Readers riled at Microsoft Vista antipiracy features

Problems include false positives, lack of response and legality claims

Few issues have riled Computerworld's readers as much as certain features of Microsoft's new Windows Vista, such as Windows product activation, Windows Genuine Advantage and the Software Protection Platform.

These features (some of which date back to Windows XP) are designed to fight software piracy by ensuring users' copies of Vista are legitimate. After providing warning messages only, Vista will now run in a "reduced functionality mode" if the software is suspected to be pirated.

That, and reported snafus like incorrect evaluations of legitimacy, have angered users across the country.

Below are some of their comments, with initials used in place of full names where permission to use full names was not received by publication time (See details about the controversy in The Skinny on Windows SPP and Reduced Functionality in Vista).

False accusation and lost sleep

I had been hassled and falsely accused of piracy after having a three-year-old authenticated Win XP OS.

I finally had to get two plug-ins installed for my Firefox browser to pass their WGA test. M$ is a greedy, insincere, selfish group of snakes having this trash installed on our computers without our consent! They claim we have the option to install it! I never installed this trash and still wasted two nights without sleeping trying to resolve this piece of rubbish.

-- M.S.

Constitutional rights violation

[SPP and reduced functionality mode] is a clear violation of the constitutional right to due process. It's akin to a retailer deciding that the TV you bought is stolen, breaking into your home and confiscating the TV. This is the clear result of the failure of the U.S. Justice Department to carry out its responsibilities.

-- J.L.

Server interruption causes incorrect reduced functionality mode

You failed to mention a scenario in which a device will go into RFM. Recently, Microsoft WGA servers experienced an interruption in service causing at least two systems at our organization to incorrectly go into RFM.

-- Tom Olzak

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