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Tech: Counterfeit Windows?

eddie1 25 Apr 09 - 07:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 09 - 08:09 AM
treewind 25 Apr 09 - 08:13 AM
JohnInKansas 25 Apr 09 - 08:15 AM
eddie1 25 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM
artbrooks 25 Apr 09 - 09:59 AM
olddude 25 Apr 09 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 25 Apr 09 - 10:20 AM
Acme 25 Apr 09 - 10:23 AM
JohnInKansas 25 Apr 09 - 04:47 PM
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Subject: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: eddie1
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 07:26 AM

About a year ago I bought a second-hand laptop at a computer fair. It was already loaded with Windows XP.
With help from Mudcat, I successfully copied all my programmes, e-mails etc to my new machine and everything went swimmingly - Until Yesterday!
When I turned on, it went throught its usual procedures until I was welcomed and asked to click on my name.
I then got a message to the effect that I might be "A Victim" of counterfeit software.
The only real effect this seems to have had is that my desktop is now black! All my programmes are functioning as normal.
I can restore my usual desktop colour scheme but after about 10 minutes it reverts to black with the warning in the bottom left corner.
On continuing through the Help procedure, I'm told that the code for my copy of Windows is for another area. Microsoft are prepared to help me out as a "Victim" by letting me have a new code for Windows at a cost of £98! Very considerate of them!
There is a procedure allowing those who have been genuinely deceived, to get the code for free but you need to send the original disks. The procedure does not allow me to tell them I didn't get any!
What should I do now?
Continue with a black desktop and warning?
Buy the new code?
Become a convert to Linux?

I have been considering a new laptop but I don't want to even think about Vista!

I look forward to the help I have come to expect from Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:09 AM

Are you sure it is a genuine winows error and not a bit of 'malware'? How come it only just started doing it? What have you loaded or updated recently? If it is a genuine Microsoft issue do you not have some original XP disks for a reload? Or even an older version? Alternatively, yes, I would go for Linux, provided you have nothing that will only run on Windows.



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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: treewind
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:13 AM

"Become a convert to Linux? ... I have been considering a new laptop"

Well, if you want to go that route (and why not?), I'd suggest this:

With Linux on laptops it's always a good idea to let someone do the hard work of making the installation work fully, including choosing the right laptop hardware.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:15 AM

If you can live with the black screen you might continue using it as is; but quite a few useful functions get disabled when the screen goes to black. Most of the bothersome ones are in the diagnostics and control stuff that you might (or if you're really a "blessed one," might not) need if you run into any future problems.

Since WinXP is already "obsolete," and you can only get Critical Security Patches for it, being unvalidated may or may not affect you with respect to security/surfing issues. I haven't seen a Microsoft "policy statement" on this. They did give some Critical patches to pirated copies of earlier Win versions; but might not do the same for WinXP(?).

Personally, I'd hook up an external hard drive and copy everything important off the machine now so that it can be stashed until you decide what to do. Disabling of Windows features shouldn't prevent you from recovering most stuff from the hard drive later, but it may be a little more work.

If a new laptop is an option, you can still get one from some builders with a "downgrade to WinXP" option. The new laptop probably will come with Vista installed; but you get a "coupon" that lets you purchase the disks or a download to replace it with WinXP. NOT ALL SELLERS can still do this; but for now there are some that can. There also may be an "additional charge" for the conversion to WinXP. Check carefully before you place your order.

Vista really isn't all that bad, especially if you're a relatively "casual" user. It has some "features" that may be a bit annoying until you get used to sitting at a pinball machine to surf the web, but mostly it's user friendly if you're not a real hard-core user. It only gets truly obnoxious when you insist it should do what you want it to do instead of what the Mickey Mouse children think you should want to do. It is even more stable than WinXP, and quite a bit more "secure" if you don't go out of your way to break it. Lots of the old peripherals that you couldn't find Vista drivers for now have workable drivers, although you probably should check the "compatibility site" to see whether you'll be able to use any old printers (and especially scanners) and such before making the switch.

The replacement for Vista, called Windows 7, should be along within a year, and reviews are good but vague. Everyone hopes it actually will be "better than Vista" - which seems to be Mickey's main sales mantra for it now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: eddie1
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the info/advice folks
I will now sit down with a good single malt and deliberate. I will then disregard whatever decision I have arrived at and decide what to do in the cold clear light of day.

Thanks again


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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:59 AM

There is some information on the Web that indicates that this message/problem originates in a Windows download a year or two ago that installed something called "Windows Genuine Advantage", which is a clone killer. Supposedly, WEA can be uninstalled without any harm to your computer, and this utility will do it for you. I have never used this, and I cannot vouch for it...J in K is much more of a techie than I am, and he may have an opinion on this.

IF you go to a new laptop, and it is a Vista laptop, look carefully to see if it is 32 or 64-bit Vista. The specs don't always tell you - a clue is that machines with 3 GB or more RAM are Vista-64 more often than not, and 1 or 2 GB are almost always Vista-32. Not all software works on Vista-64, even the ones that say that they do, so some of your favorite programs might not be available to you. It is possible to set the "compatibility" mode in Vista so the program thinks it is operating in something else (e.g., WinXP), but that doesn't always work perfectly.

I have a Vista-32 laptop and a Vista-64 desktop, and have had no significant hassles, other than that problem with legacy software.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: olddude
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:05 AM

If you go to a new laptop install unbuntu linux version 9.04 and forget vista unless you have a real need for windows.
you will have no more issues of anytype and it will self install without being a techy. On your windows machine Art is absolutely correct you can remove WEA safely and your machine should be alright so that is the first thing I would do

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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:20 AM

I would say that the legacy apps referred to pre-supposes that Windows is the preferred option and malware is the most likely vector for the problem. Unless it updated automatically on the web and Microsoft are getting too cute for their own good.

All bets are off on the latter.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:23 AM

Perfect timing--I was just writing to a friend about his copies of MS Office, wondering if they are pirated. We discovered several years ago, when I was visiting NYC and sat down to update his computer, that the little shop around the corner that built it for him had not used genuine Windows. It cost $150 and filling out a form about where he bought it (they were already out of business by then), etc. In this day and age if you want to continue to use XP I'd buy an OEM version from eBay (with lots of positive feedback) or one of the online vendors who can be relied on to sell you a genuine (but cheaper than Microsoft retail) copy. Get XP-Pro if you're going to bother with XP at all. It probably won't cost as much as the license Windows wants to sell you. Do a repair, not a fresh install, and it should leave your current settings mostly alone.

Anyway, now my friend wants to learn to use PowerPoint. His version will be ancient (probably 2003), but could at least be updated from the MS site--if it isn't a pirated version. What are the odds? He's running XP Pro now, so I think his best move will be to upgrade to Office 2007 and go from there.

My two cents.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Counterfeit Windows?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 04:47 PM

My Office 2002 started to "crumble" and things quit working a couple of years ago - running on WinXP Pro. Microsoft ceased checking compatibility of WinXP patches with it, and some features sort of "quit working." Office 2007 was the only thing I could get then.

Lin has (had?) Office 2003 (on WinXP Pro) on her desktop up to last week when her computer took a dive. It was working quite satisfactorily, although she/we consider Power Point sort of a satanic curse that destroys productivity and prevents meaningful communication so we never used it much. (The Pentagon shares our opinion, and has banned it, so "military intelligence" isn't a total non-sequitor.)

If the computer was getting automatic updates, via Microsoft Update on a validated WinXP license, and the Office version was present on the machine, it should be up to date with respect to any Office security patches that are applicable. It has been possible to get only Windows Update that might have omitted Office patches(?).

The only "optional updates" that might be wanted are almost entirely "flow-down" things that are needed for "compatibility with Office 2007" and should be available without a new "license validation" on the Office version on the machine. Most of the useful "Office optionals" can be downloaded in installable form and shared with friends without worrying about whether they are "legal."

Lin is currently using our Vista Home Premium laptop with Office 2007 while her desktop is "in rehab." While it's no surprise that she's been cursing at the same "features" in both Vista and Office 2007 that have annoyed me for about a year, I'm a bit surprised that she knows all of the same curses I've been using. (She hasn't - yet - attempted any really professional level work in Office 2007.)

If your friend has NOT USED an earlier version of an Office application, it might be just as well to migrate to Office 2007 before learning how to do something that was easy in the older version but will be impossible in the new Office. If he doesn't learn any of the advanced features that have been obscured, he won't miss them, so he'll be much happier with Office 2007 when/if he does make the migration.

So far as we've seen, with Office 2003 there's no immediate need for "moving up" to Office 2007; but if it's a reasonable option now it would be okay, and just as well to do so before starting to learn a new ap.

If acquiring a new Office 2007, be very careful to check the exact version being purchased. There are a number of different packages, containing strange and illogical combinations of the individual applications, and it takes some reading-of-the-fine print to be sure that you get a version that has all of the aps you may want with a minimum of $uperflou$ ones.

(And note that some of the retail - FRP - Office 2007 packages permit you to install from one set of disks on a desktop and an "associated laptop" without buying separately for each. I'm not sure whether that's true for all the packages.)


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