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Trouble With MS Genuine Office Validation 234

Posted by kdawson
from the no-add-ons-for-you dept.
Julie188 writes "Here's another little gotcha with Microsoft license validation, discovered by security and PowerShell expert Tyson Kopczynski. The Microsoft Office 2007 add-on site refuses to download legitimate add-ons for Office 2007 when a legitimate — but not yet activated — additional Microsoft product is installed on the computer. In Kopczynski's case, the product was Visio. He writes: 'Let's back this license train up and look at why this picture is wrong: 1. I have a valid copy of Office 2007. 2. The Visio installation only failed the validation because I haven't activated it. 3. Microsoft has presented me with a page to buy Office, which I have a valid copy of... Dear Microsoft, When used incorrectly and in direct conflict of something that you are promoting, DRM sucks! By making the usage of your software a hassle, you risk further pushing more users of your applications to other solutions."
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Trouble With MS Genuine Office Validation

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  • Forgive my ignorance but I don't really understand the problem here. Why not just activate Office? You can do it over the internet or by a toll free phone call. You can only open Office apps so many times before you must activate it, so why delay?
    • by dartboard (23261) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:09AM (#20783391)
      Office is activated, it's Visio that's not activated. Visio's non-activation is taking down the entire system.
      • by RonnyJ (651856) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:26AM (#20783701)
        It's not as if this is something that can't be easily fixed though. There are certainly many legitimate complaints about activation, but I'm sure he knew he still needed to activate Visio at some point (he has Office activated, after all).

        Well, the Visio license is valid, I just haven't activated it. I'm just too lazy to complete the wizard, I guess.
        Not too lazy to write an article about it though.
      • Isn't visio part of the office extremely /ultimately /enterprise version? I'm sure the activation of the product considers it a part of office. So from that perspective, You can't download any updates until the entire office family is activated. Sort of stupid, but most likely not that big of an issue to legitimate users.
      • by digitig (1056110)
        Except that Visio is part of Office. It's full name is "Microsoft Office Visio" (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/visio/default.aspx [microsoft.com]).
    • Exactly!

      According to his screenshot, Visio is a component of Office (I don't use Windows, so I had no clue). If a component isn't properly activated, I can understand refusing to allow add-ons to be download.

      Prompting him to BUY Office is obviously incorrect. He should be prompted to activate the non-activated components.
    • by robbarrett (84479) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:11AM (#20783437)

      Forgive my ignorance but I don't really understand the problem here. Why not just activate Office? You can do it over the internet or by a toll free phone call. You can only open Office apps so many times before you must activate it, so why delay?
      The issue is that "activate" means "buy" -- i.e. to convert a trial/downloaded/whatever copy to a validated, purchased copy.

      This exact same thing happened to me just yesterday. My laptop came with a full trial copy of Office. I purchased a copy of Office Standard (only a few of the apps) and tried to use my key to validate my pre-installed copy (thinking it would only validate the apps I had purchased). But it didn't work so I installed my Office Standard and validated it with my key.

      Then I tried to get the export-to-PDF add-in from the Microsoft site but it proclaimed that only one copy of Office on my computer was validated so I couldn't update the other. Net result -- un-install one; un-install the other; re-install Office Standard; back in business.

      What a stupid pain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Then I tried to get the export-to-PDF add-in from the Microsoft site but it proclaimed that only one copy of Office on my computer was validated so I couldn't update the other. Net result -- un-install one; un-install the other; re-install Office Standard; back in business.

        What a stupid pain.


        You need to realise that Microsoft is trained in the school of 'being so smart that its stupid'. Basically they have some good developers with great ideas, but they fail to think them through and ends up making somethin
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

          Then I tried to get the export-to-PDF add-in from the Microsoft site

          Hey, just FYI: OpenOffice on Linux (and maybe Windows - I don't know) can easily export to PDF. So if you really need that functionality right now, you can use OpenOffice to convert your document from Word to PDF.

    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:34AM (#20783873) Journal
      You can do it over the internet or by a toll free phone call. You can only open Office apps so many times before you must activate it, so why delay?

      First 3,000 customers get a free tote bag. (void where prohibited by law) Operators are standing by. Call now!

      Damn! Do you write infomercials for the Thigh-Master or something?
      • The author of the article admits he was too lazy to run the wizard that would have solved his problem. I consider this to be a trivial issue. I'm lazy myself, so I take off my pants when I get home from work. Should I post this on Slashdot too?
  • Wrong mantra. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:12AM (#20783449) Homepage Journal
    "When used incorrectly and in direct conflict of something that you are promoting, DRM sucks!"

    That's too long. DRM sucks period.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xeus4200 (918440)
      You know, that's rather ignorant. There are people out there that work hard to create content that will enrich other people's lives. Sometimes those people do it so much (aka job) they have to rely on income in order to eat and live. Why shouldn't those people have the right not to have that content stolen? Why is it that so many people think that because something is in a digital format that it cannot be "real" property? Information is still something to be protected. So I think saying "DRM sucks" is
      • Re:Wrong mantra. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:39AM (#20783945) Homepage Journal
        I understand, but I didn't say everything should be free. I didn't say that copyright infringement is good. I'm sorry to say that DRM is not a good solution. When it works, it's a nuisance even to legit users, when it doesn't work people that paid for the right to use a work can't use it.

        The ignorance is on the side of the perpetrators of DRM because it generally only annoys legitimate users. People that are going to get something "free" will be getting cracked versions that don't have DRM, in short, the people that DRM affects are generally the customers, and the effect is usually one of annoyance.

        I don't pretend to have a solution, but poorly implemented DRM only serves to make the point. A person that stays legal shouldn't have to lose a day's productivty because the WGA server is down or the internet service is down so software can't be validated.
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        Oh, right, because Microsoft had a lot of trouble making money before they started using validation! Seems to me they were pretty much at the height of their evil empire right around when they started validation and then this genuine advantage crap.

        The problem with DRM is that it always degrades the user experience, so you are left with a situation where the product that a pirate gets is actually superior to the genuine article. In some cases, you can mitigate this by making your product more convenient (li
      • I agree with the notion of getting paid for your efforts, but it should NEVER be at the expense of usability. If it causes problems during legitimate use, then it is too invasive. Microsoft lets usability suffer (when they don't have much room to start with in that arena) by trying to stop pirating. There surely must be better ways, but they probably cost more money (something Microsoft doesn't like to let go of), or require creativity(something Microsoft isn't very good at).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by langelgjm (860756)

        Why is it that so many people think that because something is in a digital format that it cannot be "real" property?

        Call it property or don't, but understand that the fundamental nature of digital information is that it can be duplicated at negligible cost. Most people aren't familiar with property that behaves like that, so they are (reasonably) unwilling to call digital information property.

        So I think saying "DRM sucks" is a popular catchphrase but it is unreasonable to think everything in this life sho

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zonk (troll) (1026140)

      "When used incorrectly and in direct conflict of something that you are promoting, DRM sucks!"

      That's too long. DRM sucks period.

      Very true, however:

      By making the usage of your software a hassle, you risk further pushing more users of your applications to other solutions."

      I think Microsoft should actually be encouraged to add more DRM to their products. If people can't get Windows and Office for "free" all the time as they do now people actually have to pay those high prices for it. Or go with the better alternatives that exist. Why use Ubuntu with Windows is "free" [articles.tlug.jp]. Why use OpenOffice with MS Office is "free"?

  • Here's another little gotcha with Microsoft license validation, discovered by security and PowerShell expert Tyson Kopczynski. The Microsoft Office 2007 add-on site refuses to download legitimate add-ons for Office 2007 when a legitimate -- but not yet activated -- additional Microsoft product is installed on the computer.

    Only at Slashdot would this be considered a problem. Obviously, Microsoft does not consider unactivated software "legit" for the purposes of downloading add-ons. To me, this makes sense w

    • Re:I'm Shocked. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Distan (122159) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:18AM (#20783545)
      Read the article again.

      He has an activated copy of Office 2007.

      He has an unactivated copy of Visio. He doesn't say why, maybe he is evaluating it.

      Because he has an unactivated copy of Visio, he is unable to upgrade his activated copy of Office 2007.

      I would say he has a problem. His unactivated copy of Visio shouldn't screw up the functionality of his activated software, but it is.
      • by mdielmann (514750)
        If you look at MS's site [microsoft.com], you'll find that Visio is considered an Office product. So, to clarify, he activated Office, installed (but did not activate) a new part of Office, and now it won't let him install Office add-ons. This is entirely an Office issue. You may not like what they're doing, but this has no bearing on whether it will have problems with an unactivated non-Office product. If it did, I would be mightily pissed.
        • Re:I'm Shocked. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday September 28, 2007 @01:00PM (#20785251)

          If you look at MS's site, you'll find that Visio is considered an Office product. So, to clarify, he activated Office, installed (but did not activate) a new part of Office, and now it won't let him install Office add-ons. This is entirely an Office issue. You may not like what they're doing, but this has no bearing on whether it will have problems with an unactivated non-Office product. If it did, I would be mightily pissed.

          I wouldn't give a shit what they call it, the end result is that they've locked him out of support for a product he purchased because he has something else on his machine. That's BS. Whether they consider Visio part of office is immaterial - clearly they can be purchased separately, so they can be supported separately.

    • If you RTFS (read the fine summary), you would find that Office IS activated. But because Visio is not activated, Microsoft is refusing to provide add-ons for Office, and instead presenting him with a page to buy Office, which he has already purchased and activated!
      • by ray-auch (454705)
        If you RTFM (m for marketing or manual) - Visio is part of office.

        In fact the full name of the current version is "Microsoft Office Visio 2007", so you can't really miss it.

        The user has installed a new part of Office and not activated it, therefore (logically) Office is _not_ activated.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kimvette (919543)
      Presuming you HAVE RTFA (it's obvious you haven't)

      What about temporary installations? MSDN users are advised NOT to activate if they plan to reinstall the system within a couple of months. How does one download the latest updates to set up a proper test environment on a non-activated system?

      Microsoft is abusing their monopoly position and actually INCREASING value of "pirated" copies of their software.
    • Only at Slashdot would this be considered a problem. Obviously, Microsoft does not consider unactivated software "legit" for the purposes of downloading add-ons. To me, this makes sense within the product activation concepts. Why would a company want to provide additional functionality to products that had not been activated? Within their scheme of DRM, products that have not been activated are probably not legit.

      RTFA. He said it was Visio that was not net activated, but that prevented him from downloading
  • DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by franksands (938435)

    Dear Microsoft, When used incorrectly and in direct conflict of something that you are promoting, DRM sucks! By making the usage of your software a hassle, you risk further pushing more users of your applications to other solutions.

    I would say that DRM sucks always. But this is beyond DRM, this is the blue monster [microsoft-watch.com] taking over your computer. I am always amazed at how MS knows what's best for you.

  • by Sciros (986030) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:15AM (#20783483) Journal
    So updates to Office fail because a newly added product (Visio) isn't yet activated... seems to me that in this case the only update failure that would be understandable is one related to the added product (Visio). Other activated pieces of software should be able to receive updates without problems. Furthermore, if Visio fails validation and the response from Microsoft is to send the user to a page that suggest he purchase Office then that is just plain incorrect. It should send him to a page that says "activate Visio, dude!"

    So, yeah, this isn't really Microsoft bashing. Though it maybe should be worded a bit more clearly so the problem is made apparent.
  • Lucky number 13 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheFlu (213162)
    Fairly recently I had to battle with Microsoft to use my purchased copy of Office on a single computer. I had to call Microsoft thirteen times over the course of 2 weeks to get it working again. It's sad when a version you can download online offers you less hassles than the legally purchased version:
    http://www.thelinuxpimp.com/main/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=743 [thelinuxpimp.com]
    • I had to call Microsoft thirteen times over the course of 2 weeks to get it working again.

      I never would have gotten that far. After the 4th try, I would have moved to the where do I return for a refund route. In the meantime I would be moving on to something else. By the way, the new version of Open Office was just recently released.

      http://download.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]
  • Ah yes.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bwd234 (806660) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:20AM (#20783585)
    ...one of the main reasons I still use use Windows 2000! No DRM, no activation headaches, no secret file updates, no useless eye-candy, most stable MS OS ever... oh, the list just goes on....
    • by robogun (466062)
      I agree completely, but note that we are being pushed off the reservation. More and more apps are XP/Vista only. Now apps written in the most recent .net will not run on 2000 [wikipedia.org] (or
      XPSP1 for that matter)
    • Re:Ah yes.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Friday September 28, 2007 @12:18PM (#20784597)
      most stable MS OS ever... oh, the list just goes on....

      The endless search for drivers for USB thumb drives, etc.

      My Thinkpad T21 came with Windows 2000. I recently upgraded to Ubuntu Dapper Drake. I have yet needed a driver. My Cannon flatbed scanner works, all my printers work. No driver downloads were needed. Right now I'm sitting in the waiting area of a tire shop using their wireless. Even my D-Link wireless card works.
  • Simple answer. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:22AM (#20783627) Homepage Journal
    1. Ask for you money back for Office and Viso.
    2. Stop using software that pulls this crap.
    Yes office compatibility is extremely useful but that usefulness is what gives Microsoft the power to pull crap like this.
    Just doing number one will probably solve the problem. Chew up the support lines and they will eventually fix the problem for you.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:23AM (#20783645)
    Seriously, I was working at a medical imaging company in 1995 and testing a number of systems (QNX, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 3.11) to create a turn-key medical imaging system. Not one of the MS offerings were stable enough to call a product. Every morning, EVERY MORNING, the NT box was blue screened.

    Linux was good at the time, but NetBSD, FreeBSD, and QNX were all great. NetBSD was smaller, but since we were going to use x86 design, we focused on FreeBSD and Linux. FreeBSD was better, but Linux had more active development and seemed like a better bet.

    Because of that experience, I dropped Windows at home. In my house, we run Linux or OS/X on our computers.

    Since that day, I become more and more bewildered that people continue to put up with that crap. Seriously, who needs it. Of late, OpenOffice.org does what you need.
    • It's easy to say when your needs are simple and straightforward. I use Linux wherever I can, and I advocate its use (especially) on failure-critical applications, because it's stable, lightweight, and it doesn't "just break" the way Windows occasionally does.

      There are needs, however, that are not met by commonly available OSS software. My usual example is GIMP. I use GIMP, I like GIMP, but it's not a professional product. For the average user, retouching family photos, no problems. It works great. For a pro
      • but if you have complex needs, or you need certain applications, you can still be forced into using it.

        Which is why it bewilders me that anyone would ever use Windows for their home personal computer...Who really has complex business compatibility at their house (other than those who work at/from home)? The problem with Windows is that everyone THINKS they need it, when frankly, a very small percentage actually do (speaking of using it at home for personal use). The Internet has pretty much rendered Mi

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:23AM (#20783647) Homepage
    Call them when you've bought a few hundred copies, you'll be more important then.
  • ... that people would stop telling Microsoft why it's products are sucking. Let them dig their own hole their own way and let them die in it. Don't try to give them a helping hand!
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      I don't understand your comment. People have been saying that activation and WGA sucks ever since they started using it. Now they use it more, and the new problems they cause are even worse! Following this logic, the more we tell them it sucks, the MORE it sucks. In other words, we are helping them die FASTER!
  • Surely there are significant issues with both Microsoft and product validation in general, but this really isn't it. He bought MS products knowing that they required validation, and now is whining because he can't install a added feature that would work with his unvalidated Visio install.

    The author admits that the only obstacle he faces is running the validation wizard for Visio, after which he can happily download and install the add-in. What would that take? two minutes?

    Sheesh....
  • Okay, so, what's the big deal here? Why doesn't this guy just activate Visio? Or uninstall it? Why would you have a piece of software installed on your computer if you're not going to use it? C'mon, I know this is Slashdot, but do you need Microsoft to "fix" minor issues so the truly incompetent don't have issues when going far out of their way to create problems?
    • You really can't see the BFD? He has Product A installed on his machine. He installs Product B but hasn't run it yet. He tries to update Product A. The update system says, "You need to buy a legitimate copy of Product A."

      You really don't see what's wrong with that? Seriously?

      1) Product A is Product A. If it's legit and has passed all validation and activation checks, it should work. It should be updated. End of story.

      2) If Product B's lack of activation is an issue, any related message should stat
  • A non-issue (Score:2, Redundant)

    by loftwyr (36717)
    "The Visio installation only failed the validation because I haven't activated it."

    So what you're complaining about is that you didn't want to go through the trivial step of activation and, because of this Microsoft is to blame? In the time it took to submit this, the activation would be done and the updates started.

    This is a non-issue. Move along, nothing to see here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rnswebx (473058)
      Please read the summary again, and maybe even (gasp!) the story? He has activated his other Office components, save Visio. The problem isn't that he can't update Visio because it's not activated, which would be a non-issue. The problem is that he can't activate all of the other Office components that are activated. You're arguing that should be the case?

      He should be able to update his activated Office apps, but he can't because Visio isn't activated. Microsoft is to blame when you can't update your reg
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:29AM (#20783755)
    'Let's back this license train up and look at why this picture is wrong: 1. I have a valid copy of Office 2007.'

    Yep.
  • ... defective by design?

    Honestly, DRM sucks. The technology is designed to stop certain people from using the software (or everyone from using it in a certain way), and it will always cause problems.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:30AM (#20783775)
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/visio/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

    I'm not defending activation here, far from it-

    But Visio probably updates through the Office 2007 manager rather than stand alone and that's the reason Office 2007 won't update in general.

    Which leads to some proper questions:

    If Visio requires separate activation than shouldn't it require a separate update path?

    If not, then shouldn't the updater be smart enough to update only the activated components?

    And overall, what does this say about the concept of SEPARATE products requiring SEPARATE activation but morphing into a SINGULAR app. Does this not, in fact, affect my future upgradeability? (Oh sorry, you integrated Visio in 2007, for Office 2010 your only upgrade path is Office 2010 Ultimate)
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:31AM (#20783795) Journal
    Is this like not being able to install extra sensors on your car's alarm system because you have not yet activated your OnStar service?

    Or maybe it is like not being able to use Vonage VoIP if you have not yet activated your VoIP account with your ISP ???

    The original poster is right, this is stupid. There is no excuse for this, and amounts to MS trying to ensure that you use their products and nobody else's products by mopolistic use of your desktop. Personally I feel that if this is found to be widespread issue, it should result in further DOJ investigations.

    Sure, you can say that since the OS and office suite are from MS, it is their right to be a little ignorant of customer needs, but I won't. MS has far too many resources to do something stupid like this by accident, so there is more than just programming oversight at work. Whether you think that failed logic or not, it is true.

    The argument that "it's no big deal, just activate visio and move on" is a failed logic. If MS had their way, you'd have to activate the Windows OS before your computer would operate, even in stand alone mode with some other OS installed. Monopolies need to be pushed back against at each given instance, no matter how small. The adage, give them an inch and they will take a mile applies here.

    Only when MS is seen to be operating in a manner that is both consistent and fair to its competitors will it be okay to cut them some slack.

    • Is this like not being able to install extra sensors on your car's alarm system because you have not yet activated your OnStar service?

      No this is like adding a DVD player to your Onstar equipped vehicle and having Onstar invalidated because the new component isn't activated with Onstar.
  • Doing my part... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Entropius (188861) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:33AM (#20783833)
    ... and refusing to accept work from students submitted in MS Office formats.

    If I have to guess how to open it (wtf is a .docx?), then I'm not going to grade it.

    • This happened to me recently. A student on my team kept submitting her work as .docx, and none of us could open it. At first she yammered on about how the problem was my Mac (but knew better, having cross platform compatibility with Mac/PC Office for well over 10 years now), then the others couldn't open it either. Seems the culprit was she was the only one using Office 2007.
      • by Entropius (188861)
        Well, she ought to know better than to use any MS format.

        Around here openoffice formats, postscript, and pdf are about the only things used.
        • Well, in all fairness, I have had little compatibility problems with MS Office from version to version and PC to Mac, as long as you get the .doc part right. Until Office 2007, that is.
  • by dekkerdreyer (1007957) <dekkerdreyer@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:39AM (#20783949)
    This is getting out of hand. Microsoft's licensing and copy protection issues are not "DRM" issues. It's licensing issues. Licensing issues are an entirely different class of problems which have been around for decades. Don't start throwing anything you don't like with computers into your definition of "DRM". It's true that, once again, pirating software (on the high seas) eliminates both DRM and licensing issues, but it also eliminates problems like excessive cost. You wouldn't throw excessive cost into the definition of DRM, even though you know that the software went up in price merely because they had to pay to sub-license the copy protection software.

    We'll ignore the argument that piracy makes the software cost more. Buying someone else's copy protection software is what brings the real cost of the software up. The companies will sell it for what they can sell it for. That's price, and with a complete lack of supply and demand balances, is always grossly overpriced.

    But back to the DRM term misuse. This is similar to a story I heard the other day. A co-worker was telling me that her "identity was stolen" because she called a loan company and they couldn't find any record of having a loan with them. A computer glitch at a random company is not "identity theft" and confusing the two makes it seem like a non-issue. She called back a few days later and they found her record. I guess that means her identity was "recovered" and returned to her as property should be.

    "My email was hacked!!!"
    "Wow, what happened?"
    "I sent a private email to a friend and he forwarded it to everyone he know."
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Microsoft's licensing and copy protection issues are not "DRM" issues. It's licensing issues.

      And licensing issues have to do with "rights", specifically taking rights away from you and giving them to Microsoft. Since Microsoft is now trying to enforce the conditions of it's license via your computer with a digital, automated system, I think the DRM abbreviation applies.

      What, when "DRM" is used to enforce the licenses on entertainment media, suddenly it's different
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Digital Rights Management

      They're managing your rights to use their software. Therefore the term DRM is a valid use. Thank you for your concern though.

      Oh wait I forgot its Digital Consumer Enablement now...
  • This is strange (Score:4, Informative)

    by Evets (629327) * on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:40AM (#20783961) Homepage Journal
    I have a fresh Office 2K7 installation and also a Visio 2K7. Visio is not activated yet. I was still able to validate and install the PDF plugin two days ago without a problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      I have a fresh Office 2K7 installation and also a Visio 2K7. Visio is not activated yet. I was still able to validate and install the PDF plugin two days ago without a problem.

            That's only because you pirated it.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:42AM (#20784005)

    Dear Microsoft, When used incorrectly and in direct conflict of something that you are promoting, DRM sucks! By making the usage of your software a hassle, you risk further pushing more users of your applications to other solutions.
    Dear Consumer, You keep complaining about the taste and yet you're still sucking the Microsoft cock. Watch us continue to not give a shit.

    Love, Microsoft

    PS We had asparagus for lunch. We're not apologizing, just letting you know the taste is about to get worse.
  • when a legitimate -- but not yet activated

    How does Microsoft know that a product is legitimate if it hasn't yet been activated? It's my understanding that the activation process is the means by which Microsoft determines that a product is in fact legitimate.

    How is Windows XP any different? You can't download any Windows updates unless you have activated your copy of Windows... what's the difference?
  • What happens if the guy uninstalls Visio, gets the desired Office components, and reinstalls Visio? Would those components then work with Visio?

    What if he hadn't installed Visio in the first place? He should obviously be able to get the Office components he was interested in then. If he subsequently installed Visio without running the activation, would the components work with the unactivated Visio then?

    If the answer is yes, then Microsoft is either being an ass about it, or there's an as-yet unacknowled
    • by PhxBlue (562201)
      He's using seven year old Office software on 10-year-old OS software, and he's complaining because he can't get updates online? News Flash -- companies don't support old software forever.
  • The though bubble over every MS executives head after hearing this would read: "Stop your crying and bend over and take it like a man. You've been doing so for years and years so shut the hell up and suck it up. It's the way it was, the way it is, and the way it will continue to be. It is our way."

    Abuse by Microsoft is not a new phenomenon and I doubt most Microsoft fans are going to think anything of having to jump through yet another hoop to get back to clicking buttons and wiggling that mouse around. Hec
  • I'm no Microsoft fan, but why doesn't this guy just activate Visio. Problem fixed, no?
  • Visio ships as a part of Office, at least in some developer packages; that may be why Windows Update's inability to validate Visio is preventing Office updates.

    Just a thought. I'd be interested to see if there are failures because of other unactivated products.
  • by Salsaman (141471)
    By making the usage of your software a hassle, you risk further pushing more users of your applications to other solutions.

    You make this sound like it`s a bad thing.

  • by TurboDog99 (442475) on Friday September 28, 2007 @12:20PM (#20784641)
    Every now and then I run into a machine that requires that a repair installation of Windows XP be done. The f***ing repair process asks for the product key. Sometimes a customer of mine hands me about 10 certificates of authenticity from Windows upgrades because you can't remove them from the upgrade packaging. Nobody has any idea which key belongs to which computer. The computer won't boot, so I can't extract the key with a key finder. The upgrade keys won't work with a full version install disk, OEM's need an OEM disk, etc. I've also had the mentioned problem with Office. My Office 2003 app was FrontPage 2003, which I installed but never started. Back to my previous point, the thing I dread most about fixing a dead machine is often the licensing BS I'll have to deal with. If I change parts...maybe a motherboard with a different chipset...Office and Windows XP, among other applications, want to reactivate. OEM copies consider it a different machine, and since they only get 1 activation, you need to call and explain what you're doing to Microsoft. What a pain in the ass. It's sad when your worst fear of upgrading a machine is how the software activation will react. This will only get worse as more software requires different versions of product activation. Most software with license protection is a pain in the ass.

    There's a balance that needs to be struck. Unfortunately, I think copy protection and identification is necessary for many companies that make money on closed source software. I've often seen that people who can afford software won't pay for it if they don't have to. I'd just like for the process to get easier. Having to take time out to install a licensing server on a network is BS. Having to call tech support and sit on the phone for hours getting a copy protection issue straight on software I've paid for is BS as well.
  • Your software isn't considered legit by Microsoft ( and will stop working after a while even ). Don't like those rules? Choose a software vendor that doesn't have those restrictions.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday September 28, 2007 @01:09PM (#20785391) Homepage
    "... why doesn't he activate Visio, already?"

    If a doctor find blood in your stool, you shouldn't say "what's the problem? It's a trivial amount of blood."

    The loss of blood is not serious. What is serious is what the loss of blood shows: that something is wrong inside you.

    Kopczynski found a bug in the activation system. This particular bug didn't affect him in a serious way this particular time. That doesn't mean it isn't a serious bug.

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

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