Monthly Archives: March 2011

Fun with Microsoft Volume Licensing

Ok, not fun.  Not fun at all.  After starting a new position at a very good company, I quickly found that the anti-virus situation here was in a complete disarray.  So, I set out to find a solution.  In my experience with Microsoft’s Security Essentials, I decided to give their ForeFront product a try.  I only needed about 100 licenses, and a way to centrally manage this setup.  Microsoft seemed to have a good solution.  However…

First, upon the purchase I did not receive the completed transaction for a few weeks.  Turned out Microsoft had changed in midstream the way they centrally manage Forefront desktop security.  So my retail source had to re-submit the order and change what was ordered.  This was upsetting because I had already researched the product as I thought I would have to manage it.  Now, I don’t have a product to use, and everything I’ve learned is trash.  Not fun.

Then, finally the order was placed and I received a handful of e-mails from Microsoft to go to their Licensing web site and finish the setup.  OK, well first of all my e-mail had changed recently and my Live ID was no longer properly setup for this transaction.  The retail folks setup the license on my new e-mail and I only had a Live ID on my old e-mail.  So, I had to go through multiple attempts to finalize that part of the mess to get a new Live ID, everything old transferred to the new ID and who knows what I’ve missed or forgotten!  Not fun.

Then, I get this e-mail from Microsoft on what to expect.  It had about a dozen things in it!  They called it their “Microsoft Notification Life cycle Summary.”  Wow, what a long list for such a simple purchase.  I only wanted a single software package, and a simple transaction followed by a simple setup.  Why do I need to have a dozen things occur to get this done??!!  They called this license “Open Value”.  Well, so far I see NO value in it.  None.  Not fun.

OK, I finished the Licensing agreement process and go back to the Volume Licensing Service Center web page.  I click on “Software Download”.  Nothing.  The web site reports an error.  Great.  I go back and click on “Product Keys”, but no keys are available.  Great.  What went wrong?  Why didn’t I receive a simple notification that the process was not finished yet?  From what appears to have been the last step, now looks like I’ve got a long wait and more frustration ahead of me.  Not fun.

Now, I’ve used dozens of AV products over the years.  If you’ve read some of my past stuff, you know that feel that most AV is about as bad as actually having a virus anyway.  It either gets in the way of real productivity, or fails or who knows what kind of headaches.  Security Essentials had change my perspective on this somewhat, as it seemed quickly simple and quite easy.  All I can hope as this point is that the install and management of Forefront client security is much easier that what I’ve had to deal with so far with this product.  Microsoft seems to have really lost its way in their licensing practices.  I purchase a LOT of software in the internet today, many of which have very good licensing methods and results.  Microsoft get’s a “F” from me so far.

I hope that this passes soon so I can get back to having fun.