Does changing/updating Nvidia driver make XP think you've ..

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

When XP validates itself, it builds a registration key based on
several hardware components in your computer (such as type of CPU,
amount of RAM, MAC address of ethernet adapter, etc). Each component
gets 1 "vote" when the initial validation is done. So you basically
end up with about 10 votes with a fresh install of XP. The video card
also gets a vote.

There is a program (XPInfo) that will list all the validation
components and whether or not they still qualify for a vote. If you
change your CPU, or add ram, or swap in a new CD burner, then you will
lose the votes for those components.

Once you hit something like 5 or 6 votes, XP will think the system has
changed enough such that it might be running on a bootleg'd system and
it will become non-functional until you re-validate it with Microsoft.

Ok, that's for anyone who doesn't know how this validation thing
works.

My observation is that on a brand-new installation of XP, my Nvidia
GeForce4 video card is not getting it's "vote". Now I did not run
XPinfo immediately after installation, but instead I ran it *after* I
downloaded the most current driver.

So, either it never got it's vote in the first place, or it lost it
after I updated the driver.

My question is - is the XP validation vote assignment for the video
card flaky enough to depend on the video driver, and NOT on some
"fixed-in-stone" aspect of the card (such as chipset, or serial
number, or firmware) ??

Is this a known issue for Nvidia cards/drivers?
21 answers Last reply
More about does changing updating nvidia driver make
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message
    news:421A9E01.9BD24723@guy.com
    > When XP validates itself, it builds a registration key based on
    > several hardware components in your computer (such as type of CPU,
    > amount of RAM, MAC address of ethernet adapter, etc). Each component
    > gets 1 "vote" when the initial validation is done. So you basically
    > end up with about 10 votes with a fresh install of XP. The video card
    > also gets a vote.
    This is true.
    >
    > There is a program (XPInfo) that will list all the validation
    > components and whether or not they still qualify for a vote. If you
    > change your CPU, or add ram, or swap in a new CD burner, then you will
    > lose the votes for those components.
    Optical drives are not counted.
    >
    > Once you hit something like 5 or 6 votes, XP will think the system has
    > changed enough such that it might be running on a bootleg'd system and
    > it will become non-functional until you re-validate it with Microsoft.
    >
    > Ok, that's for anyone who doesn't know how this validation thing
    > works.
    >
    > My observation is that on a brand-new installation of XP, my Nvidia
    > GeForce4 video card is not getting it's "vote". Now I did not run
    > XPinfo immediately after installation, but instead I ran it *after* I
    > downloaded the most current driver.
    >
    > So, either it never got it's vote in the first place, or it lost it
    > after I updated the driver.
    >
    > My question is - is the XP validation vote assignment for the video
    > card flaky enough to depend on the video driver, and NOT on some
    > "fixed-in-stone" aspect of the card (such as chipset, or serial
    > number, or firmware) ??
    >
    > Is this a known issue for Nvidia cards/drivers?

    I've never heard of this issue before. I swap out video cards pretty
    often, and have yet to be told to re-activate.
    The CPU, NIC and HD are the items with the most 'votes'. The only item
    not tied to a hardware code that I know of is the HD, and that goes by
    Volume ID. With all the upgrading and such I've done in the last two
    years, I've had to let WPA validate twice. Once for a new HD with clean
    install of XP Pro, and then for a complete mobo swapout with new CPU,
    NIC (onboard), Ram when that mobo died. I've since swapped out several
    optical drives, CPU's, a number of vid cards I'm playing with and no
    call for re-activation. But the HD, NIC and Ram have stayed the same.
    I think the WPA might also remember somewhere if you've used a hw device
    before, so putting the same back in doesn't trigger a vote. I could be
    wrong on that one, just guessing.
    McG.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    McGrandpa wrote:

    > Optical drives are not counted.

    See this document:

    http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt

    It lists (about halfway into the document) the CD-ROM drive hardware
    identification string is used as part of the validation process.

    > I've never heard of this issue before. I swap out video cards
    > pretty often, and have yet to be told to re-activate.

    Probably because your system was not at the minimum number of votes at
    the time you swapped cards. If it had been, then swapping the card
    (assuming it was still getting a "yes" for it's vote) would have
    resulted in a validation failure. Once you swap out your card, and
    your system still thinks it's validated, then more swapping of the
    video card won't change that situation.

    Or you were running a corporate version of XP that doesn't perform
    this validation process.

    > The CPU, NIC and HD are the items with the most 'votes'.

    I believe all items are given equal weighting (ie 1 vote) except the
    NIC (or MAC) address, which is given 3.

    An item called the "graphics adapter hardware identification string"
    is used to identify the graphics card. Now why that string would
    change when the driver is changed - I don't know.

    > The only item not tied to a hardware code that I know of is the
    > HD, and that goes by Volume ID.

    There are 2 items pertaining to the hard drive that ARE used for the
    validation process.

    The "volume serial number string of system volume" can be duplicated
    by using, say, Norton Ghost to make an exact duplicate (clone) of a
    hard drive. So you can preserve that vote. The "harddrive hardware
    identification string", however, can't be duplicated so that vote will
    be lost on a system with a cloned drive.

    > With all the upgrading and such I've done in the last two years,
    > I've had to let WPA validate twice. Once for a new HD with clean
    > install of XP Pro,

    Naturally when you perform a clean install of XP you're going to have
    to perform a new validation

    > and then for a complete mobo swapout with new CPU, NIC
    > (onboard), Ram when that mobo died.

    A new motherboard would have resulted in you losing the votes
    for the IDE controller and MAC address. If the amount of RAM
    on the new board is different than what you had on the old one,
    then you would have lost that vote as well. Same goes for the
    CPU.

    > I've since swapped out several optical drives, CPU's,
    > a number of vid cards I'm playing with and no call for
    > re-activation. But the HD, NIC and Ram have stayed the same.

    Your IDE controller gets 1 vote, your hard drive gets 2, your ram gets
    1, your NIC gets 3. That's 7 votes. (If your motherboard has a SCSI
    adapter then that gets 1 vote too).

    I bet your system is on the edge of being "invalid". If you disable
    the NIC (for sure), or change ram amount (maybe), then you'll be asked
    to re-validate. I think that reversing the change will bring you back
    to normal and you won't be asked to re-validate.

    > I think the WPA might also remember somewhere if you've used
    > a hw device before, so putting the same back in doesn't trigger
    > a vote.

    I think changing a component to what it was at the time of initial XP
    installation / validation will restore it's vote back to 1. I think
    that if your system becomes "invalid" then replacing components to
    what they originally were will bring you back to the "valid" state,
    all without having to contact microsoft.

    But I still want to know if it's typical for NVidia graphics cards to
    get left out of the validation process.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    The video card Driver version does NOT figure in the XP Registration.

    --
    DaveW


    "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message news:421A9E01.9BD24723@guy.com...
    >
    > When XP validates itself, it builds a registration key based on
    > several hardware components in your computer (such as type of CPU,
    > amount of RAM, MAC address of ethernet adapter, etc). Each component
    > gets 1 "vote" when the initial validation is done. So you basically
    > end up with about 10 votes with a fresh install of XP. The video card
    > also gets a vote.
    >
    > There is a program (XPInfo) that will list all the validation
    > components and whether or not they still qualify for a vote. If you
    > change your CPU, or add ram, or swap in a new CD burner, then you will
    > lose the votes for those components.
    >
    > Once you hit something like 5 or 6 votes, XP will think the system has
    > changed enough such that it might be running on a bootleg'd system and
    > it will become non-functional until you re-validate it with Microsoft.
    >
    > Ok, that's for anyone who doesn't know how this validation thing
    > works.
    >
    > My observation is that on a brand-new installation of XP, my Nvidia
    > GeForce4 video card is not getting it's "vote". Now I did not run
    > XPinfo immediately after installation, but instead I ran it *after* I
    > downloaded the most current driver.
    >
    > So, either it never got it's vote in the first place, or it lost it
    > after I updated the driver.
    >
    > My question is - is the XP validation vote assignment for the video
    > card flaky enough to depend on the video driver, and NOT on some
    > "fixed-in-stone" aspect of the card (such as chipset, or serial
    > number, or firmware) ??
    >
    > Is this a known issue for Nvidia cards/drivers?
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message
    news:421B4195.41854196@guy.com
    > McGrandpa wrote:
    >
    >> Optical drives are not counted.
    >
    > See this document:
    >
    > http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt
    >
    > It lists (about halfway into the document) the CD-ROM drive hardware
    > identification string is used as part of the validation process.
    >
    >> I've never heard of this issue before. I swap out video cards
    >> pretty often, and have yet to be told to re-activate.
    >
    > Probably because your system was not at the minimum number of votes at
    > the time you swapped cards. If it had been, then swapping the card
    > (assuming it was still getting a "yes" for it's vote) would have
    > resulted in a validation failure. Once you swap out your card, and
    > your system still thinks it's validated, then more swapping of the
    > video card won't change that situation.
    >
    > Or you were running a corporate version of XP that doesn't perform
    > this validation process.
    >
    >> The CPU, NIC and HD are the items with the most 'votes'.
    >
    > I believe all items are given equal weighting (ie 1 vote) except the
    > NIC (or MAC) address, which is given 3.
    >
    > An item called the "graphics adapter hardware identification string"
    > is used to identify the graphics card. Now why that string would
    > change when the driver is changed - I don't know.
    >
    >> The only item not tied to a hardware code that I know of is the
    >> HD, and that goes by Volume ID.
    >
    > There are 2 items pertaining to the hard drive that ARE used for the
    > validation process.
    >
    > The "volume serial number string of system volume" can be duplicated
    > by using, say, Norton Ghost to make an exact duplicate (clone) of a
    > hard drive. So you can preserve that vote. The "harddrive hardware
    > identification string", however, can't be duplicated so that vote will
    > be lost on a system with a cloned drive.
    >
    >> With all the upgrading and such I've done in the last two years,
    >> I've had to let WPA validate twice. Once for a new HD with clean
    >> install of XP Pro,
    >
    > Naturally when you perform a clean install of XP you're going to have
    > to perform a new validation
    >
    >> and then for a complete mobo swapout with new CPU, NIC
    >> (onboard), Ram when that mobo died.
    >
    > A new motherboard would have resulted in you losing the votes
    > for the IDE controller and MAC address. If the amount of RAM
    > on the new board is different than what you had on the old one,
    > then you would have lost that vote as well. Same goes for the
    > CPU.
    >
    >> I've since swapped out several optical drives, CPU's,
    >> a number of vid cards I'm playing with and no call for
    >> re-activation. But the HD, NIC and Ram have stayed the same.
    >
    > Your IDE controller gets 1 vote, your hard drive gets 2, your ram gets
    > 1, your NIC gets 3. That's 7 votes. (If your motherboard has a SCSI
    > adapter then that gets 1 vote too).
    >
    > I bet your system is on the edge of being "invalid". If you disable
    > the NIC (for sure), or change ram amount (maybe), then you'll be asked
    > to re-validate. I think that reversing the change will bring you back
    > to normal and you won't be asked to re-validate.
    >
    >> I think the WPA might also remember somewhere if you've used
    >> a hw device before, so putting the same back in doesn't trigger
    >> a vote.
    >
    > I think changing a component to what it was at the time of initial XP
    > installation / validation will restore it's vote back to 1. I think
    > that if your system becomes "invalid" then replacing components to
    > what they originally were will bring you back to the "valid" state,
    > all without having to contact microsoft.
    >
    > But I still want to know if it's typical for NVidia graphics cards to
    > get left out of the validation process.

    Ask for Gary Nichols in the microsoft.public.windowsxp.general usenet
    newsgroup. He is somewhat a resident expert on WPA over there and an
    MSVP.

    Next, I have been informed by several MSVP's (also MS employees) that
    WPA does not look at optical drives in the final shipped product. The
    document you referred to (and I read, thank you) was written in 2001,
    before XP shipped. I think I was using RC2 XP Pro then. [wow, has it
    been that long already?]
    Without fail, every time I've changed installation hd's, I've had to
    re-activate XP. That would be expected though.
    One important thing I didn't see in that document is that WPA resets
    after 120 days if there haven't been enough votes change to trigger
    re-activation. You get a clean slate every 4 months.
    My string of hw upgrades since installing the new motherboard have taken
    place over a total of 6 months now. Somewhere in there, my WPA 'slate'
    was wiped clean.
    I'm using the full retail XP Pro and SP2.

    There WAS one day on a long weekend I'd had to re-activate twice. I
    decided I didn't like the HD partitioned as it was and wanted to do it
    over. The first time, it activated over the internet fine. The second
    time I simply had to call it in and explain what I'd been doing :) No
    problems.

    The answer to your exact question, I don't know. I wouldn't mind
    knowing if you find out.

    McG.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    McGrandpa wrote:

    > Without fail, every time I've changed installation hd's, I've had
    > to re-activate XP. That would be expected though.

    I've just performed a clean install of an OEM version of XP ("2002"
    version, SP1) and with the exception of the video card all the other
    components (as identified by XPInfo) are showing "yes" votes. There
    are 10 items in all. Two of them (SCSI adapter and processor serial
    number) are grey'd out (do P-4's or "celeron"-4's have processor
    serial numbers like P3's did?). The video card has lost it's vote
    (again I don't know why). That leaves 7 votes showing yes, 1 showing
    no vote, and 2 items grey'd out.

    I then cloned the drive using Norton Ghost (destination drive was
    exactly same make/model as source, even same lot date).

    Cloned drive was installed in a second computer (exact same type
    motherboard, CPU, video card, CD drive). Clone computer started just
    fine and operates normally. XPinfo on the clone system shows that the
    hard drive got both it's votes (volume serial number and hardware ID
    number). IDE controller and CPU also got their votes, as did the CD
    drive. The clone computer had 256 mb of ram (where the master system
    had 512). As expected, the clone lost it's vote for Ram. The clone
    also lost it's vote for MAC address (this was also expected).

    So in total the clone had 5 votes (2 for the hard drive, 1 each for
    CPU, IDE, and CDRW drive). I haven't tried this yet, but I suspect
    that if I disconnect the CD drive in the clone and then start the
    system, it will fail it's validation process and ask to be
    re-validated.

    > One important thing I didn't see in that document is that WPA
    > resets after 120 days if there haven't been enough votes
    > change to trigger re-activation. You get a clean slate every
    > 4 months.

    My experience (in an older clone made a year ago) that no such
    "clean-slate" validation occurs (or if it does, XPInfo doesn't
    recognize it because it still shows various items as still getting
    "no" votes). Maybe this clean-slate thing depends on the version of
    XP used.

    What happens if you try to fool it by moving the date ahead 4 months
    in the bios setup? It must have to "phone home" to microsoft to get a
    reality check on the date before it does a clean-slate validation (?).
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    Just checked my system after year and half no clean slate only five votes
    "DaveW" <none@zero.org> wrote in message
    news:mL-dncdXxMfGV4bfRVn-ug@comcast.com...
    > The video card Driver version does NOT figure in the XP Registration.
    >
    > --
    > DaveW
    >
    >
    >
    > "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message
    > news:421A9E01.9BD24723@guy.com...
    >>
    >> When XP validates itself, it builds a registration key based on
    >> several hardware components in your computer (such as type of CPU,
    >> amount of RAM, MAC address of ethernet adapter, etc). Each component
    >> gets 1 "vote" when the initial validation is done. So you basically
    >> end up with about 10 votes with a fresh install of XP. The video card
    >> also gets a vote.
    >>
    >> There is a program (XPInfo) that will list all the validation
    >> components and whether or not they still qualify for a vote. If you
    >> change your CPU, or add ram, or swap in a new CD burner, then you will
    >> lose the votes for those components.
    >>
    >> Once you hit something like 5 or 6 votes, XP will think the system has
    >> changed enough such that it might be running on a bootleg'd system and
    >> it will become non-functional until you re-validate it with Microsoft.
    >>
    >> Ok, that's for anyone who doesn't know how this validation thing
    >> works.
    >>
    >> My observation is that on a brand-new installation of XP, my Nvidia
    >> GeForce4 video card is not getting it's "vote". Now I did not run
    >> XPinfo immediately after installation, but instead I ran it *after* I
    >> downloaded the most current driver.
    >>
    >> So, either it never got it's vote in the first place, or it lost it
    >> after I updated the driver.
    >>
    >> My question is - is the XP validation vote assignment for the video
    >> card flaky enough to depend on the video driver, and NOT on some
    >> "fixed-in-stone" aspect of the card (such as chipset, or serial
    >> number, or firmware) ??
    >>
    >> Is this a known issue for Nvidia cards/drivers?
    >
    >
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    I have determined absolutely that optical drives (CD, CDRW, etc) ARE,
    repeat, ARE involved in Windows registration/validation mechanism.
    And if your system has changed to the point that it is on the edge of
    validation, that changing (or disconnecting) your CD drive WILL,
    repeat, WILL cause your system to enter the "invalid" state and will
    ask you to re-validate your installation within 3 days.

    And - even replacing the item that caused your validation to fail (ie
    re-connecting your cd drive) WILL NOT, repeat, WILL NOT result in
    bringing your system back to a valid state.

    What about the 4-month (120 day) automatic validation thing?

    The way it works is that Micro$loth keeps your validation info on file
    for 4 months (120 days). So every 4 months they wipe the slate clean
    and if your system becomes invalid on or after the 120'th day, you can
    do an on-line re-validation and to them it's like you never validated
    your system before. I guess it also means that you can take your copy
    of XP and every 4 months install it on a new computer.

    And I have replicated the validation issue with Nvidia graphics card.
    There is some difference between XP's native method to query the card
    vs what happens when you install drivers (either from the CD that
    comes with the card or with the most current driver on Nvidia's web
    site). The difference is enough to cause the card to lose it's
    validation vote.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    I just changed a faulty CDR drive and was not prompted to reactivate. I did
    once get prompted when I updated my Nforce motherboard drivers.
    Reactivation failed saying I had activated this key too many times. I
    called MS and they reactivated it for me.

    DaveL


    "some Guy" <Some@Guy.com> wrote in message news:421DE7BE.9199020E@Guy.com...
    >
    > I have determined absolutely that optical drives (CD, CDRW, etc) ARE,
    > repeat, ARE involved in Windows registration/validation mechanism.
    > And if your system has changed to the point that it is on the edge of
    > validation, that changing (or disconnecting) your CD drive WILL,
    > repeat, WILL cause your system to enter the "invalid" state and will
    > ask you to re-validate your installation within 3 days.
    >
    > And - even replacing the item that caused your validation to fail (ie
    > re-connecting your cd drive) WILL NOT, repeat, WILL NOT result in
    > bringing your system back to a valid state.
    >
    > What about the 4-month (120 day) automatic validation thing?
    >
    > The way it works is that Micro$loth keeps your validation info on file
    > for 4 months (120 days). So every 4 months they wipe the slate clean
    > and if your system becomes invalid on or after the 120'th day, you can
    > do an on-line re-validation and to them it's like you never validated
    > your system before. I guess it also means that you can take your copy
    > of XP and every 4 months install it on a new computer.
    >
    > And I have replicated the validation issue with Nvidia graphics card.
    > There is some difference between XP's native method to query the card
    > vs what happens when you install drivers (either from the CD that
    > comes with the card or with the most current driver on Nvidia's web
    > site). The difference is enough to cause the card to lose it's
    > validation vote.
  9. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    DaveL wrote:

    > I just changed a faulty CDR drive and was not prompted to
    > reactivate. I did once get prompted when I updated my
    > Nforce motherboard drivers. Reactivation failed saying
    > I had activated this key too many times. I called MS and
    > they reactivated it for me.

    When you called MS and they re-activated, ALL the components of your
    system became valid. That gave you 10 "votes". You need 5 to keep
    your system "valid".

    So with 10 votes, you changed your CDR drive, and you now have 9
    votes. You can change several more things before you invalidate your
    system again.

    But obviously microsoft did not count on the fact that changes in
    video card drivers are causing their validation method to fail (when
    it comes to determining if your video card is really different - or
    not). They must be getting a lot of calls and re-validation attempts
    because of this, and also because of the speed at which CD/DVD burners
    are improving in speed and coming down in price (people must be
    swapping out old CD drives at a crazy pace). This must be why there
    is a rumor that the XP validation process doesn't include looking at
    the CD drive - when in fact it still does.
  10. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    This is good information. Thank you. Is there a way to hack these votes?

    DaveL


    "some Guy" <Some@Guy.com> wrote in message news:421E66A2.33DC7A06@Guy.com...
    > DaveL wrote:
    >
    >> I just changed a faulty CDR drive and was not prompted to
    >> reactivate. I did once get prompted when I updated my
    >> Nforce motherboard drivers. Reactivation failed saying
    >> I had activated this key too many times. I called MS and
    >> they reactivated it for me.
    >
    > When you called MS and they re-activated, ALL the components of your
    > system became valid. That gave you 10 "votes". You need 5 to keep
    > your system "valid".
    >
    > So with 10 votes, you changed your CDR drive, and you now have 9
    > votes. You can change several more things before you invalidate your
    > system again.
    >
    > But obviously microsoft did not count on the fact that changes in
    > video card drivers are causing their validation method to fail (when
    > it comes to determining if your video card is really different - or
    > not). They must be getting a lot of calls and re-validation attempts
    > because of this, and also because of the speed at which CD/DVD burners
    > are improving in speed and coming down in price (people must be
    > swapping out old CD drives at a crazy pace). This must be why there
    > is a rumor that the XP validation process doesn't include looking at
    > the CD drive - when in fact it still does.
  11. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    DaveL wrote:>

    > This is good information. Thank you. Is there a way to hack
    > these votes?

    I haven't looked into that too much. There is a program called "XP
    Anti-spy" that allows you to set several registry entries that pertain
    to the validation stuff, but I'm not sure if it can keep an invalid
    system running.

    Otherwise, get your hands on a corporate version of XP. It doesn't
    perform this validation process at all (so I've read).
  12. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some Guy" <Some@Guy.com> wrote in message
    news:421DE7BE.9199020E@Guy.com
    > I have determined absolutely that optical drives (CD, CDRW, etc) ARE,
    > repeat, ARE involved in Windows registration/validation mechanism.
    > And if your system has changed to the point that it is on the edge of
    > validation, that changing (or disconnecting) your CD drive WILL,
    > repeat, WILL cause your system to enter the "invalid" state and will
    > ask you to re-validate your installation within 3 days.
    >
    > And - even replacing the item that caused your validation to fail (ie
    > re-connecting your cd drive) WILL NOT, repeat, WILL NOT result in
    > bringing your system back to a valid state.
    >
    > What about the 4-month (120 day) automatic validation thing?
    >
    > The way it works is that Micro$loth keeps your validation info on file
    > for 4 months (120 days). So every 4 months they wipe the slate clean
    > and if your system becomes invalid on or after the 120'th day, you can
    > do an on-line re-validation and to them it's like you never validated
    > your system before. I guess it also means that you can take your copy
    > of XP and every 4 months install it on a new computer.

    I'm sure M$ wouldn't want to announce this one loudly, but if that's
    what they do, then it looks like you can install it fresh on another
    system every 4 months. It wouldn't make any difference if the install
    is seen as 'new'.
    >
    > And I have replicated the validation issue with Nvidia graphics card.
    > There is some difference between XP's native method to query the card
    > vs what happens when you install drivers (either from the CD that
    > comes with the card or with the most current driver on Nvidia's web
    > site). The difference is enough to cause the card to lose it's
    > validation vote.

    You've obviously been doing some testing yourself. So the MSVP's
    appear to know less than they think they do. This is info to add to my
    little reinstall instructions I keep. I'll own plainly I hadn't tested
    the WPA much, I'd simply gone by what I think I've seen when upgrading
    and having to re-activate and by what I'd been told by a particular M$
    MSVP and info on his WPA Info website. Some given information was
    inaccurate and some incomplete. Thanks for updating your info here.
    McG.
  13. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some Guy" <Some@Guy.com> wrote in message
    news:421E66A2.33DC7A06@Guy.com
    > DaveL wrote:
    >
    >> I just changed a faulty CDR drive and was not prompted to
    >> reactivate. I did once get prompted when I updated my
    >> Nforce motherboard drivers. Reactivation failed saying
    >> I had activated this key too many times. I called MS and
    >> they reactivated it for me.
    >
    > When you called MS and they re-activated, ALL the components of your
    > system became valid. That gave you 10 "votes". You need 5 to keep
    > your system "valid".
    >
    > So with 10 votes, you changed your CDR drive, and you now have 9
    > votes. You can change several more things before you invalidate your
    > system again.
    >
    > But obviously microsoft did not count on the fact that changes in
    > video card drivers are causing their validation method to fail (when
    > it comes to determining if your video card is really different - or
    > not). They must be getting a lot of calls and re-validation attempts
    > because of this, and also because of the speed at which CD/DVD burners
    > are improving in speed and coming down in price (people must be
    > swapping out old CD drives at a crazy pace). This must be why there
    > is a rumor that the XP validation process doesn't include looking at
    > the CD drive - when in fact it still does.

    Hm. That couldn't be completely accurate. In the last 3 months, with
    ALL hardware in the system the same except the following:
    Replaced P4-2.66/533/512K with P4-3.0E/800/1m
    I've changed out video cards 5 times (maybe more than this, swapping
    Ti4600/FX5900 checking FX fan) using 4 different video cards. The 4th
    being a new 6800. First of the cards was a Radeon 9800 Pro-128meg. I'd
    used 2 different catalyst sets and two different Omega sets. Then gave
    that 9800 to son and installed old Ti4600 for a bit, used 1 detonator
    set 53.03. Pulled that card, put in FX5900-128 meg, used 53.03 set
    first, then 61.77 set. Fan quit on the card, pull FX and put Ti4600
    back in a couple weeks. back to using 53.03 set. Got new 6800, pop in
    and start off using 66.93, then 67.02 and as of two weeks ago 67.03.
    That's about a dozen changes total including different driver sets. So
    at a guess, if everything you are thinking is accurate, then I'd have
    had to re-activate XP Pro full retail at least once in the last 3 months
    since the last activation due to installing a new mobo. Especially
    considering I'd replaced the CPU.
    Now I'm beginning to wonder if the WPA logic also involves how many
    classed items are changed? Like if it's only a video card, changing it
    25 times won't do anything but keep that one vote a "no", right? It's
    not accumulating 'no' votes, it's that the one classed items vote simply
    stays 'no'.
    Would this be right?
    McG.
  14. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "D.Ford" <spamsomeoneelse@withvirusemails> wrote in message
    news:oudTd.15878$9a3.1709@edtnps91
    > Just checked my system after year and half no clean slate only five

    It seems that M$ is who keeps the info on the WPA servers. After 120
    days, old accounts are 'cleaned'. So, when you've finally lost enough
    votes, you will be able to activate via the net (the easy way).

    For me it's been about 50/50, half the time XP re-actiavates I have to
    call in on the phone. If I just reactivated last week, and upgraded a
    bunch of stuff on my system, and WPA required me to reactivate with
    tomorrows new video card, I'll have to make the phone call. I've not
    had a problem getting it re-activated. It's just a hassle to have to
    call it in.
    You could replace a bunch of stuff today, have to re-activate, and it
    would go through on the internet. No phone call. Then if you have to
    do it again within 120 days, phone call.
    McG.

    > votes "DaveW" <none@zero.org> wrote in message
    > news:mL-dncdXxMfGV4bfRVn-ug@comcast.com...
    >> The video card Driver version does NOT figure in the XP Registration.
    >>
    >> --
    >> DaveW
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message
    >> news:421A9E01.9BD24723@guy.com...
    >>>
    >>> When XP validates itself, it builds a registration key based on
    >>> several hardware components in your computer (such as type of CPU,
    >>> amount of RAM, MAC address of ethernet adapter, etc). Each
    >>> component gets 1 "vote" when the initial validation is done. So
    >>> you basically end up with about 10 votes with a fresh install of
    >>> XP. The video card also gets a vote.
    >>>
    >>> There is a program (XPInfo) that will list all the validation
    >>> components and whether or not they still qualify for a vote. If you
    >>> change your CPU, or add ram, or swap in a new CD burner, then you
    >>> will lose the votes for those components.
    >>>
    >>> Once you hit something like 5 or 6 votes, XP will think the system
    >>> has changed enough such that it might be running on a bootleg'd
    >>> system and it will become non-functional until you re-validate it
    >>> with Microsoft. Ok, that's for anyone who doesn't know how this
    >>> validation thing
    >>> works.
    >>>
    >>> My observation is that on a brand-new installation of XP, my Nvidia
    >>> GeForce4 video card is not getting it's "vote". Now I did not run
    >>> XPinfo immediately after installation, but instead I ran it *after*
    >>> I downloaded the most current driver.
    >>>
    >>> So, either it never got it's vote in the first place, or it lost it
    >>> after I updated the driver.
    >>>
    >>> My question is - is the XP validation vote assignment for the video
    >>> card flaky enough to depend on the video driver, and NOT on some
    >>> "fixed-in-stone" aspect of the card (such as chipset, or serial
    >>> number, or firmware) ??
    >>>
    >>> Is this a known issue for Nvidia cards/drivers?
  15. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    McGrandpa wrote:

    > I've changed out video cards 5 times
    > Now I'm beginning to wonder if the WPA logic also involves how
    > many classed items are changed? Like if it's only a video card,
    > changing it 25 times won't do anything but keep that one vote a
    > "no", right? It's not accumulating 'no' votes, it's that the one
    > classed items vote simply stays 'no'.
    > Would this be right?

    When XP is installed on a new PC, I've never seen it ask for a video
    driver during the install process.

    So initially, after XP is done installing, you will have 10 "yes"
    votes.

    It seems that more likely than not, that if you then throw in the CD
    that comes with your video card, or download the newest drivers, that
    you will probably have the best driver set for your setup, but you
    will lose your "yes" vote for your video card and probably won't be
    able to get it back. Maybe this is the case for many types of video
    cards, or maybe only for Nvidia.

    The only other component of the WPA system that *might* suffer the
    same problem (theoretically) is the ethernet adapter - but only if the
    MAC address is reported incorrectly or differently to a WPA query when
    it's driver is changed or updated.

    All other components of the WPA system don't really have drivers per
    say (like the CPU, or CD drive, etc).

    Getting back to your question. If any component loses it's yes vote,
    but if you still have at least 5 yes votes, then any of the components
    that have lost their vote can get it back if you replace the component
    with the original type, model, or version.

    For example, if you change your CPU, or add/remove ram, or change your
    CD drive, (or do all of those 3 things) and if after doing that you
    still have at least 5 yes votes, then your system is still valid and
    it will still function. If you then switch back those items to their
    original state, you will get their votes back.

    If you change your video card, you will lose it's vote (but as I say,
    you might have already lost it by changing/updating the driver).
    Once you've lost a vote for any component, WPA doesn't track how many
    times you change the same component. It only checks to see if the
    component matches what it was when XP was installed. You must have at
    least 5 of the same components for XP to start properly at each
    boot-up.

    Once you fall below 5 yes votes, XP will display a message on startup
    telling you that your system has changed significantly since XP was
    first installed, and it will give you 3 days to re-validate itself or
    (I suppose) it will enter some wierd non-functional state. During
    those 3 days it doesn't matter if you replace the various components
    to what they were originally. You won't get their votes back. Once
    you've fallen off the validation cliff, you won't be able to climb
    back. The only option is re-validation.
  16. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some Guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message
    news:422D14F0.CC37CE73@guy.com
    > McGrandpa wrote:
    >
    >> I've changed out video cards 5 times
    >> Now I'm beginning to wonder if the WPA logic also involves how
    >> many classed items are changed? Like if it's only a video card,
    >> changing it 25 times won't do anything but keep that one vote a
    >> "no", right? It's not accumulating 'no' votes, it's that the one
    >> classed items vote simply stays 'no'.
    >> Would this be right?
    >
    > When XP is installed on a new PC, I've never seen it ask for a video
    > driver during the install process.
    >
    > So initially, after XP is done installing, you will have 10 "yes"
    > votes.
    >
    > It seems that more likely than not, that if you then throw in the CD
    > that comes with your video card, or download the newest drivers, that
    > you will probably have the best driver set for your setup, but you
    > will lose your "yes" vote for your video card and probably won't be
    > able to get it back. Maybe this is the case for many types of video
    > cards, or maybe only for Nvidia.
    >
    > The only other component of the WPA system that *might* suffer the
    > same problem (theoretically) is the ethernet adapter - but only if the
    > MAC address is reported incorrectly or differently to a WPA query when
    > it's driver is changed or updated.
    >
    > All other components of the WPA system don't really have drivers per
    > say (like the CPU, or CD drive, etc).
    >
    > Getting back to your question. If any component loses it's yes vote,
    > but if you still have at least 5 yes votes, then any of the components
    > that have lost their vote can get it back if you replace the component
    > with the original type, model, or version.
    >
    > For example, if you change your CPU, or add/remove ram, or change your
    > CD drive, (or do all of those 3 things) and if after doing that you
    > still have at least 5 yes votes, then your system is still valid and
    > it will still function. If you then switch back those items to their
    > original state, you will get their votes back.
    >
    > If you change your video card, you will lose it's vote (but as I say,
    > you might have already lost it by changing/updating the driver).
    > Once you've lost a vote for any component, WPA doesn't track how many
    > times you change the same component. It only checks to see if the
    > component matches what it was when XP was installed. You must have at
    > least 5 of the same components for XP to start properly at each
    > boot-up.
    >
    > Once you fall below 5 yes votes, XP will display a message on startup
    > telling you that your system has changed significantly since XP was
    > first installed, and it will give you 3 days to re-validate itself or
    > (I suppose) it will enter some wierd non-functional state. During
    > those 3 days it doesn't matter if you replace the various components
    > to what they were originally. You won't get their votes back. Once
    > you've fallen off the validation cliff, you won't be able to climb
    > back. The only option is re-validation.

    Ok, so that's the trick then. Somebody had the bright idea that if a
    certain number of HW items always stayed the same, then it won't matter
    how many times one of the others is changed. That item simply lost its
    vote and now with yet another vid card change (I got the eVGA 6800 GT in
    now) the "Display Adapter" title simply stays a No vote now. My NIC is
    onboard. If it were to pop and I had to install a PCI Lan card, that
    would most likely trigger the WPA and I'd have to re-activate XP. That
    being because I did also install a new CPU and DVDRW. Ram, NIC, HD,
    mobo itself, etc. all stayed the same this time.
    Actually, that's pretty slick. WPA scared me at first, because I'm
    always upgrading my rig. Still just the one rig, but it's just about
    always being added to or changed in some way. I figured that I'd be on
    the phone with one of the WPA agents every two weeks :) It hasn't
    happened like that at all. I haven't re-activated XP Pro more than 5
    times since I bought it on release day. I've kept these posts, they're
    likely to prove useful somewhere down the road.
    Thanks for the discussion!
    McG.
  17. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    Download and run XP-info:

    http://www.licenturion.com/xp/xpinfo-exe.zip

    It will tell you which components are getting yes votes, and which
    ones are getting no votes.

    > If it were to pop and I had to install a PCI Lan card,

    I haven't tested this yet, but if I understand WPA correctly, then the
    MAC address gets 3 votes all by itself. If true, then XP will pass
    the validation process if the MAC address and 2 other components are
    still registering as Yes. If your ethernet adapter is built into the
    motherboard, then (again theoretically) the MAC plus the IDE
    controller together will register 4 yes votes (unless you disable them
    in the BIOS setup). The hard drive gets 2 votes (for two different
    reasons).

    BTW - once a system fails the WPA, XPinfo doesn't work (it will be
    unable to tell you which components are getting no or yes votes).

    If you want to read an explanation of WPA:

    http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt

    (at least as it was understood to work 4 years ago).
  18. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    "some guy" <some@guy.com> wrote in message news:422DB314.58B00F8@guy.com
    > Download and run XP-info:
    >
    > http://www.licenturion.com/xp/xpinfo-exe.zip
    >
    > It will tell you which components are getting yes votes, and which
    > ones are getting no votes.
    >
    >> If it were to pop and I had to install a PCI Lan card,
    >
    > I haven't tested this yet, but if I understand WPA correctly, then the
    > MAC address gets 3 votes all by itself. If true, then XP will pass
    > the validation process if the MAC address and 2 other components are
    > still registering as Yes. If your ethernet adapter is built into the
    > motherboard, then (again theoretically) the MAC plus the IDE
    > controller together will register 4 yes votes (unless you disable them
    > in the BIOS setup). The hard drive gets 2 votes (for two different
    > reasons).

    Ok, I have XP INfo. Just ran it. Boxes not ghosted that are checked:
    Processor Model
    Ram Size
    Hard Drive
    Volume Serial Number
    IDE Controller
    CD-Rom drive (I have both a DVDRW and a DV Rom drive)

    Not ghosted and NOT checked:
    Graphics adapter
    MAC Address

    Ghosted out AND checked: (maybe because these are not available?)
    Processor serial number
    SCSI host adapter

    This has been the exact same motherboard through 3 CPU changes, 5 vid
    card changes and one R&R CDRW with DVDRW. It's the sound card that
    isn't looked at. Processor model, all three were P4's :) Ha! So it
    looks like I have lost 4 votes right there. But if the IDE controller,
    RAM size are checked, the MAC address definitely should be. That can't
    change. It's built into the mobo. It's the same LAN adapter this rig
    was re-activated with last time. Why would it be unchecked? Weird.
    McG.


    >
    > BTW - once a system fails the WPA, XPinfo doesn't work (it will be
    > unable to tell you which components are getting no or yes votes).
    >
    > If you want to read an explanation of WPA:
    >
    > http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt
    >
    > (at least as it was understood to work 4 years ago).
  19. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    Some Guy wrote:

    > McGrandpa wrote:
    >
    >> Without fail, every time I've changed installation hd's, I've had
    >> to re-activate XP. That would be expected though.
    >
    > I've just performed a clean install of an OEM version of XP ("2002"
    > version, SP1) and with the exception of the video card all the other
    > components (as identified by XPInfo) are showing "yes" votes. There
    > are 10 items in all. Two of them (SCSI adapter and processor serial
    > number) are grey'd out (do P-4's or "celeron"-4's have processor
    > serial numbers like P3's did?). The video card has lost it's vote
    > (again I don't know why). That leaves 7 votes showing yes, 1 showing
    > no vote, and 2 items grey'd out.
    >
    > I then cloned the drive using Norton Ghost (destination drive was
    > exactly same make/model as source, even same lot date).
    >
    > Cloned drive was installed in a second computer (exact same type
    > motherboard, CPU, video card, CD drive). Clone computer started just
    > fine and operates normally. XPinfo on the clone system shows that the
    > hard drive got both it's votes (volume serial number and hardware ID
    > number). IDE controller and CPU also got their votes, as did the CD
    > drive. The clone computer had 256 mb of ram (where the master system
    > had 512). As expected, the clone lost it's vote for Ram. The clone
    > also lost it's vote for MAC address (this was also expected).
    >
    > So in total the clone had 5 votes (2 for the hard drive, 1 each for
    > CPU, IDE, and CDRW drive). I haven't tried this yet, but I suspect
    > that if I disconnect the CD drive in the clone and then start the
    > system, it will fail it's validation process and ask to be
    > re-validated.
    >
    >> One important thing I didn't see in that document is that WPA
    >> resets after 120 days if there haven't been enough votes
    >> change to trigger re-activation. You get a clean slate every
    >> 4 months.
    >
    > My experience (in an older clone made a year ago) that no such
    > "clean-slate" validation occurs (or if it does, XPInfo doesn't
    > recognize it because it still shows various items as still getting
    > "no" votes). Maybe this clean-slate thing depends on the version of
    > XP used.
    >
    > What happens if you try to fool it by moving the date ahead 4 months
    > in the bios setup? It must have to "phone home" to microsoft to get a
    > reality check on the date before it does a clean-slate validation (?).

    You have a misconception. If you change hardware after 120 days then you
    will still have to reactivate, however the Microsoft server, in theory
    anyway, will accept any hardware configuration as valid instead of only
    accepting those configurations that have fewer than the allowed number of
    changes.

    I find myself wondering just how reliable "xpinfo" is at determining the
    validation state--does it hook the Windows validation mechanism or does it
    attempt to emulate it?

    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
  20. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    some guy wrote:
    > There is nothing you can do on XP that you can't do more intuitively,
    > more quickly, on Win-98. Give Win-98 a PC with a P-4 and 512 mb of
    > ram and watch it fly.

    Come on.. Windows 98 is just a terrible, terrible OS for current use.
    The memory management stinks, it can't even handle more than 512MB of
    RAM properly, which is pretty low for a new performance-oriented machine
    these days. Nobody optimizes their drivers for it anymore either (some
    manufacturers don't even bother writing any..) The FAT32 system is very
    wasteful on drives of the sizes which are common these days, etc. etc.

    --
    Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
    To email, remove "nospam" from hancockr@nospamshaw.ca
    Home Page: http://www.roberthancock.com/
  21. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.videocards.nvidia (More info?)

    fat 32 is very fragile. I remember poor old win 98 getting disk errors after
    crashes. In all the crashes I've had on ntfs (due to bad software etc.) it's
    never shown an error.


    --
    Ed Light

    Smiley :-/
    MS Smiley :-\

    Send spam to the FTC at
    uce@ftc.gov
    Thanks, robots.
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