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Why you shouldn\’t use illegal software

Since we are continuing on the topic of mistakes (often stupid), let\’s talk about pirating software. I will admit, that in my day (like 6th grade) I did copy a few games for friends, and friends copied a few games for me. I will admit that at one point in my life, I pirated some rather expensive software so I could learn how to use it. I will admit that this is often very easy to do.

I will also admit that it\’s wrong and for the most part, now that I run a company, try to avoid with a passion.

By now, we are all realize that some products have gotten insanely hard to pirate, like for example Microsoft Windows XP. Windows XP uses a technology called product activation to verify the software is legal. This often takes only seconds to do correctly and isn\’t all that much of a hassel for those of us running legal copies of windows.

It turns out though, that there were a good number of product keys that were taken illegally from other computers. These keys are now being stored in some form by Microsoft. They are now using a new form of activation called Genuine Advantage. I haven\’t read up on any of it yet or exactly what\’s different, but it\’s worth noting that if you have an illegal version of windows, it will probably come back to haunt you.

That said, I\’m working on a computer right now that fell into such a case. Their family member had given them an illegal copy of Windows, probably not mentioned it, and as of Tuesday, windows would no longer let them in. What\’s worse, is that the only way I knew of changing the product key to a legal one (they went out and bought a legal copy of windows very quickly) required being logged into windows. Well turns out, there is away around this using safe mode, so I thought I would document it here even though it can be found on the web other places. This way, if I run into anymore of these computers, I know exactly how to fix the problem without having to reformat:

Taken from Microsoft.com:

1. Click Start, and then click Run.

2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

3. In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\\Microsoft\\Wi- ndowsNT\\Current Version\\WPAEvents

4. In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.

5. Change at least one digit of this value to deactivate Windows.

6. Click Start, and then click Run.

7. In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK.

%systemroot%\\system32\\oobe\\msoobe.exe /a

8. Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.

9. Click Change Product key.

10. Type the new product key in the New key boxes, and then click Update.

If you are returned to the previous window, click Remind me later, and then restart the computer.

Good to know stuff… For now, I\’m out

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brandon October 20, 2005, 2:08 pm

    nice to know. not that i pirate software. oh and still waiting to be added to the hosted

  • simland October 20, 2005, 8:33 pm

    <—– This thing over here.

    Yea, I'd have to say at this current fiscal period in my life, I whole heartedly disagree with everything in it. Minus any reference to Microsoft being complete money whores.

    For those who don't have money and don't like to steal, may I point you to audacity and more importantly Linux and openoffice.org. That's all you really need.

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