By Rob Innis
Most users of Microsoft computers will probably have experienced the dreaded viruses that people with nothing better to do send to other people who have nothing better to do than play with computers all day. So running software scans and generally spending more time dealing with threats than doing anything else is the norm.
So when a message popped up ‘Your software might be counterfeit’ I immediately thought here we go. I have a virus, worm, botnet, or malware – one of those incomprehensible software jargon words.
The message persisted and I was invited to go online and make a Counterfeit Software Report. Again my skepticism led me to believe it was a scam to get my personnel details. But I clicked the link and arrived at a Microsoft site. My laptop was recently bought in Spain with Spanish Windows 7, the latest system. However, deciding I preferred it to ‘speak’ to me in English, I had spurned Microsoft’s 200$ language upgrade option and purchased it from another supplier for around 30$. After all Bill Gates has enough money, right?
The new software had successfully worked (in English, brilliant) for around 2 months before this, now accepted as genuine, error message appeared. It turned out the software I had purchased was counterfeit. But why had Windows security allowed it to be loaded? And a more basic question – why doesn’t Windows just switch to any language like any other software product does these days for free?
So I followed Microsoft’s instructions and mailed, yes I mean on paper in an envelope with a stamp, a letter to their office in Dublin along with my purchase receipt and details of where and how (online) I had (innocently) acquired the offending counterfeit software.
A few weeks later the error messages stopped and naturally I thought great, thanks Microsoft – they have fixed my system (via a Windows update download) after receiving my letter.
A few months later the error message reappeared and back to square one. I received an email from them telling me they had not received my counterfeit report. Presumably my snail mail letter had failed to make its journey from Torrevieja to Dublin successfully.
I wrote a second letter to another Microsoft office and it must have arrived as they sent me an email confirming that they would be sending me my “complimentary software replacement kit” from America, which might take 4-6 weeks to arrive. In the meantime the message pops up a 100 times a day to tell me what I already know and, as a punishment, my virus protection software has been made to stop running. Hope you are happy Bill, because I am not. Apple here I come….
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