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Speaking of Vista problems...

The Windows "Genuine Advantage" validation servers are down, apparently for a few days.

Result: Windows Vista users not only cannot download any Microsoft updates that require validation, they are also forcibly switched back to the non-Aero interface whenever Vista checks with the validation server.  And that is apparently at least after every reboot!

The Microsoft validation forum is in full riot...

 http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=1004&SiteID=25
Chris Nahr
Saturday, August 25, 2007
 
 
http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2053834&SiteID=25

"Its another black mark against Vista. I was contemplating going back to XP and this may just be the straw that does it.

Expect another 'I'm a PC' commercial if the Mac marketing firm gets ahold of this issue"


Ahhhh ha ha ha ha!  That will be quite a commercial!
The Joker
Saturday, August 25, 2007
 
 
This is the Windows Collective. Prepare to be assimilated. We will add your CPU cycles and computational functionality to our own. Your computer will adapt to be controlled by us. Resistance is futile.
Welcome to the wonderful world of DRM.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
 
 
you would have thought a copy that is *already* validated would be configured to be able to fail to contact the servers a few times before falling over..

maybe only for a few days but then issues like this would stay 'hidden'. I.e. design some fault tolerance into the system.

I realise it can't be much otherwise it will be exploited, but this coudl really leave a bad taste in the mouth.

anyone tried installing a new copy and had it fail through something like this?
Claire Rand
Saturday, August 25, 2007
 
 
Well, it's fixed now.  Annoyingly, although Vista can automatically call me a pirate, I had to visit the "Genuine Advantage" website and revalidate manually, then reboot to restore the deactivated features...
Chris Nahr
Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
Here's the official statement...
 http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2055180&SiteID=25

Here's Microsoft Watch on the issue...
 http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/vista/youre_not_genuine_enough.html

What's really disturbing about this situation is not that some of Microsoft's servers went down.  That's what servers do, and they got them back up quickly enough.

But... why does Vista check for a "genuine" ticket at every single startup?  I sure didn't know this was happening.

And why does Vista not recognize the fact that the validation servers are down?  Why does the system not at least account for the possibility and use a grace period, as mentioned above?  All Vista systems rebooted in this 24-hour time frame immediately degraded their functionality and called their users pirates.

And why wasn't Microsoft tech support informed of the server situation?  Several people called support when they saw the validation failure, and were subsequently sent on a wild goose chase with new activation numbers or even trips to the store where they bought their copy -- all completely pointless of course.

That's some remarkably poor planning for the world's biggest software company.
Chris Nahr
Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
"That's some remarkably poor planning for the world's biggest software company. "

Agreed!
dood mcdoogle
Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
"That's some remarkably poor planning for the world's biggest software company."

No, it's proof that MS cares much more about their income than having satisfied, productive customers.

What if Bill G. needed a pacemaker and Vista could be forced to be the OS?  "Genuine Advantage" = flatline.  (Ooooh I'm evil.)
Chicken Little Richard
Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
Yeah, right - a PC capable of running Vista being small enough to fit in a pacemarker and run off a small battery?  Are you mad?


Also, I've heard fun stories about the Half Life 2 and Bioshock activation servers going down before - it ought to be common knowledge by now that any form of product activation is another point of failure that can disrupt your customer's experience.

Anyone know when Linux is going to be practical on home machines?

This whole "product activation" thing is getting ever more annoying.

Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
> The Windows "Genuine Advantage" validation servers are
> down, apparently for a few days.

Oh neat, maybe that explains why it took less than 5 minutes for a human to approve me over the phone yesterday.  (Yeah, yet again, I bought a used PC with a Windows XP product sticker permanently attached to the bottom of the case.)

>>> ""I was contemplating going back to XP and this may
>>> just be the straw that does it."""

Apparently XP validation was affected by the same servers.

Now I also wonder why Vista demands authentication every time it reboots.  Maybe every Vista customer should obey:  every time we reboot, we should phone Microsoft's free dial number and reauthenticate by phone.

Meanwhile, when Vista decides that we paid genuine money to Microsoft for fake products from Microsoft, we end up with non-Aero interfaces on both Vista and XP.

Hmmmmm.  In any situation where Vista tells us that we got fake products from Microsoft, we surely should be able to get refunds from Microsoft.
Norman Diamond
Sunday, August 26, 2007
 
 
"Anyone know when Linux is going to be practical on home machines?"

It's practical today, mostly, as long as you don't want games.  The only place where Linux is simply not practical yet is the enterprise desktop.

(The "mostly" refers to the time investment that is still necessary to get things set up reasonably well.  It probably takes a full weekend's work to install and configure, as opposed to a few hours for Windows XP.  Then again, considering the amount of hassle Vista seems to bring into the equation, that does start to look less bad...)

And don't forget OS X, as the activation-free, hassle-free alternative.  Don't like Microsoft's habit of treating their customers as criminals, but don't have time for Linux?  Get a Mac!
Iago
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
"It probably takes a full weekend's work to install and configure, as opposed to a few hours for Windows XP."

Linux can be installed just as quickly if you use a "canned" distribution such as Ubuntu.  I am a power user and a control freak so I prefer to use plain Debian because I can't go back to not having high levels of control over minute details of my operating system. :)
J
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
Anybody know if XP phones home at startup if you have all the latest patches applied?
Mark Ransom Send private email
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
"Maybe every Vista customer should obey:  every time we reboot, we should phone Microsoft's free dial number and reauthenticate by phone."

That's hardly a blow against Microsoft. They have a buffer, known as a wait-queue, to handle just such an occurrence. As the buffer fills up, the only thing that increases is on-hold time. The problem for Microsoft is successfully externalized.
Paranoid Android Send private email
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
" Anybody know if XP phones home at startup if you have all the latest patches applied?"

A couple of months ago I turned my computer on and it informed me that me copy of Windows XP was "not genuine".  I did not try to contact Windows Update or any other Microsoft service.  In fact, my internet connection wasn't working at all, which seems to have been the problem.

I can't absolutely prove it, but it appears that Windows XP tried to "phone home", failed, and automatically labeled be a pirate.
Richard McBeef
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
> Anybody know if XP phones home at startup if you have
> all the latest patches applied?

XP phones home at random times anyway for automatic updates.  Sure last month you had all the latest patches applied, but how do you know if you still do now, so the automatic update checker is doing its job.

Since some of the random phoning uses HTTP and some uses HTTPS, I'd guess that the product key probably gets included in the HTTPS part.

In another thread, someone mentioned that genuine customers are better served by pirates than by Microsoft.  Yeah, that probably explains a trend I've been seeing recently:  Sellers of used computers, with genuine Windows XP licence stickers stuck to the bottom, are shipping with pirated XP installed instead of genuine XP installed.  Maybe I'm the only one who phones Microsoft and argues for 30 minutes or 15 minutes or luckily just 5 minutes the last time, trying to teach Microsoft the meaning of a Windows XP sticker attached to a PC.  Stores have given up.  I feel sorry for other customers though, when they try to get updates.
Norman Diamond
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
 
 
What if I purchased Vista or XP and my PC cannot connect to the Internet (e.g. I don't have a phone line) ?
Ezani Send private email
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
 
 
You use phone activation during installation, and that's it.  If you don't have an Internet connection Windows won't attempt to get a validation cookie.
Chris Nahr
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
 
 
So it turned out that the validation servers weren't down after all, and Microsoft did architect validation correctly to default to on.  Rather, validation was specifically denied due to programming errors.  Here's the explanation by Microsoft's Ed Kochis:

 http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=684

“Nothing more than human error started it all. Pre-production code was sent to production servers. The production servers had not yet been upgraded with a recent change to enable stronger encryption/decryption of product keys during the activation and validation processes. The result of this is that the production servers declined activation and validation requests that should have passed.”

“It’s important to clarify that this event was not an outage. Our system is designed to default to genuine if the service is disrupted or unavailable. In other words, we designed WGA to give the benefit of the doubt to our customers. If our servers are down, your system will pass validation every time. This event was not the same as an outage because in this case the trusted source of validations itself responded incorrectly.”
Chris Nahr
Thursday, August 30, 2007
 
 
...so Ed Kochis is the Tony Snow of Microsoft?

It's not an outage, but users' VISTA get disabled - the functional difference being exactly 0.  Great design!  And totally self-serving rhetoric from Good Old MS (imagine my surprise)

I'm surprised MS did not try to spin your VISTA invalidation as a positive thing - "See?  The anti theft measures are working just fine, aren't they?  Glad we included them, aren't you?"

I am reminded of : "You're doing a heck of a job, Eddie!"
Natural Disaster
Thursday, August 30, 2007
 
 

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