Confessions of a Software Pirate (long, and there's a moral AND advice sought)

I don’t know why I’m starting this in the Pit, because it’s not a rant, but it might get kind of ugly. I dunno. Here’s my tale of woe - listen to my story, children, and learn from my mistakes.

I’m an OS pirate. I’ve been running Windows for overten years and have only sort of paid for it once (98 came installed on a computer I bought).

We won’t go into the specifics of HOW I got my pirated copy of Windows 2000 (W2K), but I have one. It’s all the files, burned onto a CD. Huzzah.

Yesterday some new components I ordered came in - new huge hard drive and faster CD burner. Like an idiot, I decide to try to install them all at once. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I finally got to the point where the original HD, then new HD, and the CD burner were seeming to coexist peacefully. The ZIP drive was having problems, though, and the computer wasn’t happy with the fact that I’d removed the floppy drive, since I needed its bay more than I needed it. So I go to the Iomega site, find the upgraded installer for W2K, and run it, thinking it’ll solve my problems.

I was wrong in the worst way. There’s a known bug in Iomega’s W2K installer that sometimes causes a little problem. It did in my case. Now the computer just reboots over and over. I can’t get to the OS at all, it just reboots.

Iomega’s fix is to go to the BIOS, boot from CDROM, boot from the W2K CD, and then do some other stuff. Problem is, my pirated W2K disk isn’t bootable.

So I am screwed. Now, I only have myself to blame. It’s my own fault that I have a pirated OS, that I went about the installation stupidly, and so forth. I am fully hip to that.

But I want to amend my ways. I want to go legit on W2K. I want to Do the Right Thing.

Thing is, I’m not sure how well the Right Thing is gonna help me. If I go out and buy W2K Professional (~$300) it SHOULD work, right? I should be able to pop it in, boot from it, and solve my problem without having to actually reinstall the OS, correct? (I’m trying to avoid losing everything on the bootable hard drive - that’s fine as a last resort, because it’s not like I have my cancer cure on there, but for obvious reasons I want to avoid it if possible).

On the other hand, I could get the W2K upgrade, which is $100 cheaper and which I do have a legitimate claim to, in that I legally own a copy of Windows 98. But I’m not sure the upgrade disk would solve my problem. (Again, all I am trying to do at the moment is get to the existing OS so I can scrape the failed installation off of it. Also, at that point I can back up data so that if I have to reinstall/fdisk it’ll be less painful.)

The third option is Windows XP, which is also cheaper, but I’m pretty sure a bootable XP disk WON’T get me where I want to be.

So this is my sad tale. Learn from it, folks. Don’t screw yourself the way I did. Believe me, I am at the point where, if I have to, I will HAPPILY pay $300 to get my system working again. And I don’t usually pay $300 happily.

(Also, please note - my computer is used primarily for gaming, so “helpful” suggestions like switching to Mac or Linux are not welcome.)

So I come to you as a sinner, but as one seeking reform. Granted, it’s the reform of the guy who knows he is certainly in hell and now wants a last-ditch chance to repent, but it’s still there. Please have pity on me and know that my eyes have been opened.

Well, I applaud your intent to be an honest citizen. However, should you change your mind, {Note: pirating info deleted. Lynn}
Of course, your pirated copy may not have that file.

I am not sure where the boundaries are set as to what is discussible on the board but I believe that **Lord Derfels
** answer may have stepped over it.
For Shame :smiley:

pezpunk, yep. Here at the Straight Dope, we don’t condone piracy, nor do we enable it. So I removed the instructions.

DAMN! I suppose now you’re going to say that we can’t make him walk the plank? oooooo that makes me mad!

I hope I’m not violating any laws of the board… but even the actual win2k CD isn’t bootable. There is a repair feature on the install disks.

Mod’s please forgive me if I somehow dabbled in the “Not Done”

Really? Because this is Iomega’s fix for the problem:

There are both bootable and non-bootable versions of the Win2K master. I know, because at my last job the bootable copies were rare and much guarded. I’m not sure what you’d do if you had a legitimate, non-bootable copy of the CD. Maybe if you call Iomega and tell them you have a non-bootable CD they’ll have a workaround?

Hrm. If I go out and buy Win 2000 Pro, which I’ll probably do this afternoon, I suppose I’ll have to make sure it’s bootable first.

Well, now I look like some sort of hacker or something. I emailed an apology for breaking the rules to Lynn.

For the record, I posted instructions (freely available from Microsoft) on how to create a setup boot disk for win2k when your CD won’t boot. I didn’t think it was pirating info, but Lynn thought otherwise.

I sincerely apologize to the mods for breaking board rules.

I wouldn’t bother with 2K, just get XP. I use it all the time and it works fine, and functions almost exactly the same as 2K.

XP also has a repair option when you boot to the CD, but in this case, you wouldn’t use it as you’d be installing a new OS.

Not to make any judgements on your predicament, you probably needn’t worry if any disc you buy for Win2000 is bootable or not. This article on Microsoft’s Website describes how to make a boot disk from a legitimate Windows CD, from thence you can proceed to repair your Win2000 install as the Iomega folks suggest. If this also applies to your illigitimate CD, I don’t wanna know about it :wink:


My suggestion is to buy a license only for Windows XP Professional Full Version, from pricewatch perhaps. It should cost between $100 to $150 ($95 currently being the lowest pricewatch price), and you’ll get basically a nifty certificate of authenticity without a CD. Then, find a copy of Windows XP Corporate Edition somewhere and burn a copy. While IANAL, to the best of my knowledge this is perfectly legal, as once you own a license to use the software you are free to obtain it in any way you wish. Microsoft is getting paid for the software when you buy the license, so you aren’t stealing anything.

I suggest Corporate Edition, as it doesn’t have that nasty Product Activation which makes the system stop working if you should happen to upgrade your hardware. Otherwise, it is identical to the WinXP Pro you would buy in a fancy blue box with a manual for $300 at Office Depot. The CD is also bootable, if burned properly.