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OT: Where Best to Express My Rage at M$

I plan to send copies of the body of this message to the presidents of Systemax and Tiger Direct, my senators, my congressmen and any one else who might have influence. I am postint it here for suggestions for addresses. The body is as follows:

I am enraged by the manipulations of Microsoft Corp which may force me to pay for something I already own.

Several years ago I puchased a Systemax computer from Tiger Direct which came with Microsoft Windows ME pre-loaded and accompanied by a Systemax Recovery CD (not a set of installation CD's for Windows ME). My understanding was that I had purchased a single computer license for Windows ME which the recovery disk would allow me to reinstall after the ubiquitous Windows crashes. Use of the recovery disk is awkward but this was not of great concern as I make only limited use of Windows.

Wishing to be able to backup data to DVD+RW disks, I recently removed the originial motherboard and cpu and installed a new motherboard and cpu which support USB 2. The Systemax Recovery Disk was keyed to the mother board and/or cpu and will no longer work. *This is clearly a devising of Microsoft Corp to insure that I do not violate the license agreement by installing the Windows ME operating system on more than one computer. I HAVE NOT VIOLATED THE CONTRACT! I stilll have the original motherboard and cpu which were operable when I removed them and presumably are still operable if they were reinstalled but they sit unused in a box in my closet.

*The solution would seem to be straightforward: Contact Systemax and obtain a new recovery disk agreeing to destroy the old motherboard/cpu. An email to Systemax tech support elicited the response that, as the computer was more than 90 days out of warranty, I would have to use Systemax's telephone support at $40 per 30 minutes. So pay Systemax and maybe get a new recovery disk or pay Microsoft for a new operating system - either way I pay extra for something I already have the right to use.

This is particularly aggrevating as I don't need or use most of the Windows ME features much less any newer Microsoft operating system. I use the Windows ME operating system for only three tasks: To run a Windows only scanner, to run the excellent Sound Forge music editing software, and to play E-Bridge with an old partner living in Cleveland. When the scanner fails, comparable alternate music edit software is available and my 84 year old partner can no longer play E-Bridge I wont need a Windows operating system at all.

For most of my computing activities - email, wordprocessing, spreadsheets, programming in C, C++ and Python, graphics, downloading and editing pictures from my digital camera, burning CD's (I have an extensive set of LP's which I am gradually converting to CD's for my own use with the Sound Forge software) and any other odd tasks I use Debian Linux. I do this not just because its free - though, as I am 74 years old and retired on a fixed income, cost is a factor - but primarily because Debian Linux operating systems and program packages are stable and customizable to an extent unknown in the Microsoft world.

The bottom line: I feel cheated by Microsoft's manipulations to enforce provisions that I never intended to violate and by Systemax's complicity in this scheme.

Thomas H. George
114 Twin Creek Lane
Kennett Square, PA 19348

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