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Langa Letter: January's XP Surprise: The Giant Paperweight

Fred Langa warns new Windows XP users of the consequences of failing to "activate" the operating system with Microsoft. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The Clock Is Ticking
If you're in your first month of use of XP and you haven't activated your copy, you need to know what's coming. WPA cannot be ignored, and will soon force you to activate or to stop using your PC.

If you're going to stick with XP, you might as well proceed with activation now, before the last minute and before you're locked out. That way, if there's any problem with the activation process itself, you can continue to use your PC while things get straightened out.

If you're not going to activate XP, you need to get your files into a non-XP, non-NTFS format soon, before WPA kicks in. Otherwise you may end up with no way to access or salvage your data.

There are many things to dislike about WPA, but this--being totally locked out of your system--is one of the worst, unless you know it's coming and take appropriate action beforehand.

Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't spell out the consequences of failing to activate a copy of XP. I think the company should.

What's your take on WPA's lockout mechanism? Is it--as Microsoft asserts--a simple, noninvasive antipiracy measure, or is it way too heavy-handed? Does Microsoft have an obligation to warn customers that they may lose access to all data if XP isn't activated, or is this a simple case of caveat emptor? Please join the discussion!


Resources

Third-Party Information On WPA

Official Microsoft Info On WPA