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Vista 7's 8th Sin: Another Antifeature Appended with Windows Update

Bad Vista 7



Summary: Microsoft makes Vista 7 even worse by adding a user-hostile 'feature' to it (using the operating system's mechanism that's intended for security)

THE reality behind Vista 7 continues to depress users. It becomes increasingly user hostile as time goes by, even without a new release of the operating system. One of our readers said, "are you looking forward to your Internet driver's license? Next they force you to you the authorised Operating System face imprisonment. Isn't the system grand?"



Microsoft is now informing users of Vista 7 that it is adding another antifeature:

In the coming days, we’ll be deploying a new update for Windows Activation Technologies, the set of built-in activation and validation components built into Windows 7. Called Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7, this update will detect more than 70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits. Activation exploits are sometimes called “hacks”, and attempt to bypass or compromise Windows’ activation technologies. This new update is further evidence of Microsoft’s commitment to keeping customers and partners secure. The update will determine whether Windows 7 installed on a PC is genuine and will better protect customers’ PCs by making sure that the integrity of key licensing components remains intact.


It is always justified by "defence" and "security". That is how unpopular wars too are usually sold to the public. It is a lot more likely that Microsoft is just trying to squeeze more money out of users, especially now that financial results are poor [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is the discussion at Slashdot and the spin from Mary Jo Foley, who is obediently repeating negative words like "piracy" (for copyright violation, which has nothing to do with crime on high seas). Thom Holwerda is doing the same thing, being the Vista 7 fan that he is [1, 2] (by admission). Here is the best coverage we could find on the subject:

Who Owns Your PC? New Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update 'Phones Home' to Microsoft Every 90 Days



Greetings. Sometimes a seemingly small software update can usher in a whole new world. When Microsoft shortly pushes out a Windows 7 update with the reportedly innocuous title "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB971033)" -- it will be taking your Windows 7 system where it has never been before.


The whole essay/discussion is worth reading. Our reader Oiaohm asks, "How long until this is not optional?"

Bad policies are usually phased in as voluntary before they become obligatory. That reduces if not eliminates a lot of the backlash. The ID card (population management scheme) in the UK is a recent example of this.

“At some point, I believe they will go so far as to sue users.”
      --Chips B. Malroy
Our reader Ryan had some more thoughts to share on the subject last night. "This update won't even do anything," he argued, as "it may remove the crack for now and put you back into grace mode, but 2-3 days later there will be new cracks and if you ever do get to the end of the 30 days, you can rearm 3 more times and get 90 more. Then there's going to be a "fixed" service pack too, so they're not gaining any ground by turning off what's out there."

Chips B. Malroy says that his "feeling [is that] it is important. Because it shows the measures that MS is going to, with the phone home stuff. At some point, I believe they will go so far as to sue users. But the WGA squeezing of non-legit users, will increase as the MS profits decrease, of that you can be sure."

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