Microsoft License Insanity

I just bought VirtualPC with Windows XP for my Mac (groan). I need to be able to support clients who are using PCs.

The install was not too bad, but the most unfriendly part of the install came from an odd source: the license that Microsoft has put on both Virtual PC and WinXP. When installing Virtual PC, the installer, naturally, asked for a license code.

So I look for the code. Is it on the multi-page EULA (End-user-license-agreement)? There’s a license-like number at the top of that. Try it .. nope. Nothing happens. No feedback, but I can’t continue the install process.

OK. What about on the CD case?

Now this takes the cake: there are not one, not two, but THREE sets of numbers that look license-ish.

The first one is CD SET. Doesn’t sound too likely; I’ll ignore it.

The second one is PRODUCT KEY. Well, let’s give it a shot. Nope. 20 digits later, same result as above: nada.

OK, third one. Now, this one has NO name or lable … it’s just a series of numbers. And it finally works.


No huge deal, but this is just a little example of user unfriendliness. You have to wonder: who the heck puts these sort of packages together?

My guess: the lawyers.

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  • “License keys”? What are these things? Oh right, the numbers popped out by programs by the name of ‘keygen.exe’ and the like 🙂