OEMs Must Provide Copy Protection for Win2K Distribution Media

I didn't get to San Francisco's Graham Theater in time to see the Windows 2000 (Win2K) launch. I got caught in a traffic jam on the Bay Bridge and walked into the theater just as people were leaving (I did attend the press-only question and answer session afterward). I have seen the launch, though, and you can too. Click here for a Windows Media version. Or, if you'd prefer, you can read a transcript of Bill Gates remarks.

Upgrading from Preview Code—Round 3
Last week, I reported that you can upgrade from the time-bombed preview version of Win2K to the full, shrink-wrapped version using the shrink-wrapped version's regular setup program. I know this approach works because I've used it. However, several readers report they can't upgrade from preview code to shrink-wrapped code with the $150 upgrade-only edition of Win2K; upgrading from preview code requires the full ($300) version. I've asked Microsoft what, if any, procedure is available to people who have the preview version and want to install the upgrade version. So far, I've heard nothing back. In the meantime, I recommend leaving the preview code in place. For most people, the time-bombed version will take quite awhile to expire. I'll have more on this subject as soon as I hear from Microsoft.

Warning—Some OEMs Can't Ship Media!
I'm also waiting to hear from Microsoft about a more ominous development. During the press question and answer session, someone asked about Microsoft denying certain OEMs the right to ship media—including both the Win2K distribution CD-ROM and the rescue disk—with systems. Microsoft is requiring OEMs to provide copy protection to prevent people from using the distribution CD-ROM for other purposes. All the top vendors have gone along with this requirement, but some of the smaller OEMs aren't complying. Those OEMs can ship systems with Win2K preloaded on the hard disk but can't ship the CD-ROM or rescue disk. That approach is fine until you have a problem—at which point you might be out of luck!

A senior Microsoft executive agrees that users who purchase such a system should be able to get the CD-ROM and rescue disk, but he hasn't gotten back to me with a procedure for doing so. For now, I recommend checking before you buy. If the system doesn't come with media, don't buy it.

Not a Service Pack—But Close
During the post-launch question and answer session, an attendee asked Microsoft's Brian Valentine about a Win2K service pack. He said Microsoft has no immediate plans for a service pack but referred the questioner to Microsoft's new Windows Update Web site (start Internet Explorer—IE—and select Tools/Windows Update or go here. You'll find the following items:

  • Win2K Critical Update, February 17, 2000: Fixes an obscure calendar problem, a possible Office 2000 data corruption bug, and patches a security issue
  • Win2K Compatibility Update: Adds support for 48 games
  • Win2K Update, February 17, 2000: Fixes the "Iomega Tools do not Recognize Parallel Port Drives" problem.

NOTE: You need administrator rights to install these updates. Downloads are also available for 128-bit encryption and to provide automatic notification of critical updates such as number 1 above.

In last week's update, I gave an incorrect URL for Dave Dittrich's Denial of Service (DoS) site at the University of Washington. The correct URL is http://staff.washington.edu/dittrich/misc/ddos/.

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