Install Vista without a CD key

Daniel Petri comes up with another great tip and insight into the way Microsoft’s software can be manipulated to do things you want to do. In this case how to trial different versions of Windows Vista. Once the activation deadline is reached you must put your legal key in for the version you installed to continue but… it does let you try the different versions first!

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Microsoft Windows XP activation

Having re-cased a computer for a neighbour I was shocked to find out that it wouldnt simply re-activate (the only change to the hardware was the motherboard). In order to get through the activation process I had to:

  1. Phone Microsoft
  2. Key in the Activation Number given by the XP Activation Wizard
  3. Be told it was invalid
  4. Get transferred to a “Customer Services Representative”
  5. Read them the activation number
  6. Tell them it was an OEM key from a manufactured PC
  7. Change the product key (from something to the one on the old case)
  8. Generate a new activation key
  9. Read this back to the CSR
  10. Have them enter it incorrectly
  11. Re-read it to them
  12. Confirm they made a mistake
  13. Enter their half of the key
  14. Finsh

Or so I thought! The new problem came when I tried to Windows Update and I was told that somebody was trying to give me a counterfeit key and that I should look for a genuine key.

Only after a few reboots and ignoring their “you are illegal” messages did I successfully get it to WU and repatch itself

Why can MS not just make a system that works first time!