Just how does Activation prevent piracy?

  Jester2K 14:58 13 Feb 2004

Just spent 2 hours trying to activate Windows XP Home on a clients new PC.

Long story, short: PC Makers has messed up the tattooing so XP will only generate invalid Product IDs which MS won't accept. MS were brilliant - absolutely no criticisms.

No here's the thing. I don't mind the Activation procedure. In fact every time i do it i feel a little glow because i feel I'm doing something "right".

However how does it prevent Piracy?

6 years ago i bought the bits to build a PC and an OEM copy of Win98SE. I was warned that the copy was legally locked to the original PC. Over time the CD Drive became a CDRW, the hard drive Changed a few times, a graphics card was added and the sound card upgraded. Essentially it wasn't the same PC.

Then along came the final upgrade. A new case MoBo, processor and RAM. Insert old HDD, sound card, g card etc etc plus reinstall the OEM 98SE. I treated this as an upgrade as it did the other bits.

That PC was upgraded to XP Home 18 months ago.

Now i know that i can't use the same CD to install XP on a mates PC or flog it down the pub for a tenner a time, because of the activation. But then again i don't need to. All i need to get is a copy of the XP Professional (off a friend / work mate, in the pub, off Kazaa, PC Fair etc etc) which seems to be on offer from so many people. Presumably a Corporate Licence which doesn't need activation, this copy can be sold on, lent, copied time and time again. Whilst the XP Home CD and CD Key i bought and paid for is locked away safe in my house there are copies of Windows XP (and Office XP) floating about that i COULD have used instead that would have been cheaper to buy.

In fact i seem to come across at least one (suspected) pirate disk a week.

With so many copies about how has Activation helped prevent piracy? Sure my copy hasn't been pirated but then again neither was my Windows 98SE CD and CD key?

  tenplus1 15:28 13 Feb 2004

I think the Activation in Windows XP helps piracy by making your PC unique and registering your code with Microsoft so they know if you've been naughty and tried to flog a copy of your original product to your mates...

Although to be honest, the activation code really doesnt stop people blagging Windows XP Home and Pro from the internet as their are an abundance of hackers out there who keep trying to out-do each other by removing the activation part of Windows and making it available to everyone...

  tenplus1 15:29 13 Feb 2004

^^^ I think the activation in Windows XP help STOP piracy... ^^^

Oops, typo...

  leo49 15:32 13 Feb 2004

I would guess it prevents casual duplication by the unsavvy but it's easily circumvented and there are so many Corporate copies freely available on the Web that I doubt it hinders the computer literate.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 18:08 13 Feb 2004

It does prevents casual duplication by the 'unsavvy' but they are not really the problem. I have recently seen pirate copies of XP (including the way to circumvent the activation) and XP office that were bought for around 50p in Asia. In spite of what MS et al may say, they do work well. Activation may stop the gen.public putting XP on 2 computers that they own but, in all truth, getting the info to avoid this is NOT rocket science.


  feb 21:39 13 Feb 2004

So how much have we paid to MS that we didn't need to? Or does it just come down to copyright?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 00:11 14 Feb 2004

It cost around $900 million IIRC, to develop XP and there is a huge workforce to maintain. It does not only boil down to 'copyright'.


  Gaz 25 01:35 14 Feb 2004

I agree in someways,

I came across a version on XP that had product activation TOTALLY STRIPPED from it,"it even said: XP activation cannot be carried out, tere was an error in finding the correct files. Then after that and I had booted into windows: "This version of windows has been sucessfully registered, no more action is required on your part."

Mad. It must have been a dodgy copy, however that was done? I dotn have the faintest.

  ddd3 02:03 14 Feb 2004

...and there is a huge workforce to maintain."

True, but only part of that is actually the new OS. The rest of it is stuff that you may or may not want, but don't get any choice about buying (Media Player or yet another version of Patience being the obvious examples). The sooner MS are forced to unbundle and compete the better...

  The Spires 07:36 14 Feb 2004

U agree with Jester2K it is a good feeing knowing your system is legal.

  Forum Editor 08:18 14 Feb 2004

in an attempt to deter piracy, I don't think that Microsoft thought for a single moment that it would prevent it altogether. In conversations with senior Microsoft executives I have been told that since the activation process was introduced piracy has declined, although whether this is true, and if so by how much I have no way of knowing.

I travel to the Far East on business fairly often and my own experience bears out GANDALF <|:-)>'s story of Windows and Office XP copies being freely available for peanuts - I know for a fact that piracy is far more widespread there, although again I have no statistics to show.

"....it is a good feeling knowing your system is legal" is an opinion that will be shared by the vast majority of computer users, and Microsoft's turnover figures bear testimony to that. Piracy is, and always has been a problem, and I doubt that it will ever be eradicated - there will always be people who feel they shouldn't have to pay for things if they can steal them and get away with it. Such people try to justify their actions by saying software companies are "ripping us off" and talk as if they have some kind of god-given right to use software, or to receive everything at a price they think is right.

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