I am a software thief

I stole some software yesterday. I hitched up my pants, sat down at my desk, and downloaded an illegal copy of Roxio CD Creator Studio, version 9. I proudly declare to the world that I have done so, and I have no intention of paying one red cent for it.

Before I continue let me set the stage with some background information.

About three years ago I bought the desktop computer I am still using. I bought at the front of the curve, so the machine is still very usable today, with plenty of gigs of this and that. It’s a Dell machine running Windows XP.

One day, not long after I bought the Dell, I needed to burn a CD. I didn’t like the built-in CD burning software on the Dell, so I installed an old (legal) version of Roxio CD Creator that was kicking around in a box from way back in my Windows 98 days. After installing the software, Windows XP squawked and popped up a message saying that the old version of Roxio was incompatible with Windows XP and that XP had disabled it. Oh well. No big deal. I uninstalled the software and figured that was the end of it.

That was not the end of it.

Ever since then, whenever I boot my computer, Windows XP has popped up a little message saying “CD writing software has been disabled. Click this window for more information.” I dismiss the message, and 30 seconds later it appears again. I dismiss it again, and it is gone until the next time I start up Windows.

There is no other effect. Nothing is broken, it’s just that somewhere deep within the twisted workings of Windows XP the message hasn’t gotten through that I have uninstalled the offending software. The only manifestation of the problem is those annoying messages at startup so it’s not really much an issue, but after three years of it I was fed up.

Not that I haven’t tried to fix it. I clicked the message “for more information” and all I got was a vague and incomprehensible page of Microsoft (non) Help. I Googled the message and discovered that lots of other people have the same problem but no one has a solution short of shelling out the cash for a later version of the Roxio software. Roxio itself makes no mention of it anywhere on their Web site, nor does Microsoft.

No biggie. The fact is, I never burn CDs, and I don’t reboot the machine very often. It’s a minor inconvenience at most, but it’s like having a tiny rock in your shoe – it’s not big enough to irritate, but just knowing it’s there drives you crazy.

Then, out of the blue, I got an idea. Forget about buying a software upgrade. Friggin’ steal it!

After all, it’s not really stealing in this case. It’s true I didn’t pay for it, but I didn’t use it either. I just downloaded version 9 from a torrent site, installed it, then immediately uninstalled it. Voilà! Upon reboot, no stupid message from Windows XP.

So there. A perfectly valid reason for stealing software from Roxio. It would not have been necessary if they hadn’t created such a buggy and problem-riddled software to begin with or if they had provided some kind of support for fixing it. But no, they just ignored the problem, hoping I’d buy the upgrade. Screw you, Roxio. If you’re not going to help me fix my problems with your software then I’m just going to have to find my own way.

As of today I no longer get the “CD recording software disabled” message. For the record, I have uninstalled the stolen software, and have deleted the files. And I feel just fine.

8 thoughts on “I am a software thief

  1. Isn’t the real problem the “Hey! Hey! Look, I did something that no normal user should know or care about, but I’m compelled to pop up a message!” nature of Windows itself?

    I have a feeling all those pop-up messages were forced into the system, against the programmers’ wills, by well-meaning but not-too-bright marketing managers, who in real life suffer from TMI (Too Much Information) verbosity. “I’m going to the WASHROOM now!”, etc.

  2. Is it the time to say “why don’t you get a Mac”? (ducking and running…)

  3. Well it’s easily Microsoft’s fault as much as Roxio’s. But I’ve never before uninstalled a program that the system didn’t know I had uninstalled, so is that because Roxio’s software is so invasive to the OS, or is it because once XP gets a flag tripped it’s too stupid to know when the flag is no longer needed?

    Regardless, this is a well known problem, so it wouldn’t be hard for Roxio to publish a fix — or at least a set of tips for solving the problem instead of just pretending it doesn’t exist.

  4. CFD, I fully expect my next machine to be a Mac. But the ol’ Dell still works fine so I can’t justify the cost as yet.

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