Monday, September 24, 2007

Fun with Windows Re-Activation

I've had to call Microsoft one time in the past to re-activate Windows, after a known bug rendered my machine useless and I had to reinstall my OS. I actually switched to Linux for a year after that particular incident.

Yesterday, while trying to fix an unrelated problem in Vista, I noticed that I was 3 days away from a mandatory validation. It looks like when my new CPU died and I replaced it with the old one, I broke my validation (again).

I've had this installation of Vista on my computer since December 2006. Three months ago, I replaced my CPU and had to re-validate Windows. One month ago, my new CPU died and I put the old one back in, requiring yesterday's re-validation.

Unfortunately, the third time is the charm, and I was not allowed to validate online. I had to call the lovely people overseas/errrr in Redmond.

A woman answered the phone and asked for the validation ID. I gave it to her. She asked if this was a new computer. I explained that it's the same computer, but that I had upgraded the CPU and re-validated, then switched back to the old CPU when the new one failed, requiring this current re-validation.

She did not know what a CPU was. She explained in broken English that I cannot use one copy of Windows on 3 different computers.

Long story short, I re-explained my situation in as plain non-techy terms as I could. Eventually she gave up and cut me off mid-sentence, and started giving me the code I needed to activate Windows.

Whatever. I didn't argue. I took down the code, thanked her, and hung up.

What a joke. Granted, I'm a legitimate user with a legitimate copy of Windows and a legitimate request for re-activation - but apparently, all you need to do is confuse the idiots on the other end of the line until they're sick of listening to you, and they will give you a new activation key.

Way to go, Microsoft! High quality customer service, AND piracy prevention! You're doing great! Keep it up!

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