XP Activation

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By jbgbbs
November 5, 2001

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Hello MSFT Investors,

I just wanted to let you know of my initial experience with XP -

First history:

I've been using PC's since DOS v1 running on an IBM PC/XT. I have owned a systems integration firm, been an authorized MS Reseller, etc. Dealing with Operating Systems is nothing new to me.

I ordered a new Gateway PC for my daughter's birthday two weeks ago. I ordered it (via the Web) with Windows ME. About a week later, the PC arrived with Windows XP loaded. When I noticed that it had XP, I called and complained to Gateway Customer Service (about ordering an "apple" but getting an "orange" - with no courtesy call) and got $100 rebate for the hassle. Gateway told me that MSFT would not allow them to ship ME any longer - sounds a little like the big guy telling the little guy what to do again doesn't it? Well, little did I know what I was in for.....

I set the networking features up and kept looking for the spot where I entered the Domain name for our home NT network (told you I was a geek). I looked high and low in the OS to locate where to automatically log into the domain. I mean, my wife's Windows ME PC logs into the domain, certainly XP must be able to. I called Gateway Tech Support and they were pitifully unaware of the "issue" and suggested I search MSFT web site. Which I did - then I found it - in order for my daughter to gain access to domain resources like printers and shared folders (without alot of hassle) I would have to upgrade to XP Pro!!!

After explaining the dilemma to a Gateway Customer Service rep who was willing to take ownership of my problem, he agreed to send me the XP Pro upgrade for free. All he needed was the miniscule number off of the Certificate of Authenticity pasted on the side of the new PC case. After crawling on my hands and knees with a flashlight, I finally got the number right and the Customer Rep placed the order.

Minutes later, the phone rang. It was the Gateway rep again. He informed me that due to the method Gateway and MSFT chose to implement Activation, he could not just send a CD - instead he would have to send me a new hard drive with Windows XP Pro pre-loaded. I asked who was going to install the new drive (which of course I could do) and Gateway told me that they will send someone over to transfer the data (email etc.) and install the new hard drive.

Now, I have to ask MSFT investors, is this good? A new OS with less features than MS ME? Activation to allow the software only on a single hard drive? PC Resellers having to make (free) house calls to upgrade software?

I know that the entire software industry has been hit hard by copyright infringement (which you should know, I have not done in the past with my purchases and upgrades) but isn't this going to be a consumer and reseller nightmare?

I also know that not too many consumers have NT servers in their house and that I might be a "one in a million" customer - let's hope so.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing MSFT - I like the look and feel of XP and I have made a decent chunk of cash working with their products and integrating systems and LANS, etc., but considering these current circumstances as a consumer, I really don't like what I see.

Just some thoughts for all to ponder....

Fool On!


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