Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, August 26, 2007

The other night I was noodling around on my desktop computer and decided to download the "official" Vista reliability & performance update packs to see what difference they made. After searching around I eventually found the right page by searching for it's kb article number and clicked download.

I got the usual screen, validation required, so I clicked on Validate Now and of course it couldn't run because I was using Firefox and it used an ActiveX control to test your system. At least it's smart enough now to recognize that you're using a browser other then IE and prompt you to download the plug-in for Firefox to allow it to run. I downloaded it, installed it, ran it and.. validation failed.

I copied the URL to the clipboard and pasted it into the address bar in IE7 and clicked validate. It still failed. I was in the process of un-installing Nero7 trial to install Nero 7 Ultra Enhanced, so I needed a reboot anyway, I was going to try it again with a fresh boot of Vista.

When I logged in to Vista, I received a pop-up box telling me that my copy of Windows Vista was not genuine and that I may have been the victim of counterfeit software. In the meantime, until it was rectified (there were a few options, including a free Vista license by mail for ratting out the vendor you got it from) Aero Glass and other features of Windows Vista were disabled, as was Windows Update. I also had something sitting in my system tray/notification area that popped up the box every ten minutes reminding me that I was a dirty, rotten, filthy software pirate and that somewhere, children were starving and crying themselves to sleep because of it. It also changed my desktop wallpaper to include Windows Vista (TM) Build 6000 This copy of Windows is not genuine.

I clicked through all the various links and nothing fixed it. Finally I ended up on Microsoft's support site and clicked "Chat with tech support" and was connected to...wait for it... Bob! I initially asked him if he was THE Microsoft Bob and he didn't know what I was talking about. Kids today... but I digress. I explained what happened and he pushed another support page to me that would email the correct division of support so I filled in the form, saying that I had a valid COA and Product Code for Windows XP and a valid COA and Product Code for the Dell Vista Express Upgrade program. I also let them know that I was not amused, after spending thousands of dollars on Microsoft Products and tens of thousands of dollars over the years on Microsoft Training and Certifications as well as influencing untold number of dollars in purchases of Microsoft Products over the years to be called a dirty, rotten thieving whore of a software pirate because of a bug in their own Windows Genuine Advantage software.

I received an email about twenty minutes later confirming they received my support request and that I could expect a response within 24 hours. I checked a few hours later, nothing. I checked this morning, nothing. I checked on my Blackberry while I was at Paperman's at The Strand for coffee with the other scooterati of the Church of the Vespaholics meet-up and still nothing. When I got home I checked my junkmail folder and found an email in there from Betty at Microsoft Support.

Dear Mark,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Windows Update Support. My name is Betty and I am glad to work with you. You can contact me directly by writing an email to with the case ID SRX123456789 (not the actual case number)  in the subject line.

First, I would like to apologize for the delay in responding to your support request. Please be assured that you have successfully contacted the correct support team and I will be working with you to address your concerns as quickly as possible.

From the case log, I understand that your copy of Windows Vista failed the genuine validation when trying to download the Vista performance and reliability pack. If I have misunderstood your concern, please do not hesitate to let me know. We will work together to resolve this specific issue through the course of the case.

This is a known issue with our WGA validation servers which has been resolved by Microsoft. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by this. At this time, let’s go to the following website to online re-validate the system to fix the issue. It is suggested that we use Internet Explorer (IE) to access this site:

The rest of the email was other things to try and walking through with screenshots how to download, install and then upload the results of an msdiag diagnosis control.

I went back to and tried clicking the Validate Windows button again, and this time it worked. My wallpaper still says that it's not genuine and my Aero Glass is still turned off, but I'm guessing a reboot later on will fix that situation.

As pissed off as I was last night that by trying to do the right thing and have properly licensed software blew up in my face, I'm actually quite impressed that they were able to fix this as quick as they did, especially considering that I did not give them my COA or Product Code for XP OR the Vista Upgrade and that my copy of Windows XP or Vista weren't "registered" and attached to a profile with the email address that I used.

Sunday, August 26, 2007 10:19:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Rants | Tech | Microsoft#
Monday, September 3, 2007 7:53:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Well, I suppose that some people are easily impressed. I think that Microsoft has gone further into the depths of hell than ever before. I'm glad to hear that you can so easily forgive and forget their transgressions but, I cannot. I find it highly offensive and completely unacceptable that they can intentionally or accidentally turn off software that I paid dearly for, spent hours installing and configuring to my liking and wasted my time jumping through licensing and activation hoops that they created to further impede my use of the product for which I have paid. Don't you wonder what's going to happen to all these Vista installs when Microsoft EOLs Vista and takes down their WGA servers? Nothing like taking your data away from you to force another upgrade down your throat, eh?

I really feel that the entire industry has gotten completely out of hand with its licensing, activation, de-authorization and subscription gauntlet that they have created for their beloved customers. I blame Microsoft in particular for being the worst offenders and for creating the concept in the first place. Open Source and free software looks better and better every day!

Microsoft can FO!
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