Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity - anti-piracy and anti-visually impaired
I recently was setting up a new computer, Part of this setup is
completing the Windows setup routine. I could not complete this process
without help because of Microsoft's anti-piracy measures. The measure is
the Certificate of Authenticity that is located on the side of the
computer. The unfortunate thing is that I have an eye-condition that
causes extreme nearsightedness and an inability to focus on a spot for more than
a few seconds. Unfortunately, the software key is printed in a small font
with thin lines. When reading such a font, alphanumeric characters get
distorted into other alphanumeric characters (e.g. a "4" becomes an "A").
Other distortions are "K" can be read as an "X" and an "8" may be read as a "B",
"G", "6", "9", or maybe a "0" (I know, I've been there, done that, and
bought the T-shirt several times over). If I reread the same character, it
may appear to be something different. I repeatedly could not enter
the key correctly and I wasted a few hours trying.
I am not the only person who has trouble reading software keys. I
asked an elderly neighbor to help me and she could not even see all 25
characters and she too mistook a "4" to be an "A". This problem has
been noted in the Blind Access Journal article Microsoft's Latest
Anti-Piracy Initiative Locks Out Blind Users available at
I was lucky that my father was stopping by the next day and he was able
to read the key properly. He even wrote the key down and I taped it to
the side of the computer. Other people may not be as lucky such as the
elderly neighbor I described earlier. And yes, I did actually consider
installing Linux instead of Windows.
I am far from against software keys as I realize that those are a software
maker's income. Most of the time, entering a key is not a problem if it's
E-Mailed or on a disk label in a clear font. I am even sympathetic to
Microsoft's concerns about counterfeit software but I condemn
anti-piracy measures that come at the cost I described above. It is
extremely personal and I am mad. And Microsoft, please spare me the
In any case, I have more important things to think about such as making an
Indy version that works with FreePascal 2.1.1 for Win64.