back to article Microsoft tightens squeeze on TechNet parasites

Microsoft is restricting the software available on IT-pro hangout TechNet to thwart illegal use of its gear. The company is removing software not intended for use in an "IT professional managed business environment" – such as the Home Edition of Windows XP – while products no longer covered by its extended support cycle have …


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  1. John G Imrie

    Microsoft is restricting the software available on IT-pro hangout TechNet

    You can tell when the company you are working for is about to run off the rails, It's when they start to cut down on the freebies.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft is restricting the software available on IT-pro hangout TechNet

      I used to enjoy the 'freebies' available at the supermarket by tucking them down my trousers and making for the exits.

      Now they're cracking down on this kind of thing, it must be because their business is in trouble,

      etc. etc.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Microsoft is restricting the software available on IT-pro hangout TechNet

        Both aspects are wrong, here.

        TechNet was never a freebie, though it does come as part of the Action Pack. Both are paid annual subscriptions. What is "free," however, is the multiple uses of various software allowed for internal use only. What's happening a lot is TechNet and MAPS subscribers are using the software to install at customer sites or on computers which are outside their company purview, and some are charging the customer full retail value. I admit that I have installed some of my MAPS software on my parents' machines as they work VERY well as a real-world test bed -- if I can fix what my dad screws up, I can pretty much fix anything.

        But the supermarket "freebies," I'm hoping that was a joke. If it was, you've used the incorrect icon. Those aren't freebies. The free food samples on Friday afternoons and weekends are the freebies. Sometimes the vendor pays for them, but most of the time it's a treat from the actual store. And, yes, I've found that when a particular store or chain starts having problems those freebies tend to wane. What you're talking about is flat-out theft, which would relate if Microsoft starting putting the kibosh on pirates.

        Paris, waxing.

        1. Dozer
          Thumb Up

          Re: Microsoft is restricting the software available on IT-pro hangout TechNet

          "if I can fix what my dad screws up, I can pretty much fix anything."

          Seems I am not the only one who runs with that theory....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not like people want this stuff anyway. People want the Metro versions and the rich experience the new interface brings but until then they can keep their dated versions of office

    1. K

      Welcome to El Reg

      I assume this is you're first time... or you've simply not realised you're in the minority concerning Metro!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Welcome to El Reg

        Welcome to sarcasm.

        I assume this is the first time you've seen it........or you've simply not realised that that's what it was!

    2. David 66


    3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      <= As an AC he/she just could not select the icon. Fixed it for you...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "rich interface"... a 2D screen scrape over Windows 7. I can't wait to be able to have one touch access to all of those Windows desktop applications I use, like a web browser and... well I guess it is just the web browser. Obligatory Metro rip.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shooting themselves in the foot

    so how does a small developer go about testing the software they are about to ship to the client if

    -it involves a Windows Cluster and half a dozen nodes + DC

    Do they realy expect these SMS's to stump up for 7+ Enterprise licenses just to test the software they are shipping.

    I'm running 6 Server 2008 VM's at the moment. My technet unlimited activation key does the job perfectly. At the end of next week, I'll be installing the real thing on the customer site using their licenses.

    If they think that I'm 'pirating' then they can stuff Windows and I'll just sell more of my system on RHEL. CentOS gives me a perfect testbed environment for free.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

      Find something which lets you do this, like Action Pack. Or, get more appropriate clients who don't expect a lone developer to be running a cluster... that kind of work should bring in enough money to afford proper licenses :)

      Where in the story does it say you won't be able to continue what you're doing anyway - does it definitely claim that?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

      "Do they realy expect these SMS's to stump up for 7+ Enterprise licenses just to test the software they are shipping."

      No don't be silly, they expect you to free-load off them, using their software for commercial gain in order to maximise your profits.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

      This is the intended use for Technet products, ie testing, so that you can then sell your customer full price licenses.

      They're not trying to stop you doing this, they're trying to stop you using your test licenses for you customer, whilst still charging the customer full price and pocketing the difference.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

        They're not trying to stop you doing this...

        I don't think thats the problem. My MSDN account allows me to activate multiple times on the same license code, way more than a purchased OS. From my understanding, they aren't going to allow as many. I make heavy use of copies of the OS in testing and this way I don't need to use up more licenses or recycle VMs, I can just load a new one and reactivate. Given the number of development VMs I need to support old software projects, the 10 licenses they legally provide you with would be very tight.

    4. wayward4now

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

      No licenses. lawyers or contracts. What's not to love? CentOS, Debian. RHEL, Ubuntu all great server platforms. It blows my mind that all of this SMS talent puts up with that kinda crap at all. MS should be paying you all to stay on.

      1. Paul A. Clayton

        GPL is a license

        Relatively little free software is in the public domain. Also the FSF has lawyers (ordinary businesses are unlikely to hear from them, of course) and RHEL (which includes support) is sold under a contract.

        While I agree that FLOSS can be easier to manage, the commercial Linux distributions do have some compliance issues.

  4. LinkOfHyrule

    fessed up to using a Linux computer.

    LMAO fessed up! You guys owe me a new keyboard, that was funnier than intended!

    "Mum, dad... I have something important to tell you... I use Linux!"

    "It's okay son, we always suspected anyway, the beard is a bit of a give-away!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fessed up to using a Linux computer.

      Happened to me too.

      I've had about enough of Microsoft's increasingly hostile attitude to IT professionals who might want to use their kit. As an IT architect, I've finally thrown in the towel and started migrating all new systems to Red Hat, except in cases where I need to continue to support things like Exchange.

  5. Tim Brown 1

    The point is...

    Microsoft are just stuffing the people who are vaguely loyal to them.

    The people who subscribe to Technet are at least prepared to give Microsoft SOME money for their software. Any good techie knows of other sources for this stuff if they prefer to pay nothing.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The point is...

      That is the point. I've had a couple of angry discussions with Microsoft over their MAPS sales assessment requirement to buy my subscription. I sell their product and support it on a daily basis. It costs me $400 a year to rent their software which allows me to do so (and it's a lot of software, so that's not a bad price.)

      They want to crack down on illegitimate distribution of their software. I get it, but a better way must exist. The developer above notes that he can use his Enterprise license to set up multiple virtual instances for testing before deployment which will use the customer's actual license. This is exactly what these subscriptions are for, though I'm not certain that an MSDN license wouldn't be better for him (some of the subscription purposes are a little blurry.)

      By cracking down on the pie-rats, Microsoft is also clamping down on legitimate people doing legitimate things. Meanwhile, real pirates don't have to deal with the licensing and activation crap. Just honest people. You know, the whole locked door keeping out an honest man thing.

      Paris, keeping men out.

    2. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: The point is...

      Any techie any good is using his skills at a level where softwhere gets paid for.


      Any techie still using newsgroups / torrents and cracks etc is still on the bottom rung

  6. feanor

    Do you a deal Microsoft. You write some software that isn't crap, and I'll pay for it.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Oh no you won't!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Shooting themselves in the foot ?

    First of all: the article is missing a link to the actual announcement. As you can see MS even has a preview version of the new subscription agreement online.

    I have a TechNet subscription simply to have access to software which I sporadically need to set stuff and I think they're making a huge mistake.

    Professional users don't need XP Home? So what about when I'm testing a software product which is said to give problems on a Home edition of XP? I don't run Home (be it XP, Win7, etc), so how exactly am I suppose to perform these tests under the new license?

    Removing products which "are no longer covered by extended support" ? Just because MS doesn't support these products any longer doesn't mean I can't come across them in the open.

    And then I do I rely on TechNet to "have my back" by providing access to all that arcane stuff so that I can help my customers best as possible. Sure; I'll also tell them that it might be a better idea to upgrade their stuff (hopefully by purchasing stuff from me) IF applicable.

    But before they'll listen to such arguments I think actually helping them out with their problems is a key issue here. How am I going to do that in the upcoming future?

    Instead of taking it out on their subscribers MS should take more action against violators. For example, while I could be mistaken I think only the upcoming new agreement clearly states that you can no longer use their software when your subscription runs out. Yeah, DUH!!

    I'm honestly troubled by all this. One of the cool things about TechNet is having access to all sorts of software, even arcane stuff such a DOS and Windows 9x. Heck; I'm even careful enough to /always/ re-use serials when I need them instead of going "Mwa, I have 2 so I'll just go along and see what happens".

    Yet I'm the one they're going after, not those idiots who abuse their service it seems. Doesn't feel right.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot ?

      > Doesn't feel right.

      I think the proper way to say this "Feels bad, man!"

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot ?

      > So what about when I'm testing a software product which is said to give problems on a Home edition of XP?

      You are supposed to tell your client that XP is not supported and to buy Windows 8.

      Do you think that MS is doing this for love ?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Only issue is that XP is still supported until next year.

    3. The Original Steve

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot ?

      Seems a little harsh there.

      If you want to "TEST" "SOFTWARE PRODUCTS" can I recommend Microsoft's Developer Network where you'll get the Home editions as well.

      TechNet is for IT Professionals. E.g people that work in IT Departments... Therefore I need Infrastructure products and platforms used in Enterprises as well as technical toolkits.

      MSDN is for Developers. E.G people that write and test code against Microsoft products. Therefore they require access to all of Microsoft's platforms and developments tools.

      Partner Action Pack is for Organisations that work with Microsoft products or resell them. They therefore need anything they might sell as well as tools aim at promotion and marketing.

      Seems fair enough to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Wrong advice.

        Apart from the obvious problem (E 800 + / year vs. E 150,- / year) MSDN isn't the right tool for the job.

        Just take a look at the MSDN and TechNet subscription comparison.

        With TechNet I'm allowed to "Use MS software to understand features to make usage, deployment or purchase recommendations or decisions", with MSDN I'm not.

        With TechNet I'm allowed to do the above with 3rd party software, MSDN prohibits this.

        And here is the most important one: "Become familiar and keep up to date with the latest Microsoft software to support internal or external clients using or deploying the software.". TechNet: Yes, MSDN: No.

  8. Why Not?

    dongle me

    never understood why they didn't have a dongle / smart card/ pin arrangement. runs for 30 days without seeing dongle then stops until it gets a dongle / pin only obtainable via an existing subscription.

    Allows techie to set up at customer if the customer likes after 30 days they can do in place upgrade direct. M$ sign them up for the upgrade and pay the Action pack owner a finders fee.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft's Answer

    This is what we use for testing and training. Anything older than this software is deemed "requires regression testing" and charged for accordingly.

    2010 Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Hyper-V Virtual Machine (SP1) contains:-

    Virtual machine “a” contains the following pre-configured software:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard Evaluation Edition, running as an Active Directory Domain Controller for the “CONTOSO.COM” domain with DNS and WINS

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition with Analysis, Notification, and Reporting Services

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

    Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 SP1 Enterprise Edition

    Microsoft Office Web Applications SP1

    Microsoft FAST Search for SharePoint 2010 SP1

    Microsoft Project Server 2010 SP1

    Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 SP1

    Microsoft Visio 2010 SP1

    Microsoft Project 2010 SP1

    Microsoft Lync 2010

    Virtual machine “b” contains the following pre-configured software:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard Evaluation Edition, joined to the “CONTOSO.COM” domain

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1

    Virtual machine “c” contains the following pre-configured software:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard Evaluation Edition, joined to the “CONTOSO.COM” domain

    Microsoft Lync Server 2010

    Active directory has been preconfigured over 200 “demo” users with metadata in an organizational structure. All of these user profiles have been imported and indexed for search within SharePoint Server 2010, with “contoso\administrator” granted Domain Admin permissions.

    SharePoint Server 2010 has been configured in a “Complete” farm using the default SQL Server 2008 R2 instance. A default site has been created using the Team Site template at and a FAST Search Center at

    Virtual machine “a” is required for all scenarios, image “b” for email functionality and image “c” for instant messaging.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft's Answer

      My view is this .. if it doesn't work via *most* web browsers, then why is money being thrown at it?

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