Microsoft Wants In!

Through sleepy ears, heard on the news that as of today Microsoft will be sniffing through my computer for pirated software every time I want to update my MS software. Took a couple of hours to percolate down to the conscious level, then I went to Zdnet to see if I'd been hallucinating in the wee hours. Well, not hallucinating, but it wasn't quite as big brotherish as it sounded. Still, Microsoft will check your Microsoft operating system if you want to download an add-on to XP. Aside from why would you waste your money on half-baked software, I wanted to know just how much sniffing they'd be doing. Typed in A curt "server too busy" answered. Nice to know MS is as customer-oriented as ever.

Update: Tried the site again and after much fruitless searching, finally had the brilliant idea of using the "Search Microsoft" feature, and found this explanation of why I should allow MS to pry into my computer (in other words, if I was Joe Blow user I wouldn't know about this little validation check til it was time to download my new software.):
"Using genuine Microsoft software helps you stay up to date with the features and enhancements that keep your PC running as smoothly as possible, now and in the future....Using genuine Microsoft software is the best way to receive the latest product updates, enhancements and support from Microsoft...New innovations and offerings reserved exclusively for genuine Microsoft software users help you keep pace with the latest technology and constantly expand and improve the capabilities of your PC."
And I need MS to tell me whether my program is genuine or not? Like a pirate doesn't already know an illegal copy is harder to keep up to date? Anyway aren't most updates about plugging all the gaping security holes, which MS will continue supplying with no validation check. Interesting that they haven't updated the info on this site: while validation checks are now mandatory, it still sounds like you have a choice.

Apparently they won't be helping themselves to my personal info during the validation check:
"During the validation and activation processes, Microsoft does not collect any information, such as your name or email address, that can be used to identify you or contact you. These processes simply enable Microsoft to create a match between your PC's hardware profile and your 25-character Product Key (located on the COA), which we then store and check against future activation and validation attempts. We do this to ensure that your Product Key cannot be used by another person in a malicious manner, such as activating a pirated or non-genuine copy of Windows."
Specifically, they collect
  • OEM product key
  • PC Manufacturer
  • OS version
  • BIOS info (make, version, date)
  • BIOS MD5 Checksum
You decide if any of the above is personal.