Windows XP is Officially Dead

  • Comments: 13
  • Written on: October 23rd, 2010

Windows XP DeadAs of October 22, 2010 computer manufacturers (including local OEM companies like Schrock Innovations) are no longer permitted to install Windows XP as a primary operating system on new computers.

The only exception to this is if the customer buys a newer operating system on the computer like Windows 7, and then buys a second license for XP and downgrades the system. This option will be supported through 2015.

With that said, the days of getting XP systems from Dell, HP or any other business provider are officially over.

In fact, and computer builder, local or otherwise, who tells you they can still build you a new Windows XP PC that is properly licensed with Microsoft is lying to you. Unless you buy 2 operating systems it can’t be done legitimately. (and trust me, you don’t want to call Microsoft’s bluff on licensing or stuff like this can happen to your company.)

One of the most popular questions I get on my radio show (now available free on iTunes) is when will XP be dead? I guess this is the final answer.

Local Lincoln Company Sued by Microsoft

  • Comments: 17
  • Written on: June 23rd, 2010

This morning an article ran in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper stating that one of Schrock Innovations’ local competitors, QuickTEQ computers, is being sued by Microsoft for allegedly intentionally selling counterfeit Windows XP Professional products and improperly using Microsoft’s trade marks.

The basic outline of the story is that QuickTEQ sells a lot of refurbished laptops and Desktops. According to the article, Microsoft detected QuickTEQ was selling copies of the company’s Windows XP Professional operating system in ways that did not conform with the company’s licensing rules.

Microsoft warned QuickTEQ with a letter, and later sent an undercover investigator to follow up and see if QuickTEQ was still improperly selling Windows XP Professional.

After the investigator returned his findings, Microsoft hired Omaha attorney Richard Jeffries to file a suit against QuickTEQ.

Exactly What Did QuickTEQ do Wrong?

That is hard to say at this point. Microsoft’s licensing rules are complex in refurbished computer situations. QuickTEQ sells refurbished computers that were sold coming off leases, at auctions, or in other situations when companies and government entities are done using them.

As a rule, when a computer is purchased and it has a copy of Windows pre-installed on it, that software is licensed under certain conditions. For example:

  • You can’t remove the hologram sticker and reapply it to another computer owned by someone else
  • You can’t transfer ownership of the Windows Operating system without the manuals and the original hologram CD or recovery media
  • You can not resell an Enterprise installation of Windows (big business copy) to a home user

The article doesn’t say exactly what QuickTEQ is accused of doing wrong, but I was personally really surprised to hear about Microsoft filing this suit.

QuickTEQ Was Reportedly Trying to Be Careful

I had herad through the grapevine that QuickTEQ had received a letter from Microsoft about licensing. My understanding from my sources was that the company was taking the letter very seriously.

I spoke to a couple former QuickTEQ employees this morning and they reported that as employees they were aware the company received a letter from Microsoft and that QuickTEQ was “trying to be careful.”

What is Going to Happen Now?

In these situations, Microsoft is likely to ask for a temporary or permanent injunction against QuickTEQ to prevent them from selling any additional licenses.

According to the Journal Star, Microsoft is seeking information that will allow them to identify their exact monetary loss in the situation. I am not certian if that means they want a tally of the number of licenses sold, or they want the information about who bought the licenses.

Generally, Microsoft does not go after individual consumers for buying counterfeit software. They prefer to go after the players who they believe are putting the counterfeit software in the market for others to buy.

With that said, QuickTEQ has not told their side of the story yet. They did not comment to the Journal Star, and are probably just learning about the suit as well. QuickTEQ and its owner, Kevin Knudsen, are honorable staples in the Lincoln business community and I personally believe there is some misunderstanding here that will eventually be settled out of court.

How Can I Tell if My Software is Genuine?

Microsoft maintains a website that helps users determine if the Windows Software on their computer is genuine. Here are a few of the key things from that website to look for so you can put your mind at ease. Signs your Microsoft software may not be genuine:

  1. You did not receive any documentation or manual with your software
  2. Your computer does not have a holographic Windows sticker applied to its case
  3. You did not receive a hologram disc or recovery media with your computer
  4. Was the software properly licensed (home user buying Enterprise license for example)

Six Essential Microsoft Updates Releasing Today – All Windows & Office Users Impacted

  • Comments: 14
  • Written on: December 8th, 2009

windows_logoMicrosoft is releasing six new updates today that will impact all Windows users in some way.

The updates, scheduled to be automatically downloaded and installed tonight on most Windows systems, patch severe security issues in Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Microsoft Office. Because of the Internet Explorer 7 component, just about every Windows System made after 2001 will be impacted.

This set of updates will address a critical security flaw that could allow users to take control of your computer, so it is important you get these installed.

If your computer is having trouble installing updates for any reason, contact us in Lincoln or Omaha, or seek the assistance of a technician who can get them installed before your computer is infected.

Windows 7 Black Screen of Death
an Echo Chamber Hoax

  • Comments: 16
  • Written on: December 7th, 2009

black_screen_of_deathBeginning over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and continuing until recently, a report by security company named Prevx published a blog post stating tat a coming Windows Update will render millions of Windows 7 PCs inoperable suffering from a “Black Screen of Death.”

Today, ZDNet has published an article explaining the details and the time line of events that lead to industry giants like PC World Magazine picking up the story as fact.

After further investigation and a near heart attack at Microsoft, Prevx recanted the story and claimed they were not responsible for the damage that was caused to Microsoft by its initial report. Their statement reads:

Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft.

According to ZDNet, it looks like Prevx’s initial report was titled with the headline, “Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP.”

Major Tech Publications Punked

Computer World and PC World Magazine noticed the headline and without waiting for any corroboration or comment from Microsoft, ran with the headline “Latest Microsoft patches cause black screen of death.”

The fact of the matter is that after investigation, there is no problem and this is a prime example of how the Internet echo chamber can lead to an inflated story – especially when there is competition to break the story first online where seconds matter to search engines.

No Takebacks, No Way

The most shameful thing of all is that PC World and PC Magazine both refuse to change the old headlines that they now know to be wrong. That means they will be present in search engines for years to come, continuing to mislead and misinform the poor Windows 7 user with a VGA cable that fell out.

How Not to Respod to a Marketing Campaign
Courtesy of Apple’s Stupid Lawyers

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: August 1st, 2009

There are a lot of ways to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. You can look at market share gained, revenue generated, or response rates. But sometimes the true measure of an ad’s effectiveness is not in these numbers.

A truly brilliant marketing campaign makes your competitors whine. It makes then call their lawyers. It makes them grasp at any straw to make the bleeding stop.

There is truth to the saying “thou dost protest too much.” If you get your competitor to respond in a direct way to an indirect advertisement you know you are doing something right.

If Your Competitors Squawk, Keep Doing It

If something in your advertising – a word, phrase or concept – draws the ire of a competitor there is usually something about what you are doing that they are afraid of.

Take this recent example:

Microsoft recently launched a series of TV ads called Laptop Hunters.

Get Windows 7 Now While Supplies Last at Schrock Innovations

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: June 30th, 2009

Microsoft is making Windows 7 available for pre-order now through July 10, 2009!

Order your copy of Windows 7 and installation from Schrock Innovations and save 58% off of the software’s regular purchase price!

Windows 7 Installed for Only $219.99!?!

If you have ever purchased an operating system upgrade, you know that they normally cost hundreds of dollars and can take a degree in computer science to install successfully.

Between drivers, updates, and lost files upgrading your operating system can be a real challenge – Unless you let Schrock’s award-winning technicians do it for you!

Windows 7 Coming Home For Christmas?

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: May 9th, 2009

This is not unlike the upgrade program that was offered by many PC manufacturers to avoid the problem that always plagued OEM’s just before the release of Windows Vista. People tend to wait for the new OS rather than continuing to buy PCs as they normally would. The end result is an unnaturally slow quarter for manufacturers followed by a massive next quarter. The upgrade offer tends to smooth things out a bit.

It is important to note that manufacturers may choose to extend this offer back even further at their own expense to include users who purchased computers before July 1.

Doomsday Approaching for Apple’s Mac?

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: January 7th, 2009

If you have been following the Apple v. Psystar saga over cloned Mac computers you might get the impression that Psystar is just trying to make a buck selling inexpensive clones of a popular Apple computer system.

But according to legal filings, Apple thinks that Psystar might be part of a “Pirates of Silicon Valley” style assault on Apple’s future in the computer market. And they might be right.

If the door is legally opened to those who might want to make Mac clones, large manufacturers like Dell, HP and others would be racing each other to deploy Mac clone systems at breakneck speeds.

This end result is what fuels the conspiracy theory that some other person, persons, or competitors are providing aid to Psystar to keep their legal options alive. Some sources believe that this support is the reason Psystar has been so belligerent in the face of resistance by Apple.

The Truth About Mac vs. PC

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: December 27th, 2008

One of my technicians at Schrock Innovations forwarded this video to me.  Compared to any of the Mac vs. PC commercials out there, this one is more truthful than any I have seen.  Enjoy!

Microsoft to Release Emergency Internet Explorer Patch Today

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: December 17th, 2008

Today Microsoft will be pushing out a critical Windows Update designed to seal the browser vulnerability that as been gaining fame in the national media over the past few days.

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