I have a great one for you today. Over the weekend I reinstalled my store-bought, $300 copy of Windows XP Professional on Sara’s laptop. When I finally rebooted to complete the install and ‘validate’ my copy of Windows XP, I was greeted with an error message stating “This copy of Windows XP has already been activated its maximum number of times. To order additional keys, please contact a Microsoft representative at xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
I was beside myself. I think I had used this copy maybe 5 times in my life. I bought it out of dire need when I was stranded in Dallas after I got a virus. It was under heavy circumstances that I bought it, and now, regret it more than ever.
So I spent 20 minutes on the phone with Raj, a Microsoft service technician. (Note, his accent was so heavy that other than numbers, I could barely make out what he was saying.) According to Raj, all I have to do everytime I reinstall Windows XP is to call them up and read them the 40 digit code that I’m presented with, and they will give me an unlock code. When asked if there was any way around this, seeing as I’m a paying customer, Raj replied no.
So there you have it folks. Paying for Windows XP does not grant you the right to install it. It grants you the right to a copy of the CD that lets you install it, if you’re deemed worthy. But other than that, you have no rights.
This whole ordeal has definitely reaffirmed why I have made the switch to Linux. Please, please, please, don’t buy Vista if/when it comes out. This should be the round that Microsoft loses.