Myths of Product Activation
Activation is difficult to complete.
Product Activation is actually very simple to complete. It requires just a few mouse clicks for those with Internet connectivity. For those who must activate over the telephone, the process with a customer service representative can be completed in just a couple of minutes. Most users' response is "that's it?"
Users must have Internet connectivity to activate.
Product Activation provides two methods to activate: Internet and telephone. The Internet method requires that the PC be able to make a connection to the Internet. The telephone method requires the user to provide information to a customer service representative over the telephone.
Product activation is an invasion of privacy.
Microsoft absolutely respects the privacy of its customers. None of the information collected will be used to personally identify you.
Product activation will hamper customers' use of the software.
Actually, customers should only be minimally impacted, if at all. Licenses acquired by customers through one of Microsoft's volume licensing programs will not require activation.
So you’re not personally identifying me, but you are still requiring information about the make and model of my PC.
To ensure the end user's privacy, Microsoft uses a one-way mathematical algorithm to create the hardware hash used by Product Activation to create the Installation ID. Once created, the hash information cannot be calculated back to its original values. Hardware information is sent through the algorithm in the software on the PC-not at Microsoft-to create the hash. The raw hardware information is not known or sent to Microsoft. Ensuring end user privacy is a No. 1 design goal for Microsoft with Product Activation.
Counterfeiters are the real piracy problem.
Software piracy comes in many different forms, some more widely known than others. Each type of piracy is unique and often requires unique protection methods.
Counterfeiting is a common form of piracy. Others include hard disk loading, Internet pirating and casual copying, or softlifting. Casual copying is the sharing of software between people in a way that infringes on the software's EULA. An example of casual copying is if someone were to get a copy of Office XP and load it on his or her PC, then share it with a second person who loaded it on his or her PC, then share it with a third person who loaded it on his or her PC, and so on. This form of piracy is very prevalent and accounts for a large portion of the economic losses due to piracy. It is this form of piracy, casual copying, that Microsoft is primarily looking to reduce with Product Activation.
Microsoft is addressing the other forms of piracy with other initiatives such as Certificates of Authenticity (COA) that accompany new PCs with genuine licenses, edge-to-edge holograms, educational campaigns and, as needed, enforcement efforts.
Product Activation keeps users from changing or upgrading their hardware.
Not true at all. Users can change or upgrade their hardware. One of the forms of piracy that Product Activation guards against is hard disk imaging. Not all forms of hard disk imaging are illegal. In the case where a pirate copies data from one PC hard drive to another to illegally run the software on two PCs, Product Activation stops that by forcing the copied software to be reactivated. It does so by comparing the hardware on which it was activated to the hardware on which it is now being booted. If the hardware is substantially different, then reactivation is required. If it is the same or similar, then the software will continue to work. Those who upgrade their PC's hardware substantially may be asked to reactivate. Reactivation for this reason is easy and can be completed by contacting Microsoft to obtain another confirmation ID.
Product Activation changes the way Microsoft software is licensed.
The underlying principles of Microsoft's software licenses have not changed. Microsoft's end user license agreements have always stipulated the number of PCs that software can be installed on. Product Activation does not change that.