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?

Beta for NYTimes Reader available

NYTimes Reade (Screenshot)I just noticed (via Read/WriteWeb) that the NYT opened up the beta program of the NYTReader software. Times Reader was unveiled by Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Gates in Seattle on April 28th this year and seems to be a successor or variant of the software that microsoft code-named “Max“.

The screenshots at Read/WriteWeb look very interesting so, i signed-up. Lets see if i get accepted. Until now i just received a confirmation email.