Microsoft randomly did everything in its power to try to hose me last night. I persevered in the end, but I’m now fairly certain I will never upgrade to Vista and just move to Ubuntu for all of my needs.
The problem began when I cleaned and swapped around some parts in my home PC (I’m a Frankenputer builder). None of this involved the motherboard, processor, DVD burner or the hard drive, by the way — they all remained the same.
When I reassembled everything and booted back up, I promptly got a popup message from Microsoft, informing me that its “genuine Windows advantage program” had determined I was using an “unregistered” copy of Windows. Of course it was registered; I’ve been using the same copy of XP on my machine for years and years. (Note that XP’s license allows you to install it ON A SINGLE MACHINE, but that doesn’t preclude you from upgrading that machine).
It prompted me repeatedly to pay up for the copy of Windows I already owned, AND it offered me a chance to fill out a survey explaining why I had, in their eyes, stolen a copy (although they carefully avoided using that word). I was furious and was more than happy to use the survey to point out that the copy WASN’T stolen and that I WAS using it according to the user agreement.
I rebooted my computer several times and then another window mysteriously popped up, offering to ‘validate’ my copy of windows. I did this and everything worked out fine — and all of the nags went away.
Vista, of course, is supposed to be a whole lot worse about this kind of thing. For the life of me, I still can’t figure out what it means to buy a copy of Vista. Does it mean I can’t upgrade my computer — including swapping out motherboard and processors, which I do every couple of years — without dropping a big chunk of money for a new OS? Hell, no, I’m not going to go for that.
Ubuntu already is the OS on my second machine, which is basically a media server. It’s faster, more memory-efficient and more secure than Windows, and the ease-of-use quotient has gone way up, too, over other versions of Linux I’ve used in the past. It gets a major upgrade every six months. It’s free — although I’d pay for it and intend to start donating money for it every time the OS is upgraded. It now handles every task that I typically perform on a computer.
I’m going to look hard at making it my sole OS so that the bastards who control Windows Vista don’t win. I advise you to do the same thing.