Microsoft says its WGA validation code is so accurate that it has produced only a "handful" of false positives. It's hard to take that claim seriously when one of the most widely read members of the Windows enthusiast community just got stung.
The Ed Bott Report
Get outspoken insights and expert advice on the products and companies that define today's tech landscape, from a source who knows these technologies inside and out.
Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the author of more than 25 books on Microsoft Windows and Office, including Windows 7 Inside Out (2009) and Office 2013 Inside Out (2013).
In its road shows last year and earlier this year, Microsoft promised that you'd be able to install Windows Vista in as little as 15 minutes. But current beta builds aren't even close to that milestone. Where are the bottlenecks in the Vista setup process?
According to a Microsoft manager, 60 million people have failed the Windows Genuine Advantage validation test. Microsoft claims the tool is nearly perfect at rooting out improperly licensed copies of Windows, with "only a handful of actual false positives." But the numbers don't add up.
Why can’t Microsoft describe its WGA tools in simple, direct language? They want you to install a small program that checks the product key you used to activate Windows XP – the same one you already sent them when you first installed the operating system – so they can verify that your copy of Windows is properly licensed. That’s not so hard to understand, is it? So why use these misleading and deceptive descriptions?
This is so new that I can’t even find a press release about it yet, but Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is now free. Anyone can download the latest release, Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1, which runs on Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional SP4, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition or later.
As of yesterday, Microsoft officially retired public and technical support for Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows XP Service Pack 1. Good.
Never underestimate the power of inertia. Windows users may grumble about security updates, password prompts, and balky hardware, but those annoyances are nothing compared to the mental effort required to switch to a completely new OS family. This longtime Windows user's experience with Ubuntu Linux tells the story.
You've been burned by a crook who sold you a counterfeit copy of Windows. Microsoft says they want to help you out. But a closer look shows the deal isn't all that generous.
This post contains the answers to the licensing quiz I published earlier.
How much do you know about Microsoft’s licensing policies for its two flagship products, Windows and Office? You might think it’s an academic question, but you’d be wrong. Licensing issues affect your budget and your ability to qualify for upgrades and support from Microsoft. A lot of conventional wisdom about Microsoft licensing is just plain wrong. See how many of the following questions you can get right.
Microsoft isn't interested in answering detailed questions about how Windows Genuine Advantage works. But via e-mail, they acknowledged that 20% of Windows users who fail the validation test are not using leaked or stolen keys. No wonder so many people are up in arms.
A new statement from Microsoft's PR agency denies the rumor that the Windows Genuine Advantage validation tool will be used to shut off computers running "non-genuine" copies of Windows. But the new statement still doesn't settle the question.
The browser wars are back. Microsoft has released another public beta of Internet Explorer 7. Beta 3 for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 has a few new features and is as polished as most final releases. Here are the details.
When it comes to Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft appears to have the reverse Midas touch - everything they touch turns to lead and crashes to the ground with a thud. The latest episode? A set of instructions for removing one of the buggy WGA modules has errors that would embarrass a rookie tech editor.
On his blog, a Firefox evangelist takes a months-old quote from a Microsoft security expert completely out of context and tries to convince his readers that Firefox is still more secure than Internet Explorer. Trouble is, that might not be true any more. Why the desperate, distorted attack? Are Firefox fans beginning to realize that IE has the upper hand on security issues these days?
The best of ZDNet, delivered
- 1 Perfectly legal ways you can still get Windows 7 cheap (or even free)
- 2 How much does an iPhone 6 really cost? (Hint: It's way more than $199)
- 3 Windows 8, one year later: 10 mistakes Microsoft made (and how they plan to fix things)
- 4 Lost your Windows discs? How to get replacement media, legally
- 5 Don't move your Windows user profiles folder to another drive