MS doesn’t get it – big time

Just for the occasional need (e.g. running ArcGIS or some other performance needing Windows only app) i installed Windows Vista Home Premium on my Windows Boot Camp partition. After all PC world has chosen it as the fastest Vista laptop. I directly activated it after installation and registered it. But the main use case for Vista was to be run inside VMware Fusion.

I was wondering how this would interplay with Microsofts registration process, but since i couldn’t find any “Do not use Vista on a BootCamp partition together with VMware fusion” i thought it to be safe. The first warning sign was when i had to re-register after booting Vista under VMware.

On Sunday just before leaving for a trip was one of these occasional needs where i needed Vista (it’s always sundays isn’t it?) I started Windows and was greeted with a german messaging basically saying: “The activation period has expired. Windows will be started in restricted mode”. I had no idea that there was an activation pending. No notice, pop-up whatsoever that i remembered.

Hence i tried to use the restricted mode of Windows to re-activate my Windows Vista, and learned that restricted mode means that the only thing you can do is buy another license (and install updates):

  • Since i installed a new WLAN (802.11 n/g/b, WPA2) after the holidays I had to get access to the internet first. I entered the SSID, the password etc. and Vista answered with a “Network successfully added” message. Only that the network wasn’t listed in the following page. Tried it a couple of times, everytime eith the same result. So i ended up reactivating my old WLAN (802.11b only).
  • Second i was asked to install a WGA validation plug-in. This ended in pop-ups from the validation componentent that i may be the victim of software piracy.
  • Third after re-entering my product key the activation server responded with a “Product key already used” message. Sure, i activated it myself on the very same machine and only re-registered it once. No hardware was added to the MBP, hence MS should be able to detect that i tried to reactivate it from the same machine?
  • Fourth, i tried to re-activate via the phone. The phone number i got after following the links shown only lead to phone numbers that were unmanned at sundays and i was unable to do a search for the right numbers, since i couldn’t open a browser in “restricted” mode.
  • Fifth, i decided to reboot into Mac OS X. While shutting down Windows thought it is a good time to install some updates.
  • Sixth by doing soem quick search i learned that re-activating Windows seems to be a natural thing, and two additional phone numbers
  • Seventh, the first of the two numbers was always busy, the second was asking me for a numerical id that should br on my display.
  • Eighth. At this time i definitely had to leave (without an activated Vista).

The following questions remain:

  • What is the best way to re-activate ?
  • What caused the re-activation? I added no hardware, only installed leopard, which may have resulted in new drivers. Is MS including driver versions into their fingerprint?
  • Can Vista on a BootCamp partitionbe safely run also inside VMware? If so, how?
  • Should i directly upgrade to Windows XP?
  • When will MS be able to design simple processes?