Dell promotes software piracy

I may have a buyer for my old laptop so, in preparation, I wiped it and installed the OEM copy of Windows XP that came with it. The first thing I did when I got this machine was install Windows 2000, so I had never used this WinXP CD before.

For those who don’t know, XP has this obnoxious “product activation” scheme, where you need to enter a unique serial number and then let the computer phone home to Microsoft to verify it.

In situations like mine where I didn’t get a normal retail version of the operating system, the serial is on a sticker on the bottom of the computer. Since I had no plans to run XP, the sticker (a big multi-colored reflective thing) was removed and discarded.

I wasn’t prompted for the serial during the installation but if I remember correctly, I have something like 30 days to register it. So I called Dell assuming that since they’re selling these MS software licenses they keep a record of the serial numbers. I was told by their customer service that they don’t keep records of these and I should just get one from a friend. This is the award-winning support I’m paying for? I asked for her supervisor, who explained to me that she probably just meant I could use someone else’s serial “to test it”.

Apparently my only other option is to drop $300 for another copy of the OS, despite the fact that I have a licensed copy that I already paid for as part of the computer purchase. And when Windows XP came out Microsoft made a big deal about how their activation scheme would reduce piracy without inconveniencing their legitimate customers. Now I just have to hope my buyer has another OS he plans to install (or has a copy of someone else’s serial, as Dell recommends).

Before the above conversation with Dell, I asked them what I had to do to transfer my warranty and support contract to the new owner of the computer. I was told that she didn’t know exactly, that it might require a three-way call with me and the new owner because “security has really been tightened up since 9-11″. Because Al Qaeda is well known for their attempts to transfer computer warranties


angeldye says:

well yeah… al qaeda only target dells…

kar3ning says:

Because Al Qaeda is well known for their attempts to transfer computer warranties, right?

LOL! I’m sure as soon as they get reliable electricity, and a local Microsoft distributor, and phone cables laid, and a local ISP, and support reps in Arabic, then yeah, Al-Qaeda is gonna be all over software piracy. Those bastards.