Feeds

WinXP activation bug zeros testers' trial period

Grief, is that the time already?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Some traffic from the Microsoft WinXP beta news groups forwarded to The Register indicates that the company may be in deep doo-doo as regards the operation of Product Activation. It's fragile, it's triggering the termination of testers' eval periods, and Microsoft doesn't know why.

Given Microsoft's recent habit of sprinkling time-limited eval copies of its code around the world, this one could conceivably do a lot more than just hack off some beta testers, so you might reckon it's kind of important. According to one luckless tester: "I activated my desktop a few days ago, and now all of a sudden I get the following message after I type my password at the login screen: 'The evaluation period for this copy of Windows has ended. Windows cannot continue loading."

Finger trouble? Apparently not. Paul (surname withheld by our informant) from Microsoft asks: "From the time you started getting the expiration errors, have you done any of the following:
1. Flashed your BIOS
2. Changed the system clock in your BIOS
3. Joined the system in question to an existing domain
4. Done anything else that may have adjusted the system time"

Paul does sound like he was already a little bit aware of this problem, doesn't he? But it's more than just a problem of the eval period being zapped by a simple change of the system clock, as is clear from what else Paul has to say: "Also, if any of you have hit this situation and have not done anything that may have reset your system clock, you should bug the problem, with as much detail as possible."

So they know it's there, they're after it, but they haven't caught it yet. The likelihood is that the eval code and the product activation code are more closely tied together than Microsoft is letting on, and there's some kind of interaction there that's triggering expiry.

Paul suggests a couple of possible fixes, and these may provide an indicator of where Microsoft thinks the problem could lie:

"1. Boot to safe mode (no networking) and run an upgrade (note that you can upgrade to the same version you're currently running
"2. Boot to safe mode (no networking) and run 'sysprep -nosidgen - reseal'

"Note that neither of these two options are guaranteed to work, but, if they do, it beats the alternative, which is a reinstall."

Actually, we at The Reg don't entirely agree. In our experience so far, a complete XP reinstall seems to beat trying to fix whatever it was you broke, and it usually takes a lot less time. ®

Other good XP newsgroup leaks:
WinXP beta testers still in open revolt over product activation
MS testers shout 'Linux!' over Whistler copy protection

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.