Just another reason why I hate MicroSoft September 7, 2003 at 12:40 pm

Anyone that knows me, knows that I think Microsoft writes the worst OS in major use today. It’s not user friendly (contrary to what they claim), it’s nowhere near as stable as any unix system I’ve used, and they abuse their monopoly status to overcharge for it.

There’s been a lot of discussion about their new licensing/activation scheme since it debuted in Office and Windows XP. So far, it hadn’t been much more then a nuisance to me, as “activation” over the net was pretty simple. Well, yesterday, I learned what a huge inconvenience it can be, and it became clear to me that they put very little thought into how one would activate when changing hardware.

This all started when I replaced the failing motherboad in my grandparent’s computer with a new cpu/mobo combo with onboard video, lan, etc. First boot into windows resulted in it complainig that the hardware had changed, and that a reactivation was required; this was, of course, expected. What I didn’t expect was that windows wouldn’t even allow me to login before reactivating. “What’s the big deal?” you might ask? Well, you can’t use the network to activate until you’ve installed a driver for the NIC, and you can’t install a driver until after you log in. It won’t even let you boot into single user until reactivated.

So I ended up having to call the stupid 1-888 number and walk through that manual process to activate. While it did work pretty well, in fact, I was impressed with the computer voice recognition (not a single repeat required) it took a good 10-15 minutes to get through it all. Activation over the net takes all of 2 seconds.

Wakeup call to MS: You need to allow a grace period for one to get onto the box and install drivers to activate, you morons… at least new installs give a 30 day grace period.. even a few minutes would’ve been enough in this case.

I guess my main problem with this whole activation scheme is the fact that it seems to assume that we’re all criminals, and that we have to prove ourselves as valid customers to use their products. I already had bought, installed, and activated this copy of XP on the computer for my grandparents a couple years ago, I shouldn’t have to prove to them it’s valid just because I upgrade the hardware.. something that plenty of us do quite often.

Since I bought myself a 17″ Powerbook with Mac OS X a few months back, windows has been relegated to a game platform for me. I’m thinking that in the future, I’m going to push Macs on my family members more and more.. it’s just more stable, easier to use, and doesn’t treat me like a pirate anytime I make a change to my hardware.

If it weren’t for the lack of games on OSX, I’d have removed windows from my home already.

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