Product key



gh7444
07-09-2005, 11:38 PM
Hi everyone

I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:

What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?
Is either one unique to my XP CD?
Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?
What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?
How are these keys meant to combat piracy?
How do 'keygens' work?

I don't need to know for any technical reason, but I'd love to
understand the rationale behind all this.

Can anyone help?

TIA

Frank Saunders, MS-MVP, IE/OE
07-09-2005, 11:38 PM
The Product ID identifies the WinXP version.
The Product Key uniquely identifies the license for that (single)
installation.

You can use your Product Key to use a different CD with the same Product ID
on the (only) PC the Product Key was used for.

--
Frank Saunders, MS-MVP, IE/OE
Please respond in Newsgroup. Do not send email
http://www.fjsmjs.com
Protect your PC
http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/


"gh7444" <gh7444@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:3fa3icF6pr47U1@individual.net...
> Hi everyone
>
> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>
> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?
> Is either one unique to my XP CD?
> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?
> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?
> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?
> How do 'keygens' work?
>
> I don't need to know for any technical reason, but I'd love to understand
> the rationale behind all this.
>
> Can anyone help?
>
> TIA

Mike Brannigan [MSFT]
07-09-2005, 11:38 PM
"gh7444" <gh7444@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:3fa3icF6pr47U1@individual.net...
> Hi everyone
>
> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>
> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?

Product key is the 5 by 5 set of characters you enter during setup - these
are on your PC or on the yellow sticker on the back of the package the
retail CD came in.
The Product ID is what you see what you look at the System properties on
control panel on a retail product it is 5 by 3 by 7 by 6 digits.

> Is either one unique to my XP CD?

Yes - while this is not relevant, you have a unique CD Product activation
key for you. This key is unique and can only be used with the same type of
product CD it was issued with.

> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?

No all Product Activation Keys for retail and generic OEM products are
unique.

> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?

So that we can verify that you have a legitimate copy (non pirated) Window
XP when you activate it and for future use for downlaods etc.

> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?

See above

> How do 'keygens' work?

not relevant - since as a legal use of Windows XP you buy a copy fo Windows
for each PC you own and install it on that PC.
So discussion of this practice of attempting to install unlicensed/illegal
copies of Windows XP is moot.


--

Regards,

Mike
--
Mike Brannigan [Microsoft]

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no
rights

Please note I cannot respond to e-mailed questions, please use these
newsgroups

"gh7444" <gh7444@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:3fa3icF6pr47U1@individual.net...
> Hi everyone
>
> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>
> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?
> Is either one unique to my XP CD?
> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?
> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?
> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?
> How do 'keygens' work?
>
> I don't need to know for any technical reason, but I'd love to understand
> the rationale behind all this.
>
> Can anyone help?
>
> TIA

Bruce Chambers
07-09-2005, 11:39 PM
gh7444 wrote:
> Hi everyone
>
> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>
> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?


The Product *ID* is created during the installation process and is
prominently displayed on the General Properties tab of the My Computer
icon. It is used to obtain/qualify for technical support (limited
though that may be) from Microsoft.

The Product *Key* is used to "prove" ownership of a legitimate
license and is required to perform the installation, and is either
stored on the CD packaging on a bright orange sticker that says "Do not
lose this number," or is on a label affixed to an OEM computer.


> Is either one unique to my XP CD?


Not exactly. You received a unique Product Key with your license to
use WinXP. This Product Key will work with any other CD of the same
type. For instance, an OEM Product Key for WinXP Home will work with
any OEM WinXP Home CD, and a retail WinXP Pro Product Key will work with
any retail WinXP Pro CD, etc; but a WinXP Home Product Key won't work
with a WinXP Pro CD. This is because it is the the Product Key that
represents the license you purchased, and the specific individual CD is
irrelevant. The Product ID will be unique to each individual
installation. If you were to install and then uninstall the OS onto the
same computer repeatedly, using the same CD and the same Product Key
each time, you'd get a


> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?

Yes, as explained above. Product Keys are bound to the specific *type*
and language of CD/license (OEM, Volume, retail, full, or Upgrade) with
which they are purchased. For example, a WinXP Home OEM Product Key
won't work for any retail version of WinXP Home, or for any version of
WinXP Pro, and vice versa. An upgrade's Product Key cannot be used with
a full version CD, and vice versa. An OEM Product Key will not work to
install a retail product. An Italian Product Key will not work with an
English CD. Bottom line: Product Keys and CD types cannot be mixed &
matched.


> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?


It's intended to serve as proof that you have a valid license to use
the software. Sadly, this is not a 100% effective anti-piracy measure.


> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?


They don't, nor are they intended really to; they're too easy to
bypass. The one function the Product Key does serve is that it can help
assure the consumer that he/she has purchased a legitimate software
license. If you're offered a CD without a Product Key, or a Product Key
with the CD, you know you're not being offered a legitimate license.


> How do 'keygens' work?


You'll have to ask a software pirate or the keygen's developer this
question to get an exact answer. I presume that they generate random
sequences of alphanumeric characters some of which, through sheer
chance, can be used by dishonest people in place of a legitimate Product
Key.




--

Bruce Chambers

Help us help you:
http://dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having
both at once. - RAH

kurttrail
07-09-2005, 11:39 PM
gh7444 wrote:
> Hi everyone
>
> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>
> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?

Not much. The Product ID is just an encrypted version of your Product
Key. The Product Key is what is on the sticker that came with the CD,
or the sticker that came with your computer. The Product ID is stored
in the Registry.

> Is either one unique to my XP CD?

No. They are unique to you, but any CD of the same type as yours will
accept your Product Key for installation.

If you Product Key came from an OEM, it should work with any OEM install
CD, but won't work with a Retail install CD, and visa versa.

> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?

Yes, OEM CDs should accept OEM Product Keys.

Retail CDs should accept Retail Product Keys.

VL Media should accept VL Product Keys.

> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing
> Windows?

To get you to jump through a hoop.

> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?

Yes. But it is a waste of time.

> How do 'keygens' work?

Someone reverse engineered the algorythm of the Product Keys, and wrote
a program to generate them.

> I don't need to know for any technical reason, but I'd love to
> understand the rationale behind all this.

To jerk around paying customers, so that they end up buying more copies
of software than they really need. Greed is the basic motivator,
because it won't stop piracy where the pirates live, Asia, Eastern
Europe, Africa & Latin America. In most of the countries that have high
piracy rates, the government just doesn't care, so in the North America
and the EU in countries that have countries that have overly strict
copyright laws, companies use any means possible to squeeze every penny
it can out of their customers.

> Can anyone help?

http://kurttrail.com/kblog/kblogarch/00000002.php

This is a short little piece I wrote about copyprotection and piracy on
my new blog.

--
Peace!
Kurt
Self-anointed Moderator
microscum.pubic.windowsexp.gonorrhea
http://microscum.com/mscommunity
"Trustworthy Computing" is only another example of an Oxymoron!
"Produkt-Aktivierung macht frei"

NotMe
07-09-2005, 11:39 PM
Actually some versions of Windows had a 'pattern' to the keys.
If you knew the pattern, you could make a key at will.
With activation, you have to make a key that hasn't been used in 120 days...

--
For evil to prosper requires only that good men remain silent!
"Bruce Chambers" <bchambers@h0tmail.c0m> wrote in message
news:u%23JqHYoXFHA.3864@TK2MSFTNGP10.phx.gbl...
> gh7444 wrote:
>> Hi everyone
>>
>> I'm absolutely baffled by MS's anti-piracy measures. For example:
>>
>> What's the difference between the product ID and the product key?
>
>
> The Product *ID* is created during the installation process and is
> prominently displayed on the General Properties tab of the My Computer
> icon. It is used to obtain/qualify for technical support (limited though
> that may be) from Microsoft.
>
> The Product *Key* is used to "prove" ownership of a legitimate license
> and is required to perform the installation, and is either stored on the
> CD packaging on a bright orange sticker that says "Do not lose this
> number," or is on a label affixed to an OEM computer.
>
>
>> Is either one unique to my XP CD?
>
>
> Not exactly. You received a unique Product Key with your license to use
> WinXP. This Product Key will work with any other CD of the same type.
> For instance, an OEM Product Key for WinXP Home will work with any OEM
> WinXP Home CD, and a retail WinXP Pro Product Key will work with any
> retail WinXP Pro CD, etc; but a WinXP Home Product Key won't work with a
> WinXP Pro CD. This is because it is the the Product Key that represents
> the license you purchased, and the specific individual CD is irrelevant.
> The Product ID will be unique to each individual installation. If you
> were to install and then uninstall the OS onto the same computer
> repeatedly, using the same CD and the same Product Key each time, you'd
> get a
>
>
>> Do different CDs share the same keys/IDs?
>
> Yes, as explained above. Product Keys are bound to the specific *type*
> and language of CD/license (OEM, Volume, retail, full, or Upgrade) with
> which they are purchased. For example, a WinXP Home OEM Product Key won't
> work for any retail version of WinXP Home, or for any version of WinXP
> Pro, and vice versa. An upgrade's Product Key cannot be used with a full
> version CD, and vice versa. An OEM Product Key will not work to install a
> retail product. An Italian Product Key will not work with an English CD.
> Bottom line: Product Keys and CD types cannot be mixed & matched.
>
>
>> What is the purpose of keying in the product key when installing Windows?
>
>
> It's intended to serve as proof that you have a valid license to use the
> software. Sadly, this is not a 100% effective anti-piracy measure.
>
>
>> How are these keys meant to combat piracy?
>
>
> They don't, nor are they intended really to; they're too easy to bypass.
> The one function the Product Key does serve is that it can help assure the
> consumer that he/she has purchased a legitimate software license. If
> you're offered a CD without a Product Key, or a Product Key with the CD,
> you know you're not being offered a legitimate license.
>
>
>> How do 'keygens' work?
>
>
> You'll have to ask a software pirate or the keygen's developer this
> question to get an exact answer. I presume that they generate random
> sequences of alphanumeric characters some of which, through sheer chance,
> can be used by dishonest people in place of a legitimate Product Key.
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Bruce Chambers
>
> Help us help you:
> http://dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
> http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
>
> You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having
> both at once. - RAH


Product key