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Microsoft Removes Product Activation Grace Period for Windows 8


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Microsoft Removes Product Activation Grace Period for Windows 8

The product activation DRM in Windows 7 was at possibly its most benign (if one can ever really call DRM benign) allowing the user to install the operating system without a product key. There was then a grace period of 30 days to activate it with a key, after which the product went into reduced functionality mode, or one could rearm it another three times, for a total grace period of 120 days. This made it very convenient for the user and effectively gave it a trial mode, along with allowing the user to optimise their hardware configuration (graphics card, memory, HDDs etc) before activating Windows 7.


All this valuable convenience stops dead with Windows 8. Microsoft has gone back to the dark days of Windows XP, where the product key had to be entered during setup, or it would be stopped dead in its tracks. This activation behaviour could be seen in the preview versions of Windows 8 (which were supplied with the same activation key for everybody). However, this behaviour has now been confirmed to also be in the release version of Windows 8, by MSDN and TechNet subscribers, who have official access to the final retail copy. In fact, the very latest version of Windows XP actually allowed delayed activations, so it's hard to understand why they had such an unhelpful change of heart.

This is yet another negative point against Windows 8. The other main ones being the enforced use of the controversial new Metro interface, or Modern UI as they now call it and the elimination of the sophisticated and popular Aero glass effects from the traditional desktop. These are all significant steps backwards and makes one seriously question the point of "upgrading" to this latest version of Windows, regardless of whatever under-the-hood performance improvements Microsoft have made to it.

When Microsoft was asked to explain the reasoning behind this decision, they replied in an email, "We have no information to share". Yes, very customer friendly. Not. Let's hope Linux finally takes off and gives Microsoft reason to rethink its strategy.

Once Windows 8 is installed -- assuming the machine is connected to the Internet -- it automatically seeks out a Microsoft server to verify that the key is valid and then activates the OS. "If the licensed computer is connected to the Internet, the software will automatically connect to Microsoft for activation," states the end user licensing agreement, or EULA, for Windows 8 Pro.

If Microsoft judges the key as counterfeit or stolen, the usual non-genuine measures kick in: The desktop background fades to a permanent black, on-screen messages remind the user that the operating system is illegitimate, and the PC shuts down every hour.


Posted by Mike S. | Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - 07:58 PM


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