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Microsoft IT

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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  • Lucky number 13 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheFlu (213162) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:20AM (#20783583) Homepage
    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]
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Wrong mantra. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zonk (troll) (1026140) on Friday September 28, 2007 @11:38AM (#20783939)

    "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"?
  • 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.
  • Re:Shrug. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday September 28, 2007 @02:51PM (#20786957)
    Be a zealot all you like. Spend time telling people how stupid they are for using what they're used to. No skin off my nose, because I don't have an irrational emotional stake in using any software.

    Maybe I'm a zealot, its hard to tell because everyone is crazy these days, but I remember a time when people boycotted products from manufacturers with which they had a problem. I remember a time when people got OUTRAGED when treated badly. We impeached presidents for spying. We broke up monopolies when they were abusive. I remember when the U.S.A. had citizens not mere consumers.

    So, sure, call be a zealot, but to you I say you are perfect example of what is wrong with this country, an apathy and a complete refusal stand up for fucking anything. There are issues here, perhaps not right now, this minute, but in the future and a context far beyond your selfish bubble.

    If you don't see the danger, you are not paying attention. A computer is more than the sum of its parts, and there are things more important than relaxing and playing video games that give EVEN MORE money to an organization that corrupts governments and standards bodies.

    Being a zealot is a matter of perspective, to someone who stands for nothing, anyone who stands for anything is a zealot.

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