Download Windows for FREE!!

28/04/2018

Do you use a Microsoft Windows operating system (eg Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10) but you’ve lost the installation DVD? Or maybe your computer came with Windows pre-installed and you never had the DVD?  This may have never presented a problem before, but if something goes wrong with your computer you may need that disk to fix it.  And I’m sure you realise just how expensive Windows software can be.

Fortunately Windows installation media can be downloaded for free.  And I’m not talking about “pirate” software from a dodgy torrent uploaded by someone in Uzbekistan.  No, you can download Windows operating system DVD images – Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 – from Microsoft’s website, for free, zero, nada, and it’s not a crack, a “hack” or a hijack!

Of course we’re talking about Microsoft here, which means you ain’t really getting something for nothing.  You can download the installation disk image, and it even comes with the disk-burning software to put it on a DVD or USB stick – but to install the operating system you need to already have a product key/license for the computer you wish to install it on.  But hey, this is pretty good nonetheless.  I know people who have bought a new Windows DVD because their computer got screwed up and they needed to re-install the operating system.  If we’d known about this at the time we could have saved our friends a pretty penny (as new Windows DVDs cost many pretty pennies!).

So, here are the links to the download pages – Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.  Remember, to re-install your OS you will need to know your product key – so find out what it is now, don’t wait until your computer is screwed up!  There’s a guide at this link that describes how to discover your product key (a 25-character alphanumeric code that looks like this -> PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX). It can be as simple as copying the code from a sticker on the bottom of the laptop, or as involved as writing and executing a powershell script. My preferred method is the command prompt method:

  • open up a command promp with administrative privileges (done by right-clicking the cmd icon and choosing “Run as administrator”
  • paste in this command wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
  • you’ll get the product key in a response that looks like this:

OB6xOriginalProductKey
6XX6X-8XX88-XXX2X-44XXX-XX33X

However, although all this is perfectly legal and even encouraged by Microsoft, you must remain aware and beware the nasty proprietary software pushers!  PC reseller and recycling advocate Eric Lundgren was sent to prison for 15 months for copying and selling these DVDs.  Officially his crime was “conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and criminal copyright infringement”.

The tech-ignorant judge, and the patently-disingenuous prosecution and Microsoft-supplied “expert” witness, made out that he was selling pirated software even though the software is available legally on Microsoft’s own website.

Afterwards Microsoft and the court said this was about infringement of copyright because Lundgren had printed Microsoft logos on his DVDs.  But  if that was the issue, why didn’t they prosecute him for this charge?

What it boiled down to, was this: these disk images can be downloaded free of charge.  But Microsoft also make money on the side by selling these disks to resellers for $25.  This can’t make Microsoft a huge amount of money.  But there are resellers who can’t be bothered to download and burn the disks themselves so they buy these ridiculously expensive disks and pass the cost on to their customers.  Lundgren saw a way to make himself some cash as well as encourage reuse of old computers.  But (in my opinion) Microsoft saw this as leveraging their own petty-cash-on-the-side racket and went after him in court, painting him as a pirate and counterfeiter, with the aid of a dishonest prostitute I mean prosecutor, and a judge who is at best pig-ignorant and at worst also in Microsoft’s pocket.  (In my opinion.)

Anyway.  Although this free download service may save you some money, make sure it doesn’t save you too much money. Or Microsoft and its paid-for lackeys in the legal profession might come after you.  After all we can’t be allowed to threaten Microsoft’s bottom line can we?  There are far too many vested interests there.

 bmc-purple


#Vodafone #EE and 3 (#ThreeUK) give police mobile call records at click of a mouse

10/10/2014
Shush!  They can hear you!

Shush! They can hear you!

Mobile phones outnumber land-lines massively. In the UK, there are 82.7m mobile subscriptions in the UK; compare that to 24.4m home landlines and a total of 33.1m fixed landlines (including landlines used for broadband connections). In the UK, 15% of people live in mobile-only households. And that’s the UK, a developed world nation where substantial land-line infrastructure already exists. Think about developing world countries where low rural population concentration and large distances make mobile networks a necessity. An awful lot of business is being carried out on these mobile networks: both private and commercial, on phones or online. You’d think all this communication would be protected by law, right? Duh! wrong answer. According to The Guardian:

Three of the UK’s four big mobile phone networks have made customers’ call records available at the click of a mouse to police forces through automated systems, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

EE, Vodafone and Three operate automated systems that hand over customer data “like a cash machine”,as one phone company employee described it.

Of the 4 big mobile networks, only O2 manually reviews Ripa requests (Ripa is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which governs who can access systems like the phone networks). EE (the UK’s largest network, consisting of Orange and T-Mobile), Vodafone, and 3, all use systems that largely bypass any need for human intervention, basically meaning that access to these sensitive records is automated. With no manual oversight, mistakes or loopholes in the automated systems will not be detected, and can be misused deliberately.

Privacy advocates are also concerned that the staff within phone companies who deal with Ripa and other requests are often in effect paid by the Home Office – a fact confirmed by several networks – and so may, in turn, be less willing to challenge use of surveillance powers.

According to the Guardian article:

Several mobile phone networks confirmed the bulk of their queries were handled without human intervention. “We do have an automated system,” said a spokesman for EE, the UK’s largest network, which also operates Orange and T-Mobile. “[T]he vast majority of Ripa requests are handled through the automated system.” The spokesman added the system was subject to oversight, with monthly reports being sent to the law enforcement agency requesting the data, and annual reports going to the interception commissioner and the Home Office.

A spokesman for Vodafone said the company processed requests in a similar way. “The overwhelming majority of the Ripa notices we receive are processed automatically in accordance with the strict framework set out by Ripa and underpinned by the code of practice,” he said. “Even with a manual process, we cannot look behind the demand to determine whether it is properly authorised.”

A spokesman for Three, which is also understood to use a largely automated system, said the company was simply complying with legal requirements. “We take both our legal obligations and customer privacy seriously,” he said. “Three works with the government and does no more or less than is required or allowed under the established legal framework.

Only O2 said it manually reviews all of its Ripa requests. “We have a request management system with which the law enforcement agencies can make their requests to us,” said the O2 spokeswoman. “All O2 responses are validated by the disclosure team to ensure that each request is lawful and the data provided is commensurate with the request.”

Mike Harris, director of the Don’t Spy On Us campaign, said the automated systems posed a serious threat to UK freedom of expression. “How do we know that the police through new Home Office systems aren’t making automated requests that reveal journalist’s sources or even the private contacts of politicians?” he said.

“Edward Snowden showed that both the NSA and GCHQ had backdoor access to our private information stored on servers. Now potentially the police have access too, when will Parliament stand up and protect our fundamental civil liberties?”

So much information goes over mobile networks nowadays. Not just phone calls and text messages – there’s also the high volume of data transfer over mobile broadband systems. All this information is available to “investigators” who can interrogate the computer systems directly, with no need to go through a middle-man.

If you use a trustworthy VPN service, and encryption, you may be able to keep the data traffic somewhat more private. But the very action of encrypting your traffic attracts investigators’ attention. And voice and text message data does not even have that limited protection.

A solution, so far as computer and smart phone data is concerned, is available, at least in theory. If we all opted for mobile mesh networking, we could cut out the mobile networks entirely. And it wouldn’t be hard to include traditional speech (and sms) in such a system. And the software is already out there – for example Open Garden. These enmeshed systems are probably the future of mobile connectivity. The only question is: when will mobile users take to it by default? Most people don’t think the government snooping into our communications is a major problem (The “if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about” min-set). Will this apathy win out? I hope not. When I use a 3G modem or tethered smartphone I generally use a VPN. But I haven’t fully checked out the various solutions available – or their pitfalls. And I’m more aware of these issues than average. There’s a good chance we’re trying to tackle a problem that’s already out of control. Do yourself – andf everyone else – a favour. Do a web search for “mesh networks” and the other subjects I’ve mentioned here. Did you know that when you send an email, the message is only as secure as what you might write on a postcard? And things can only get worse.

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