HelpWithWindows Newsletter
 05 March 2005, Vol 8 No. 9

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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

Windows 2000 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.

Recommended Web sites

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.

Recent Support BBS Postings

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Microsoft: No Security Updates For March

After we got 12 new security bulletins from Microsoft's Security Response Center last February, it seems that there will be no security bulletins released on March 8th.

In an email send out through its Security Response Center Bulletin Notification, the Security Response Center announced that no new security bulletins are planned for March 8.

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Windows XP Troubleshooting: Icon Text not Transparent on Desktop

When the text under the icons on your desktop are not transparent, there are two things to check.

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Multiple versions of Comctl32.dll may cause both Windows XP style and Windows Classic style windows to appear in Windows XP

When you work in a program that loads both version 5 and version 6 of the Comctl32.dll file in Microsoft Windows XP, the program may stop responding, and an access violation may occur in the Comctl32.dll file

You may also see mixed window styles when you experience this problem.

Microsoft Knowledge Base Art. 884883

Securing Wireless LANs with PEAP and Passwords

This solution guide shows you how to plan, deploy, and manage 802.1X wireless LAN security using Microsoft Windows Server 2003, providing step-by-step instructions for deploying wireless LAN security for Windows XP, and Pocket PC clients using the Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) and password authentication.

Supported OS: Windows 2000, Server 2003, XP

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