Parking is expensive. It can cost an arm, a leg, and a Windows licence

Activate Windows and put up a parking lot

Bork!Bork!Bork! Sometimes only the freshest of borks will do, and sometimes the best laid plans of administrators can go awry.

Windows activation bork

Click to enlarge

Windows, it seems, gets everywhere. This example, spotted by Register reader James, can be found in the Queen Anne Terrace car park, a 570-space facility in Cambridge with an impressively byzantine range of charges for customers. Stay over six hours and pitch up at the wrong time, you could be on the hook for £17.50.

A mere trifle for drivers stung by the eye-watering charges of London's car parks (or even those in this hack's hometown of Brighton).

It is, however, nothing compared to the cost of a Windows licence, as the operating system lurking behind the scenes here is making its displeasure felt regarding a lack of activation. No ticket insertion will make this message go away, alas, because a trip to Settings is required even though there is no keyboard or mouse present to make the magic happen.

Windows activation bork

Pic courtesy: Reg reader James (click to enlarge)

Activation turned up in Windows back in the days of XP and has annoyed users ever since. Normally, one would activate Windows on installation and again should the hardware configuration be changed. Former Microsoft engineer Dave Plummer explained the process earlier this year and the various editions of Windows behave differently should a "grace" period be exceeded. XP would simply stop working (no change there) while later versions of Windows opted for the watermark of shame and occasional reminders.

Hopefully, this is what has happened here. A nag for an administrator after a bit of thoughtless hardware or software tinkering rather than a full-blown shutdown for the motorist hoping to drive a car out of a Cambridge car park.

Our solution to parking in Cambridge? Go visit the Centre for Computing History – the parking does not require feeding money into a borked kiosk. Instead, one can indulge one's inner nerd in a place where "activation" is what happens when you wedge a power lead into the back of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022