Vista 'Family Discount' Bites Back

In the past, early adopters of new Windows versions have had some small hurdles to overcome. Such hurdles may be software incompatibility, or lack of driver support. These sorts of things are almost expected with each new Windows launch. But what would you do if you bought Windows Vista and your product key didn't work? What if Microsoft had no solution and was unwilling to issue you a new key?

Many (if not all) users who took advantage of Microsoft's Vista Family Discount have been issued invalid installation keys and cannot install Windows Vista Home Premium. Microsoft confirms that the keys are indeed valid, but not for Windows Vista. The CSR I spoke with was unable to tell what the key was for, but it did appear to be a valid key, for something.

Microsoft says, "This is a known issue and has been escalated to the program manager." When asked what could be done I was told, "I can take your name and number and call you back when there is a solution. If that is not acceptable, I can cancel your order and issue you a refund." I was also told, "There is no expected time period for a fix at this time."

If Microsoft does not have this issue fixed very soon, they are going to have a lot of unhappy customers. In the past Microsoft has just issued new keys when this happened. Why is Microsoft being so tight gripped about handing out new keys? If I purchased a valid key, what is it for? How long is this going to take to fix? So many questions, so little answers.

View: Vista Family Discount Website

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Indeed Windows Vista Continues to shock the world with overwhelming Flaws.
I Own premium also and once installed... it decided to wipe out my sound drives
And ALso Wipe out My Ethernet card... so very annoying. The Software engineers should
have over looked it all..... now we have to pay

I've owned Vista Home Premium Upgrade edition for 3 days now.
The 1st day I installed I activated it with no problem.
8 Hours later.... It asked me to activate once again..
So I tryed to do so! It told me I could not do so becuase another computer had already done so.
So I had to call to activate. 20 mins of my time wasted.
Any how last night I was watching tv on media center and when I turned it off to go to bed guess what vista asked me to do again? "activate" This time it let me do it online with no problems but from what I hear their is only ten activations in one key so now im down to 8 more and I've only had this software for 3 days.

The 1st time I had to reactivated I was useing media center is this maybe related? just a thought?

I beta test vista and never had this problem any one else having this issue?

Microsoft: "Order now and save!"

User: "Ok! Jim bob Johnson, 123 fake street, visa, 1234-5678-9012-3456, 01/02, click download to continue! Thank goodness I can finally rest assured that Microsoft can approve all my media content for playback and every website I visit!"

Microsoft: "The key you have received is invalid. As a criminal, you have 30 days to either extend your period of criminal activity, or pay us for this illegal copy of Microsoft Windows Vista. If you would rather not use your computer, you can wait in line for a rebate here."

The most insulting thing about this are the people who say "Oh well. I have 120 days to be flagged 'not a criminal' before my computer is rendered useless". Now, if it isn't obvious, I'm not a fan of Microsoft products, and I opt not to use them. But this is a gross error on Microsoft's part. Instead of honoring their paying customers and simply issuing new license keys, they are honoring their bottom line (which is unparalleled in history for a software company), And that is, in my opinion, disgusting. I, for one, will continue to look elsewhere for software solutions.

I have an update regarding this problem, I saw this posted on the Vista Newsgroups:

Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Family Discount Ordering Trouble (Resolution)


Hi Eveyrone. I finally got an answer. From what I have been told:

The Vista Family Discount (VFD) team has found the problem with the product
keys. Turns out they are not Vista Keys. The VFD team is working on a fix
and will email out new keys to everyone with in 4-5 days.

If your key does not work; odds are its one of the bad ones. If you do not
hear back from the VFD team with a new key next week; I would send them an
email or call:

email: vistafamilydiscount -at- one.microsoft.upgrade.com
Phone: 1-800-835-0663

I hope this helps!
Thanks and sorry for any issues...
-Doug

Those who have this problem, like I do, should be getting their new keys soon. :)
Edited the email addy slightly, just in case.

So the world is not going to end!?!?!? Sorry. I do think people are overreacting to this. I was hit by this but I still installed Vista and will just wait for my key. No harm, no foul.

Thanks for the information.

Does anyone know what these keys are really for? I think I may start trying it on different Microsoft products ... :P

I find the irony of people on this forum sad. Its a ****ing mistake guys not the end of the world. And this is not hte first time this has occured with products.

If apple happens to make a mistake, im pretty sure 95% of you would say its ok I can wait.....but yes its microsoft so lets flame them.

Activation and revaildation is a real pain yeh? Yes so hard to click activate now and then thats it. You will not be asked to revalidate....

Obviously microsoft will not tell you what the keys are for.....they don't want you to go end up using those keys on another product which you havent paid for. Use your brains.

Honestly, just grow up...

So people should 'just grow up' then?

It doesn't work as advertised, the majority of stores won't take back opened software, and Microsoft isn't offering any kind of fix...so yeah just bend the f*ck over and 'grow up'.

Sounds like a solution to me!

I'm kinda mad about this because I JUST bought one last night when I picked up Ultimate. Now my laptop has no key. It better not expire or MS will face the wrath of doom.

Not the end of the world. Again, you can install and just wait for the resolution and put your key in later. But I do agree that users that are affected by this are Ultimate users meaning they spent more money for the system and probably more likely to spend money on Microsoft in the future (not bottom shoppers.)

What gets me is Microsoft is still allowing Ultimate users to purchase the Family Discount Program even through they know there is a problem. Why not shut down the order site and just post a message saying to check back in a few days. At least let the buyer know there is a known issue and they can purchase but will need to wait for their key. I found out about this issue while browsing Neowin while waiting on hold for Microsoft because of this issue.

To me that is the biggest mystery.

Maybe it has since been fixed for new keys, but will take a while for older keys?

Also doesn't this only mention home premium and not ultimate?

I posted this about 30 minutes after I purchased my bad key. This issue appeared to be 7 hours old and yet I was still able to purchase the wrong key.

You need ultimate to take part in this program. You are correct that you can purchase home premium. My point was to take part in this program you already shelled out a great deal of money for Ultimate. You are (or at least should be) a valuable customer in Microsofts mind. I think they need to make sure to handle this properly and quickly or some of their customers with money to spend may decide not to get burned down the road.

simply retarded.... this is what WGA and all that crap arround product key does, annoy good customers...heh, good job microsoft

djesteban said,
simply retarded.... this is what WGA and all that crap arround product key does, annoy good customers...heh, good job microsoft

Care to explain?

All you have to do to click activate now and then thats it. You will not be asked to revalidate.

So much to annoy legal customers yeh? Sure there are the 0.5% of users who get screwed by WGA in XP [that has since been fixed and fixed for vista] but the vast vast majority do not.

Microsoft confirms that the keys are indeed valid, but not for Windows Vista.

This guys need to close down business. So they issued large number of keys for OSX? or Win 95?

They had this same issue with the keys for the Office 2007 products on the MSDN downloads. While this isn't going to hurt the market share, it's definately not good press for a major launch.

Kinda hard to avoid using the time stopper stuff when MS does their best to screw over legitimate users huh?

Aahz said,
Kinda hard to avoid using the time stopper stuff when MS does their best to screw over legitimate users huh?

Yes like mistakes have never happenned in this world, and like you have never made a mistake in your entire life.

its reports like this that are particularly damaging for microsoft.

historically, mac os x has not even needed registering. no key, no code, no activation, just install and update!
i really cant see why windows is so popular. perhaps this will inspire some people to make the switch.

ROFL! Perhaps Apple hax0red the Microsoft servers to generate bad keys, in order to generate bad press, in order to generate new Mac converts.

Yea, I'm sure THAT will convince people to switch to a completely different system.

Logically I would guess the reason that Mac OS need no registering or activation or similar is that it's by far not as widely used and therefor not subjected to piracy as much. Let's how things might change at some point if Apple comps and Mac OSX become more popular.

It seems that no matter how many times it's explained it has to be said again: Apple is a HARDWARE company, Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company.

Let's say that you decide to install a pirated copy of OS X or even install a single legitimate copy of OS X on several machines. What computer are you going to install them on? An Apple Mac, of course. Apple makes their profit through the sale of their hardware. Mac OS X is only there to aid in the sales of the hardware. That's why they will never license Mac OS X to run on PCs.

And that's why Microsoft has to try to stop people pirating their OS and Apple doesn't.

ajhodge said,
It seems that no matter how many times it's explained it has to be said again: Apple is a HARDWARE company, Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company.

Let's say that you decide to install a pirated copy of OS X or even install a single legitimate copy of OS X on several machines. What computer are you going to install them on? An Apple Mac, of course. Apple makes their profit through the sale of their hardware. Mac OS X is only there to aid in the sales of the hardware. That's why they will never license Mac OS X to run on PCs.

And that's why Microsoft has to try to stop people pirating their OS and Apple doesn't.


That's a little flawed because OS X can and does run on standard PCs. You don't need Apple hardware to run OS X.

"That's a little flawed because OS X can and does run on standard PCs. You don't need Apple hardware to run OS X."

Not legally.

MioTheGreat said,
"That's a little flawed because OS X can and does run on standard PCs. You don't need Apple hardware to run OS X."

Not legally.

And not with proper hardware drivers.

Not to mention that the supply of a product that cannot be used as advertised is a breach of the Trade Description Act / Sale of Goods Act as the product is not fit for purpose. ******** to the fact it has a trial "facility" as this will time out, also ******** to the fact that by jumping through unnecessary hoops the customer can "extend" this trial should Microsoft not get their act together. Also, as mentioned, if you don't do the trial setup right you'll have to fully reinstall when you do get a key. This is also a breach.

When a product is not fit for purpose then the first recourse is to go to whoever sold you it. Broached shrinkwrap refund dodging doesn't apply here no matter what some sales droid might say (it also is probably illegal as it abrogates your statutory rights). If they deny responsibility (which is quite likely, after all they just supply it and a replacement has just the same chance of not working) then liability woudl then rest with the supplier, from which you can demand an immediate refund. Accepting a "oh, we'll get around to it" response just weakens your case and lets them get away with it. You're still entitled to a full refund, but they don't have to do it immediately.

I have a problem where it says "No Offer Found".
I called CSR and they dont know whats up but will get back to me within 24-48 hours. Its a retail upgrade of Ultimate, purchased from Futureshop.

You're lucky you even got a key. I tried to do the Family Discount Program with my CD key and it tells me the key is for a different country (non-US/Canada), yet the certificate of authenticity says it is the US version. I event talked to 4 CSRs and all of them said the same thing, that they didn't know what to do. Maybe my problem is somehow related to the problem your all having.

Kryptonyte said,
You're lucky you even got a key. I tried to do the Family Discount Program with my CD key and it tells me the key is for a different country (non-US/Canada), yet the certificate of authenticity says it is the US version. I event talked to 4 CSRs and all of them said the same thing, that they didn't know what to do. Maybe my problem is somehow related to the problem your all having.

Could be related. Maybe Microsoft disabled new Family Discount purchases because of the issue?

actually voidunknown pointed this out first: you can just install vista on said pcs without a key and it becomes a 30 day trial.

To add to that, you can extend the trial period up to a total of 120 days. Hopefully that will get you out to far enough so that a solution is available.

Here are the trial period extension instructions:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000778.html

-d

dugbug said,
actually voidunknown pointed this out first: you can just install vista on said pcs without a key and it becomes a 30 day trial.

To add to that, you can extend the trial period up to a total of 120 days. Hopefully that will get you out to far enough so that a solution is available.

Here are the trial period extension instructions:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000778.html

-d


True, BUT if you do this, you MUST make sure you install it properly or you will not be able to use the key without redoing the entire process (yes that means a format and XP reload then Vista upgrade).

In order to make sure it will work, you must upgrade from within windows. If you do a clean install, it will not work and you cannot upgrade by booting from the CD.

There is a however already a workaround available to install an upgrade without having any previous OS installed. ;)
http://www.realtechnews.com/posts/4069

Just checked my email, took them 2 hours to get back to me:

Thank you for your e-mail.

We apologize for any issues you are experiencing with the Vista Family Discount
license keys. Please be assured that we are aware of these errors and are
currently escalating this issue to work towards a resolution. We appreciate your
patience in this matter.

I guess.. I'm stuck waiting.

VinnyJ5 said,
Just checked my email, took them 2 hours to get back to me:

I guess.. I'm stuck waiting.


Thanks for sharing. :(

I made sure to let the CSR know that I was disappointed. I also let his manager know that "Waiting to use a downloadable product I already paid online for is unacceptable."

microsoft own draconian anti piracy system just annoys more legit users while the pirates and hackers its laughing and free of this hassle

"draconian"? Not a term I would apply to Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts. Their license may be more restrictive than I would like, but that is a matter of my personal opinion.

Microsoft is well within their rights to protect themselves from potential losses due to piracy. Their key creation/validation system seems to have a problem at the moment (with no indication of when it might get resolved), but installation can still be done with a "pending" validation for 30 days, right?

Hardly "draconian", in my book.

eilegz said,
microsoft own draconian anti piracy system just annoys more legit users while the pirates and hackers its laughing and free of this hassle

Product keys are draconian? Doesn't virtually every software provider use them these days?

This was an annoying slip-up to be sure, but it could happen to any product that distributes product keys. It certainly has nothing to do with Activation if that's what you mean to complain about.

Brandon Live said,
Product keys are draconian? Doesn't virtually every software provider use them these days?

not product keys themselvs, but all the activation and revalidation in ms products now.

phantom said,

not product keys themselvs, but all the activation and revalidation in ms products now.

Activation and revaildation is a real pain yeh? Yes so hard to click activate now and then thats it. You will not be asked to revalidate....

I also got 2 invalid keys.. which I emailed MS about, I'm glad I'm not the only one.
I was going to post about this issue yesterday on the forums, but no one else was complaining,
so I thought it was me being incompetent.

I've yet to receive a response.

VinnyJ5 said,
I also got 2 invalid keys.. which I emailed MS about, I'm glad I'm not the only one.
I was going to post about this issue yesterday on the forums, but no one else was complaining,
so I thought it was me being incompetent.

I've yet to receive a response.


Your best bet is to call them and tell them you wish to be notified when there is a solution. The CSR I spoke with said he would call me back within 2-3 days regardless of a solution and let me know what was going on.

It seems like MS is in no rush to fix the issue. If I had known this was an issue, I wound't have used this program. Alas, I had to install Vista with no key. So, if MS doesnt have a solution within 30 days, they will have to face the wrath of me, and it won't be pretty.

However, I don't expect it will drag out that long, now that the public knows about it.

There are numerous issues with Vista that is causing nothing but headaches for consumers having paid exhorbitant prices. There were no more than a handful of people waiting to buy Vista at the local stores, many were confused, some decided to simply walk away.

There were no more than a handful of people waiting to buy Vista at the local stores, many were confused, some decided to simply walk away.

Huh? Is this your personal observation or just simply something you heard somewhere?

void -

Is there a time limit for the family plan offer or is this always going to be there for ultimate owners?

-d

TRC said,
They know the keys are valid but they don't know what they are for? :blink:

Yep. Or at least that's what they told me. I'm sure someone could find out, maybe the CSR just couldn't.

Maybe they are Server 2003 keys, or Exchange 2007 keys. Wouldn't that be nice for $50!

TRC said,
They know the keys are valid but they don't know what they are for? :blink:

they're probably Vista Ultimate keys, but they don't want everyone to know they each have $600+ worth of keys to just give away if they want...

There was an article about a server from I think HP that would be marketed just for this OS, that's probably the one you were thinking of.
I didn't mean to sound rude in my post by the way, it just sort of came out that way.