Plugging Along


UPDATE: Bookmark this page and check back regularly: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/11941.

 

A new week and more information is surfacing about installation and activation problems. Many people are confusing the activation policies for FSX with those for Windows Vista. To answer some of the questions our product support team posted a FAQ article to their Knowledge Base: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927007/en-us. We also got the first report on activation statistics. two things struck me about that. First was the shear number of people--many times the membership of web sites like AvSim, for example--who have already activated the software, given that the official street date was only a week ago. Second was the percentage of failed activations. Yes, it was certainly higher than expected (and more than we want so we still need to understand the causes) but still, it was a tiny fraction of the overall number.

 

In other news I got pulled away to prep and conduct a demo of FSX for BillG and Ray Ozzie on Monday. It was part of a regular review of products and projects from around the company and as such we only had a few minutes with them. To make things interesting i decided to set up a multiplayer session with a tower controller and shared aircraft--3 PCs in all. I flew for a bit and then transferred control to Bill, who grabbed the 360 Controller without hesitation. They asked some good questions about the product and technology and really seemed impressed with what we'd achieved. Bill especially liked the water effects and Ray was impressed with the attention to detail and shear amount of data we utilized. (And, BTW, we were getting about 20FPS with mid-range slider settings and no other tweaks.)

 

Anyway, now it's back to the less-glamorous routine of software development. More on that a bit later...


Comments (13)

  1. Hey- good news!

    Last month, I had a similar experience with BillG – I was flying along in a Class D MD-11 simulator then I let him fly for a bit..

    Oh – wait – you didn’t mean Bill Grabowski? 😉

    Thanks for the report, Mike!

  2. Andrew says:

    [quote]Many people are confusing the activation policies for FSX with those for Windows Vista.[/quote]

    Doesn’t look like any confusion to me. Vista lets you activate it one more time if you upgrade your hardware significantly (changing the motherboard for example)and FSX has the exact same policy.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    tdragger-

    I appreciate your keeping us informed via your blog, and also your participation on the AVSIM forum. And I appreciate the update on product activation problems.  It may come in handy, if I ever receive my FSX preorder.

    Perhaps you could drop a hint to Bill and Ray that they should read and pay some attention to Robert Ferraro’s open letter to his customers at PCAviator.com.  And I quote from that letter:

    "Nobody at Microsoft or their distributor is giving us any answers as to why our order is not being filled. It is the most ironic situation you could ever imagine. The company who promotes Microsoft’s Flight Simulator product more than anyone simply cannot get the product to fill orders for its most die-hard flight simulator fanatic customers."

    The shipment date at PC Aviator is now moved back to sometime in November.

    I would like to hear someone from the ACES team address the issue of approximately 4000 avid simmers who preordered from PCAviator (and many more that were left high and dry when AVSIM went so far as to cancel their preorders since they also could not get copies) not being able to get their preordered copies of FSX, even when FSX has been on the street at the big boxes (and activated) for several weeks …. well before the official Oct 17 release date.

    As the "development team" you may feel that such concerns are with marketing and distribution, and out of your control.  I don’t know the details of your internal organization.  I guess my point is that if it is not one of your concerns, then it should be.  If you are putting such importance on FSX feedback from the flight sim community, then it might make sense to make sure that the 4,000 or so dedicated flight simmers who preordered via PC Aviator get their deliveries via the Microsoft wholesaler expedited.

    Could you please address this point in a future blog?

    A frustrated (with Microsoft) flight simmer.

    Steve Jones

  4. Jim AKA AtkRon122 says:

    The support article mention in your Wed Oct 25 post KB927007 with added part about regedit the HKEY_LOC … did the trick and the program activated slick as P51 in a dive :).  But i did have to reboot after doing the regedit, which they don’t mention, but maybe i should have know duh 🙁 😉 anyway Thank you very much tdragger for this well placed tip/trick/insite/url/link haha

    AtkRon122 (think US Navy 60’s)

  5. Vike says:

    Thanks for the KB link.

    FSX is obviously going to be a catalyst for users to significantly upgrade their machines or to even buy new ones. One thing which isn’t mentioned in the KB is how to reactivate the licence when a significant hardware change has taken place like this. The closest it gets is, if you want to run it on two different machines, buy another licence.

    That surely isn’t the policy for people *moving* the licence, is it?

    Can you clarify that on the KB article?

    Ta

  6. Jonathan says:

    Well I got my copy today (Australia) and can’t activate it. My machine is not connected to the net so I have to use the phone option. First up, I wasn’t even provided with an option to activate FSX, so I tried the same option that is used for Windows Vista. After carefully and correctly entering the 54-digit code, I got a recorded reply stating that there was an activation error. I was then put through to a real person who asked me for the numbers all over again. After giving them to her, she simply told me to re-boot my computer. And that was the extent of the support I received.

  7. Jim says:

    Great! more surprises, too bad the customer cant be given this information prior to purchase. Software is becoming a major fraud for customers, no advance notice on pathetic activation requirements, and no ability to return open software. Again, pirates can use this software with unlimited installations over any computer they wish, legitimate customers "heaven forbid" upgrade their pc must buy this crap again after 2 activations. Really really pathetic, and the last $ MS will see from me. Frankly speaking, I am not very tempted to get an illegal version just SO I can use this product the way I  thought I could. You want to use this type of activation, give your customers notice on the box so they can make a decision whether they want to follow this pathetic process. If I knew this prior to purchase, I would never have bought it period.

    Jim

  8. Jim says:

    Great! more surprises, too bad the customer cant be given this information prior to purchase. Software is becoming a major fraud for customers, no advance notice on pathetic activation requirements, and no ability to return open software. Again, pirates can use this software with unlimited installations over any computer they wish, legitimate customers "heaven forbid" upgrade their pc must buy this crap again after 2 activations. Really really pathetic, and the last $ MS will see from me. Frankly speaking, I am now very tempted to get an illegal version just SO I can use this product the way I  thought I could. You want to use this type of activation, give your customers notice on the box so they can make a decision whether they want to follow this pathetic process. If I knew this prior to purchase, I would never have bought it period.

    Jim

  9. deltanovember says:

    Mike;

     Don’t know if you’ve read all the way thru that FAQ

    or not, but as Andrew said it says only two activations.

     Then further down it even says:

    Error message: The product key is not valid;

    This issue may occur if the following conditions are true:

    You have upgraded your existing computer with new hardware such as RAM, video card, or other hardware.

    But then it goes on to say;

    If you purchased a new computer or upgraded the computer, try to activate the product by using telephone.

     Soooo!  Are we to infer that only online activation

    will be limited to twice?

     Denny

  10. Jeroen Wenting says:

    So it seems Andrew is one of the many confused people, point proven.

  11. Joe says:

    I appreciate the updates, Taildragger. W.r.t. the 1722 & 1603 errors, for what it’s worth, after reviewing the various threads on Avsim & other boards, & doing some investigation of my own (as I have hit this particular bug) I believe the problem is with the failure of the SLDL Machine License Store to successfully be reinstalled a second time, after a user successfully installs – & subsequently successfully uninstalls – FSX (RTM versions) prior to activating the product.

    After reaching the 1722 error during my 3rd attempt to re-install FSX DeLuxe version (having installed & uninstalled it successfully prior to activation), I stopped the Windows Installer and InstallDriver Table Manager services (so "killing" FSX setup), and found that a perfectly usable "pre-Activation" installation of FSX exists, except that when starting FSX I get an error stating that "an error occurred while attempting to activate the product". The default activation screen (called by mspac.dll, I surmise) not suprisingly fails to load, but clicking on "OK" takes you to the normal pre-activation FSX welcome screen (i.e., no multiplayer + 30-min time limit). I can then fly around to my hearts content (well, for 30-mins, anyway… :>)

    This hypothesis makes sense (to me, at least) as the license store files in C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftSLDL are all missing (again, not suprising as this it as at this point that FSX install fails with the 1722 error. My evidence: An error in the event log at "crash time" is:

    Event Type: Error

    Event Source: MsiInstaller

    Event Category: None

    Event ID: 11722

    Date: 10/29/2006

    Time: 7:40:58 PM

    User: COMPUTERA-USER

    Computer: COMPUTER

    Description:

    Product: Microsoft Flight Simulator X — Error 1722.There is a problem with this Windows Installer package. A program run as part of the setup did not finish as expected. Contact your support personnel or package vendor.  Action SLDLInstall.3758AFA0_47DC_11DA_A553_000E7B3AD65E, location: C:WINDOWSInstallerMSI4E.tmp, command: /I @D:Temp~SL45.tmp

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Data:

    0000: 7b 39 35 32 37 41 34 39   {9527A49

    0008: 36 2d 35 44 46 39 2d 34   6-5DF9-4

    0010: 31 32 41 2d 41 44 43 37   12A-ADC7

    0018: 2d 31 36 38 42 41 35 33   -168BA53

    0020: 37 39 43 41 36 7d         79CA6}  

    Subsequent errors every time one runs FSX confirms the problem is with the (lack of a ) SLDL Machine License Store:

    Event Type: Error

    Event Source: MSPAC

    Event Category: None

    Event ID: 304

    Date:

    Time:

    User:        N/A

    Computer: COMPUTER

    Description:

    The description for Event ID ( 304 ) in Source ( MSPAC ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: The event log file is corrupt..

    Data:

    0000: 43 00 6f 00 75 00 6c 00   C.o.u.l.

    0008: 64 00 20 00 6e 00 6f 00   d. .n.o.

    0010: 74 00 20 00 69 00 6e 00   t. .i.n.

    0018: 69 00 74 00 69 00 61 00   i.t.i.a.

    0020: 6c 00 69 00 7a 00 65 00   l.i.z.e.

    0028: 20 00 53 00 4c 00 44 00    .S.L.D.

    0030: 4c 00 20 00 73 00 65 00   L. .s.e.

    0038: 72 00 76 00 69 00 63 00   r.v.i.c.

    0040: 65 00 73 00 00 00         e.s…  

    (Note the data entry: Could not initialize SLDL services)

    I’m trying to delve further into the error, but by it’s nature you have encrypted & encoded a lot of the files related to the licencing/activation process (understandably so), but this makes it that much harder for us sleuths to discover the culprit of this odious bug!

    PS: when running, even on my limited hardware (2.4G CPU, Nvidia 5200 GPU, 750MB RAM – yeah, I know, I need to boost that to 2GB) it’s a distinct improvement over FS9. For ~ the same FPS, scenery is much improved.

    Cheers, joe

  12. Steveray says:

    I’m down the same path. I went out and bought more RAM for my 2.4GHz machine, and now FSX complains about failed activation and lets me fly for 30 minutes. Since I cannot get back to the activation page, I thought I’d try telephone activation. Unfortunately, after 3 days of getting a busy signal on 800 537 8324 (tech support for FSX), I am stuck.

    And yes, I tried "Reinstall" from the control panel – that failed halfway through. Then I tried uninstall, – that failed also, and eventually I had to do a full Windows XP system restore just to get it running again at all.

    So, here I am, I paid for the game, I used it for one day before buying more memory, and I can’t use the game properly. Argh.

  13. Steveray says:

    I bought FSX, activated it, found performance was bad, did lots of tweaks, bought 2GB of memory, then found it became non-activated, but didn’t give me the activation window. Reinstall bombed. Uninstall bombed. Eventually had to do a full XP system restore. So now I’m back at an unactivated FSX with no way to activate. Tried the customer support number for three days – busy all the time.

    Aargh.

    – Steve

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