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What to do if... Microsoft shuts off your Windows System

Date/Time Permalink: 06/29/06 06:55:08 pm
Category: HOWTOs and Guides

What, you think I'm kidding? Wish I was. Here's ZDNet's reportage. In a nutshell, Microsoft has plans to shut off all Windows versions still running in the fall which do not report having been updated with Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). I quote:

He told me that "in the fall, having the latest WGA will become mandatory and if its not installed, Windows will give a 30 day warning and when the 30 days is up and WGA isn't installed, Windows will stop working, so you might as well install WGA now."

Sounds pretty cut and dried to me, particularly since it's an MS tech talking. Now, I have no idea how this works or what exactly it will do. But I'm picturing home users suddenly seeing their whole digital lives + saved files getting zonked. If Windows simply refuses to run, how do you get your saved files out of it to even *port* to the new system?

I would recommend that home users make backups, but I know from experience that that's like telling people they should rotate their tires. What you can do is download and burn to CD any one of these live rescue CDs listed at Distrowatch.com. Be sure it specifically features file system recovery.

Come to that, virtually any live CD operating system is capable of mounting a hard drive and reading files from it. But who knows? Will the Microsoft kill switch simply erase the drive? Set a code from the hard drive to deny access? Encrypt the contents? I hope to uncover more details as this story comes to. in the meantime, I would practice with the live CD a few times to be sure you could get it.

Here is a page explaining how to mount your Windows file system from Linux. It's example uses a USB thumb-drive, but the same would apply to a hard drive, only instead you would mount ⁄dev⁄hda1 to ⁄mnt.

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