About a year ago, Microsoft brandished my mom a software pirate. Now, I've been nabbed, too. She professed her innocence, as did I. A Microsoft support technician spent about four hours fixing mom's problem. A corrupt file triggered the piracy validation failure. I used it as evidence that Windows Genuine Advantage does indeed generate false positives. But Microsoft disagreed, saying there was no false positive. Mom was always legal; the system worked. Say what?
I never thought Microsoft would come after me? On Friday night, my copy of Office 2007 Ultimate failed to validate. Shoot, that makes me a pirate, too. Weeks earlier, Office 2007 activated just fine, so I was surprised by the sudden non-genuine status. I re-ran the validation mechanism several times and once for Windows Vista. The operating system validated just fine.
The counterfeit accusation made me feel bad, like I had done something wrong when I knew that I hadn't. There was a sense of powerlessness, too, because the validation failure also restricted my access to Office Online.
Troubleshooting followed, as I put on my tech support hat. Problem: Microsoft's genuine software Web site offered no useful solutions other than to seek a replacement copy of Office 2007. There's an arrogance about the approach, which really presumes there won't be false positives. OK, to be fair, there was an online diagnostics tool, which passed my system for validation and took me to an option to revalidate Office and Windows. Office 2007 failed again (At this point, the software had failed to validate a dozen times).