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WindowBlinds 5: Black title bars on cracked ver

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Neil Banfield    4

If you are using the WB5 trial or have purchased an OD subscription or WB5 from Stardock, you do not need to read this as it does not affect you.

If you have installed a pirate copy (AKA cracked) version of WindowBlinds 5, please be aware that the crack is faulty and WindowBlinds will cease to function correctly on your computer. The symptoms of this will be black / unpainted areas and the UI may repaint much slower than normal.

To fix this you just need to uninstall WB and if you wish install a purchased copy of WB, or the trial.

To uninstall, you can either wait for your computer to login, unload WB (either using wbconfig, display properties, or from a command prompt calling WBLOAD UNLOAD) and then uninstall WB. Or you can boot into safe mode & uninstall WB from there.

Your computer has not been harmed in anyway.

The issue is that the crack patches WindowBlinds itself incompletely and as a result, when backup activation tests come up, they code they were looking for has been patched away. It is akin to someone patching their OS kernel and as a result it causing problems.

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Corris    42

i can say rootkit

but a root kit was for legal users its is a much worse things

but i understand why its in, to stop people using an unbought product, i got effected by this, i got a good use of windowblinds and shal be buying it after x-mas has come

plus, i feel for sony in the same way, it was a great idea to do, just gone about in the wrong way

totally fair though

//edit\\

gah the post above just got delted, hope it was ok to post :laugh:

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Neil Banfield    4

i can say rootkit

but a root kit was for legal users its is a much worse things

but i understand why its in, to stop people using an unbought product, i got effected by this, i got a good use of windowblinds and shal be buying it after x-mas has come

plus, i feel for sony in the same way, it was a great idea to do, just gone about in the wrong way

totally fair though

//edit\\

gah the post above just got delted, hope it was ok to post :laugh:

Rootkit?

A rootkit is a totally different thing.

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trix    1

i can say rootkit

but a root kit was for legal users its is a much worse things

but i understand why its in, to stop people using an unbought product, i got effected by this, i got a good use of windowblinds and shal be buying it after x-mas has come

plus, i feel for sony in the same way, it was a great idea to do, just gone about in the wrong way

totally fair though

//edit\\

gah the post above just got delted, hope it was ok to post :laugh:

i don't see what your post has to do with the original =/ well i suppose we are missing the middle post :p

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Corris    42

no no no, i was just replying to a post before mine that got deleted, and i ment the rootkit bit as a joke

and instead used it as an example of how sony tried to protect its own stuff, it just didnt work out too well, lol

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flyakite    0

Can anyone say rootkit?

Hardly.

This is only meant to affected cracked versions of WindowBlinds. It also does not install anything hidden, it is built into the program itself.

Anyone who complains about this and has the cracked version needs to remember that you are 100% breaking the law, and thereby you pretty much lose your rights to complain about it.

Software does not need to phone home for anything like this. Ever heard of CRC and MD5 checksums. Also, the crack modifies a few files, which obviously means the byte values at certain areas have changed. All they have to do is design the program to read the byte values at the offset that they know the crack has changed, and compare them to what they should be. If they don't match, its cracked.

That's not to say they used any of these methods, but it is VERY easy to do this without calling home and checking the db for serial number or registered users.

When you work for a software company and that is the ONLY way in which you make your living, you would understand. It is VERY easy to just take and take and take and take, but how many of you have contributed? How would you like your only means of income to be halved because most of the users are running cracked versions. No matter how rich or powerful a company is, it is impossible to make money if everyone starts to use a cracked version.

For those of you that have jobs, whether its retail, food, car salesman, etc, no one can make a living at their job if every potential client is just stealing the product.

While I'll admit this could have been approached in a much better way like one user suggestd (Message box that tells the user then unloads WB), even if it affects 1% of legit users it is worth it, to a company. Which would you rather have? 1% of legit users affected, or 90% of all users pirating the software?

Instead of everyone bitching, you all need to put yourselves in Neil's place. How many of you go to Wal-mart and steal? They're a billion dollar company right? If pirating XP from Microsoft is okay, why not steal products from Wal-mart, McDonalds, etc?

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Delox    0

I think this problem has more to do with how the cracks used for pirated WB5 change the program or some registry, and that caused the problem.

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Corris    42

They're a billion dollar company right? If pirating XP from Microsoft is okay, why not steal products from Wal-mart, McDonalds, etc?

do straws from mc donalds count? :rofl:

(just bringing a little comedy to the topic incase it gets invaded by people)

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Delox    0

do straws from mc donalds count? :rofl:

(just bringing a little comedy to the topic incase it gets invaded by people)

What about ketchup or napkins? :p

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NightmarE D    203

I wasn't even using the cracked version and had this happen to me. I'm a little tired of seeing people say it's only happening to the ones using the cracked version.

The night before KoL removed his VistaXP 3.1 skin I downloaded the trial and his skin. I've been using the two since then. Today I get on and I had this issue. I uninstalled from safe mode like people are saying. Made sure anything left over was deleted. I went and downloaded the trial again and installed it. Rebooted to have the same problems.

If I was using the cracked version I would just admit it, I wouldn't try to hide it. I was going to buy all the StarDock apps next Friday when I got paid because my girlfriend fell in love when she saw WindowBlinds, Aquarium Desktop and she's dying to see Desktop Pet. I'm not very sure I want to buy it now after having this happen.

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JiveMasterT    0

Well the WB code is complex, so modifying it at any place runs the risk of odd things happening!

This particular activation check was added fairly last minute when a potential hole in the activation system was spotted.

That's no excuse. If code is not ready for release, then do not release it. It's that simple. You had plenty of time to add patches that make things a little more user friendly. If the code is in such a state of disarray, then maybe it should be torn apart, analyzed, and fixed so it is easy to read and it is certain that there is nothing that would cause any sort of problems. In my book, this timebomb is crap. You should not have to create a thread on neowin or the stardock forums to tell everyone about why their app is busted... it should be the software design team making EVERY aspect of the program user friendly.

I'm not an advanced programmer, but as far as I know, the checks can stay there, you would only have to change the part where the effect is coded to make it do two changes:

1.Show a notice to the user

2. Unload WindowBlinds (End program)

It wouldn't be too tough I think and it would give Stardock a far less arrogant image

Exactly. That's what I was saying.

These quotes came from: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...c=409254&st=150 and I think they apply more under this thread anyway.

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[bear]    0

serves everybody right who pirated it.

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eLyzioN    0

A simple new activation would have been much better I think !

Stardock risks damage to the hardware and lost of Data by this dubious kind of "copy protection" !

Maybe some people have formated their disks because they thought this is a virus !

Windowblinds telephones home ! Great ......!

I bought my version legally, but I dont like this very much ! I dont want to have a program that checked me!

SHAME ON YOU, STARDOCK ! Smells like SPYWARE....... BAH .... !!! :angry:

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[bear]    0

I wasn't even using the cracked version and had this happen to me. I'm a little tired of seeing people say it's only happening to the ones using the cracked version.

The night before KoL removed his VistaXP 3.1 skin I downloaded the trial and his skin. I've been using the two since then. Today I get on and I had this issue. I uninstalled from safe mode like people are saying. Made sure anything left over was deleted. I went and downloaded the trial again and installed it. Rebooted to have the same problems.

If I was using the cracked version I would just admit it, I wouldn't try to hide it. I was going to buy all the StarDock apps next Friday when I got paid because my girlfriend fell in love when she saw WindowBlinds, Aquarium Desktop and she's dying to see Desktop Pet. I'm not very sure I want to buy it now after having this happen.

that sounds like the latest windows update bug, if you installed the latest windows update it screws your WB5

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Nick H.    10,507
that sounds like the latest windows update bug, if you installed the latest windows update it screws your WB5

Alright, so before I go ahead and sign up for a nice and legal copy of WindowBlinds, I want to be sure on this. My computer is now completely up to date with windows updates. Is this going to effect my future WindowBlinds, even though it is legal?

If so, I won't bother. May as well just take my $15 and flush it down the bog.

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Neil Banfield    4

A simple new activation would have been much better I think !

Stardock risks damage to the hardware and lost of Data by this dubious kind of "copy protection" !

Maybe some people have formated their disks because they thought this is a virus !

Windowblinds telephones home ! Great ......!

I bought my version legally, but I dont like this very much ! I dont want to have a program that checked me!

SHAME ON YOU, STARDOCK ! Smells like SPYWARE....... BAH .... !!! :angry:

WB does not phone home and is not spyware. When you originally install it you have to activate it which obviously contacts Stardock, but after that it never contacts Stardock again.

These copies have broken simply because the binary files had been modified by others.

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[bear]    0

thats your call, i know there is another thread discussing this that started today, i don't have the link though, try the WB forum.

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greenreaper    0

A rootkit is defined as some method of getting "root" (full administratitve access) on a system, or keeping it. Technically WindowBlinds requires this anyway to install it. What people probably mean is the use of kernel-mode code to modify the system in some way, usually preventing its own detection at the same time.

This is not what WindowBlinds does. As Neil has stated that it does not contact Stardock (and as the programmer, he should know), one could suppose that it checks the integrity of local files in some way, and then fails to do some things if they are not as designed. I do not know the exact mechanism myself, but that's how I'd do it.

You can say "well, you should have made it more obvious", but as others have said, that's like saying Microsoft should make it more obvious when someone's cracked their software. Depending on how the crack works, it may or not be possible to do that, anyway. When you modify a program with another program, you have to trust the person who is doing the modification to know all the ramifications of their actions, and few crackers are likely to care that much. Moreover, if we did display a message, it would make it easier to crack such protection (tracing the code that displays these messages is the way in which most simple cracks work in the first place).

Stardock uses this form of protection only on its most pirated products - internet distributed desktop applications, most especially WindowBlinds. Whining about it is not likely to help, since as far as we are concerned it works just fine. It only affects people who are trying not to be paying customers by installing cracks for our software.

Ultimately if you want to pirate Stardock software, you're probably going to be able to do it somehow - eventually - but you shouldn't expect us to care very much about your opinion of any protection scheme that makes it harder to do so. :)

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Neil Banfield    4

Alright, so before I go ahead and sign up for a nice and legal copy of WindowBlinds, I want to be sure on this. My computer is now completely up to date with windows updates. Is this going to effect my future WindowBlinds, even though it is legal?

If so, I won't bother. May as well just take my $15 and flush it down the bog.

Windows Update should have no impact on WB.

I wasn't even using the cracked version and had this happen to me. I'm a little tired of seeing people say it's only happening to the ones using the cracked version.

The night before KoL removed his VistaXP 3.1 skin I downloaded the trial and his skin. I've been using the two since then. Today I get on and I had this issue. I uninstalled from safe mode like people are saying. Made sure anything left over was deleted. I went and downloaded the trial again and installed it. Rebooted to have the same problems.

If I was using the cracked version I would just admit it, I wouldn't try to hide it. I was going to buy all the StarDock apps next Friday when I got paid because my girlfriend fell in love when she saw WindowBlinds, Aquarium Desktop and she's dying to see Desktop Pet. I'm not very sure I want to buy it now after having this happen.

What does it say on the WBconfig System Information page?

The shareware versions do not have this code (they have no activation system), so they should not do this.

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greenreaper    0

Alright, so before I go ahead and sign up for a nice and legal copy of WindowBlinds, I want to be sure on this. My computer is now completely up to date with windows updates. Is this going to effect my future WindowBlinds, even though it is legal?

If so, I won't bother. May as well just take my $15 and flush it down the bog.

No, I believe people are just confused by the timing. While of course Windows updates could, in theory, break WindowBlinds (just as they could any piece of software), if they do that it is most likely to affect everyone.

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PaulCabby    2

What about ketchup or napkins? :p

I sometimes take the straws and put them in the glove compartment... :blush: Or make stickmen out of them, now THATS interesting :yes:

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flyakite    0
' date='Dec 17 2005, 17:26' post='586935660']

thats your call, i know there is another thread discussing this that started today, i don't have the link though, try the WB forum.

Since Neil codes WindowBlinds, I'd put a fair amount of trust in what he says :p

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x-scratch    134

i dont have any probs with wb5 retail legit & windows latest updates at all it must the whats sitting in front of the computer causing the problems

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Master Shake    1

I want a refund. :angry:

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RevoDS    0

Like said before, if a function is not ready, don't ship it or delay it!

Look at Microsoft. They take huge amounts of time to complete a product, but look at their activation system: Efficient, yet simple, and for example Office won't f*ck off your computer because it's not activated. Same for Windows. What happens when the time for activation is finished? Doesn't work, but your computer is not slow, is says what's the problem and it advertises itself many times before stopping. And for Norton AntiVirus? Does it only stop working, or does it add viruses manually to punish you? Same thing should be there for WB. It simply shouldn't f*ck off the computer like that. I just tested. Took me 10 minutes to get a FUNCTIONAL system, and that's with the tips I found, or it would have taken over 20 minutes. That's simply unacceptable

Stardock should do the same than Microsoft and Symantec. It should go back to the drawing board for its activation system or it will alienate many customers, indirectly for the most part. And now with one of its many advantages gone (accurate Vista emulation (KoL's VistaXP was too much accurate, Microsoft made it get removed, same thing will happen if another gets too accurate)), WB will gain customers much more slowly.

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