Microsoft Fixes Validation Issue that Withheld Vista Features

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-27 Print this article Print

Some 12,000 Windows Vista customers across the globe were denied access to a range of features in the new operating system as a result of a shut-down in Microsofts ability to validate their systems under its Windows Genuine Advantage program. The Redmond, Wash. software maker confirmed August 27 that the problems with processing validations had started at about 3:30 p.m. PST Friday August 24, but that it only discovered the issue that evening as a result of calls to its customer service lines and posts to its forum.
"By about 11:15 a.m. Pacific on Saturday morning the issue affecting the validation service had been analyzed and resolved such that validations were again being processed properly," Alex Kochis, the senior product manager for Microsofts Windows Genuine Advantage team, said in a blog post on August 27.
"Our data shows that fewer than 12,000 systems were affected worldwide and that many of those have already revalidated and are fixed," he said. Click here to read more about the Vista update Microsoft released to stop its product activation technology from being bypassed. While this was "encouraging news," Kochis noted that "one bad customer experience is one too many and that were committed to learning from this experience and working to prevent this type of event from occurring again." But the company does not seem to know exactly what the problem was as yet. When asked what the exact cause of the outage was, a Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK that it was "still investigating the root cause." However, the consequence of the lack of validation to customers was that they could not access a number of Vistas features that are only available to validated systems. These include the new Aero user interface; ReadyBoost, which expands virtual memory; Windows Defender, which still scanned and identified all threats but cleaned only the severe ones; and the optional updates via Windows Update, which still made security and other critical updates available. Whats the matter with Vista? Here are 12 reasons why its struggling, and five ways to get it back on its feet. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the bad customer experiences were not limited to the lack of access to some of Vistas core features, but included unhelpful customer support agents who also gave out incorrect information. "Were looking into the reports of comments made about the expected length of the issue and how support inquiries were handled overall during this time. I heard a report that one of our support folks indicated that the issues would not be fixed until Tuesday, that was incorrect. Well be looking closely at how and why that statement was made," Kochis said. Page 2: Microsoft Fixes Validation Issue that Withheld Vista Features

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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