Office XP: Two Thirds of German Users Against Compulsory Registration

Two out of three users are refusing the compulsory registration for Office
XP demanded by Microsoft. According to a previously published survey carried
out by the German magazine “PC-WELT,” 32 percent of the 1,800 readers
questioned are already using the new Microsoft package. Of these users,
barely one-third have registered officially. More than two-thirds are using
a crack — a skeleton key from the Internet — to activate Office XP on their
computers.

With the introduction of Office XP and the upcoming debut of Windows XP,
Microsoft has made the so-called activation mandatory. The programs generate
a code from the computer’s hardware configuration. Customers must transmit
this code to Microsoft in order to receive an activation code in return.
Microsoft’s apparent aim is to ensure that the software will only run on the
computer for which it has been registered. If the hardware is modified
extensively, a new activation code is sometimes necessary.

At the start of July, Fully Licensed GmbH in Berlin analyzed the
controversial activation procedure for the new Windows XP operating system.

“In doing so, we’re ending the speculation about possible spying on hardware
configurations, installed software or personal data,” says Thomas Lopatic,
the technical manager for Fully Licensed. In a comprehensive technical
analysis of the “Windows Product Activation,” the company determined that
besides harmless information on the hardware being used, only the serial
numbers of the purchased copy of Windows XP are revealed to Microsoft.

The experts detected that ten different hardware characteristics determine
the exact hardware identification transmitted to Microsoft. But the hardware
identification does not give any indication of the actual hardware present.
The only other piece of information transmitted is the product
identification. This is a type of serial number shipped with the Windows XP
CD-ROMs.

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