Adding to Microsofts woes and those of its customers was the fact that customer support agents incorrectly told people whose Vista systems were not being validated that the servers might be down until Tuesday, Aug. 28, when, in fact, they had already been fixed as of late morning Pacific Time on Aug. 25. "Were reviewing our procedures on that score as wellcommunicating clearly and accurately are super-important when things like this happen," Kochis said.Whats the matter with Vista? Click here to see 12 reasons why its struggling, and five ways to get it back on its feet. Adding insult to injury for customers unable to validate their systems was the message that appeared in the lower right-hand corner of the desktop area, saying "This copy of Windows is not genuine." The message remains until a successful validation is completed. One customer angrily posted to the Windows Genuine Advantage blog, "I paid well in excess of $200 for my copy of Vista Ultimate and getting told that Your copy of Vista appears to be counterfeit and having functionality removed and not being able to install updates from the Microsoft site doesnt make for a very good experience. "I was and still am quite mad at Microsoft. Im pretty sure Im going to switch to a Mac because of it. I certainly dont feel like Ive been rewarded for being a good citizen and actually buying my copy of Windows. All those pirates out there probably had no problems at all," the post said. To read about a lawsuit that labeled Windows Genuine Advantage as spyware, click here. For his part, Kochis once again expressed his regret about the situation. "I also want everyone to know that I am personally very disappointed that this event occurred. As an organization weve come a long way since this program began and its difficult knowing that this event confused, inconvenienced and upset our customers," he said. But one customer lauded Kochis for being open and upfront about the problem in an MSDN blog. "I know that takes a lot of guts to do, even though once its done, it seemed so simple," the customer wrote. "I highly encourage more transparency in both the WGA and Activation efforts at Microsoft. Im pretty sure it will do you guys a lot of good in the long run. There are still many people with grave concerns as Im sure you know!" Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Without validated systems, customers are not able to access a number of Vistas features. These include the new Aero user interface; ReadyBoost, which expands virtual memory; Windows Defender, which still scans and identifies all threats but cleans only the severe ones; and optional updates via Windows Update, which still makes security and other critical updates available.