PDA

View Full Version : M$ & WGA Hit The Fan Again:



SurferJoe46
28-06-2006, 03:51 PM
This is a good read..I don't advocate doing this...but you be the judge::::::::

By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

A security analyst has released a tool that lets users remove Windows Genuine Advantage Notification, part of Microsoft's controversial campaign against software counterfeiting.

The tool, called RemoveWGA, was released this week by Guillaume Kaddouch, a French developer who also makes a firewall utility called Firewall Leak Tester. RemoveWGA is a response to Microsoft's revelation earlier this month that the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification program frequently contacts Microsoft, according to Kaddouch.

"That, along the fact that Microsoft used deceptive ways to make you install this tool... makes me call (WGA Notification) spyware," Kaddouch said in a note accompanying the release of RemoveWGA.

Windows Genuine Advantage includes two main parts: WGA Validation and WGA Notification. Validation checks that an instance of Windows XP is properly licensed, and is required for some Windows updates. If the copy doesn't check out, Notification repeatedly reminds the user to upgrade to a properly licensed version of Windows.

Microsoft maintains that users only install the programs by choice, but once installed, neither is designed to be removable.

As Microsoft admitted this month, Notification also checks back with Microsoft once a day even if the licensing check is successful, something the company hadn't previously made public. Microsoft said the procedure is necessary in case something goes wrong with the program and it needs to be disabled, but has said it will modify Notification to check back only once every two weeks. It said the failure to make public the phone-home behaviour was an "oversight."

"Once the WGA Notification tool has checked your OS and has confirmed you had a legit copy, there is no decent point or reason to check it again and again every boot," Kaddouch wrote.

Kaddouch told Techworld he developed the tool based on proof-of-concept workarounds that have recently been released by security researchers. "All of the necessary information was already available in some security forums on the net, I've just had to compile them in one automatic program," he said. "You can easily disable the WGA notification manually, there are different ways."

He noted that the procedure poses a risk for corporate networks, and that Microsoft slipped it onto many users' computers without their knowledge - the company classified it as a "critical" update, causing many to install it without knowing what it was.

For the even more paranoid, RemoveWGA can also be set to run a periodic check in the background, notifying the user if it finds WGA Notification has been silently installed, Kaddouch said.

Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.

Users have been industrious about picking holes in WGA, beginning a day after the system went into effect last August.

WGA will be embedded within Windows Vista, Microsoft has said.

intel hunter
28-06-2006, 04:11 PM
Oooops downloaded tool, installed and no difference, my bad. :D

paulw
28-06-2006, 05:18 PM
SurferJoe,

You may be interested in this little gem.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=84

"Is Microsoft about to release a Windows "kill switch"?

dolby digital
28-06-2006, 11:31 PM
You should just trust Microsoft. They really know whats best for you :xmouth:

Sweep
29-06-2006, 12:34 AM
You should just trust Microsoft. They really know whats best for you http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/images/smilies/xmouth.gif

Of course they do. Just like Government.

Vince
29-06-2006, 02:12 AM
WGA has been installed 3 times now on my computer. Most recently just a couple of hours ago. It hasn't asked for permission to acess the web yet, except when it installed this last time.

SurferJoe46
29-06-2006, 03:03 AM
This is one reason why I recommend that the people on my mailing list DO NOT INSTALL Windows One-Care Live!..........


Friday, June 23, 2006
[IP] Interesting interaction with Windows OneCare Live

Begin forwarded message:

From: David Pollak <dpp@athena.com>
Date: June 22, 2006 6:38:55 PM EDT
To: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>
Cc: Annette Hurst <annette@lostlake.org>
Subject: Interesting interaction with Windows OneCare Live

For IP if you think it's appropriate:

I installed Windows Live OneCare antivirus on my Windows machine.
OneCare marks a system marks a system as "vulnerable" if you do not
have automatic updates turned on.

I like to review updates before they are installed. The only update
that I have not installed is the latest WGA because of the security
issues related to it.

I called Microsoft support to see if there is a hidden option to say,
"yep, I've got updates turned to manual... it's okay." The rep said,
"No and why wouldn't you want to get the latest updates to Windows."

I responded with the issues relating to WGA. He spent some time
telling me that WGA was a good thing, etc. I reiterated that I have
accepted all the updates except WGA and just want to review the
updates before they're installed on my machine.

He told me that "in the fall, having the latest WGA will become
mandatory and if its not installed, Windows will give a 30 day
warning and when the 30 days is up and WGA isn't installed, Windows
will stop working, so you might as well install WGA now."

I'm wondering if Microsoft has the right to disable Windows
functionality or the OS as a whole (tantamount to revoking my
legitimate Windows license) if I do not install every piece of
software that they send it updates.

Needless to say, I've removed Live OneCare.

Laura
29-06-2006, 04:26 AM
Aha.
So you didn't read the "little gem" recommended to you by paulw higher up in this thread..?
It's all in there - plus more.

And pctek has also linked to it in a thread by Oxie.

SurferJoe46
29-06-2006, 01:06 PM
Aha.
So you didn't read the "little gem" recommended to you by paulw higher up in this thread..?
It's all in there - plus more.

And pctek has also linked to it in a thread by Oxie.


Yes....I actually did read it, but thought this reference I posted was particularly annoying in content..the article, not the post!

Sometimes people don't get all bothered by links and goto's, so I c/p'd a little excerpt from the links on that site that paulw posted. That's all....

Shortcircuit
29-06-2006, 03:29 PM
Well, I decided last week that WGA won't be hitting MY fan :badpc:

After the usual 6 month reinstall of XP I made the mistake of updating to SP2, then chaos, grumpiness and swearing ensued.

1 more reinstall and back to plain 'ol XP, but wanting the update for SP1 USB2 I made the further mistake of going to Windows update site after activating my copy... more drama as the update site could not validate my copy that I had activated a few minutes before... ie- no downloads allowed without validation.

Don't Microsoft realise that they are alienating any intelligent person out there who buys their software?

Of course I would not trust any company who would attempt to install psuedo spyware without making it clear that's what it is, I would trust them even less if they used it as a smokescreen for tactics like wanting to or being able to shut down a copy of their software remotely because it may or may not be legit. I won't even go into why they want to collect information regarding make/model of other hardware on a comp.

As far as I am concerned I have purchased the rights to use a genuine software product, that does not give them the right to install a kill switch 'just in case'.

It's easy for me, Microsoft won't get any money from me (or 10 other comps that we run in our business) for the pleasure of installing Vista. No more will they get to snoop in my comp and I will work on getting Linux up to scratch.

I only hope they intend to make a LOT of money out of those who have pirated copies because I see their revenue stream shrinking fast :rolleyes:

pctek
29-06-2006, 06:20 PM
After the usual 6 month reinstall of XP I made the mistake of updating to SP2, then chaos, grumpiness and swearing ensued.

1 more reinstall and back to plain 'ol XP, but wanting the update for SP1 USB2 I made the further mistake of going to Windows update site
Why do you reinstall every 6 months? I just reghost mine back to its decluttered state.
And update for SP1 USB2? I haven't had to get any update for it, it just works fine with SP1.

Shortcircuit
29-06-2006, 06:53 PM
I didn't use to 'ghost' it as I have a lot of 'tweaked' stuff running... just seemed easier to start with a totally clean slate every time XP grinds to a halt (which seems to be regular as clockwork every 6 months no matter how much crap I get rid of). This time I've done an image and whacked it on another HD, hope it works when the inevitable time comes.

By SP1 USB2 I meant that you need SP1 to have USB2 support. The m/board drivers for USB2 refuse to install without SP1.

Greg
29-06-2006, 09:35 PM
You are aware that you can download and install any patches and updates without having to authenticate, validate or any other sort of 'ate right?

zqwerty
29-06-2006, 09:57 PM
For instance here:

http://windizupdate.com/

Speedy Gonzales
29-06-2006, 10:02 PM
By SP1 USB2 I meant that you need SP1 to have USB2 support. The m/board drivers for USB2 refuse to install without SP1.

Ah no, If SP1 or SP2 have been installed, the mobo USB 2 drivers arent required after. SP1, or 2 is good enough.


You are aware that you can download and install any patches and updates without having to authenticate, validate or any other sort of 'ate right?

That depends on WHERE you get them from.

If you dont go to the MS download site, or Windowsupdate, or if you dont use automatic updates.

Or you could download / install that update thats about 100 or so MB.

That installs all / most of the updates.

Greg
29-06-2006, 10:04 PM
That depends on WHERE you get them from.
From the Microsoft website.

Shortcircuit
29-06-2006, 10:07 PM
Yep, I actually had SP1 on disc somewhere... the operative word being somewhere :D

I was just being a 'good citizen'/taking the easy option with MS update, but that option turned into the hard option... much harder than last time I reinstalled :(

Never mind, I d/loaded SP1 sans M/Soft and it's all up and running without their assistance.

Speedy Gonzales
29-06-2006, 10:07 PM
From the Microsoft website.

Well some patches dont need validation.

Depending on what the file / update is.

BUT some do.

Shortcircuit
29-06-2006, 10:11 PM
Ah no, If SP1 or SP2 have been installed, the mobo USB 2 drivers arent required after. SP1, or 2 is good enough.

Hmmm, strange... I have USB2 printer and USB external drive, both gave me the message that they would not run in USB2 mode after I installed SP1, loading the drivers for the M/board fixed it.

May pay not to mention SP2 around here... kind of a dirty word at the moment :horrified

Speedy Gonzales
29-06-2006, 10:19 PM
Hmmm, strange... I have USB2 printer and USB external drive, both gave me the message that they would not run in USB2 mode after I installed SP1, loading the drivers for the M/board fixed it.

May pay not to mention SP2 around here... kind of a dirty word at the moment :horrified

Usually after u install SP1 or 2, its a good idea to delete the USB controller entry / entries in device manager, then reboot. XP will reload them.

This usually fixes things.

Greg
29-06-2006, 10:21 PM
Well some patches dont need validation.

Depending on what the file / update is.

BUT some do.Never come across one yet personally.

SurferJoe46
30-06-2006, 03:28 AM
Never come across one yet personally.

You will...it all goes to a head in about September.

MY son says that those without SP-2 will be marked as troublemakers (his term, not M$'s) and they will be flagged for the dead man's switch then and the screen will go blank.

You do not own the system, just the key/license to run it on their terms. Read the EULA.

Erayd
30-06-2006, 10:48 AM
Interesting... How long has this (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/WUpdateWGAScreen1.jpg) been the case? Isn't this a farly serious mis-representation? It's obviously not required, but it's not possible to update until you install it. And NOWHERE during the install process was I presented with a EULA :(

Greg
30-06-2006, 11:10 AM
You will...I don't think so Tim.

Like pctek I've never seen the need to constantly update or patch. I don't really bother anymore, unless it's something like the patch for Windows Media Player that came out earlier this year.

SurferJoe46
30-06-2006, 12:20 PM
I don't think so Tim.

Like pctek I've never seen the need to constantly update or patch. I don't really bother anymore, unless it's something like the patch for Windows Media Player that came out earlier this year.

It's like this...you may not be getting reminders to update and upgrade things, but that's ok too...it's just that ignorance of the changes will bite you in the butt someday....and I thought I might do the Paul Revere thing to let the cat outta the bag and tell that Mr. Bill is coming.

I too am beginning to drag my feet with M$ WGA insertions, and Linux is indeed getting better-looking every day.

I will stay with M$ until they do or say things that I just cannot stomach and I am off the Linux-Land. Right now, I am denying them the opportunity to download WGA spyware into my system, and I have slammed the port(s) it wants to use too via my Linksys router.

Let them eat cake.

Don't listen to the man behind the curtains.....

Terry Porritt
30-06-2006, 02:38 PM
Brian Livingston in the latest WindowsSecrets newsletter recommends dumping Windows updates. and also gives a link to MS, who now officially describe how to remove WGA:

http://www.windowssecrets.com/

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921914/en-us

FoxyMX
30-06-2006, 04:58 PM
Don't Microsoft realise that they are alienating any intelligent person out there who buys their software?
For every person who is concerned about Microsoft's underhand tactics there are probably 100 or more who don't know about it or don't care so why would MS be concerned about people like us? We won't be their bread and butter.

The average Mr and Mrs Joe Hunt whose PCs were already configured for automatic updates when purchased probably don't even realise their OS is updating itself regularly, never mind understand why or have any clue about what is going on in the background. And even if they do know about the updates they trust Microsoft and wouldn't even dream that MS would do anything sneaky. :rolleyes:

It's only geeks like us that worry about such things and there aren't really all that many of us. :groan:

SurferJoe46
30-06-2006, 05:30 PM
Ya know, you're right Foxy one....I remember a poster that was printed during the VietNam War....

It had a field of daiseys and green grass and the words wandered around on down the front of the poster:


Suppose

they

gave

a

war

and

nobody

came!


Same thing here...the world is so caught up in just surviving moment to moment that they never feel the water starting to boil around them...too bad for the lemmings.

Laura
30-06-2006, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the link to the WindowsSecrets newsletter, Terry. It was interesting.

Although I'm as interested as anyone in conspiracy theories, my journalistic training is starting to ring a warning bell here about how quickly a report from one person seems to be dispersing so rapidly across the Net that shortly it'll be generally accepted as true.

I don't mean the criticims of WGA & its problems, but the suggestion that M/S will release a "kill switch" for unverified copies of Windows.

Well, maybe they will.
It would be the worst possible public relations exercise imagineable - and cause such an uproar that they might lose more customers than it was worth - but possibly they could be nuts enough to do it...

However, so far that's just speculation - not fact.
The suggestion comes from a Dave Farber & was picked up by Ed Bott's Blog headed: M/S about to Release a " kill switch." There are 2 links to it in this thread.
With almost the speed of light, it's touring the world - not attributed to any named source by now.
(As in SurerJoe's post: "My son says...")

Does the fact that M/S didn't immediately deny it make it true?
As M/S isn't renown for speed in anything - it could mean only that their PRO department hasn't got off its backside yet.

(And if there's been something today that I've missed, sorry)

I don't mean that we shouldn't be outraged at that idea & express opinions about it.
It's appalling.
But it's only an idea = so far.

SurferJoe46
30-06-2006, 06:32 PM
Here's the only semi-denial from M$ (at the end of my part here), but first some other info:

Again, I told a week or so ago that M$ was going hunting for corporate licenses that are being abused, and that got me some heat from a few people...they thought it was against the corporations that it was intended, not so!

It is the people who move from the corporate environment of the company that installed XP for them and they didn't remove it when terminated. Some have even posted the keys online for others to use.

As long as the total number of users didn't exceed the licensed amount all was darkly mysterious..but when the keys got out, of course, there was a slug of people using that pirated key. This is what the original furor was all about.

Now M$ has said it will black out those pirated keys. That is a fact...and the next step of course, is blacking out those that their sniffers deem as pirated copies too.

That is the extent of the official word.....

Now on to my son's account:

He was right about the part above as you have seen.

He said that indeed, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people, who for some reason or another, have not updated...and that includes SP-2 and WGA. Now....this is what M$ noses out as probably a bogus installation. Those that don't upgrade are probably trying to hide from M$ and their sniffers. That's the whole gist of the story...so far!

Profiling is nasty as it places people in a "prove you aren't running bogus Windows, but until that time, stare at a black screen" catagory.

I do not put that away lightly...as the profile of the user of a hacked version or pirated copy is informed to NEVER get any M$ updates..as they don't know if the user will then get caught....resulting in they themselves being indicated as an accessories before the fact. Here in the US, it is a federal offense to have on your possession a copy of XP with a hacked key written on the cd or the envelope or the case in which it is transported. Archived copies are deeply frowned-upon and are grounds for arrest.

Look at the RIAA stuff and P2P and IRQ file-traders. The music industry has levied some fearful tactics on grannies who let their grandkids use the puters at their house...and the father or mother of some file-trader who posts as well as receives mp3's, and sends them to jail or heavily fines them thru the very agreeable courts.

Here's the latest story on the M$ vs The World Front:

28 June 2006
Microsoft backs down on WGA

By Eric Lai and Elizabeth Montalbano, Computerworld (US online)

Microsoft has released an updated version of its anti-piracy program that changes the frequency with which the program checks for pirated or counterfeit copies of its client operating system.

A new version of Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Notifications program available now no longer checks a server-side configuration of a user's version of Windows every time the user logs on to see if it is a valid copy of Windows. Instead, it periodically checks to see if the user's copy is genuine.

"Our customers have told us that they were disappointed with their WGA Notifications experience, and we have made an effort to improve that with this update," said the company.

Microsoft has mounted an aggressive program to eliminate counterfeit and pirated versions of Windows, and WGA is a part of that. The program was first distributed not as an automatic update, but to users of Microsoft's download services who wanted to install add-on software, excluding security releases, for Windows.

Microsoft later updated it with the WGA Notifications program, distributed as part of Microsoft's Automatic Updates, which reminds users their copy of Windows is not genuine and informs them of what Microsoft calls the "benefits" of using authentic Windows software.

Users can opt out of WGA Notifications, but not the WGA program in general if they want to use Microsoft's download services. With the new release of WGA Notifications, Microsoft is including instructions for removing an older version of the program from a PC as Knowledge Base article No. 921914 on Microsoft.com, the company said.

Since WGA's release last year, users have complained of bugs in the program that identified legitimate copies of Windows as counterfeit. A privacy advocate also accused the WGA Notifications of acting like spyware, since it sends information about a user's PC back to Microsoft automatically without letting the user know exactly what information is being sent.

Upgrading the program so it does not contact Microsoft every time a user logs in should help remedy the latter issue. The new version of WGA Notifications also includes a more comprehensive End User License Agreement that clearly explains the purpose of the software and details about the program, Microsoft said.

Paul DeGroot, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said for most consumers using legal copies of Windows XP, WGA probably "wasn't much of an issue."

The bigger problem is one of perception, especially after the spyware accusation, he said. "For WGA to phone home everyday was causing problems for some people," DeGroot said. "Microsoft may have blown a lot of credibility here."

Rather than attack the problem of pirated consumer copies of Windows, Microsoft with WGA is targeting volume licences of Windows purchased by corporations that have been leaked out to non-legal users, he said.

With copies of Windows purchased in retail stores or pre-installed on consumer PCs, each Windows CD is accompanied by an individual activation key. Through the Internet, Microsoft can track how many PCs have been installed using that particular key.

But when corporations buy volume licenses, they receive a single key that's used to install Windows on hundreds or thousands of machines.

"Because volume keys are still just strings of characters in plain-text that lots of people in any large organisation have access to, it's relatively easy for them to leak out," DeGroot said. "To be blunt, they were an accident waiting to happen."

With WGA, Microsoft can detect whether a volume license key for Windows is being used by a non-licensed user.

DeGroot has not heard of Microsoft fining or penalising corporations that lose keys. But with Microsoft deactivating pirated volume license keys, companies might have to reinstall new ones on all of their computers. That can either be done remotely through an intranet, or manually by IT staffers visiting each individual PC. Depending on how involved that process becomes, it could mean up to US$25 per PC in staff costs, DeGroot said.

"It's a real pain in the butt," he said.

Microsoft is working to make the problem moot, DeGroot said. The Windows Vista client operating system and Longhorn Server OS will have volume licence keys encrypted and stored on a server.

"They'll never be sent over a network in plain text," he said. "They will be a lot safer."

Greven
30-06-2006, 06:48 PM
is the killswitch already built into windows, or will it be released as a "critical" update that all these non-updaters won't recieve?

pctek
30-06-2006, 08:59 PM
is the killswitch already built into windows, or will it be released as a "critical" update that all these non-updaters won't recieve?
It came with some update. Guaranteed.

pctek
30-06-2006, 09:02 PM
I didn't use to 'ghost' it as I have a lot of 'tweaked' stuff running... just seemed easier to start with a totally clean slate every time XP grinds to a halt (which seems to be regular as clockwork every 6 months no matter how much crap I get rid of).
Likewise. It took me so long to install Windows, then uninstall all the bits I didn't want, tweak this and that, turn off this and that that I really don't want to have to do it all over every 6 months or even every year. Thats why I ghosted it.
If I change something, like Nvidia to ATI for instance, I ghost it back to its original, alter the new thing then reghost again. Keeping the original still.

One thing, you know System Restore slows it down immensely after a while.

pctek
30-06-2006, 09:03 PM
MY son says that those without SP-2 will be marked as troublemakers (his term, not M$'s) and they will be flagged for the dead man's switch then and the screen will go blank.

Tell your son I bet him $100 absolutely nothing happens to my system. Ever.

Laura
30-06-2006, 09:46 PM
You make some good points, SurferJoe.

But I wasn't talking about obviously-pirated keys from corporate volume licences (Used by employees who've left the company or "found" by others).
That's so obviously illegal that who could blame M/S for de-activating them? It amounts to theft, which no company would put up with when the remedy's in their own hands.

The "fact" I'd like to hear from M/S rather than anyone else is confirmation that they'll do that to all home computers without actual proof of purchase.
As I said earlier - Yes, they might .
But my objection relates to the way the story is fast becoming - they will .

OK. It's a journalists' thing...

SurferJoe46
01-07-2006, 05:09 AM
OK, Laura...the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY......let's see if we can fill in some of the blanks.....


WHO is obvious...M$

WHAT is also obviated by the fact that Vista is going to be harder to hack/pirate for many reasons, not to mention that the keys are not going to be in the hdd, but on the server and must be re-activated every time you log online. That's where the sniffer/spyware thing is. It's just plain old spyware.... ..no question...but users don't read their EULAS anyway.

BTW: on EULAS...read the part that says that M$ can make changes to the agreement any time they want and it's up to the end user to find those changes; M$ will not send notice of EULA changes.

WHEN gets a pretty obvious nod too...right now! And, the sniffing around in your system is going to become more frequent and much more in-depth. Who knows...M$ may decide to become all noble and inform other programs that you have a pirated version installed of their stuff too....don't let that pass lightly. It would be exceptionally good PR to tell the press that this is a NOBLE THING, and that it is GOOD FOR THE POPULATION to make sure everybody complies and that they have M$ to thank for it too!

WHERE is in your puter.

WHY...now here's where we may part ways again...the "WHY" part is transparent to me...maybe to a few other conspiracy theorists too...but try to see it from "proof in the pudding" eyes.

I do not trust Bill Gates; Most people do not trust Bill Gates. That being said..let's see what the smoke is all about.

What does he have to gain or lose with spying on systems checking where he ought not and skulking around our files and opsys's to see what's going on? Besides being noble and not wanting to collect cans and bottles for his meager existance and to make house payments, he needs to make sure the money flow is increasing in quantom jumps to satisfy his board members and shareholders. Making money is the first prerequisite of any business, and it must be "growed" by 22%-25% yearly to make ends meet. This is an axiom of monopolies and very large as well as small "mom-'n'-pop" establishments. Less growth is going backwards and the shareholders do not like that to happen.

Mr. Bill has semi-retired from the day-to-day's in M$, even teaming up with Mr. Buffett as a co-antagonist for (again this word) "noble" reasons.

Noble, my butt! Everything he does in a charitable vein is paid by the taxpayers!

The US Govt will give the both of them tax credits which turns out to be actually underwriting the money they give away, and ultimately taking it from the middle class taxpayers. This is not so far offstream as you might think on the surface. To get tax credits..first you have TO EARN THE MONEY!

You cannot be so benevolent that you overspend your earnings to give it all away to charity. There is no "negative tax credits carry-over allowances" by IRS law for next tax year. It must be earned, given away and filed for in the same year that the charitable donations happens. The Gov't cannot owe you for a tax-credit that you overpaid two years ago, nor will they.

Here comes the arithmetic: (remember, it's a MONEY thing!)

If earnings are in stasis (quiet, not growing), then you have problems with
1) shareholders, ie, you aren't sheltering their earnings
2) the IRS, ie, you actually OWE money!
3) public relations; public trust is directly proportionate to good-guy status
4) customers ie, you are a schlock and I am going to Linux

Take VISTA..(an already elsewhere stated bag of snakes), and what do you see as the reason for the new pinch on pirates with XP using the 4 above mentioned factors?

You've gotta prop up everybody involved in the old opsys (XP?) to get things running as you want them to for the following reason.


Creditability in the marketplace is one....would you buy a used car from someone called Bill Gates?

.......shareholders with pitchforks and torches, throwing rocks through your palace windows is another.

Mr. Bill has stepped outta the auditorium as it were, to let someone else's head sit on the block for a while during the time of this turmoil...he will return (mark my words) after all the dust settles and the world (even in Bulgaria and Russian kodekiddies circles) is less enraged and when there is some return to normalcy again. (Read an article on "Frog Boiling 1-A" by Samuel Longhorn Clemens)

I see all this tightning of the noose as a money grab; securing XP is step one (1).....VISTA is not safe until XP is cleaned-up and made safe from hacks. (Yeah!...dream on Mr. Bill!)

Whatever achieves this end is acceptable, nay...REQUIRED by M$ right now and I do not think we have seen the tip of this iceberg.

If nothing else, just click your ruby red shoes and repeat after Dorothy: "We aren't in Kansas any more!"

(picture of a man trying to get the attention of the man inside the computer >> :badpc: )