, burn to CD/DVD and patch to my heart's content.

    Sorry, I was hoping I'd identified a possible flaw in the logic of the process.  But if it's not considered a flaw, then I'll go away.

    BTW: there are many people who build their own systems just for themselves who would probably not avail themselves to SystemBuilder tools.  They are just people who would rather build than buy and would be installing an off-the-shelf copy of Windows versus one of the industrial-strength copies.

    Monday, June 26, 2006 4:36 PM
  • Little late note: what's even more confusing about all of this is that I turned on Auto-Updates (download but don't install) last night. 

    Today, without haveing activated the OS or having yet passed WGA, all the downloads had been obtained.  They are now installed.

    While this obviously solves my initial dilemma, it still leaves me scratching my head about the whole activate/WGA/get updates thing:

    While I can't go on line and get updates without first passing WGA which in turn requires that I activate the OS, I can...

    simply turn on AutoUpdates and wait without having either activated or gone thru the WGA.

    Monday, June 26, 2006 5:31 PM
  • That is good to know at least, that using AU is a workaround, but how many people know about that though?

    Monday, June 26, 2006 9:16 PM
  • As time goes on, more and more will learn about it.  We'll maybe even turn it into a FAQ over at dslreports.com since as near as I can tell there is nothing illegal or even simply prohibited by Microsoft about turning on AU before activating.  In fact, that's one of the first thing the install prompts you to do.  And as another member over there noted "Interesting enough, Microsoft urges users to finalize their build and be sure it is the way they want it before activating,...but then they pull this.."


    Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:52 AM
  • JLLatham:

    Thanks for your feedback. Product Activation, in the most sense, takes a "snapshot" of the hardware configuration (information can be found here at www.howtotell.com). Many times, EULA regulations aren't followed and a user may inadvertently install ONE product key for MANY PC's.


    Notes about Product Activation will be discussed in our upcoming MVP presentation.


    -phil liu

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:22 AM