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Oops! Dell gives away Win2k product key. Not quite

Close, but no cigar...

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Microsoft's favourite OEM seems to blotting its copybook big-time. First, there's an escaped Dell OEM copy of the RTM version of WinXP on the loose, and now, if you happen to have a copy of Windows 2000 but for some unaccountable reason you don't have a product key, well...

Dell is there to help, but on closer examination prompted by about 60 emails from our nice readers it turns out the company has sneakily blotted out the last block of the key it's publishing on its web site. Win2k product keys are five block, and the Dell leak - sigh - is only four. Figure out for yourself how long it's going to take you to get the right one(s) by trial and error (five characters to check).

The eagle-eyed team at tecChannel ((story auf Deutsch) started this. If you go to Dell's Latitude 810 spec page, then click on the 360 demo link, you get a nice rotatable image of the machine.

Then flip the Latitude over, rotate and zoom until you see ever so clearly one of those standard stickers you get on the bottom of machines these days. Alternatively, you could just wander through other people's office flipping up machines when nobody's looking, but it's cool that Dell is doing a proper virtual version of this classic product key vulnerability. Dell is a deeply happening e-company, as we all know, and can thus be said to be walking the talk.

But, ah, doesn't Microsoft get really heavy about this sort of thing, these days? One enthusiast who's apparently no better than he should be recently published a take-down notice he received from Microsoft saying: "The above location [we won't trouble you or him by publishing the site details] is offering 'Cracks' or 'Serial Numbers', intended to circumvent protection applied to prevent the unauthorized copying and use of copyrighted computer programs, for distribution by technical means."

Presumably blotting out the last bit means Dell's take-down notice isn't on the way... ®

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