I'm OK .. you're not OK



  • I use a lot of VM's to separate work I do for one client from another client. I used to use VMWare, but more recently I have been using VirtualBox for this task. So today I decided that I needed to clone one of my Windows 7 VMs to do some testing (and I am planning on trashing the master VM once I am happy with some new setups - and yes I know about snapshots etc). Clone away .. fire up windows .. and all is OK. I even do a windows update and it doesn't report any nasty surprises with the clones VM (like needing to authenticate the license again). So then I fire up MS Office and the first thing it does is tell me that it's not registered and that I have three days to do so or else. The only problem is that the license key is sitting at home and that I am sitting in a hotel and I won't be home for 4 more days.



  • I see no WTF here. You chose to use software with restrictive license conditions and are now astonished to find that it doesn't work after being cloned?



  • Or just use a copy of office in one of the other VMs. What's the biggie?



  • @flabdablet said:

    I see no WTF here. You chose to use software with restrictive license conditions and are now astonished to find that it doesn't work after being cloned?

    The problem is not my faux surprise at a restrictive license actually being restrictive. My actual surprise is at the different licensing behaviours observed between two different pieces of software from the same company.



  • Microsoft is 100% siloed, and always has been. The Office guys don't talk to the Windows guys.



  • The real WTF is the title. I thought this was going to be some WTF about OK buttons. Imagine how disappointed I was when...nevermind, those WTFs always suck.



  • @OzPeter said:

    The only problem is that the license key is sitting at home and that I am sitting in a hotel and I won't be home for 4 more days.
     

    The problem was caused by a lack of preparation on your part - there's no reason you don't have a copy of a licence key on you, other than you didn't think it was needed.

    Also:@OzPeter said:

    I use a lot of VM's to separate work I do for one client from another client. I used to use VMWare, but more recently I have been using VirtualBox for this task.

    If it's a common activity that you repeatedly rely upon, I'd have thought advance preparation in a controlled environment would have made more sense than attempting it for the first time when in isolated surroundings.



  • Normally if the product deactivates (after being previously activated), you don't need to reenter the product key - it just needs to hit the activation server to verify it's OK.



  • @Cassidy said:

    The problem was caused by a lack of preparation on your part - there's no reason you don't have a copy of a licence key on you, other than you didn't think it was needed.
    Yes .. you are absolutely right .. I should have totally prepared for the customer to require me to stay longer than I do 99% of the time, or to finally (and unexpectedly) come up with the specs for the next project which on analysis prompted the cloning, or the snow storm that is rolling in on Friday which (again if I had left when I wanted to I would have missed) for safety reasons means I will be staying extra time because I don't want to be spending Friday night driving for 3 hours in sub-freezing conditions along an interstate which is known for people driving badly even in the best conditions.

    My situation could be avoided if I was experiencing any two of the three conditions at one time. I was just lucky to win the trifecta this week, and contingency planning has to have limits otherwise I'd also be considering the effect of a possible meteor crash on the building I am working in.



  • @ender said:

    Normally if the product deactivates (after being previously activated), you don't need to reenter the product key - it just needs to hit the activation server to verify it's OK.
    You're most likely right, but I just didn't want to deal with it last night.



  • @OzPeter said:

    I was just lucky to win the trifecta this week, and contingency planning has to have limits otherwise I'd also be considering the effect of a possible meteor crash on the building I am working in.
    If this happens my critical systems will fail over to another datacenter far away. So yeah I guess it has been planned for.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Yes .. you are absolutely right .. I should have totally prepared for the customer to...
     

    Yeah, okay - point taken. You can't forsee every eventuality.

    @OzPeter said:

    and contingency planning has to have limits otherwise I'd also be considering the effect of a possible meteor crash on the building I am working in.

    I understand the gamble between managing/reducing/mitigating risk versus accepting the consequences. I was simply taking issue that - from your post - everything seemed to grind to a standstill once you needed a licence key and you didn't (or couldn't) see any way forwards. If you're building and preparing VMs on a regular basis, I'd have thought a battlebox of install media, config settings and keys would have been standard issue.

    I carry around stuff like this on USB pens and my netbook in the eventuality that something's missing at a client site. I'm not saying you ought to - but now with hindsight you've an opportunity to carry that info around or make it remotely available. If you're travelling out to customer sites frequently, you'll know how easy it is to find you're lacking something that's back at base/home etc.



  • I still don't get the frucking problem. You CLONED a VM with a working copy of Office, yes? So you still have a VM with a working copy of Office, yes?

    So type your documents in it and just copy-and-paste to the VM with the non-working copy, yes?

    I would like you to explain what the problem is exactly.



  • @OzPeter said:

    My actual surprise is at the different licensing behaviours observed between two different pieces of software from the same company

    Your actual surprise should be realization that you assumed that the same company == the same code logic.
    Windows and Office are made by two completely unrelated teams.



  • @SEMI-HYBRID code said:

    @OzPeter said:
    My actual surprise is at the different licensing behaviours observed between two different pieces of software from the same company

    Your actual surprise should be realization that you assumed that the same company == the same code logic.
    Windows and Office are made by two completely unrelated teams.

    The fact that Office has never used the standard windows ui should tip you off. It's probably what told developers "fuck standard controlsjust do whatever".



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I still don't get the frucking problem. You CLONED a VM with a working copy of Office, yes? So you still have a VM with a working copy of Office, yes?

    So type your documents in it and just copy-and-paste to the VM with the non-working copy, yes?

    I would like you to explain what the problem is exactly.

    My problem is the how my assumptions of different MS products have been pointed out to be wrong. your problem seems to be reading comprehension - as I explained my problem in full at the top of this page. Sometimes a WTF is nothing more than saying WTF.


  • It doesn't make for a very compelling story when the fallout from your WTF is: [nothing]



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It doesn't make for a very compelling story when the fallout from your WTF is: [nothing]

    FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. HE DIDN'T ASK FOR ANY GODDAMNED HELP. WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO HELP HIM!?!!!!?!



  • @MiffTheFox said:

    The fact that Office has never used the standard windows ui should tip you off. It's probably what told developers "fuck standard controlsjust do whatever".

    Oh yeah, and they've implemented some stupid, stupid ideas... I think probably 2/3rds of all tech support calls between about 2000 and 2005 was, "I somehow managed to make my menu bar in Word disappear!" Who the fuck thought detachable and close-able menu bars was a good idea? I hope they got fired.



  • @Cassidy said:

    ..... I was simply taking issue that - from your post - everything seemed to grind to a standstill once you needed a licence key and you didn't (or couldn't) see any way forwards.
    Actually the grinding to a halt is your assumption. I never stated that I couldn't move on, I just stated the WTF about a couple of MS products :D My options for moving on included everything from down loading an MS Office trial, buying another license online, or if the Internet has died .. buying a physical copy of office from a store, or even restoring the previous VM from a full backup I made (except that I haven't yet trashed the VM I cloned). But my actual choice of action will be to not give a shit until I get home and pull out the license key.

    And yes I do carry around a bunch of stuff on flash drives. In general every version of each of the major programs I use along with each released patch for each of the versions. Office is just not something I brought with me on this trip.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I still don't get the frucking problem. You CLONED a VM with a working copy of Office, yes? So you still have a VM with a working copy of Office, yes?

    So type your documents in it and just copy-and-paste to the VM with the non-working copy, yes?

    I would like you to explain what the problem is exactly.

    I'm not sure why you are getting so upset over this.

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @galgorah said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    I still don't get the frucking problem. You CLONED a VM with a working copy of Office, yes? So you still have a VM with a working copy of Office, yes?

    So type your documents in it and just copy-and-paste to the VM with the non-working copy, yes?

    I would like you to explain what the problem is exactly.

    I'm not sure why you are getting so upset over this.

    You must be new here.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    @galgorah said:
    @blakeyrat said:
    I still don't get the frucking problem. You CLONED a VM with a working copy of Office, yes? So you still have a VM with a working copy of Office, yes?

    So type your documents in it and just copy-and-paste to the VM with the non-working copy, yes?

    I would like you to explain what the problem is exactly.

    I'm not sure why you are getting so upset over this.

    You must be new here.

    Actually I've been here since 2007. Look at the joined on date under my avatar.


  • @OzPeter said:

    Actually the grinding to a halt is your assumption. I never stated that I couldn't move on, I just stated the WTF about a couple of MS products
     

    Hmm? Oh, yup - you're right, read into that as you'd hit a brick wall for want of a key.

    @OzPeter said:

    And yes I do carry around a bunch of stuff on flash drives. In general every version of each of the major programs I use along with each released patch for each of the versions.

    Figured as much. You don't need to be mobile all that much before you start tending towards mobile storage.

    @OzPeter said:

    Office is just not something I brought with me on this trip.

    Well... you really just needed the licence key. But yeah, not as much of a WTF as I presumed.



  • About the topic: VirtualBox by default exposes the machine UUID (which changes when cloning) in the "BIOS" settings, and operating systems and other software sometimes use it for activation checking.

    It is possible to set a separate hardware UUID for a VM via command line though, so that even when the machine UUID changes, the UUID exposed to the guest system does not change.

    This won't help you if you already run into the problem, but it is a good idea to set before installing a VM you intend to clone where you have software installed that needs activation.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mihi said:

    About the topic: VirtualBox by default exposes the machine UUID (which changes when cloning) in the "BIOS" settings, and operating systems and other software sometimes use it for activation checking.

    It is possible to set a separate hardware UUID for a VM via command line though, so that even when the machine UUID changes, the UUID exposed to the guest system does not change.

    This won't help you if you already run into the problem, but it is a good idea to set before installing a VM you intend to clone where you have software installed that needs activation.

    Furthermore, if he's not running the latest version of Office, there's tools out there that can extract your product key, so OP could have just switched VMs, downloaded something like the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder (nice name!) and used that to extract the key without waiting four days.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @FrostCat said:

    Furthermore, if he's not running the latest version of Office, there's tools out there that can extract your product key, so OP could have just switched VMs, downloaded something like the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder (nice name!) and used that to extract the key without waiting four days.

    I thought the whole idea of activation was that most* keys would only be eligible for activation a finite number of times. Sure you can get the key, but you're burning activations.

    *for pedantic dickweeds



  • @OzPeter said:

    I use a lot of VM's to separate work I do for one client from another client.
    Y'know, normal people use "folders" for that.



  • I'm guessing he works with a product so WTF-y you can't install different builds of it on a single OS-- even if you had different users.

    i.e. he works for IBM or Siemens.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I'm guessing he works with a product so WTF-y you can't install different builds of it on a single OS-- even if you had different users.

    i.e. he works for IBM or Siemens.

     

    It could also be privacy regulations or contracts mandating complete separation of products (or other types of legal/contractual obligations).

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @joe.edwards said:

    @FrostCat said:

    Furthermore, if he's not running the latest version of Office, there's tools out there that can extract your product key, so OP could have just switched VMs, downloaded something like the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder (nice name!) and used that to extract the key without waiting four days.

    I thought the whole idea of activation was that most* keys would only be eligible for activation a finite number of times. Sure you can get the key, but you're burning activations.

    *for pedantic dickweeds

     You'd think that, right?  I've got an XP key I've used a couple dozen times at least since XP came out (no, not on multiple computers at a time, just reinstalling Windows a lot over a dozen years) and never had a problem.

     I once installed Office 2007 twice in a week--same reason, reinstalling Windows--and it made me phone activate, which I did without talking to a human, and the next time, quite some time later, I installed it, I didn't have to phone in.

     Contrast this with games that do have a hard limit on activations; I think it could conceivably be that MS *claims* there's a limit to try to scare people out of piracy, but doesn't actually enforce it.



  • AFAIK the only way you won't get a new activation key is if you call up on the phone line, and outright tell the operator you're in violation of the terms. Assuming you even get an operator, it seems like they just have the computer approve you 90% of the time anyway without talking to anyone.



  • @FrostCat said:

    You'd think that, right?  I've got an XP key I've used a couple dozen times at least since XP came out (no, not on multiple computers at a time, just reinstalling Windows a lot over a dozen years) and never had a problem.
    You can only activate a single Windows key once - but the counter resets after 120 days.
    @FrostCat said:
    I once installed Office 2007 twice in a week--same reason, reinstalling Windows--and it made me phone activate, which I did without talking to a human, and the next time, quite some time later, I installed it, I didn't have to phone in.
    Boxed version of Office allows 2 activations (you're allowed to use it on a stationary PC and a laptop, as long as they're both your), and again the activation counter resets after 120 days.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ender said:

    @FrostCat said:
    You'd think that, right?  I've got an XP key I've used a couple dozen times at least since XP came out (no, not on multiple computers at a time, just reinstalling Windows a lot over a dozen years) and never had a problem.
    You can only activate a single Windows key once - but the counter resets after 120 days.

    That cannot possibly be correct.



  • @FrostCat said:

    That cannot possibly be correct.

    I dunno. I have a Windows 7 key that's activated with no phone call about 4 times now... it wouldn't surprise me at all if they reset after 120 days. A lot of people rebuild their computers that often.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    it wouldn't surprise me at all if they reset after 120 days. A lot of people rebuild their computers that often.
     

    Eh? Just clarify "rebuild" there... did you mean modify/upgrade in some way that requires reactivation? Or reinstall the OS?

    I know of people that do yearly reinstallations.. but a 4-month rebuild sounds excessive to me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I have a Windows 7 key that's activated with no phone call about 4 times now... it wouldn't surprise me at all if they reset after 120 days. A lot of people rebuild their computers that often.
    The 120 days counter is for automatic activations over the internet - you only need to call if the counter hasn't reset yet (or if you used an OEM key - those never activate over the internet).



  • @ender said:

    The 120 days counter is for automatic activations over the internet - you only need to call if the counter hasn't reset yet

    Yes that would be why I said it activated with no phone call.


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