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Ask Your Vista Questions Here.

Discussion in 'Windows - General discussion' started by ozzy214, Feb 24, 2006.

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  1. tmgcomp6

    tmgcomp6 Member

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    I myself got a chance to "sample" the RTM release through a friend. It is a system resources hog! My friend has a sempron 2800 laptop he had it on and it rated his "windows" expierence, the level and tools vista uses and can be used on the PC, a 1. Another words, vista would not even load all its features on my friends computer becuase vista thought it was too old. Honestly, I am looking at linux much more these days.
     
  2. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    Vista is to big and to load and then it has the balls to lock video and audio and then "protect" the data you archive...I'll cling to XP but I shall avoid vista like the plauge..unless someone "fixes" it.
     
  3. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    [​IMG]

    F... VISTA..DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND,THIS IS SET UP BETWEEN THE MOVIE STUDIOS AND MICROSOFT TO CONTROL YOU.

    ANY ONE THAT BUYS OR USE'S VISTA HAS ROCKS IN THERE HEAD



    Are New DRM Technologies Setting Vista Up for Failure?
    Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday November 15, @09:20PM
    from the stand-you-up-to-knock-you-down dept.
    Windows IT
    PetManimal writes "Computerworld has picked apart the way Vista handles DRM in terms of hardware and software restrictions. Trusted Platform Module, Output Protection Management, Protected Video Path and various Windows Media software components are designed to "protect" copyrighted content against security breaches and unauthorized use. The article notes that many of the DRM technologies were forced upon Vista by the entertainment industry, but that may not garner Microsoft or Hollywood any sympathy with consumers: 'Matt Rosoff, lead analyst at research firm Directions On Microsoft, asserts that this process does not bode well for new content formats such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD, neither of which are likely to survive their association with DRM technology. "I could not be more skeptical about the viability of the DRM included with Vista, from either a technical or a business standpoint," Rosoff stated. "It's so consumer-unfriendly that I think it's bound to fail — and when it fails, it will sink whatever new formats content owners are trying to impose."'"




    November 15, 2006 (Computerworld) -- If you ask five veteran Windows users to explain Vista's take on digital rights management (DRM), you're likely to get five different answers that have just one thing in common: Whatever it is, they know they don't like it.

    In a nutshell, this is the dilemma Microsoft faces as it prepares to launch Windows Vista. By any standard, Vista's new DRM capabilities -- aimed at protecting the rights of content owners by placing limits on how consumers can use digital media -- hardly qualify as a selling point; after all, it's hard to sing the praises of technology designed to make life harder for its users.

    Microsoft itself defines DRM in straightforward terms, as "any technology used to protect the interests of owners of content and services." In theory, it's an easy concept to grasp; in practice, however, modern DRM technologies include a multitude of hardware-, software- and media-based content-protection schemes, many of which have little or nothing in common.

    DRM at the hardware level

    Vista's DRM technologies fall into several distinct categories, all of which are either completely new to the operating system or represent a significant change from the technology found in previous versions of Windows. The Intel-developed Trusted Platform Module (TPM) makes DRM harder to circumvent by extending it beyond the operating system and into the PC's hardware components.

    TPM is used with Vista's BitLocker full-drive encryption technology to protect a PC's data against security breaches. A TPM microchip embedded on the PC's motherboard stores unique system identifiers along with the BitLocker decryption keys. If a system is tampered with -- for example, if the hard drive is removed and placed in a different machine -- TPM detects the tampering and prevents the drive from being unencrypted.

    A set of related technologies grouped under the name Output Protection Management (OPM) also takes DRM to the hardware level. Perhaps the most prominent (or notorious) OPM technology, known as Protected Video Path (PVP), provides a good example of how hardware-based DRM works and what it can do. PVP content-protection technology is supported both in Windows Vista and within a small but growing number of high-end graphics adapters, high-definition displays and even digital display connector cables. It is intended, first and foremost, to protect the high-quality digital content that is slowly becoming available on the next-generation Blu-ray and HD-DVD optical media technology.

    Most commercial DVDs, of course, already include copy-protection technology. This protection, however, works only in conjunction with the DVD player itself. It cannot stop attempts to intercept and copy the protected content further downstream, as it moves first to the graphics card and finally to a user's display -- a problem sometimes referred to as the "analog gap."

    PVP eliminates these security gaps, enabling a series of DRM measures that keep a high-resolution content stream encrypted, and in theory completely protected, from its source media all the way to the display used to watch it. If the system detects a high-resolution output path on a user's PC (i.e., a system capable of moving high-res content all the way to a user's display), it will check to make sure that every component that touches a protected content stream adheres to the specification. If it finds a noncompliant device, it can downgrade the content stream to deliver a lower-quality picture -- or it can even refuse to play the content at all, depending on the rights holder's preferences.
    http://computerworld.com/action/art...icleBasic&articleId=9005047&intsrc=hm_ts_head




    New content protection on the horizon with Microsoft Vista
    Posted by Dan Bell on 30 August 2005 - 18:54 - Source: ZDNet

    ZDNet has put up an article that says Microsoft is going to prove that the PC is a very safe platform for copyrighted content. All it's going to take is for everyone and their brother to purchase their latest and greatest effort "Vista" when it hits the shelves in a couple years. The story goes into a little detail of how the new operating system could differ from XP. I say "could" because the OS is in beta stages now and anything can change. They may want to soothe content providers, that's for sure, but we all know who butters Redmonds bread- the consumer. So if you make too strict a platform you will lose to other OS'es. This is a double whammy for MS as the other cash cow they have is MS Office and they darn sure don't want people getting used to Linux and Open Office.

    How does this work?
    One of the biggest changes in Vista is a technology called "Protected Video Path." This will essentially keep video streams encrypted and inaccessible as video is being sent from a DVD (or other copy-protected source) to the monitor, TV or other display. The operating system will also check what the computer is connected to (a monitor, a TV, and so on), do another check to make sure the device really is what it says it is, and then see what kind of plug, or output mechanism, is being used to connect the computer to the device.

    Vista will go much further than previous operating systems in checking devices that are several steps downstream, if several digital components are connected to each other. If it finds that there is a device that doesn't respect DRM rules, or if it finds a plug that doesn't support transmission of those copy-protection rules, it might not let the video be sent through that output at all.

    Boy, that sounds lovely! I can't wait to pull out my wallet for such an awesome protection for the entertainment industry! Goodness knows they can't fend for themselves with only billions in profits each quarter to pay for their flamboyant lifestyles. It's up to us to fund such endeavors against piracy by purchasing a new operating system. I can see folks calling tech support due to a piece of hardware that discontinues to work, only to find out it's not the hardware, but rather a "feature" of their spanking new OS!

    http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/12328
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  4. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Top 10 Reasons to Delay Your Upgrade to Windows Vista


    The Future Lawyer cautions against haste and questions the operating system's licensing agreement

    By Rick Georges
    Special to Law.com
    November 14, 2006

    10. Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft.

    9. The Vista operating system's end user licensing agreement (EULA) reads like the Internal Revenue Code on steroids.

    8. Microsoft Corp. initially demanded users ask permission every time they reinstall the operating system after the first one -- what if the software behemoth reassumes that stance?

    7. Windows crashes often enough that most Windows users have a permanent "oops" in their throats.

    6. New operating systems always have bugs; new operating systems from Microsoft have bugs for their entire useful life.

    5. Microsoft's version of a secure operating system all but requires that the user can't use it either.

    4. Vista doesn't want anyone to look at its insides, so you can't tell how slow it is.

    3. Bill Gates doesn't really need another mansion.

    2. Ubuntu Linux is free, free, free.

    1. Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft.

    OK, my top 10 reasons are meant to be humorous. However, there are plenty of serious reasons why lawyers and law firms need to think twice before they upgrade.

    The first, and most obvious, is that new operating systems historically have loads of problems. New drivers are required for a lot of peripheral devices, bugs crop up that need to be fixed and so on.

    Vista, in particular, may not run on older hardware. It contains tons of new code (including heavy diagnostic code), fancier graphics and will require at least 512 megabytes of memory to operate. That translates to a gig of memory in real life. Handling the "aero" interface -- which is pretty but processor-intensive -- will require a powerful processor. You could find yourself having to buy a new computer just to run Vista. So, the Future Lawyer recommends that you wait a few months and let somebody else have the problems. It's possible that older computers can run Vista in dumbed-down mode; but, if you want the new features, but you can't run them, why buy it?

    In addition, the new EULA appears to have problems. Many pundits are unclear about the new protections against unauthorized use. The protections limited to one the number of times a user can reinstall the software or switch to a new machine -- until a recent public outcry, which I describe further below, forced Microsoft to reconsider.

    Further, the software licensing agreement discourages benchmarking, which limits comparisons with other systems. The new EULA provides that users may conduct benchmark tests on Vista; however, if the results are published, Microsoft reserves the right to publish the results of its own tests of the testing company's products that compete with Microsoft's .NET initiative. In effect, due to Microsoft's size and power, this is likely to chill any competing product's testing and comparison of the software.

    Perhaps the most obnoxious provision of the Vista EULA is the provision that requires mandatory activation, and allows Microsoft to require the software to contact Microsoft periodically to determine if the software is legitimate. This is the so-called Genuine Advantage initiative that has been panned for producing false positives. If Microsoft's computers report an unlicensed copy, the software can be deactivated. Read more here.

    Vista's worst new "feature" is the outright prohibition against running Vista on a virtual machine. This means you can't install Vista on a Mac and use virtual software to switch back and forth between operating systems, even though you paid for it in the first place. Many PC enthusiasts were pumped about being able to run Windows in the new Intel-based Macs, and having the best of both operating system worlds -- Windows and Mac OS in the same machine, running in a virtual environment. Switching back and forth gives the user access to the best software in each environment. By prohibiting the use of Vista in such an environment, users will be forced to stay with XP or earlier Windows versions.

    Vista's new security emphasis could have the effect of preventing users from using their own machines in the ways they wish to do so. While it's laudable that Microsoft is showing interest in operating-system security, its answer is to close the system to modification in many cases, which would limit installation of software, hamper the changing of data-configurations settings and result in annoying user prompts before "potentially" malicious changes are allowed. I anticipate an early spate of "My computer won't let me... " complaints by users. This is akin to putting so many locks on the system doors that the user can't get out of his own software house. Learn more about Vista security features.

    Finally, Microsoft, in my opinion, is arrogant. Sure, the company responded to a public clamor by saying it will reverse its limitations on reinstallation of Vista, going back to language in the XP license permitting unlimited reinstalls on new computers, as long as the user ceases using it in the old computers. (Of course, Microsoft changes these things from day to day, so read the licensing agreement carefully before buying or installing Vista.) Read the following statements by a Microsoft public relations representative in response to TechWeb's questions about the initial restrictions on reinstallation. Selected comments by the Microsoft PR person are in italics below. My translations follow each one.

    The hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP. We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers.

    Future Lawyer translation: If you believe it's your needs we're most concerned about, I have a bridge to sell you.

    When hardware components are changed, Microsoft's product activation process compares information derived from the initial validation, which includes the hardware configuration of the device, against the changes that have been made. This process uses an algorithm to help assess whether the software is installed on the same device. Validation will fail if the software detects a substantially different hardware configuration.

    Future Lawyer translation: Don't try to reinstall the operating system, bozo. Our computers are smarter than your computers.

    At that point, the customer is able to use the one reassignment for the new device. If, after using its one reassignment right, a customer again exceeds the tolerance for updated components, the customer can purchase an additional license or seek remediation through Microsoft's support services.

    Future Lawyer translation: If you get down on your hands and knees, and beg, we might let you reinstall the software you paid for.


    Microsoft cares a great deal for its PC enthusiast customers. In fact, the hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP. We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers.

    Future Lawyer translation: If you believe any of this, you're the most gullible person ever.

    OK, so I might've taken some liberties with my translations. Does anyone really speak fluent Microsoft?

    Regardless of what the company ends up doing with the Vista licensing agreement, I say this: Microsoft, you don't hold dominion over all software. I reserve the right to use software I've purchased on any system I own.

    Rick Georges is a Florida solo attorney and author of Law.com's Future Lawyer blog.

    Law.com's ongoing IN FOCUS article series highlights opinion and analysis from our site's contributors and writers across the ALM network of publications.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/legaltechnology/pubArticleLT.jsp?id=1163449246813
     
  5. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Vista gaming will be 10 to 15 per cent slower than XP

    Oh great

    By Fuad Abazovic: Saturday 07 October 2006, 07:14
    MICROSOFT is telling its selected gaming industry chaps that gaming under Vista will be ten to fifteen per cent slower than XP. It is because you have to load the 3D desktop all the time. It is ironic, as the same company tells the developers that the same API can do certain things up to four times faster.

    We are preparing to check this claim but the really pesky thing is that you won’t be able to run DirectX 10 games on Windows XP at all. So even a game like Crysis - the first DirectX 10 title - won’t be that much of a DX 10. We are still far away from DirectX 10 only games but don’t be surprised as there is no single DirectX 10 card the market. This should change in the next few weeks, but we are still far away from mainstream and low end DirectX 10 cards.

    So if you play Battlefield 2 or FEAR or any other popular game you are likely to get lower frame rates with Vista. That is certainly not a good buying argument but don’t think you and I have much choice as it looks like a take it or leave it deal. I like Vista as the 3D desktop looks sexy but that is probably its key feature. µ
    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=34915
     
  6. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Zune hates Vista

    p2pnet.net News:- The two Big Projects being touted by Bill and the Boyz are Vista and Zune.

    But one won't work with the other.

    It's already for sure that Zune won't play music from the likes of Napster, MTV's Urge or Yahoo Music Unlimited, all of which use Microsoft's very own Windows Media PlaysForSure DRM (digital restrictions management) consumer control application.

    And now it turns out that Zune is no good with Vista either, says AppleInsider.

    "This operating system is currently not supported by Zune," reads an error message when trying to install Zune software on the latest versions of Microsoft's own Windows Vista operating system, says the story.

    And with it comes a splash screen of three women apparently writhing in pain.

    However, "it's the official installer backdrop chosen by the Redmond, Wash. folks to appear for each and every customer who installs a Zune," says AppleInsider.

    But Zune users do have a choice: download from the dedicated Zune music store, or rip their own CDs.

    But Hey! When you're a monopolist, you figure you have consumers by the short and curlies.



    (Thursday 16th November 2006)
    http://p2pnet.net/story/10447?PHPSESSID=bba222f05d1a258133ddbf02
     
  7. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Pirated Vista 'No Good'

    p2pnet.net News:- Anyone using pirated versions of Vista is playing a losing game, says Microsoft.

    "The copies available for download are not final code and users should avoid unauthorized copies which could be incomplete or tampered," it says, quoted by the IDG News Service.

    "This unauthorized download relies on the use of pre-RTM [release-to-manufacturing] activation keys that will be blocked using Microsofta's Software Protection Platform. Consequently, these downloads will be of limited value."

    The Software Protection Platform, "is supposed to render the operating system inoperative if it suspects a product key is bogus," says the story.

    "Copies of the OS whose product keys have been blocked eventually drop into a barely-usable state where only the Internet Explorer browser works, and then only for an hour before its user is automatically logged off."

    Office 2007, meanwhile, "will use a less robust anti-piracy scheme based on Windows XP's already-deployed Windows Genuine Advantage technology," says IDG.






    Pirated Vista May be Useless

    Prerelease versions will expire without proper activation, Microsoft says.
    Robert Mullins, IDG News Service
    Wednesday, November 15, 2006 09:00 AM PST

    Microsoft says supposedly pirated copies of its new Vista computer operating system "will be of limited value" to those who use them.

    Microsoft responded to reports that some Web sites have been circulating pirated copies of Vista and the Microsoft Office 2007 applications suite.

    The pirated Vista comes with a product key that users can enter to activate a version of the products on their computers without paying for them, according to a report on the Web site of The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald newspaper. A product key is a unique serial number tied to each package of a software product.

    A second download, called an "activation crack," can then be applied that bypasses the activation process intended to guarantee that the Vista version being downloaded is legitimate, the Herald reported. Pirated copies of Office 2007 can be downloaded just with the product key with no second activation code required.
    Apps Will Expire

    But Microsoft said in a prepared statement that those pirated copies of the OS won't work for long.

    "The copies available for download are not final code and users should avoid unauthorized copies which could be incomplete or tampered. This unauthorized download relies on the use of pre-RTM [release-to-manufacturing] activation keys that will be blocked using Microsofta??s Software Protection Platform. Consequently, these downloads will be of limited value," the statement said.

    Microsoft is still looking into reports of pirated versions of Office 2007 and declined further comment.

    "Microsoft is happy that customers are eager to begin using Windows Vista," the company said.
    Vista's Launch Schedule

    Microsoft has been criticized for multiple delays in bringing Vista to market, but has said it wants to take care that the product is designed correctly to avoid security flaws, piracy problems, and other software glitches.

    The company released Vista to computer manufacturers November 8 for them to build into new laptops and desktops available for retail sale in January 2007. Consumers can start buying individual copies of Vista January 30.

    Microsoft also plans to have Vista in the hands of business customers by the end of November. It has scheduled a Vista launch event in New York City on November 30 when the new Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 will also be introduced.
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,127890-c,vistalonghorn/article.html
    (Thursday 16th November 2006)
    http://p2pnet.net/story/10450?PHPSESSID=75a5efceb28b8f2942044db051edf6bc
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  8. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Vista flops in Europe

    p2pnet.net News:- Vista went to computer manufacturers on November 8, but, "More than half of European organisations have no plan to upgrade to Microsoft's long-awaited operating system Windows Vista," says BusinessWeek Online, going on:

    "A Forrester survey of 302 IT chiefs at European businesses found that 20 per cent are also planning to wait up to two years after Vista's release before deploying it. Just six per cent said they planned to deploy it within the first six months of release and 18 per cent within one year.

    This reflects, "greater resistance to the Microsoft product strategy from users in the European market".

    Consumers will have to wait until the end of January before they'll be able to buy Vista.

    POSTED BELOW
    Also See:
    BusinessWeek Online - Most European Firms Have No Vista Plans, November 15, 2006



    (Thursday 16th November 2006)
    http://p2pnet.net/story/10452?PHPSESSID=389187d6d0db7cc827e71a1fb0e446a5



    Most European Firms Have No Vista Plans
    Microsoft's new operating system is scheduled for release this month, but only 18% of businesses plan to deploy it within the next year


    More than half of European organisations have no plan to upgrade to Microsoft's long-awaited operating system Windows Vista, which is due to be released at the end of November.

    A Forrester survey of 302 IT chiefs at European businesses found that 20 per cent are also planning to wait up to two years after Vista's release before deploying it. Just six per cent said they planned to deploy it within the first six months of release and 18 per cent within one year.

    The report said: "This is behind the anticipated rate of adoption in North America, reflecting greater resistance to the Microsoft product strategy from users in the European market."

    More than one-third (35 per cent) of Windows-based PCs in the organisations questioned also still run either Windows 2000 or an older version of the operating system, Forrester found.

    The State of Enterprise Infrastructure 2006 study said that while the overall outlook for IT spending in 2006 remains "austere", enterprises are making significant new investments in hardware, with servers and PCs taking up around one-sixth of the entire IT budget.

    More than half (55 per cent) of European organisations run HP servers, followed by 32 per cent with IBM servers, 26 per cent with Dell, eight per cent with Sun and seven per cent with Fujitsu-Siemens. The majority of organisations also only use one vendor and two-thirds said they are unlikely to change their supplier in the next two years.

    But businesses are continuing to struggle with complexity in their server environments and 52 per cent of organisations are reducing the number and variety of their server configurations as a priority.

    This is leading to more interest in server virtualisation, with more than a quarter of organisations either looking at it or already piloting it.

    In terms of infrastructure projects, disaster recovery and security are the main priorities for the next 12 months, and are driving much of the increased hardware spending.

    Provided by silicon.com—Driving Business Through Technology
    http://www.businessweek.com/globalb...=globalbiz_europe_more+of+today's+top+stories
     
  9. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

  10. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    dose anyone know what the DVD/CD burning setup will be on vista? I know nero has had a time getting MS to give them info on getting nero working....

    How are they going to blacklist DVD copying? if they do that wont that effect home made DVDs? or are they goign to black list the lot of it?

    Are they going to DRM ourarchive DVDs and CDs only making them run on that machine?
     
  11. sillycybe

    sillycybe Regular member

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    with nero 7 being vista compatible now, i've been able to use showtime for all my video/audio needs. AnyDVD seems to work fine on vista rc2 as well, i've been ripping with recode with no problems, been using cdEX 1.5 for mp3 rips with no problems also, then able to upload to my 1gb Rio chiba...so far so good.
     
  12. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    Mmm well it might not be once its released...

    can soeone tell me isnt the whole new thing about Vista is that all video and audio is locked down so only DRM'd stuff will play?
     
  13. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    It is. and as i've said before, the full DRM and kernel "protection" implementation hadn't been completed when the RC2 client was released.
    The full scoop of DRM, kernel restrictions and other unsavory cr@p microsoft, the RIAA and the MPAA are imposing on users will only be implemented in the final releases.
     
  14. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    The_Fiend
    not quite if MS was to disable all audio and video but DRM stuff MAC wins game over.

    Altho I wouldn't put it past MS to try it they cant,however they can make it harder to copy DRM stuff.


    I was thinking MS was puting the death nail in its feet by fully locking down vid and audio but they are not.
    their jsut nailing nails in themselfs here and there 0-o
    *L*
     
  15. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    Truth of vista

    Real world reqs

    CPU:2Ghz 64bit CPU
    Ramm:512 (wil barely run new GUI)
    VId:DX9 128 for non gaming non new GUI,256MB for basic gaming and such.

    New DRM is only used for BR/HDVD,DRM(DVD mabye) protection not locking out any vid/audio that dose not have DRM,this is will get patched in after final release in a few months.

    20GB HD for it to play in.

    Like any new OS the newer the system the better it runs.


    the only real downside is the new WGA and calling in to reisntall it.

    Did I miss anyhting? :p


    Really the only real down side is the new WGA and insane reqs for reinstalling and the price,perhaps that lovely hardware/software gap XP had but other than that its not that different than XP,its attpmets at copy protection will fail they always have.
     
  16. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    No, the "only real downside" are the dozens of reasons given above. In many cases, any one of them is a dealbreaker as far as going with Vista goes, let alone ALL those reasons. Frankly, I cannot find one single significant benefit of Vista, apart from the drive-protection technology, that isn't far more likely to cause problems than do good. And even the drive-protection can be remedied by the use of separate drive-encryption software and thumbdrive-based keys. But, frankly, if your hard drive gets stolen out of your PC - especially in an office environment - you have bigger security issues anyway.

    So, there is no benefit to using Vista. It doesn't appear that the perimeter security and software security has been enhanced significantly - indeed, if anything, it's reduced due to the use of unproven code - so overall security has not been enhanced.

    Like with The_Fiend, my company has agreed that we will not downgrade to Vista, nor offer support for Vista users - to the point that if the EOL should come for XP, we will move on to another OS or platform entirely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2006
  17. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Vista's EULA Product Activation Worries
    Posted by Zonk on Tuesday November 21, @12:19PM
    from the stands-for-excused-user-laceration-activities dept.
    Microsoft Windows IT
    applejax writes "SecurityFocus is running an article regarding some concerns about Vista's activation terms. Do you have the right to use properly purchased but not validated software? What happens if Microsoft deactivates your OS that was legally purchased? The article goes into some detail about Vista's validation and concerns." From the article: "The terms of the Vista EULA, like the current EULA related to the 'Windows Genuine Advantage,' allows Microsoft to unilaterally decide that you have breached the terms of the agreement, and they can essentially disable the software, and possibly deny you access to critical files on your computer without benefit of proof, hearing, testimony or judicial intervention. In fact, if Microsoft is wrong, and your software is, in fact, properly licensed, you probably will be forced to buy a license to another copy of the operating system from Microsoft just to be able to get access to your files, and then you can sue Microsoft for the original license fee."
    Vista's EULA Product Activation W



    “ Does the Microsoft EULA adequately tell you what will happen if you don’t activate the product or if you can’t establish that it is genuine? Well, not exactly. It does tell you that some parts of the product won’t work - but it also ambiguously says that the product itself won’t work. Moreover, it allows Microsoft, through fine print in a generally unread and non negotiable agreement, to create an opportunity for economic extortion. ”


    Vista's EULA Product Activation Worries
    Mark Rasch, 2006-11-20

    Mark Rasch looks at the license agreement for Windows Vista and how its product activation component, which can disable operation of the computer, may be like walking on thin ice.

    The terms of Microsoft’s End User License Agreement (EULA) for its upcoming Vista operating system raises the conflict between two fundamental principles of contract law. The first, and more familiar, is that parties to a contract can generally agree to just about anything, as long as what they agree to doesn’t violate the law and isn’t “unconscionable.” The second principle is that the law generally disfavors the remedy of “self-help.” That is to say that, if there is a violation of the terms of a contract, you usually have to go to court, prove the violation, and then you are entitled to damages or other relief.

    The terms of the Vista EULA, like the current EULA related to the “Windows Genuine Advantage,” allows Microsoft to unilaterally decide that you have breached the terms of the agreement, and they can essentially disable the software, and possibly deny you access to critical files on your computer without benefit of proof, hearing, testimony or judicial intervention. In fact, if Microsoft is wrong, and your software is, in fact, properly licensed, you probably will be forced to buy a license to another copy of the operating system from Microsoft just to be able to get access to your files, and then you can sue Microsoft for the original license fee. Even then, you wont be able to get any damages from Microsoft, and may not even be able to get the cost of the first license back.
    Product activiation in the Vista license

    Suppose you buy a new computer after January 2007, or purchase an early upgrade for one of the various flavors of Vista. The first problem is, you may think you bought a copy of the operating system. Actually, the OS is still owned by Microsoft. You may own a physical DVD, but what you have “bought” is the right to use the software subject to any of the terms and conditions of the End User License Agreement (EULA), which you may or may not have access to at the time you buy the computer or disk. Typically, the EULA will be contained in micro-print on the outside of a DVD, or may be on a splash screen that prompts you to unequivically declare, “I agree..” as a condition precedent to installing or booting the software. Courts have pretty much established that this manner of acquiescence is okay, provided that there is some way for you to get your money back if you don’t agree to the EULA.

    The Vista EULA informs the licensee that Vista will automatically send information about the version, language and product key of the software, the user's Internet protocol address of the device, and information derived from the hardware configuration of the device.

    The EULA ominously warns that “Before you activate, you have the right to use the version of the software installed during the installation process. Your right to use the software after the time specified in the installation process is limited unless it is activated. This is to prevent its unlicensed use. You will not be able to continue using the software after that time if you do not activate it. ” What does this mean? Essentially, if you buy a license to the software from a reputable dealer, but choose not to transmit information to Microsoft, you forfeit your ability to use the licensed software.

    What is interesting is not whether you have the right to use unactivated-but-properly-purchased software, but how Microsoft enforces its right. What Microsoft says is that the software will simply stop working. So, where is the proof that the software is not activated? Who has the burden of proof? What if you assert that you did activate the product, but Microsoft claims you did not? What if you attempt to activate the product, but Microsoft’s servers are down, or they provide improper information, or their servers are hacked and give you bad activation information? What the contract states is that unless you can activate the product (irrespective of whose fault it is that you cannot activate), you forfeit your right to use the product, and therefore access to any of the information on any computers using the product.

    The license is also silent on what happens after you fail to activate the product. Is there a mechanism for you to at least open the product to allow you to activate it, or do you get a Blue Screen of Death? Since their objective is to ensure that the product is activated, presumably they will allow you to at least get an Internet connection and take you to an activation screen.

    Once you activate the product, then you would assume that you are golden to go ahead and use the product, right? Wrong.

    You see, even after you activate the software it will, according to the EULA, “from time to time validate the software, update or require download of the validation feature of the software.” It will once again “send information about the . . . version and product key of the software, and the Internet protocol address of the device.”

    Here’s where it gets hairy again. If for some reason the software “phones home” back to Redmond, Washington, and gets or gives the wrong answer - irrespective of the reason - it will automatically disable itself. That's like saying definitively, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that...” Unless you can prove to the satisfaction of some automoton that the software is “Genuine,” or more accurately, that under the relevant copyright laws that you have satisfied the requirements of the copyright laws and all of the terms of the End User License Agreement, the software will, on its own, go into a “protect Microsoft” mode. Besides placing an annoying “Get Genuine” banner on the screen, and limiting your ability to get upgrades, the EULA warns that “you may not be able to use or continue to use some of the features of the software.” The EULA itself does not state which features these are, but the website advises that, unless you can show that you are genuine, you won’t be able to use Windows ReadyBoost(tm), whcih lets users use a removable flash memory device; the Windows Aero(tm) 3D visual experince; or the Windows Defender anti-spyware program.

    But the contract doesn’t limit Microsoft to these disabling attributes. It just says that they have the right to limit your ability to use features - pretty much any features they decide to at any date. And guess what. You agreed to it.

    EULAs and the legal term “self help”

    Now let’s face it: lots of software products contain features that disable themselves upon some condition. For example, trial software will work for a period of time - say 30 days, and then stop. And you agree to that when you download and/or install it. It says so right in the EULA. Spyware contains EULAs where you agree not to disable or delete it. Are you bound by that contract as well? As discussed previously, the answer is not so clear. Sony got into trouble by putting very restrictive EULA terms on its music/data CDs, which gave it a bunch of rights just cause you decided to listen to music - including your agreeing never to listen to the music overseas. As I noted earlier, the terms of an EULA are generally considered to be enforceable even if you didn’t read it, understand it, or have any ability to negotiate it.

    However, there is another principle in the law. If a contract (for example, an EULA) is breached, then you have to right to sue and to collect damages. Generally, you would have the burden of proving a breach of the contract, and prove the existence of some damages, and then possibly the right to obtain other kinds or relief - like an injunction or other court order. In addition, other statutes, like the U.S. or international copyright laws may give companies like Microsoft other rights and remedies, including access to federal court and statutory damages, and even possible criminal enforcement by the FBI.

    Now if Microsoft breaches the contract it wrote, the Vista EULA, what are your rights? Well, according to the terms of the agreement you agreed to, “you can recover from Microsoft and its suppliers only direct damages up to the amount you paid for the software. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect or incidental damages.” So if your entire network is shut down, and access to all your files permanently wiped out, you get your couple of hundred bucks back - at most. And, as far as I can tell, there are no warranties on the license, no assurance (like the kind you would get on a toaster oven or a lamp) that the thing actually works or does any of the things advertised. What is worse, if you just want to get your money back (assuming Microsoft doesn’t want to give it to you) then you have to file a lawsuit (probably in Redmond, Washington) under the laws of Washington State, and if (and only if) you can prove your case, and your damages, can you get your money back. You aren’t entitled to, upon your belief that there was a breach of contract, simply walk up to the cash register at your local Fry’s or Best Buy and take a couple of hundred bucks from the till. This is called “self help” (or theft) and is not generally allowed as a contract remedy.

    But the Microsoft Vista EULA, like many other software license agreements, gives the owner of the software (remember that's Microsoft because you didn’t buy it, you just licensed it) the right of self-help. They have the right to unilaterally decide that you didn’t keep up your end of the contract, for example you didn’t properly register the product, you weren’t able to demonstrate that it was genuine, and so on, and therefore they have the right to shut you off or shut you down. So, what gives them the right? Apparently, the very contract that they now claim you violated.
    Case law examples of software being disabled after a dispute

    In the early days of computers, there were several cases where software developers determined that licensees didn’t make appropriate payments and therefore shut down the computer programs.

    In 1988 in Franks & Sons, Inc. v. Information Solutions, Inc. the software developer installed a “drop-dead” code in the program. When the customer failed to pay as promised, the developer activated (or allowed to be activated) the drop-dead code, which kept the customer from accessing the software as well as any stored information. The problem was that the customer didn’t know about the drop dead code. Under those circumstances, the court found that it would be “unconscionable” to allow the software developer to hold the licensee ransom, essentially using self-help to shut down the business until he was paid. The court noted:

    Public policy favors the non-enforcement of abhorrent contracts. Here, without the knowledge of Plaintiff, Defendants have included a surprise in their product which chills the functioning of any business whose operation is a slave to the computer. If the Plaintiff had known about this device at the time it entered into the contract with the Defendant then the result would be different. Here it would be unconscionable for the Court to give credence to this economic duress.

    However, it wasn’t clear whether the sole problem in that case was the fact that the “drop-dead” software was not disclosed, or that the developer, by using the undisclosed code, was holding the licensee hostage.

    In 1991, in American Computer Trust Leasing v. Jack Farrell Implement Co., 763 F. Supp. 1473 (D. Minn. 1991) the software developer, in a dispute over payment for the software, remotely deactivated the software. The contract provided that the developer, who owned the software, could remotely access the licensee’s computer in order to service the software and that if the licensee defaulted, the agreement was cancelled. When the licensee didn’t pay, the developer told them that they were going to deactivate the program - which they promptly did. The licensee’s lawsuit for damages failed because, the court noted, the deactivation was "merely an exercise of [the developer’s] rights under the software license agreement . . . ." This was true even though the agreement did not specifically state that self-help was a proposed remedy.

    There were many other cases in the late 80’s and early 90’s involving software developers either putting drop-dead code in their products or remotely disabling code when they thought the other party was in breach. Thus, a Dallas medical device software developer was sued in 1989 (the case was settled) for using a phone line to deactivate software that compiled patients’ lab results. In 1990, during a dispute about the performance of a piece of code, the developer simply logged in and removed the code, until the licensee released the developer from any liability. The licensee claimed that the general release was signed under duress, since he was being held economic hostage. This was Art Stone Theatrical Corp. v. Technical Programming & Support Systems, Inc. 549 N.Y.S.2d 789 (App. Div. 1990).

    In another case widely reported, a small software developer, Logisticon, Inc., installed malware within software delivered to cosmetic company Revlon, which paralyzed Revlon's shipping operations for three days (losses were about $ 20 million U.S.) when the developer claimed that Revlon breached the contract. Logisticon simply claimed that this was an “electronic reposession.” The case was settled out of court.

    In the 1991, the case of Clayton X-Ray Co. v. Professional Systems Corp., 812 S.W.2d 565 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991), a company likewise involved in a payment dispute, logged into the licensee’s computer and disabled the software which they owned. When the licensee tried to log on to see their files, all they saw was a copy of the unpaid bill. A jury awarded the licensee damages, partly because the existence of the logic bomb was not disclosed.

    Finally, in Werner, Zaroff, Slotnick, Stern & Askenazy v. Lewis 588 N.Y.S.2d 960 (Civ. Ct. 1992), a law firm contracted with a company to develop billing and insurance software. When the software reached a certain number of bills (and when the developer decided it had not been paid) it shut down, disabling access to the law firm’s files. The law firm successfully sued, and got punitive damages.

    So what is the lesson from all of these cases? First, if you exercise “self help” without telling the purchasor, you may open yourself up to damages. Does the Microsoft EULA adequately tell you what will happen if you don’t activate the product or if you can’t establish that it is genuine? Well, not exactly. It does tell you that some parts of the product won’t work - but it also ambiguously says that the product itself won’t work. Moreover, it allows Microsoft, through fine print in a generally unread and non negotiable agreement, to create an opportunity for economic extortion. Remember, all the cases from the 80’s and 90’s involved sophisticated parties (on both sides) who negotiated individual license agreements - not mass market software.
    Balancing the rights of all parties

    After this series of cases, many states considered reforming the Uniform Commercial Code to specifically cover those situations when a software developer can resort to self-help. As a result of these efforts, two states, Maryland and Virginia enacted versions of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA).

    The Maryland version of the statute allows the software vendor to obtain a court order that allows it to disable the software, or “[o]n material breach of an access contract or if the agreement so provides, [to] discontinue all contractual rights of access of the party in breach. . . ” In other words, the software vendor can only terminate access to the software if there has been a material breach, if doing so does not result in a breach of the peace, if there is no foreseeable risk of personal injury or significant physical damage to information or property.

    The UCITA also provides a procedure for “electronic self-help” - that is, the termination of access or use of the software without a court order. The first thing to note is that, in Maryland at least, the law expressly notes that, “electronic self-help is prohibited in mass-market transactions.” Microsoft’s EULA is undoubtedly a mass-market transaction, and therefore Microsoft may be prohibited from exercising self-help in Maryland. Moreover, even in non mass-market transactions, before you can resort to self-help, the contract must provide notice that self help will be used, who will be told about the exercise of self help, and provide other notice. The Maryland law also provides that “electronic self-help may not be used if the licensor has reason to know that its use will result in substantial injury or harm to the public health or safety or grave harm to the public interest substantially affecting third persons not involved in the dispute.”

    Thus, the harm to Microsoft (not getting a license fee) may be disproportionate to the harm to the licensee in having their systems completely shut down. This is particularly true if Vista is being used for a system providing medical treatment, controlling a power plant, or other such critical infrastructure. The Maryland law expressly provides that the “rights or obligations under this section may not be waived or varied by an agreement. . .”

    Microsoft may have some trouble if it tries to enforce its EULA terms in a court in Washington State - especially if that court is running a computer using Vista. You see, all software license agreements with the courts in Washington State contains a “no self-help code” warranty where the vendor warrants that there is no “back door, time bomb, drop dead device, or other software routine designed to disable a computer program automatically with the passage of time or under the positive control of a person other than a licensee of the Software.” Thus, the Vista EULA terms would not apply to the Washington State courts!

    Now Microsoft will invariably deny that what they are doing is “self-help.” More likely, they will claim that the disabling provisions of the software are mere “features” of the software. They will also argue that the licensee controls whether or not the code disables by either registering, or “getting Genuine.” But what the boys in Redmond are really doing is deciding that you have not followed the terms of a contract (the EULA) and punishing you unless and until you can prove that you have complied.

    And what if Microsoft is wrong, and they disable your software erroneously? Well, you can keep buying and activating their software until you are successful. And that means more fees to Redmond. Or, following the movie “Happy Feet,” you can decide to find software with a little penguin on it.

    http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/423

     
  18. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    Ireland

    sounds nice and vague...like it means anything *L*

    is EULA worth the digital papper its written on?
     
  19. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    Zippy, you missed a lot of details there.
    I'm not at work ATM so i can't copy the entire fact sheet, but trust me when i say there are a few you missed *and i must confess i can't discuss all of them before vista's launch either*.
    Off the top of me head i know that you forgot locked down dvd/cd readers/writers, which makes it impossible to copy dvd's alltogether, and the same goes for copying or converting cd's.
    That's the amin reason i won't be getting it EVER, even if they take it out afterward, the second is the way vista will handle it's kernel.
     
  20. ZippyDSM

    ZippyDSM Active member

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    How can it protect data streams on older drives that dont have copy protection? 0_o

    how doth it handle its kernel?
     
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