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Why is Microsoft so late determining non-genuine? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've had the dreaded delayed "non-genuine" experience with a Windows 7 upgrade as so many others here have.  It's unconscionable that Microsoft can't seem to get its validation process correct so that innocent buyers aren't victimized too late to do anything about it.  Why is this a problem?  It should be possible to validate a new install immediately.  Can Microsoft say unequivocally that download purchases of Windows 7 from other than the Microsoft store are bogus?
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 1:58 PM

Answers

  • By-the-way, is there ANY WAY a retail customer can obtain a legitimate downloaded copy of the Windows 7 OS and key without dealing directly with Microsoft or one of the big-name OEM computer manufacturers?  For example, can an end-user buy a license from someone who has a volume agreement with Microsoft?


    No, the only company that is licensed for Digital distribution of Windows (that I am aware of) is Microsoft (thru our partner Digital River).

    And Licenses obtained thru a Volume License Agreement are non-transferable. Meaning someone with a Volume License Agreement can't sell you one of his Licenses.

    Lastly, this is a support forum, if you wish to further discuss your view of WGA, please do so in the Feedback and Comments section of the forum http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/genuinefeedback/threads  

     

    Thank you,


    Darin MS
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:30 PM
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:26 PM

All replies

  • "atraveler" wrote in message news:feefb75d-6617-4fa8-bd5d-7d759ac78a71...
    I've had the dreaded delayed "non-genuine" experience with a Windows 7 upgrade as so many others here have.  It's unconscionable that Microsoft can't seem to get its validation process correct so that innocent buyers aren't victimized too late to do anything about it.  Why is this a problem?  It should be possible to validate a new install immediately.  Can Microsoft say unequivocally that download purchases of Windows 7 from other than the Microsoft store are bogus?
    As far as I am aware, the ONLY two valid download sites for retail Windows are microsoft.com and digitalriver.com
    Dell (and possibly HP?) are allowed to sell downloads of Office - but not Windows.
    The download is not the point, though - a quick Google will get you any number of valid places to download the disks - the problem is the Key. MS and Digital river are the ONLY places where you can buy legal Windows *without accompanying disks* (or a full computer with a recovery system)
     
     
    Here's one of my spiels about the time-lag
     
    For MSDN Keys:-
     
    MS can only act once a key hits a threshold (and they won't tell an outsider what that threshold is, understandably). They then have to put it through internal systems to ensure that all relevant parties are informed, just in case it's an oversight - then it enters the queue for the next update to the system. I have no idea how often the WAT checking system is updated, but I would suspect that it's no more than weekly because of admin and timing issues. The internal MS processes could therefore take easily a couple of weeks.
    It therefore depends on how close to the end of a vendors sales list you are, and how quickly he's selling them.
    The cannier ones will sell just enough to stay under the threshold for each product (MSDN subs include a huge number of products), until they've maximised the profits, then try and flood the market before disappearing into the sunset, laden with your cash. This could take anything up to a year or more.
     
    For products sold using a loader:-
    The loader gets around online activation by fooling the computer into thinking that the OS is installed onto the correct machine, by modifying certain files. Because of a number of factors, it's impossible to stop this, so MS came up with the WAT update - which has the ability to scan the relevant files, and detect the use of a loader tool. If the user fully updates the machine, including recommended updates and optional updates, then the WAT update is installed and starts work, and within 3 days, a loader-installed machine will get a notification. However, the WAT update is a voluntary one, at least at the first update run, and can be uninstalled, or refused
    The other time the WAT update is installed, is when you validate Windows for some reason - it is part of the validation process, rather than the activation process. this time, it does the scan immediately, and again this will show as non-genuine if a Loader is present.
    If a user never needs/wants to validate, then they need never install the WAT update, and may never see a non-genuine notification.
     

    --


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 2:36 PM
    Moderator
  • Technically interesting, but leaves the buyer as the victim.  Basically what you're saying is that the Microsoft procedures are poor.  A technical rationale isn't an valid excuse.  If Microsoft says the installation is valid, they have to live by that, and not change their mind afterward.  The unsuspecting user can install the software using the supplied key, activate the installation and run the validation ... yet still have a counterfeit copy (or illegal key).  As I say, that's unconscionable, and it's likely the basis for a class action lawsuit.

    The Win 7 copy I purchased (from a highly-regarded ebay seller) came as a download (2 download stubs) plus a key.  I downloaded the two versions (32 and 64-bit) from Digital River, installed one of them using the key provided, activated the installation, then ran the validation.  Everything checked out.  Then 2 months later, BOOM!

    Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:07 PM
  • Excellent spiel Noel. 

    I have read that once activation is successful that wat checking is not done again for 90 to 120 days under normal circumstances. I don't know if there is any truth to this. Any comments?

    My observations are that these auction sites are a cesspool of counterfeit goods. Many of the convicted counterfeit sellers have admitted to writing their own feedback.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:30 PM
    Answerer
  • "george1009" wrote in message news:ecf99cb2-62df-4739-a49e-6e1eae6a5b5f...

    Excellent spiel Noel. 

    I have read that once activation is successful that wat checking is not done again for 90 to 120 days under normal circumstances. I don't know if there is any truth to this. Any comments?

    My observations are that these auction sites are a cesspool of counterfeit goods. Many of the convicted counterfeit sellers have admitted to writing their own feedback.


    I have no idea of the timetable - but I suspect that it's more often than that, and am pretty sure that it's a random time-interval *up to* 90/120 days.
    Remember that the WAT update IS an update - it's not even downloaded until after the first round of updates are downloaded and installed. If you use Windows Updates immediately after installation, you can prevent it coming down at all (at least until it's updated). As far as I am aware there is no impact on the system of not installing it - the idea being that it is to protect and inform those who think they have genuine materials, rather than 'catch' those who know they have counterfeit installs. Being an update, it's also easier for MS to fine-tune it as new counterfeiting methods become available, and new Activation hacks discovered.
    Interestingly, I don't think MSE (or most other AV's for that matter) even looks for activation hacks - if MS really wanted to 'catch the people running counterfeits' then they could do so very easily. I suspect that MS decided that they'd rather take the financial pain than the political consequences of doing that, and go after the source of the problem - the counterfeiters and vendors.
     
    Hopefully Activation in Win 8 and beyond will be more informative for the user than it is currently - telling them the source channel (e.g OEM System Builder/SLP/COA or Retail/MSDN/etc) of their license would be a good start. At least then people could check the install against their purchase and expectations.
    --


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:53 PM
    Moderator
  • Technically interesting, but leaves the buyer as the victim.  Basically what you're saying is that the Microsoft procedures are poor.  A technical rationale isn't an valid excuse.  If Microsoft says the installation is valid, they have to live by that, and not change their mind afterward.  The unsuspecting user can install the software using the supplied key, activate the installation and run the validation ... yet still have a counterfeit copy (or illegal key).  As I say, that's unconscionable, and it's likely the basis for a class action lawsuit.

    The Win 7 copy I purchased (from a highly-regarded ebay seller) came as a download (2 download stubs) plus a key.  I downloaded the two versions (32 and 64-bit) from Digital River, installed one of them using the key provided, activated the installation, then ran the validation.  Everything checked out.  Then 2 months later, BOOM!


    I am not trying to defend Microsoft here with this but I would assume that you purchased Windows for at least $100 less than the MSRP for the product.  Another issue is that you purchased just a license key from eBay.  Had you done some research (a simple Google search would suffice, I used "valid Windows download licenses" and the top item talks about piracy and tells you how to get valid licenses) you would have found that most eBay sales are of pirated software.  Now, Microsoft could place further restrictions on the sale of products, such as a 180 day waiting period of any entered key (probationary activation in the meantime) to have a final activation and you would still be in the same place as you are now.  The only way to protect yourself is to be an educated consumer.
     
    What happens if you purchase a used car from a "reliable" source with a forged title.  Do you get to keep the car when it is found to be stolen?  No and you lose your money.  Happens all the time in the real world because people are trying to get the best deal available and the thieves pray on the customer's greed.
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:54 PM
  • Sorry, but I do not agree with your perspective on this.  In the first place, one cannot look to the price paid to argue the buyer got something for nothing.  This is a free country, isn't it, and a dealer can re-sell software for anything that makes business sense to him.  In fact, the innocent buyer expects to shop for value.  Most people do that every day.  Is this what you call greed?  Last I looked, price fixing is illegal.

    But, more to the point ... Microsoft provides tools to ensure the user has a valid copy of the purchased software or license.  When one installs the software with the supplied key you chose when to "activate" the installation.  When Microsoft decided to implement its activation process it had an obligation to keep track of all the active copies and licenses.  Challenging because of the volume, to be sure, but a problem of Microsoft's making.  "Activation" (plus subsequent validation) should render the software either valid or invalid on the spot.  Your stolen car analogy doesn't work because, in the case of Microsoft software, the validation transaction occurs immediately and directly between the only valid issuer (Microsoft) and the presumably legitimate end-user, on the spot.  Validating one's installation using their tools, makes it their problem if they are wrong.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011 5:12 PM
  • By-the-way, is there ANY WAY a retail customer can obtain a legitimate downloaded copy of the Windows 7 OS and key without dealing directly with Microsoft or one of the big-name OEM computer manufacturers?  For example, can an end-user buy a license from someone who has a volume agreement with Microsoft?
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 5:27 PM
  • What makes me crazy is the knowledge that I can run all the MGA tests I want today and still get slammed tomorrow.  The lack of confidence in today's results is the killer.  I'm starting to understand the frustration that keeps popping up in the user forums when software that they have been using for months and checked online for genuiness suddenly goes bad on them. 
    Colin Barnhorst
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 5:34 PM
    Answerer
  • By-the-way, is there ANY WAY a retail customer can obtain a legitimate downloaded copy of the Windows 7 OS and key without dealing directly with Microsoft or one of the big-name OEM computer manufacturers?  For example, can an end-user buy a license from someone who has a volume agreement with Microsoft?


    No, the only company that is licensed for Digital distribution of Windows (that I am aware of) is Microsoft (thru our partner Digital River).

    And Licenses obtained thru a Volume License Agreement are non-transferable. Meaning someone with a Volume License Agreement can't sell you one of his Licenses.

    Lastly, this is a support forum, if you wish to further discuss your view of WGA, please do so in the Feedback and Comments section of the forum http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/genuinefeedback/threads  

     

    Thank you,


    Darin MS
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:30 PM
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:26 PM
  • Thank you, Darin.   I think I made my point.
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 10:30 PM