Microsoft secretly yanks TechNet product keys


Nibiru2012

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From The Register - UK 9-23-2010

Microsoft has quietly changed the terms of its TechNet subscription service by reducing the number of product keys made available for download to its users, The Register has learned.

On 15 September Redmond lowered the number of product keys dished out to TechNet subscribers from 10 to a maximum of five, in Microsoft’s latest effort to stamp out software piracy.

However, MS made the switcheroo without first informing its subscribers of the tweak to its TechNet small print. Product keys are used by Microsoft and other software vendors to certify that a user's copy of a particular program is genuine, and they typically require online activation.

When the change occurred, even some of Microsoft’s own employees were apparently caught out by the product key reduction, with some telling customers that there was a bug in the system.

Some subscribers who later contacted Microsoft’s TechNet team were told that the company lowered the number of product keys made available for download as “additional security measures”.

The change hasn’t hit long-term subscribers to the service, because Microsoft left those keys in place.

“We did not take away any keys. Just the amount of keys available ‘ad hoc’ via the portal has been reduced, all previously claimed keys are still available,” it said.
“The reduction is due to an updated anti-piracy policy. More information will be made available for all customers soon.”

Microsoft's new policy means that TechNet Professional subscribers now get access to a maximum of five product keys, while TechNet Standard subscribers gain access to just two keys.

But as Reg reader Jon Aubrey – who tipped us off about the change – told us, new TechNet subscribers have been “stung hard” by the reduction.
“The first thing I knew about it was when I went to download a new key for MS Office 2010 and found there were no more keys to get out of my 10 keys, when I only had registered two of them,” Jon said.

“I contacted Microsoft twice and both times had the ‘there is a bug in TechNet, don't worry’ - until I was told to directly contact the TechNet team, who told me that they'd reduced the keys under our noses without informing us.”

El Reg
has asked Microsoft to tell us more about the TechNet product key rejig, but it hadn’t got back to us with comment at time of writing.

SOURCE
 
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catilley1092

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Who we all have to thank for this is the huge number of subscribers that have joined for the simple purpose of obtaining keys to sell online, notably on eBay. To be honest, I was amazed at the speed of approving an membership.

It was more or less a "no questions asked" deal, as far as your employment status, whether or not you were an IT worker, administrator, developer, student or simply an enthusiast. I paid for the membership, the only thing required was to read the EULA, agreed to it, and my payment was processed, and within a few minutes, I registered and began downloading evaluation OS's & Office products.

In fact, less than two weeks before I joined, I attempted to get Windows 7 Enterprise, far more questions were asked. I checked that I was an enthusiast, and was denied the download. Same with Windows 7 SP1 Beta, I had to go through TechNet, they won't allow enthusiasts to obtain the SP.

I was going to downgrade my subscription next year to the Standard level, but guess I won't now. Two keys are not enough for my needs.

BTW, does anyone know, does the number of keys start over, when you renew each year. I've often wondered about this, and have not found an answer on the site that addresses this.

Another thing, when you join, your IP address, as well as certain information about your computer(s) are collected by MS when you're obtaining services. When you attempt a download, you'll see fine print at the bottom of the download manager, verifying your IP address. So there are already measures in place to keep legit users legit, and all keys that's issued to you are kept up with. In fact, should you lose a key, all you have to do is go to the page for your info, and all of your product keys will be displayed.

Cat
 

Nibiru2012

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That's two keys per product; ie, 2 keys for Window 7 Pro, 2 keys for Windows 7 Home Premium, 2 keys per MS Office 2010, etc., and so forth regarding the TechNet Standard subscription.

To answer your question about keys starting over, the keys issued in the past are good for life.
 

clifford_cooley

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To answer your question about keys starting over, the keys issued in the past are good for life.
I understood the question to be asking whether or not additional keys are issued each year when the subscription is renewed.

Would the renewed subscription reset the number of additional keys to two or are the two previous keys from the year before all you will ever be alloted?


WOW - I just noticed this is my 3000th post. :)
 

Nibiru2012

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I misunderstood... my bad; must be my head cold I've got. Mild one, but still a nuisance for sure.

Congrats on the


POST!


 

catilley1092

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Congrats on your 3,000th post, c_c! Yes, you understood me correctly. I wanted to know if you start over with each renewal.

Oh well, if I can't, then I'll simply get my wife to sign up for the service, and let me use it, if I run out of keys.

Cat
 
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davehc

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No, Cat. You do not start over. If, for example, You obtained ten keys for Vista ultimate, a couple of years or so ago, those same keys will remain in place. You will nor receive any new keys. Not sure about the wife thing? As you have said yourself, a deal of the verification is done by checking the IP address against the user details. my own thoughts are that, if your wife is using the same IP address, it might be a no go area.
But, in practice, I have found that ten keys per version of, for example, Windows 7, with a number of installations, more than meets my requirements. If I am only experimenting for a limited period, for myself or others, I leave it unactivated. This , of course, increases the user number potential.
 

clifford_cooley

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This is all confusing me. :(

First I hear the keys you gain never go invalid after canceling a subscription.
Now I hear you never gain any additional keys upon renewing a subscription.

Other than keeping the remaining keys available for use, I don't see any reason to continue subscription once you have activated all your software.

And if by some chance you do need additional keys, what then?
Upgrade service or can you actually call and have more keys placed on your account for a small price?
 

davehc

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I cannot see any reason to want more keys, bearing in mind the (official)restrictions on the use of them. With 6 x 10 activation keys (for all versions of windows 7)
One key can activate 10 computers. This brings the score up to 600 computers.
You can install and reinstall, an infinite number of times on the same hardware.
To cap it all, if you make an image, you can carry on copying the image to the same machine, with the activation intact.
If this has not been enough, you can, by telephoning Microsoft, obtain more keys. This would normally come with the proviso that all your previous keys/installations are wiped.
The keys do not become invalid if you cancel, or your subscition, expires.
If you feel you have got all you want from your subscription, then there is little pupose in renewing it. But, of course, as you could see, this would prevent you from chasing Microsoft's ongoing software updates. No problems to start again with a new subscription, but at a higher cost than a renewal.
 

clifford_cooley

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I cannot see any reason to want more keys, bearing in mind the (official)restrictions on the use of them. With 6 x 10 activation keys (for all versions of windows 7)
One key can activate 10 computers. This brings the score up to 600 computers.
WOW - I wasn't aware of the one key activation of 10 computers. In that case one key is all I would ever need.
 

davehc

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I must quickly say. That is for older software. Newer software is only for 2 or three installations. I am not clear (nor is MS) as to when software is officially "old"
 
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catilley1092

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I do a lot of installing & reinstalling, doing different things, so the number of keys concerned me. Mainly running various Windows installs on my notebook, and within VirtualBox in Mint.

But now that I have two 1TB hard drives, my having to switch things around will slow. I now have the space that I need to run the OS's that I want.

Also, I read that even if the number of activations genuinely expires, you can still obtain product keys. But my main concern is this, this program is supposed to be for IT workers, employees, and developers. At least that's the description of the program, "Resources for IT Professionals" is part of their name.

Now, what if I had to call them over anything. I don't even know what "IT" stands for, let alone being an employee or developer. I know that they have said that it's to combat piracy, and I believe that. But would they also be looking to weed those out who just likes to play, as I do? That's what I bought the subscription for, was to learn and play.

I was going to try some of the courses that comes with the package (6 per term or renewal), but the problem was this. They don't make things simple for the everyday user to understand, and there's no beginners courses. About all that I get from the program is the office packages, and OS's from XP forward. Somewhere along the line, Windows 95 through 2000 was left out, and I really wanted to see those. I do know that it had to do with Sun (now Oracle), as to why we can't get these OS's.

I'll make my decision come renewal time, as to what to do. I was really looking for a good, easy place to learn the basics, and get a good foundation under my feet, but all that I see every time that I log on is all of this "cloud" mess.

Cat
 

TrainableMan

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Information Technology. If you ever talk to Microsoft you simply say I run 4 OSes including 3 flavors of MS as well as Mint and I'm a major contributor to the W7 forums. I doubt seriously they would question you much past that :D

What would Sun have to do with Microsoft not offering 95, 98, 2000? and don't forget 3.1!
 
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catilley1092

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I believe it was one of those anti-trust things. That's what I read. Something about MS stealing Sun's technology to produce a VM, which is absurd, Windows Virtual PC doesn't even resemble Sun's (now Oracle's) VirtualBox. And is twice as good a product.

I only use VirtualBox in Mint to run Windows on, mainly to access my printer.

PS: They offer 3.1, but I couldn't get it to boot, even on a VM.

Cat
 

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