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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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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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'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?

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

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