Beware Microsoft & Farstone

Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
588
I bought a copy of Farstone's Virtual Drive. It emulates physical CD ROM drives in software. Using it so my kid's machine can network to my server, she can play her ROM-based games without touching (and therefore destroying) the actual CDs.

So I load it, create 5 virtual drives, load her games on them. Everything's working fine, until yesterday . I go out to my computer room, and I have a "since you last registererd this copy of XP your hardware configuration has changed significantly, requiring re-registration". "You have 3 days".

So I go to re-register, and it tells me my copy has already been used! No shiot sherlock!

Looks like a call to Microsoft, get to try and explain what's going on. Don't expect a major hassle, but what a PITA.
 

lomn75

Purple Ace
Joined
Jun 26, 2000
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6,613
Hmmm... had you changed other hardware as well (even well in the past)? I've put VirtualDrive on 2 existing XP installs, 6 drives each, and not had a peep about re-registration.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
588
Now that you mention it, about 2 weeks ago I did put an external USB 2 120GB drive on the system. It was intended to be temporary, just for a quick Ghost backup, but I ended up leaving it on (just lazy). Had to install the USB card too. Guess maybe XP seeing 6 new drives, 5 emulated, one real and a new USB card was enough to push it over.

I'll have to look at that re-registration FAQ at Microsoft again. Have it bookmarked at work.
 

lomn75

Purple Ace
Joined
Jun 26, 2000
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Yeah. I'm no activation expert, but I seem to recall that cumulative changes have an effect.

I'd say the USB card is the most likely suspect, as I've added several USB client devices (external HD, CF reader, printer) lately, but no activation stuff.
 

DeFex

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - June 2011
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Feb 13, 2001
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just a quick question, why did you buy that when daemon tools is free. is it a lot better?
 

bigstusexy

2[H]4U
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Jan 28, 2002
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3,194
Virtual drive will do a heck of a lot more drives the deamon will let you do. Don't know about their support however, we use it at work but since I didn't know the key I didn't report it when I created the account... they have yet to get back to me. That was about a week ago.

Krud forgot to mention that I think it also does booth the image creation and use of virtual drive.
 

DeFex

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - June 2011
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Feb 13, 2001
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i guess that why you have to pay then. 4 drives is probably not enough for having all your games mounted all the time.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
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588
From what I can see, daemon is time-limited shareware too. Haven't dug deep enough to find the buy-it price.

I bought the Pro version of Farstone, so I could do mapped networked CD drives, and it comes with the virtual hard drive also. The virtual CD actually works quite well, even over my .11b wireless it's fast enough to keep up with my kid's games without burping too often. Don't think I'd try it with "real" games that run off the CD though.

But I'm having a heck of a time with their virtual hard drive. It doesn't always come back on OS reboot (like just restarting XP, not the hardware).
 

HHunt

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
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6,063
Actually, it's not shareware, nor timelimited. It's not even nagware.
However: DAEMON Tools is freeware ONLY for PRIVATE USE. If you use it in a commercial environment, for example your office or an Internet Cafe, you must register DAEMON Tools.

So, for private use, it's freeware. Completely inobtrusive little thing, and I didn't even know it was possible to register it until now. I don't know if it supports more than 4 devices, though. So far I've only used it to mount images from a samba server on a hardwired 100MBit network, so I don't know how well it fares on slower connections.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
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Is it daemon 3.47 that's the freebie? Must have done a bad mouse click yesterday, went straight to the freeware one today (if that's the right one).

One of my future projects is to rip all my must-be-hundreds of software CDs onto a hard drive so I can make some space in my dinky computer room. So an emulator that only creates one virtual drive, but unlimited images, and for free, would be a LOT better than paying for the commercial stuff with more capability than I need.
 

SJConsultant

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
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3,600
MS no longer provides an easy way to find it, but their Virtual CDRom powertoy is tiny and can map as may ISOs to CDRoms as you have available drive letters.

I've mapped, added, and deleted as many as 10 drives at once on an XP system without it complaining about reactivating.
 

HHunt

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Messages
6,063
I imagine so. The one on their download page is the free one, at least. :D
(I have 3.44 here, but that's just because I haven't seen a reason to update.)
Besides, you do get up to 4 drives, which is usually enough.
 

BlownFuse

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 11, 2003
Messages
247
Daemon Tools is sweet.
-free
-automatically loads settings on start-up
-mount an image and close the program (no overhead)
-I have not had any bugs or problems with this program for a few years now

I basically wouldn't recommend anything else for emulation - it's free and easy.
 

Whatsisname

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 15, 2000
Messages
10,202
It doesnt make sense that this farstone product would trip the activation switch. The activation thing watches for hardware changes. Virtual drives do not create new hardware devices. Windows knows they are virtual, the trickery is at the application level.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
588
Read up a few lines...went out to the computer room, one glance reminded me I'd installed a new external HD and a USB card, forgot to pull them off. That must have been what caused the tipover. I was just so BS at having to call Microsoft AGAIN for something I paid for a friggin year ago the first thing that came to mind was the Farstone stuff (sorry Farstone).

Have daemon app running on my machine at work right now. Free and easy!

Haven't looked at the power toy one yet.

Thanks for all the leads everyone.
 
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