Microsoft Changes OEM Activation
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
At the start of this month, Microsoft made changes to the way that Windows XP can be activated on Original Equipment Manufactures (OEM) PC's. OEM PC's are those of large computer manufacturers, such as Dell, HP and others.
According to Microsoft, Internet Activation will no longer be available for systems bought from the top 20 computer makers starting this month. In the next quarter the ban on Internet Activation will be extended to include all pre-activated Windows PCs.
Microsoft explains this as a measure against piracy. The problem is that OEMs can install Windows XP, and bypass product activation (via an approved method). But the Certificate Of Authenticity (COA) labels on these PCs could easily be copied and used to activate another copy of Windows XP using Internet activation.
COAs have also been reported stolen, and sold on to other (smaller) PC manufacturers, and unscrupulous PC makers have also been known to use one COA on multiple systems.
So now when a user of a pre-installed Windows XP wants to re-install his OS, they will be redirected to call Microsoft customer support, who will ask a number of questions to check if their copy of Windows XP is legitimate.
I don't think this will be a problem for most users. The larger OEMs are authorized by Microsoft to customize their branded re-installation and recovery media so that if Windows XP is re-installed on the hardware it shipped on, it will not require end-user activation. This policy change also doesn't apply to the "retail" version of Windows XP.
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Windows 2000: Countdown to Obsolescence Started
As I had previously reported, there will be no Service Pack 5 for Windows 2000. Instead Microsoft plans to release a Windows 2000 Update Rollup for Service Pack 4, containing all security-related updates produced for Windows 2000 from the time that SP4 was released and the time when Microsoft finalizes the contents of the Updates Rollup.
According to sources at Microsoft, the Update Rollup will be the last full patch "bundle", and only (individual) hot-fixes will be released after the Update Rollup release later this summer.
The Windows 2000 Support Life Cycle can be found on this page at the Microsoft Web site, and indicates that mainstream support will end June 30, 2005. After that date, only Extended support will be available (hourly support & paid hotfix support) till June 30, 2010. Microsoft promises free security hotfixes for Windows 2000 through March 31, 2007.
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Each month we will feature a few Web sites here, ones which sent us the most visitors to our Web site in the previous month. We would encourage you to visit these popular Web sites yourself!
Here are some sites in the Top 15 for February 2005:
The Top 15 sites are listed on our Web site.
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