Article 43

 

Microsoft And Windows

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From MS Office? Part 2

badwindows.jpg

KB949810 Breaks Office Applications

Last Tuesday at work, our eagle-eyed sysadmin spotted and and stopped another piece of POORLY-IMPLEMENTED Microsoft anti-piracy software - masquerading as a critical system patch - from automatically installing itself on our 150+ workstations, else we may have lost our ability to use Microsoft Office - or worse.

Apparently Microsoft’s new OFFICE ANTI-PIRACY PILOT PROGRAM meant for four overseas countries - accidently got released to everyone, including US business customers using WINDOWS SERVER UPDATE SERVICES for patch management - causing a lot of pain to those whose computers got infected with their newest bug-ridden spyware - from errors to false positives - breaking installed MS office apps.

From Ed Foster’s GRIPELINE:

On April 15th, a day when many of us are busy enough as it is, a reader saw a “critical update” for Microsoft Office in Windows Software Update Services (WSUS). As he always tries to keep the Windows and Office users at his company up-to-date, he started to download it until he saw it was something called Office Genuine Advantage Notifications (KB949810). The reader is familiar with OGA and was certain all of his Office installations were good, but he also knew he wanted no part of OGA Notifications.

I called Microsoft and found out that by mistake the OGA Notification software was available to all briefly on tax day. “The Office Genuine Advantage notifications update (KB949810) is intended only for Microsoft Office users in Italy, Spain, Turkey and Chile,” said Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative. “For a short time on the 15th of April, it was made available to users in other countries. A number of users who proactively sought product updates in this time frame were able to download Office Genuine Advantage notifications. We commend those users who actively seek product updates and apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this update may have created. We have taken steps to limit access to this update only to those users in Italy, Spain, Turkey and Chile.”

Some horror stories can be found HERE and HERE on Microsoft’s WGA FORUM:

Well I live in England, and we are if we’re not English speaking I don’t know who is!

Update KB949810 arrived via WSUS yesterday and now all my XP workstations running Word 2002 are telling me it needs activating. The only problem is that the software is genuine and was activated 3 years ago.

Mark

---

I submitted a support request, but another kicker is that you can’t paste the results from the diagnostics tool because there’s a 3500 char limit on the support request.  Nice going.

I can’t use my office applications, and so far (luckily) I’m the only one at my organization who’s affected.  There hasn’t been a fix for this released, nor has there been instructions on how to remove it.

At the VERY LEAST, can you please just publish how to remove this update as it’s not listed a) in my add/remove programs, nor b) in a $NtUninstall folder.

Thank you,
Jeff

---

Problem: The product key used to install Office has been identified by Microsoft as a key that was issued to a large, corporate customer. This key is reserved for the exclusive use of this customer, and cannot be used to install other copies of Microsoft Office.

Solution: If your computer belongs to a large organization and you believe you are receiving this message in error, talk to your system administrator.

Bigger problem - I am the system administrator and I don’t know the answer either!!!  I have 100s of systems now giving me errors.  These are US Government computers with legitimate licenses!  MS needs to fix this FAST!!!

James - US Army

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I am an OBA developer, so I have Office set to alert me when there is an add-in error at startup.  After installing KB949810, I receive numerous error dialogs after opening Office applications with the following info.

Title: Custom UI Runtime Error in Office Genuine Advantage Add-in
Error found in Custom UI XML of “Office Genuine Advantage Add-in”:

I have screen shots and more details on MY BLOG.

Andy

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I too received this update, I tested it on a couple of Dell’s with Office preinstalled (OEM) and one PC has come back not genuine even though I have the license key and disk in my hand from Dell so this update does not accurately reflect MS Office licensing status correctly (like I’m surprised). My suggestion is to decline that update (KB949810) and not install it anywhere. Luckily I took backup images of the test machines so I’m restoring the problem PC as we speak. Thanks Microsoft!!!! I just wish you guys would give up on this whole “genuine advantage” farce because all it does is harass the paying customers while doing zero to stop people from using your software illegally. Genuine Advantage is a failure, will always be a failure and has no chance of being successful in anyone’s lifetime. The writing’s on the wall, time to lay GA to rest. I’m including a link to the Microsoft GA Blog, go over there and rip this guy a new one, he deserve’s it for believing in this whole stupid GA project is actually helping people........

ioniancat21

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It seems that the add-in is continuously readding itself.  Even after removing the add-in, after I close the Office app and reopen it, it comes back, now.  I’ve seen this behavior before, but that was always in malware.

How do I uninstall this KB permanently?  Especially since I NEVER SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Andy

---

There are a few things that really gall me about this whole issue:

This update was deployed as a CRITICAL Update? While this may be critical to Microsoft’s bottom line, any clear thinking IT person would assume (silly me) that a critical update would be critical to IT in the sense of stability or security. I would suggest a new classification of update titled “Revenue Generation”. As a corporation, we have exerted much blood, time and money on compliance. Doing everything possible to be a good corporate citizen to be treated like this.

Again, ANOTHER problem with WSUS distribution control. They got a pass on the 1st error. As my corporations WSUS Admin, I am considering suggesting using WSUS to block updates, not distribute them!

There is nothing more frustrating than being a loyal customer only to be treated poorly and incompetently.

Chris Edwards

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Paul,

thanks for replying. In the mean time I have found out that this is normal: Normal for Microsoft, not for us though.

Normal companies will have their Enterprise licenses in place (so do we) and do not really appreciate it when all of a sudden 2 tasks are running without knowing exactly what they are doing: It does NOT fit in our security plan and I have this on over 400 computers updated through our WSUS servers without user interaction!.

Can I delete them? Is OGAVerify.exe really just checking the licenses?

I have problems with the office products: Opening an Office Application brings up an addin as macro called OGAAddin.dll, a part of this so called critical update. Normal procedure is to disable these kind of macros when they come up. This macro does not really care though and will come up every time I start an Office application.

This ‘not wanted’ update causes me a lot of work, that is not really planned on. Do you understand that I would like to have this update OUT of my systems again? So the question again: What can be done to reverse this?

What will Microsoft do to help?

Wim

---

Microsoft released an alleged fix HERE.

We have FEDORA and OPEN OFFICE ready to install on our workstations - waiting for the day all our Windows computers stop working for whatever reason.

It’s just a matter of time.

Looking For Reasons To keep Away From MS Office?
PART 1 - PART 2

Looking For Reason to Keep Away From Windows?
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5
PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10
PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15
PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18

MICROSOFT VS THE FREE WORLD
VISTA ACTIVATION WORRIES
VISTA ULTIMATUM
MICROSCUM’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION FAQ
WINDOWS PRIVACY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
A GRIPELINE WGA POST
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
BAD VISTA DOT ORG




Posted by Elvis on 04/20/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From MS Office?

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Is Microsoft Office Adware?

By Andrew Z
Open Office Org Ninja
February 9, 2008

Wikipedia defines ADWARE as “any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.”

In Microsoft Office Professional 2003’s help, a search for “APA” (a popular documentation style) brings up two links labeled Microsoft Office Marketplace.

A click on the link opens a web page where the item is available for a fee. Also, there’s a banner advertisement from Dell.

A search in Office’s help for “print” leads to the brief article “Print more than one copy” with two up-selling links for Office 2007.

By the way, clicking either promotion launches Internet Explorer even when Firefox is the default browser. The reason is the Office help runs an embedded Internet Explorer showing A PAGE from office.microsoft.com. Despite the technical explanation, it can be confusing and inconvenient for the user to use a non-default browser.

On Microsoft.com, Sandi Hardmeier, MVP, CONCLUDES her adware definition,

“Ads are not bad by themselves but they become a problem when they are unauthorized. Unfortunately, many adware programs do not give users enough notice or control.” In Office, where is the “notice or control”?

A workaround is to search the Offline Help instead of the default Microsoft Office Online.

Could Office be spyware? MICROSOFT DEFINES SPYWARE as

“software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising.”

Microsoft continues:

That does not mean all software that provides ads or tracks your online activities is bad. For example, you might sign up for a free music service, but you “pay” for the service by agreeing to receive targeted ads. If you understand the terms and agree to them, you may have decided that it is a fair tradeoff. You might also agree to let the company track your online activities to determine which ads to show you.

Basically, spyware includes adware, but not all ads are bad. Are ads bad about after paying for an Office license?

Another part of spyware is tracking. The OFFICE 2003 EULA (.PDF and .XPS wrapped in .EXE) states:

CONSENT TO USE OF DATA. You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Software. Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.

While in Office the collected information is not personal, the EULA does not mention disabling collection.

The Office Privacy Statement admits the use of tracking cookies. While cookies are normal and generally harmless, it is unusual to require cookies or to use them in a desktop application. If cookies are disabled in Internet Explorer, the Office help fails.

In conclusion, Office 2003 does display ads, and certain parts require cookies. While these are a normal and healthy part of the web, it is, at least, unusual for a commercial desktop application.

SOURCE

Still Looking For Reason to Keep Away From Windows?
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18

MICROSOFT VS THE FREE WORLD
VISTA ACTIVATION WORRIES
VISTA ULTIMATUM
MICROSCUM’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION FAQ
WINDOWS PRIVACY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
A GRIPELINE WGA POST
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
LOOKING FOR REASOSN TO KEEP AWAY FROM MS OFFICE?
BAD VISTA DOT ORG
SOME RANTS

Posted by Elvis on 02/11/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Still Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From Windows? Part 18

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Even the Homeless Hurt by Vista Updates

By Ed Foster
Gripeline
january 6, 2008

I’m still drying out and powering up after California’s storms, as is my webhost’s DNS server, so I apologize to those who’ve been trying to get through to the Gripe2ed website. But there’s nothing like going through a few cold, powerless days to increase one’s sympathy for those who endure lots of days like that. And it also spurs me to relate the experience of one reader whose efforts to help the less fortunate were hindered over the holiday season by Microsoft Vista.

“I am the Executive Director of a poverty agency that serves homeless families and low-income mentally disabled adults,” the reader wrote. “I maintain one server and about 20 PCs which I built. In November I made the mistake of accepting the optional recommended updates on four computers that are my newest and most powerful, AMD x2 6000 systems with nVidia motherboards and video chipsets, all of which are running Vista Business. As these are my top desks, I give special attention to keeping these PCs up to date—a big mistake when it comes to Microsoft updates. Before I realized it the Microsoft update system had rendered all of those PCs totally inoperable.”

The reader’s systems went down just as Thanksgiving was approaching, the busiest time of year for his organization. “The issue seemed to be that the updates not only patched Microsoft products, but actually updated hardware with what are claimed to be Microsoft-tested drivers,” the reader wrote. “This is dangerous because Microsoft does not have a lot of competency in the hardware area. In this case, at least two incorrect hardware drivers were installed. One Microsoft tech support person I talked to let it slip that this had happened to others with nVidia hardware who had downloaded that update. By the next day, it was no longer happening, so I guess they updated the update.”

In part, this was a case of what Microsoft giveth, Microsoft can taketh away. “Microsoft tech support instructed me to run the start-up repair tool on the Vista DVD,” said the reader, whose organization gets Microsoft and other software through an in-kind donation program run by TechSoup. “Unfortunately, as a non-profit, I was sent a four-CD set that did not include a bootable disk with the utility. So I then had to go to the store and buy a DVD version of Vista. Using it, I was able to fix two of the PCs. Two were completely lost. Even the ones I saved had to be restored to a previous date. Some software had to be reinstalled and reauthorized.”

Weeks later, the PCs were still not working completely right. “Several no longer recognize the extra SATA drive or all the USB ports. One, mine, continues to seem bogged down, and errors are recorded on every boot. I have also had to turn off Windows Defender because it constantly crashes, causing other issues. Interestingly, you cannot uninstall, or even reinstall, Defender by normal means, leaving me few options when it is causing problems. After the holidays, I will have to reformat and reinstall everything. Finally, I am concerned about Windows activation. I have had at least four unnecessary activations. That means that I am burning up all of my extra re-installs and will have none for problems in the future.”

“I personally lost over 70 hours of intense work and still do not have any of these systems working perfectly. And during our busiest week of the year serving poor and needy people, four of my users were without access to client databases, etc. Microsoft has not even apologized.”

SOURCE

Still Looking For Reason to Keep Away From Windows?
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18

MICROSOFT VS THE FREE WORLD
VISTA ACTIVATION WORRIES
VISTA ULTIMATUM
MICROSCUM’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION FAQ
WINDOWS PRIVACY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
A GRIPELINE WGA POST
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
LOOKING FOR REASOSN TO KEEP AWAY FROM MS OFFICE?
BAD VISTA DOT ORG
SOME RANTS

Posted by Elvis on 01/06/08 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Still Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From Windows? Part 17

badwindows.jpg

Blue Screen of DRM Death; or The Death Of Windows Media Center

By Jesper Johansson
Jesper’s Blog
November 5, 2007

I’m turning off, disconnecting, and throwing out my Windows XP Media Center PC. For two years it has been the DVR unit in my home, as well as just a convenient way to view movies. However, the DRM zealots have finally rendered it completely useless.

This weekend my 5 year old was complaining that On Demand (Comcast Cable’s video on demand system) was not working. It showed this weird blue screen. Upon inspecting the problem I found that the video would turn on, the screen would flicker for a second each of black and the video a few times, and then the Blue Screen of DRM came up. It also wouldn’t play any premium channels. Figuring this was a solvable problem, I tried a few things:

1. Disconnect the Media Center and plugging the cable box directly into the TV. This resolved the problem admirably.
2. The steps in KB 913800
3. The steps in Aaron Stebner’s blog about DRM problems in Windows Media Center Update 2
4. The steps in KB 891664
5. Updating the DRM component as per these steps
6. A full Microsoft Update, which installed Windows Media Player 11
7. More Microsoft Updates which update and fix security bugs in Windows Media Player 11
8. Uninstalling Windows Media Player 11
9. Updating the DRM component as per these steps

Step 8 was, if not the clincher, so at least very interesting. After that one I am now back to Windows Media Player 10 and when I launch it it crashes. Fortunately, Windows Error Reporting has seen this problem before and directs me to an article with steps to troubleshoot my problem with Windows SharePoint Services!

Step 9 was even more interesting. As soon as I enter that page now Internet Explorer crashes. How wonderful! Microsoft’s “security update” (i.e. DRM update) has caused a Denial of Service (DoS) not only in Windows Media Center, but in Internet Explorer. Want to crash someone’s IE instance? Just 302 them to the DRM Update page.

So, now I am trying to decide what to use instead. I’m contemplating whether LINUX MCE may be worthwhile?

Is it just me, or is DRM of movies and music the poster child for an inappropriate security v. usability tradeoff? How many billions has the industry spent on DRM schemes that the bad guys break in weeks? How many perfectly legitimate users has the industry annoyed and driven away? How many lost DVD sales has it caused? How many lost sales of Microsoft’s Media Center software and Windows Vista has it caused because the DRM sub-system randomly decides that you must be a criminal? And, how many bootleggers has it stopped? Based on my last jaunt through a night market somewhere in the Far East the answer to the last question seems pretty clear at least.

SOURCE

Still Looking For Reason to Keep Away From Windows?
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18

MICROSOFT VS THE FREE WORLD
VISTA ACTIVATION WORRIES
VISTA ULTIMATUM
MICROSCUM’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION FAQ
WINDOWS PRIVACY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
A GRIPELINE WGA POST
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
BAD VISTA DOT ORG
SOME RANTS

Posted by Elvis on 11/05/07 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Still Looking For Reasons To Keep Away From Windows? Part 16

The only way to deal with software and music companies that use DRM is to to take your business elsewhere, so I’ve been slowly moving to an open source environment, hoping to eventually go DRM free - with no more security, privacy and EXTORTION issues from Microsoft and their ILK.

badwindows.jpg

I STARTING POSTING STUFF about Microsoft last summer, after their 2006 iteration of WGA SPYWARE SNUCK ON, then booted one of my home computers to the PRODUCT ACTIVATION wizard - DENYING me my Windows desktop. Then, after calling Microsoft for help getting the desktop back, was falsely accused over the phone by - and hung up on - by an English challenged customer service rep.  Since getting that straightened out - exception logs show uninitiated outbound connection attempts, multiple times each day, to near a dozen Microsoft registered IPs - (65.55.192.29, 65.55.192.61, 65.55.192.93, 65.55.192.126, 207.46.18.88, 207.46.20.93, 207.46.199.93, 207.46.211.122, 207.46.211.124, 207.46.211.126, 207.46.253.125, 207.46.253.157). Every time I turn the computer on now, I take a deep breath and WONDER if today will be the day Microsoft remotely shuts it off for ANY REASON whatsoever, since they - not me - control it.

Further EXPLORATION suggests future Windows Operating Systems and ALL SOFTWARE on any computer running Windows may be DATABASED and CONTROLLED ENTIRELY BY MICROSOFT. Because of that, I’m a SUPPORTER for Open-Source, not that Linux is any BETTER or WORSE than Windows, but BECAUSE we’re ALLOWING OUR RIGHTS TO BE TAKEN AWAY by big CORPORATE INTERESTS Like Microsoft. 

Last week - Microsoft’s WGA DRM was explained to the masses of Windows users again in a big way.

---

DRM bites again: the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage servers (which every XP and Vista install phones home to) all failed sometime earlier today.

The result? Every single Windows XP and Vista installation—except possibly those with volume license keys—is being marked as counterfeit when it tries to check in. Installations which are flagged as counterfeit switch to a “reduced functionality mode” which results in features like Aero and DirectX being disabled.

So far, the only public response from Microsoft has been indirectly via their technical support forums, where a user has posted the following snippet from an email he received from MS’s technical support address:

Thank you for your response.

Im sorry to inform you that the Windows Genuine server might be down for few days. I have escalate the issue to our Genuine team, kindly try to validate again on Tuesday 28 Aug 2007.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Technical Support.

SOURCE

Phil Liu, the WGA Program Manager has responded on the Microsoft forums to say, effectively, “we know, we’re taking it seriously and we’re working on it.”

I understand the frustration you all are going through. I’m investigating the issue right now.

I guarantee that we’re working on this issue right now. For folks wondering, MACHINES ARE NOT SHUTTING DOWN with reduced functionality.

I guarantee that I will personally resolve this issue before I go to sleep - whether or not it is Tuesday I sleep. My goal is to identify a FIX for this issue - afterwards get you all what you are looking for, an explanation and cause.

The message from the Supportability team will be addressed appropriately as well. I encourage folks to keep an eye out on these forums.

I promise I will have an explanation and resolution as soon as humanly possible.

-Phil Liu @ Microsoft
Program Manager, WGA

SOURCE

This isn’t the first time it HAPPENED.

SOURCE

READ MORE ON DIGG

---

Windows Update Updating Without Permission

By Thomas Hruska
CUBIC
August 24, 2007

Did I ever mention that I love VERIFYMYPC? Oh wait. Never mind. I did that already.

It has been a while since I have posted but this one is too good to pass up. Every night around 10:30 p.m., my computer is set up to run a VerifyMyPC scan. About 11 p.m. the Scan Notifier runs and does the whole balloon pop-up thing. Normally nothing pops up because there is nothing to report (i.e. another day at the office - figuratively speaking).

When there is something to report, usually a little yellow triangle icon shows up and I say, “Yup, I remember doing that today.” Or, “Those changes to my system sound about right.”

Tonight, the special analysis mode of the Scan Notifier picked up on unusual behavior and popped up the Red-X icon.

If Microsoft ever wanted to get caught with their pants down, they succeeded. For most people, the above doesn’t make a whole lot of sense past the “you might have a virus” part. VerifyMyPC requires a little extra knowledge about computer systems when dealing with the details. Google is your friend in these cases. Running searches for ‘wups.dll’ and ‘wups2.dll’ turns up something about Automatic Updates. In particular, those DLLs provide Automatic Update functionality for Windows.

In other words, the Automatic Updates utility automatically updated itself. Now this might not seem like a big deal but I have automatic updates set to manual (both download and installation have to be approved by me) and not the usual ‘automatic’ setting found on most user PCs. In other words, Windows updated itself without my express permission. Such behavior is right in line with spyware-like activity. Thus, VerifyMyPC is doing an accurate job in reporting such behavior to me. I love VerifyMyPC.

It is also interesting to note that Microsoft pushed out an update to Automatic Updates on a day other than the 2nd Tuesday of the month (also known as “Patch Tuesday").

SOURCE

Rants

You have to wonder why WGA software didn’t just say “Sorry, WGA server is down, please try validating at a later time” instead MS decides to call us criminals and disable features.  Whats the logic in that?

---

This really highlights the wrongheaded methods Microsoft uses to ensure their profits by preventing piracy. When their OS is unable to verify its authenticity, instead of giving the user the benefit of the doubt, they choose to lock the user out, without requiring any actual evidence of malfeasance. This means that if MS were to cease to exist, their OS product would stop functioning as well, all due to an unnecessary point of failure built into the OS. If future archeologists were to unearth a Windows PC, and try to use it, they would be confronted with this Genuine Advantage crap. Any company that doesn’t have enough respect for its users, and for the integrity of its own products, to design beautiful and timeless software in the ultimate sense, is not a company I wish to support.

---

Yawn… These problems were bound to happen. And, they will happen again.

The day will come when crackers succeed in breaking into the WGPAA ("Windows Genuine Product deActivation disAdvantage") servers, and sabotage them. They will then send out malware updates to all (in)validating machines, and take control of each and every one of them. This is just a disaster waiting to happen. I can hear everyone already: “Wir haben es nicht gewusst!” Yeah, right!

Good luck to all WGPAA victims… You’ll need it.

---

I was on the phone for 3 hours last night trying to resolve this problem with Microsoft support.  They had no clue what was happening and continually tried to get me to have them generate a new product key for my retail copy of Vista when this clearly wasn’t the problem.  They told me that installing third party software had corrupted Vista and I needed a new product key.  The issue was escalated to a research engineer which did nothing but try to coerce me into getting a new product key.  I think it is unacceptable and and huge customer service issue to cripple Windows because of a server issue.  My fully legal purchased retail copy of Vista ultimate turned into crippled nagware because of a server issue.  And then I spent 3 hours on the phone with support that has no idea of what to do and only wanted to generate a new product key to get me off the phone.  Makes me regret ever buying Vista in the first place.  Good thing I can dual-boot to XP still.

---

I think this exposes how flippant microsoft are about supporting their software. Consider this sequence of events;

WGA ceases to function and renders all Vista machines that attempt to download a critical update invalid.

Tomorrow, a zero day exploit is found in Vista.

A virus is written to take advantage of the exploit.

Because the Critical updates can no longer be downloaded because the broken WGA system disallows it, the virus is able to propagate unhindered through every Vista installation, exposing personal data belonging to every Vista user.

I know this is worst case stuff but someone has to be liable when these things happen. Think about the slammer attacks only worse.

Still Looking For Reason to Keep Away From Windows?
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17

MICROSOFT VS THE FREE WORLD
VISTA ACTIVATION WORRIES
VISTA ULTIMATUM
MICROSCUM’S PRODUCT ACTIVATION FAQ
WINDOWS PRIVACY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW
A CONTRACT ONLY MICROSOFT CAN BREAK
MICROSOFT WGA FORUM
MICROSOFT EMAIL SUPPORT
MICROSOFT FACES LAWSUIT OVER WGA
MICROSOFT DENIES WINDOWS XP KILL SWITCH
A GRIPELINE WGA POST
LAUREN WEINSTEIN’S WGA POSTS
GROKLAW - IT’S A MATTER OF INFORMED CONSENT
WGA - WORSE THAN EXTORTION
WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER EULA
BAD VISTA DOT ORG
RANTS

Posted by Elvis on 08/26/07 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Microsoft And Windows
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