Mikkel Høgh

Coding the web since 1999

23 Aug 2006

A new home - and where I didn't want to go today...

So, we’ve finally moved into our new house in Gentofte (an up-scale suburb of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark). We were finally done moving stuff around at 2 in the morning. Then I got a few hours of much needed sleep, whereafter I had to get up to return the van we rented to move all our stuff in. Then off to work. Work was as it usually is. Chalenging, demanding, rewarding. Good.

So, now I’m in my new bed in my new room in our new house, working on my boss' laptop – I need to get it setup, so she can use it – she’s not all that computer-savvy. So, I reinstalled Windows on this nice laptop yesterday. Typed in the product key from the sticker on the belly of the computer. Tried to “activate” it over the net. Then it told me that my key was invalid, and that I should call them instead. I tried to, but their phone system was apparently broken. All I got was this strange beep-sound, not at all like those you hear when you call some one or the line is busy. So I gave up for the day.

I tried again today, and apparently, they still considered my key invalid. So I called them up and got the automatic system, which demanded me to type in this 54-digit system ID. That didn’t work either, so it patched me through to a live Microsoft person, who informed me that my key wasn’t in fact invalid, but there were only so many times you could activate Windows over the net instead of calling them. So he gave me 42 more digits to punch in to activate my Windows. All because of their so-called fight against piracy.

I fail to understand why Microsoft does this. I know they’d rather get paid for their products, but forcing all legitimate customers to go through this kind of rigmarole for every reinstall of Windows is crazy. I just don’t get it.

Even if I was positively inclined towards Microsoft (which I’m not), this kind of behavior would piss me off. Why do I have to put up with that kind of crap, all so I can use software I (or my employer) paid top dollar to get?

I’m glad that I don’t have to admin more than a few Windows boxes. As you know, Windows has a rather annoying habit of requiring re-installs from time to time, even if it isn’t as bad as the bad old days with Windows 98/95. Having to spend 30 minutes on bypassing some artificial roadblock put in place to stop piracy is an annoying way to waste time. Especially when you know that all those who do have pirated versions of Windows don’t bother with activation - either they have a volume license key that doesn’t require activation at all, or they find a way to bypass it. Which isn’t all that hard.

If I had to admin more Windows boxes, I might be tempted to do that myself. Not to get away with using Windows for free, but to avoid having to spend my time on such petty nonsense as activation.