Vista anti-piracy "Access your computer with reduced functionality" Err, so what's new?


OK I’m probably going to get flamed for this by some Windows fanboys, but hey, I don’t care. I needed a laugh today, so thank you Todd Bishop for providing it on your Microsoft Blog.

Apparently Microsoft will be getting extra tough on illegal / pirated copies of Windows Vista. All well and good. How is it going to achieve this? Todd quotes from a recent white paper:

By choosing “Access your computer with reduced functionality,” the default Web browser will be started and the user will be presented with an option to purchase a new product key. There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in. Note: This is different from the Windows XP RFM experience, which limits screen resolution, colors, sounds and other features.

In other words, it’ll be a bit like my work PC used to behave after trying to work for an hour. And yes, that was a genuine version of Windows. Oh, except the Internet sometimes didn’t work.

I’ve experienced times where the Start menu has disappeared, where icons have either disappeared or become ‘generic’, and yes, I’ve even been logged out without warning.

So nice try Microsoft – you’ve just legitimised something ‘by design’ that your previous operating systems did from time to time anyway.

Todd says “In other words, the technology doesn’t turn the computer off. However, for most practical purposes, it renders much of the operating system useless.” No change there then!

Being Microsoft, genuine customers will experience regular ‘phone home’ privacy violations checks. Just so long software is marked correctly as valid or invalid, I suppose we’ll get used to it.


Andy Merrett
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  • Thanks Jedi – the first fanboy! You get a prize of, errr, eternally using Windoze.

    I was using a Dell (ahhh, hang on, i see what the problem is now…) and it wasn’t a 486. I always performed regular maintenance on it. Maybe I exaggerated just a little bit for the sake of some linkbaiting humour (it worked, well maybe not the humour).

    I’ve been using computers for 25 years and of everything I’ve used, the closer it’s come to Microsoft, the worse it’s got. Fact. Experiential fact, maybe, but still a fact in my world. I don’t bash MS for the sake of it (in fact I’ve toned down my views specifically for Tech Digest). I don’t do it ’cause it’s ‘cool’ – just because I’m fed up with MS-infested systems. I thought the original article was funny – I expanded on it. Sorry it sickened you.

  • Now, far be it from me to get on anyones case… but if your computer was suffereing from the problems you described, didn’t it ever occur to you to perform a little bit of maintainance from time to time?

    I only say this because Microsoft has quite unfairly become the target of countless pathetic and ridiculus accusations… including the one described in this article.

    You may not want to hear it, but if your taskbar is disappearing, it’s time to trash that 486 for something a little more up to date. The fact of the matter is that anyone who has half a functioning brain can use Windows for a long time without so much as a hiccup in performance/useability, etc.

    If you want to say that Windows is unreliable, you can make the same claims of Mac, Linux, Sun, etc. Every OS needs to be actively maintained to avoid problems, and it sickens me to hear people like yourself level your baseless accusations against Microsoft, simply because it’s the “cool thing to do.”

    Please, learn how to operate a computer with a little common sense before bashing an operating system and/or the company that produces it. Thank You.

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