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Re: Re: [Qemu-devel] Windows Laptop Idea

From: Ben Taylor
Subject: Re: Re: [Qemu-devel] Windows Laptop Idea
Date: Sun, 1 May 2005 16:38:21 -0400

<address@hidden> wrote:
> > The rescue disks aren't an OEM copy of WinXP Home, they
> > are a set of 6 CD's containing a very fixed version of
> > Partition Quest's partition restorer.  I went down into
> Ahh...
> Yeah, you got screwed.
> I thought those kinds of practices went out with Win98.
> But yeah, I guess some manufacturers aren't honest.

Well, it keeps you from reusing the media on a machine
that it's licensed for, but what I'm trying to do is
setup my XP on my laptop in a QEMU session.  I've looked
through the batch files, and it uses a partition quest
binary to do the actual restore, as long as it passes
the bios id check.

> At least be glad you got the cd's.  They could have put it on a protected 
> hidden partition on your drive.  (The IDE drive specs allow for password 
> protected hidden drive sections.)  So if your hard drive failed, so would 
> your copy of XP....

Yeah, I've already had another HP laptop disk crash.

> > the bat files that manipulate this thing, and there is
> > a bios checker to make sure that the bios of the laptop
> I'm pretty sure the 'bios checker' is probably checking for the digital 
> signature in the BIOS.

Nope. Just the bios id.
> With XP, Microsoft went pretty strong with digital signatures, putting them 
> into about every file.
> They probably made OEM's do the same with the bios.

> That way if you patched it or used some warez bios with some extra feature of 
> some sort, the digital signature wouldn't be correct, and the activation 
> would fail.

Possibly.  But it would be interesting to try to install
it *if* I could set the bios ID on the command line
in qemu.

> I have heard of several cases of people upgrading the bios (in some cases to 
> an official one, and in others to a hacked one) and the product activation 
> failing.

well, again, I'm not terribly thrilled about Microsoft,
but I would like see if it's possible. If M$ did something
else to prevent it from running, then that I can't do
anything about.  It is pretty fragile. When I tried to
remove the hibernate partition, XP stopped booting.

> So I doubt it's a simple check.  Not like looking for "HP OEM" string or some 
> such.  Something that simple would pretty much defeat the whole point of 
> product activation.  You'd see warez sites with lots of patched bios's with 
> the OEM signature checks in, allowing everybody to run a Dell or other OEM 
> version of XP without any activation.

The bios id is part of the directory struture that HP

> Microsoft wouldn't tolerate that. They are too greedy.  It'd almost have to 
> be a full cryptographic digital signature.  Something that couldn't be easily 
> forged by the warez crowd.

I suppose I could remaster the CD's to use QEMU/Bochs's
bios signature, but it'd be easier if I didn't have to
do that.

> That's why I said you'd have to emulate the hardware too.  So you could use 
> the original bios.


> >> I'm a firm believer that a person has a right to the original unmodified 
> >> files (without unneeded OEM specific junk), so if it was me, I'd make an 
> >> effort to get the md5's of the regular OEM version of XP (whatever 
> >> version) and see what is truely different.
> > 
> > This would be pretty impossible.
> Maybe not....
> I remember with Win98 that even many customized rescue cd's, you could often 
> manage to extract the correct files and create an install disk.

That may be worth pursuing, just so I can have a 
recovery disk in case things really go boom

> With XP it would probably be more difficult.  More trouble than it'd be 
> worth.  You could probably uninstall a lot of stuff, and comparing files to a 
> regular XP, and so on, and almost get a clean copy.  But probably not all the 
> way.  And it'd be a lot of trouble.
> I've never investigated going from an installed copy and trying to make a cd 
> from it.
> As Hetz said... You might want to look around for a warez copy of xp.  Maybe 
> borrow a copy from a friend, that way you'd know it'd be legit.  (Be careful 
> about warez programs... they aren't all trustworthy, if you know what I mean!)

I have a copy of XPHome, but I would like to see if I can
get all the extras that are on the the rescue disks. I
can reinstall them from there, on to the XPHome, but
that's a lot extra work.


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