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XP Home User Copy-Protection Hassle

The first time my Windows XP or Office XP software fails to start because of Microsoft's new copy-protection scheme, which I believe is a prelude to having every Windows user pay an annual licensing fee, I will look very hard at cheaper alternative software for my personal computer, or I will buy a Mac with the add-on after-market MPDD+ board that adds a second display. Once you use two monitors on a PC, there is no returning to a single-monitor PC, no matter how large the monitor. Windows readily supports two monitors, as does the Mac with the MPDD+ after-market board.

As a home and office user, I cannot afford to have my computers fail to operate as needed and when needed, especially due to some copy protection and licensing scheme. You know that when you have an office deadline to meet, the computer senses it and chooses to fail specifically at that time. Already, my Sony laptop running XP Professional is misbehaving when it comes to power management and searching for files and folders. The power management function has ceased to operate, and says that there is a file incompatibility. I cannot understand this because I have only tried to set it to turn off the monitor. And sometimes, the Sony's XP says it cannot find a file needed for it to run the file find function; whereas at other times (when connected to a LAN), it runs the file find function just fine. Search me why these functions sometimes work and sometimes do not work! However, because of the XP copy-protection scheme, I do not feel safe wiping the PC and reinstalling XP to fix the problem. I also do not have the time to search for the needle buried somewhere in the XP-in-a-haystack solution to these problems.

Yes, I did search both the Microsoft and Sony sites for a fix, to no avail. Sony failed to list my model of PC (PCG-GR300P) at its support Web site. It posted a power monitor patch for a PCG-290P, but not for a PCG-300P. Even though the PCG-290 has the same overall specifications as my PCG-300P, the patch does not install. I must have purchased from Sony On-line Direct the garage sale, no-support model. The bottom line is that Microsoft's new copy protection scheme makes my Sony laptop PC less usable because these problems are not readily fixed and because I may not be able to reinstall XP without having copy-protection problems.

This copy protection is not implemented on corporate versions of XP (when five or more copies are purchased at the same time). That is good, but what must a business do to assure that corporate licensing remains compliant? There is a cost associated with maintaining compliance. The cost is not only monitoring licenses to ensure that there are no accidental license violations, but also the almost-mandatory annual license upgrades sought by Microsoft in its "software assurance" contracts. If enterprises are users that upgrade Windows and Microsoft software frequently, such "software assurance" contracts may benefit them. But they probably upgrade Windows much less frequently or just purchase licensed versions bundled with new PCs, which makes "software assurance" contracts much more costly and much less useful. It will not be too long before every Windows user, both large and small, will be paying Microsoft an annual license fee for Windows software. This looks like Microsoft exercising monopoly power to me. It also makes Microsoft greedy and vulnerable to competition from Linux and other open source code software.

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