Windows Activation Sucks.

I actived my new copy of Windows one day last week.

Then this week my second video card comes in, I salvage a third hard drive from an older computer, and I replace a CD-RW with a DVD/CD/R/RW drive.

Then windows tells me the hardware configuration of the machine has changed "significantly" and then proceeds to bring up the "Let's Activate Windows!" window.

It then tells me I have three days before it just stops working.

Is this common?

Is windows going to freak out every other time I change out a piece of hardware?

I've never had this happen before and I was really curious.

Yep, it will.

It does that. You shouldn't have a problem, even if it tells you that you need to call some 1-800 number. Tell then you swapped some stuff out and they'll give you the new number

Free yourself my friend.

http://www.nliteos.com/download.html

I believe there is a program called XP Antispy which allows you to deactivate the "activation" mechanism. The legality of this is questionable but this feature is so utterly paranoid and annoying that I consider this deactivation a necessity.

What version of Windows does this? I run XP Home. I've swapped out video cards and added a DVD burner and never got that message. Maybe because I didn't do it all at the same time?

Marsman wrote:

Maybe because I didn't do it all at the same time?

Ding! Winner

The algorithm they use for determining a "significant change" is a bit of a mystery, but the idea is that once you've changed out enough components, XP thinks it's on a "different machine" and triggers this event. I can tell you for sure that swapping mobo/cpu will definitely cause the activation. I was irate when it happened to me, but I just called the 800 number and was done with the process in a minute or two; it was totally harmless. Annoying, yes, but at least they lube you up before the rogering.

Could replacing a CPU with another of the exact same model CPU show up as a change? Other than that the only thing I've altered in the last few days is switching out that CDRW for the DVDRW.

But anyway, I called them on the phone last night and after a really irritating "conversation" I got it activated again.

It would have been less frustrating if the guy on the other end of the line had spoken coherent english, but I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Thin_J wrote:

Could replacing a CPU with another of the exact same model CPU show up as a change? Other than that the only thing I've altered in the last few days is switching out that CDRW for the DVDRW.

But anyway, I called them on the phone last night and after a really irritating "conversation" I got it activated again.

It would have been less frustrating if the guy on the other end of the line had spoken coherent english, but I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Yes. Its tied to the CPU Serial Number. I thought it was 3 changes at once... such as CPU, NIC, Video. But I don't think CD Drives count.

I guess I added the second video card the same day the CPU showed too.

But that would still only be two changes if the DVD drive didn't count

My confusion here actually came from my old(er) Dell computer that I replaced with this new rig.

At one point I took out that thing's hard drive and both optical drives, plus adding a floppy drive, all at once, and never saw this activation thing.

I even reinstalled windows onto freshly formatted hard drives on it twice without having to bother with any activation.

It was like it was immune to the whole thing.

So in this one little lonely case, Dell for the win.

"Ello, Mr. Tin Guy. I'm now able to be helping you in trubbul shooting your PC. Is your monitor turned on? Dat is always a big problem with computers. Yes? Good. Is your power cable plugged into the wall socket? Dat is the most second type problem."

Foamy the Squirrel: Tech Support

It was more like "Hi, my name is Bob and I'll be helping you today".

My first thought is "Yeah, I bet your name is bob."

And on it went from there. With the accent the guy had, in my head, the stereotypes start appearing and I imagine a guy that looks sort of like one of the MEC-Assault class troops in BF2 sitting on the other end of the phone. Only he's waiting until he hangs up the phone to stand, wave his AK in the air, and scream "DEATH TO THE INFIDEL WHO INSTALLS NEW HARDWARE! JIHAD! JIHAD!"

Then I realize I'm a stereotyping asshole and I just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Don't you just love how Microsoft treats everyone like their a software pirate until they can prove otherwise? In the meantime, the real pirates are probably distributing cracked copies of XP like mad.

Thin_J wrote:

It would have been less frustrating if the guy on the other end of the line had spoken coherent english, but I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Pffffffft. Coherent english is for sissies.

The algorithm they use for determining a "significant change" is a bit of a mystery, but the idea is that once you've changed out enough components, XP thinks it's on a "different machine" and triggers this event.

There's also a time component in there, IIRC. X amount of hardware changes within Y number of days, I think.

Mr.Green wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

It would have been less frustrating if the guy on the other end of the line had spoken coherent english, but I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Pffffffft. Coherent english is for sissies.

You speak it just fine.

Thin_J wrote:

I guess I added the second video card the same day the CPU showed too.

But that would still only be two changes if the DVD drive didn't count

My confusion here actually came from my old(er) Dell computer that I replaced with this new rig.

At one point I took out that thing's hard drive and both optical drives, plus adding a floppy drive, all at once, and never saw this activation thing.

I even reinstalled windows onto freshly formatted hard drives on it twice without having to bother with any activation.

It was like it was immune to the whole thing.

So in this one little lonely case, Dell for the win.

Dell uses a proprietary OEM version of Windows that does not require activation. However, you also can't use the CD key, or install disc on any computer other than dell. Has something to do with motherboard branding, I think.

There is also a regular OEM version (also a coprorate edition if you will) that does not require activation either. The CD Key for the corporate one is of course tied to the corporations Site License... so pirating that would be a bad thing

Il_Duce wrote:

Dell uses a proprietary OEM version of Windows that does not require activation. However, you also can't use the CD key, or install disc on any computer other than dell. Has something to do with motherboard branding, I think.

Yeah, you can't use any of the discs that come with a dell to install onto another computer anymore. They all just bring up a big "THIS ISN'T A DELL AND YOU'RE RETARDED" window and tell you they can't install.

Botswana wrote:

Don't you just love how Microsoft treats everyone like their a software pirate until they can prove otherwise? In the meantime, the real pirates are probably distributing cracked copies of XP like mad.

The thing is you get a valid CD-key, they don't care. I have ported my one copy of XP home that I have had since like 2001 to 2 different HD's, 2 differnent Mobo's/CPU and I have had no problems. The OEM version that I bought doesn't have one component left in the PC that is an original part. But they don't care. I did get the automated CD-Key check once.. that was fun!

It could be worse.. they could have some obscure reference to a manual page in it like they used to do with old PC games

Windows Activation isn't really that big of a deal. I have 3 machines all running the same copy, and I have to activate them every once and awhile due to hardware changes. It won't do it online, but if you call them up and answer some routine questions they'll activate it for you, never had any problems so far.

Thin_J wrote:
Mr.Green wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

It would have been less frustrating if the guy on the other end of the line had spoken coherent english, but I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Pffffffft. Coherent english is for sissies.

You speak it just fine.

So you're saying I'm a sissy huh?

I am actually currently running a Dell copy of XP Media Center Edition on a computer that has nothing in common with the actual Dell (it's on a desktop, it came on a laptop). No problems, though it did require activation. If what y'all are saying is true, maybe it doesn't apply to XP MCE. Either way, it's true that the MPEG DVD software that came with the Dell won't install on the desktop, even though it's running Dell's copy of XP MCE.

Here's an idea. Use the program I linked to and make a custom version of XP. To do this...
1. Copy the contents of the windows disc to your hard drive.
2. Run program and point it to the folder you copied the disc too
3. Follow the wizard instructions
4. Read documentation as needed

Doing this you can get a installation that boot in 10 seconds or less, shut down in 10 seconds or less; is half the size of xp stock; doesn't run extra crap; automatically installs (just drop it into the drive and come back later); installs in 10 minutes or less; and lots of other goodies.

Doing this you can get a installation that boot in 10 seconds or less, shut down in 10 seconds or less; is half the size of xp stock; doesn't run extra crap; automatically installs (just drop it into the drive and come back later); installs in 10 minutes or less; and lots of other goodies.

Mine already boots and shuts down about that fast, but the rest of it sounds really groovy. I'm about to reinstall again and get rid of my partition, since BF2 doesn't like not being reinstalled after windows is reinstalled, there's little point for me. Does that proggy also help with slipstreaming SP2? My XP is 3 years old and OEM. I guess I should RTFA, eh?

Yar, lots of nice goodies I wouldn't be able to tell you in the manual. The wizards takes care of everything really so there isn't much of a manual to read. My favorite feature though is driver integration.

http://www.nliteos.com/nlite.html

Do you use this on your gaming machine?

Edwin, I love you. That is friggin' awesome! Based on your experience, is it ok to do this when windows has been installed for a while or is it better to make an image just after installing it - completely with all necessary drivers and so on. I'ld imagine it would have more clutter in it if done later.

That post, Edwin, is IT bookshelf entry ready. Should come in handy and I'll try nlite out myself.

duckilama wrote:

Do you use this on your gaming machine?

Gaming machine, server, work servers, work workstations, everything. You thought ghosting was the sh*t? Try ghosting 12 different configurations, because, well its a PITA. With Nlite and Unattended you just make the installation sequence and just throw the disc into 900 PC's at once. BAM! Entire company is back up and running in 10 minutes.

dejanzie wrote:

Edwin, I love you. That is friggin' awesome! Based on your experience, is it ok to do this when windows has been installed for a while or is it better to make an image just after installing it - completely with all necessary drivers and so on. I'ld imagine it would have more clutter in it if done later.

You don't make an image of you windows installation. You take the stock retail XP disc and modify it. Once everything has been modified you make an image of that and burn it. It's like MS makes a super special version of windows xp installation disc. If I am reading your post right, you are thinking about this like ghost, which it isn't.

fstarta wrote:

That post, Edwin, is IT bookshelf entry ready. Should come in handy and I'll try nlite out myself.

I thought I did, but looks like I didn't.

edwin wrote:

dejanzie wrote:
Edwin, I love you. That is friggin' awesome! Based on your experience, is it ok to do this when windows has been installed for a while or is it better to make an image just after installing it - completely with all necessary drivers and so on. I'ld imagine it would have more clutter in it if done later.

You don't make an image of you windows installation. You take the stock retail XP disc and modify it. Once everything has been modified you make an image of that and burn it. It's like MS makes a super special version of windows xp installation disc. If I am reading your post right, you are thinking about this like ghost, which it isn't.

You read my post right. Thanks for the clarification, will be trying it out this weekend.