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Microsoft Privacy

Microsoft Giving Away Vista Ultimate, With a Catch 495

Opinari writes "In case you haven't heard, Microsoft is giving away copies of Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit or 64-bit DVD), Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Microsoft Money Plus Premium, Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, or Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 — you can choose any one. The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program."
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Microsoft Giving Away Vista Ultimate, With a Catch

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  • Not accurate. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:51AM (#21667365)
    They want to monitor whatever you are currently using today, XP or Vista, and won't give the goods until after three months of watching your stuff.
  • No longer available (Score:5, Informative)

    by beavis88 ( 25983 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:55AM (#21667393)
    At least not the free gift part. From an email received from Microsoft posted to forums:

    "What happened to the free product option?

    Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to overwhelming response, the supply of gifts have been exhausted so we have closed our free product offer on 12/11/2007 at 2pm. Thanks to everyone that participated!"
  • by R4nneko ( 1194727 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:57AM (#21667415)
    From the FAQ: If I decide to stop participating, how do I opt out? Your participation is entirely voluntary, so you may withdraw from the program at any time, with no consequence. If you decide to withdraw from the program, send us an e-mail at with the word "remove" in the subject line, and we will take care of it. You should also uninstall our software. It then gives instructions to uninstall the software. And also, you don't get the software until you have participated for a certain amount of time.
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @01:13AM (#21667567)
    They only want to spy on current users of their software, evidently. So you can get a free copy of Windows, but only if you are already running Windows. Guess they are not out to capture non-Windows users (they probably don't even fathom that concept).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:19AM (#21667981)
    No... I used XP for 5 years and now I have about 6 months using Vista. Vista is much better (neither have ever crashed/frozen on me).
  • by SL Baur ( 19540 ) <> on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:52AM (#21668143) Homepage Journal

    the moment I open firefox (which I have been using on a daily basis for months), it jump to around 650-700mb? If it is already cached, shouldn't it stay relatively constant?
    Because it's not already cached and Firefox is well, kind of a pig. The caches only get filled and (re)used while your computer is booted, once it crashes (or you shut it down) and you reboot, everything has to be reloaded.

    $ ps -uxaww | grep firefox
    steve 1719 29.4 -25.8 1521604 542080 ?? Ss 3Dec07 4099:18.16 /Applications/ -foreground

    I've only had this instance of Firefox running a little more than a week - see the 3-December start date and it's taking 1.5GB of virtual memory. So sorry, but Firefox eating up system resources is not a valid criticism of Microsoft Windows Vista.
  • Re:Free... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:16AM (#21668237)
    I didn't read all the details but it does imply XP as well as Vista...

    To quote from the second page towards registration:

    "Choose the program(s) you would like to join
    Automated feedback program (Windows Vista and Windows XP only)"

    and further on in the uninstallation instructions.....

    "Windows XP Instructions:

          1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Add or Remove Programs, and then click Change or Remove Programs.
          2. Select Windows Feedback Panel, and then click Remove.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:21AM (#21668255) Homepage Journal
    That way I would have known it was a MS shill trying to get people to go through the setup tool and not realizing that MS stopped giving anything away 6.5 hours BEFORE this was posted.
  • by tknd ( 979052 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:49AM (#21668395)

    It's not a tactic to gain ground. It is a strategy commonly used to gain survey information. It is exactly like how you will often see a survey that says, "Get a chance at winning an ipod after completing this survey" kind of deals.

    Why would Microsoft need to conduct a survey that requires generating statistics on how you use your computer? Simple, it is to determine usability statistics. That type of data can then be used to influence the design of the user interface.

    For example if the data shows that for a particular window in say the control panel, the most user's mouse movement is dramatically higher than with some other window, that means that the window with high mouse movement is a candidate for reorganization. That is because the longer you take to move your mouse, the less efficient you are.

    You can also see what functions your users are using the most and what functions they rarely use. So say you have a toolbar with 10 buttons and out of those 10 buttons only 2 are used by almost everyone while the other 8 are rarely touched. This suggests that you may want to make those 2 functions that are used always to be more accessible either with a hotkey or by making those specific buttons bigger so they are easier to click and you may want to evaluate if the other 8 buttons are even worth having there. Likewise if you see people always using the menu functions rather than using the toolbar buttns you may want to investigate why this is or consider labeling the buttons.

    Big software companies including Microsoft typically conduct in-person usability tests. But these types of tests can only go so far. That's probably why they are turning to these larger usability tests so they can get more general data about the greater population rather than a small set of people they can get into their labs.

    For the uninformed in-person usability tests work as follows: You have a piece of software that you want to evaluate the usability of. To test how usable it is, you come up with a list of tasks for the user to do, like say open their email software and write a hello email to their buddy, or say deleting files named "a", "b", and "c". After you have the tasks you want your user to perform, you people unrelated to the project with varying degrees of knowledge about computers and your software to perform each task. As they attemp the task, your objective is to observer--that is you don't tell them anything even if they are obviously having issues getting the task completed or even if they ask you a question about how to do it. You simply tell them what they're supposed to do and watch, and if they look at you and give up, you say "that's fine" and just note that they were not able to complete the task.

    The results of usability testing are pretty amazing for first time usability observers even for some very simple tasks with common software and gadgets. You will also recognize that there are lots of moments where people just sit there and do nothing, times when they keep repeating actions, and times when they keep clicking on something because they think it does something but it doesn't. Some really simple tasks also will show many users all with different ways of accomplishing it. For example if you delete a file how many ways are there to delete it? Well one way is to drag the file to the recycle bin. Another way is to click on it and hit the delete key. Another way is to right-click it and use the context menu delete option. And yet another way is to first open your trash bin and then drag the file to the opened trash bin. All of these ways are valid and I'm willing to bet there will be even a few more ways of deleting files that you'd never have thought of (besides the rm command).

    The nice thing about in-person usability testing (as I just described) is that you can ask questions and probe for information about what the person is thinking while they're doing the task. Normally you ask them to think out loud so you can get an idea of what's going on in their mind.

  • No free software (Score:4, Informative)

    by john_p_peach ( 1113589 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @04:45AM (#21668643)
    The agreement that you read says the M$ will provide all the software for free. However, after you find out

    What happened to the free product option? Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to overwhelming response, the supply of gifts has been exhausted so we have closed our free product offer on 12/11/2007 at 2pm Pacific Time. Thanks to everyone that participated!
    Surprise surprise microsoft is being misleading. Also, the FAQ says that in order to opt-out you just send a message to but when you do the message bounces with

    I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out. : does not like recipient. Remote host said: 550 5.1.1 User unknown Giving up on
    So you cannot ever get out of the programme after you find out that microsoft was screwed you.
  • by bakreule ( 95098 ) <> on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @04:48AM (#21668661) Homepage
    I was interested in it, just because I believe that MS collects information on me anyway when I use Windows, so why not get a free copy?

    From the privacy statement fineprint, they say what information they are collecting.

    "This information includes, but is not limited to:"

    Then they give a list of "harmless" things such as driver types, hardware, errors encountered. But where is the "not limited to" list? Can't find it on the site. They really don't want you to know what they are collecting.

    And, of course, Office has its own set of things, which you helpfully have to look for yourself:

    To display the privacy statement for Office 2003, please search for "Privacy Statement" in Office 2003 online help.

    Plus, the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program has its own set of things it collects.

    Very Big Brother. Then again, most of my information is already out there floating around... Might be nice to have a free copy of Vista.....

  • by Swift Kick ( 240510 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @06:06AM (#21668949)
    From an email just received (2:05AM 12/12/07):

    What happened to the free product option?

    Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to overwhelming response, the supply of gifts has been exhausted so we have closed our free product offer on 12/11/2007 at 2pm Pacific Time. Thanks to everyone that participated!
  • by x_MeRLiN_x ( 935994 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @06:11AM (#21668979) Homepage [] It's neither. It seems to me that they needed some sort of excuse to prevent users reading the data collected about them.
  • Re:Free... (Score:5, Informative)

    by michrech ( 468134 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @10:43AM (#21670433)
    You didn't read the page very well. You don't *have* to run the spyware. It's an option. Using it, according to the site, will possibly shrink the amount of surveys (that you can skip, "if you don't have the time") that you will be asked to fill out.

    Right here [] shows what must be done. You can sign up for either, or both, of the programs (for those to lazy to read the page, the two programs available are the "spyware" and the surveys -- I opted just for the surveys).

    Here is the text about the survey feedback program:

    When you join the survey feedback program, you'll be invited to take a survey on a regular schedule. If the survey arrives at a time where you are busy, you can skip that one and take the next one instead. You will not receive more than one survey every two weeks.

    Hell, I signed up for it. I have access to a computer I can install it on for 3 months that can just sit in a corner idle (whether I decide to use the "feedback program" or not).

    Well, to be honest, as a computer retailer, this thing had me thinking at first, but reading the fine print (you have to run the spyware on your box for 3 months, then get a free toy) showed some downsides, like americans only, and a complete inability to exploit it for fun and... yeah profit :) (its not a bad word, really)

    And yes, they will be the first against the wall when the revolution starts (apology mr adams).
  • Expired (Score:2, Informative)

    by mprindle ( 198799 ) * on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @11:10AM (#21670721)
    Microsoft is no longer giving away any free stuff. Here's the email from Microsoft:

    "What happened to the free product option?

    Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to overwhelming response, the supply of gifts has been exhausted so we have closed our free product offer on 12/11/2007 at 2pm Pacific Time. Thanks to everyone that participated!"

  • Re:Bzzt!! Wrong! (Score:3, Informative)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @01:23PM (#21672939)
    Well, when I click Get Started, I'm given two check boxes. If you can provide a link that says you only get free software (I actually don't see that anywhere from the link submitted) if you do the automated survey, I'd be happy to check it out.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson