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View Full Version : Microsoft products reading your hard drive?


05-22-1999, 12:21 AM
From what I have read, I'm pretty sure that Microsoft reads your hard drive when you connect to their web site [Not out of paranoia but because of what other people have said]. I have seen my HD spin sometimes way longer than it should. Also they have a way to find out what software you have so when you are connected to their site so they can tell you what you need to update.

So, they must gather data from millions of computer users. The question is, just what do they do with that information? And what information do they take?

05-22-1999, 12:36 AM
I know Microsoft does read your hard drive when you go to update your Windows software from their website. As for when you just connect normally, I'm not sure if they read it then. Admittedly, I never go to their website unless I need to update something. And then I get a prompt that asks me if they can read the drive.

As for what they collect, and what they do with it: I would guess they check to see what's installed (do you use Microsoft products instead of other companies such as Adobe and Word Perfect, for example). I would also bet the information is used internally - to see what products they could market to you.

Any other thoughts?

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"There is such a fine line between stupid and clever." -- David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

05-22-1999, 04:13 AM
It's part of Bill Gates evil plan for World Domination. Switch to Linux, now, before Microsoft operatives hypnotize you with their hidden software programs then sneak up and plant a chip in your head. Do it now, before their mind-control techniques make you compulsively vote to make Bill dictator.

Bill, of course, doesn't realize that his plans are flawed and that inevitably him and his minions going to be slaves when Dogbert's New Ruling Class takes over.

05-22-1999, 07:18 AM
Bill Gates' empire will crumble. We are only the first generation in this information monopoly age. Something will come along, and Windows will disappear like every other piece of software, when a better one is created. But, then we will be slaves of the new one for a while.

05-26-1999, 06:58 PM
Actually 2 things:

First of all Information collected from the web site is nothing more than the products on the drive, not your name, contact information or anything else. It is used purely for your looking for updates and statistical data.

Part 2, for those of you who feel that Windows is a bane and that Microsoft would crumble if you stopped using it, remember, Windows is only one product of many Microsoft makes, and many of their products could eaily be made to operate on other os's (as evidenced by the unix version of IE which is quite highly used).

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To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

05-26-1999, 10:17 PM
Me thinks they read the serial number of W95/98 from your hard drive and when they get a cluster of several hundred of the same one they might take notice?

06-01-1999, 11:40 AM
Actually they don't even check the number (and it's a Product ID number not a serial number)

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To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

06-01-1999, 01:39 PM
If they really do look to see what MS products you have, what would stop them from checking it against their Registered Users info, to sniff out software pirates?

06-01-1999, 01:47 PM
I'd like to state again, to put this matter to rest, they this info is not checked against some "mystcial database of all users" First of all with all the copies out there do you have any idea how long that would take?

They simply match products in use to the downloadables. The way they catch pirates is through people turing people in on the Piracy line (1800-RU Legit) or when people call in to get support for their pirated products.

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To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

06-02-1999, 12:32 AM
Oh, Oh, a paranoid message thread. Here's something to fuel the paranoia! (http://terraserver.microsoft.com/)

06-12-1999, 01:52 AM
People should avoid using Microsoft products. Not because Bill Gates is the antichrist, not because Microsoft is a monopoly, not even because Microsoft products are bloated and medicre (heck, I happen to *like* Excel!); but because too high a percentage of computer users use them, so unethical hackers and virus authors write with Microsoft assumptions. The new Worm.ExploreZip virus is a good example: it depends on MS Outlook to spread itself; it mainly deletes MS Office files; and it propagates itself by writing to Windows startup files. I'm relatively immune to it even in the office where I'm part of an ethernet LAN that includes MS-centric PCs: the virus could attack my computer if my drives were mounted on someone else's PC and assigned a drive letter, but except for a small handful of excel files that happen to have the .xls extension (not necessary for Mac Excel to "see" them), I have nothing that is vulnerable to such an attack. I'd be safer yet if the PCs in the office used Lotus Notes instead of Outlook; Netscape instead of MSIE; WordPerfect or WordPro instead of Word; Quattro Pro or Lotus 1-2-3 (Win) rather than Excel.

Everything that is true of viruses is true of privacy and security issues. If I were in a high-stakes setting where internet security was important, I'd use an Amiga (let's see you infect THAT!!).



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06-12-1999, 11:30 AM
I recall a Judge Lane program a couple months back where the judge took a guys computer and said he would give it to Microsoft to see if it contained a pirated w98 operating system or not. Have no idea what happened to the guy. He was working at CompuUSA and told a customer that he could do what CompuUSA could do for her but for much less.

Anyway, he did it for $1,200 and would not give her the W98 cdrom and she said she couldn't get support at the website without it [even my w98cdrom doesn't have a serial nbr on it's cd face].

The guy said it wasn't needed and that it was completely legal.

06-12-1999, 04:03 PM
him and his minions going to be slaves when Dogbert's New Ruling Class takes over.
You mean "he and his minions are going to be..."

Are you planning on being a part of that ruling class?

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"[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged... that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more." -- Joseph Heller's Catch-22

06-14-1999, 10:14 AM
Handy said
"Anyway, he did it for $1,200 and would not give her the W98 cdrom and she said she couldn't get support at the website without it [even my w98cdrom doesn't have a serial nbr on it's cd face].

The guy said it wasn't needed and that it was completely legal."


The guy was correct. If a customer puchases an OEm copy of the software they are not necessarily entitled to a CD, Manual or anything, except the "Certificate of Authenticity" Which is a piece of paper to prove it isn't pirated.

You do not need the CD to get support, there is a number that is built into every MS product after install called the Product Identification Number" and it is in the software (In windows, right click on "My Computer" and select preferences) This number idicates several things, one of which is how it was purchased.

If it is an OEM copy, the manufacturer, or person who installed it is responsible for support of that product, because they purchased the product from MS with the intention of reselling it and providing support for it.

Now, if someone is just installing products on other people's computers MS can tell in 1 of 2 ways:

1. it's a retail copy, hence in the Microsoft Database when someone calls in for support their information will be taken to ensurte only one licensed copy is out there in use.

2. If it is OEM and too many people have it the OEM number can be traced back to the company who purchased that block of OEM numbers.


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To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.