The Truth about DRM in Windows 7


By Deb Shinder, Editor

I have a number of friends who refuse to upgrade to Windows 7, and they have all sorts of different reasons. For some, it’s simply a matter of money: they simply can’t afford to buy a new computer and the old one isn’t quite powerful enough to run Windows 7 well. For others, it’s purely pragmatic: Windows XP everything they want to do, so they don’t see any compelling reason to make a change. For some, change itself is the reason; they’re set in their ways and don’t want to have to learn something new. All of those are perfectly logical reasons to stick with what you have.

Then there are those folks who tell me they’ll never use Windows 7 because of the horrible, heinous DRM that’s hidden in its nooks and crannies. This technology is lurking in the woodworks, ready to pounce out and take away all their freedom and liberty, violate their constitutional rights and remove all their control over their computers. They seem to get this idea from bloggers like the one who wrote this complaint about Windows 7 DRM back when the OS was still in beta testing:

Peter Bright wrote a pretty thorough response to that post over on Arstechnica, explaining that the real cause of the problems was almost certainly with the PhotoShop crack that he tried to apply, rather than some draconian DRM enforcement action on the part of Windows 7, that the firewall was opened by Photoshop rather than Windows 7, and that the reason the complainant couldn’t record audio directly was due to the sound card drivers. You can read his entire rebuttal here:

Bright also does a good job of explaining the DRM features that were new to Vista and Windows 7, such as PVP and PUMA (Protected Video Path and Protected User Mode Audio), and why most computer users will never know they’re there. Yet my anti-Win7 friends (most of whom, by the way, have never actually used Windows 7) continue to solemnly declare that if they upgraded, they would no longer be able to play the music they ripped from their own, bought-and-paid-for CDs, and that’s just not acceptable. Well, no, that wouldn’t be acceptable to me, either. But luckily, it’s not true. In fact, not only can you rip your CDs, you don’t even have to install third party software to do it. Windows Media Player makes it easy, with a “Rip CD” button right there on its taskbar. And the Microsoft web site will guide you through the process, step by step:

Meanwhile, the more often the horror stories about Windows 7 DRM are told, the more distorted they become. Over on the Ubuntu forum, a poster wrote that “it also disables any software that might be ‘pirated’ or illegal.”

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5 thoughts on “ The Truth about DRM in Windows 7”

  1. Pardon my primitive need but I was MORTIFIED to find that I could no longer drag and drop URLs to the desktop in Win 7 after having found this function so useful when using XP. I may never get over this retrograde alteration.

  2. From Wikipedia:
    Digital rights management (DRM) is a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices. The term is used to describe any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that is not desired or intended by the content provider. The term does not generally refer to other forms of copy protection, which can be circumvented without modifying the file or device, such as serial numbers or keyfiles. It can also refer to restrictions associated with specific instances of digital works or devices. Companies such as Sony, Amazon, Apple Inc., Microsoft, AOL and the BBC use digital rights management. In 1998 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in the United States to impose criminal penalties on those who circumvent encryption.

  3. I might have gotten more from the article if the author would have told me what DRM stands for. It wasn’t in the main body, nor was it the links. A couple other abbreviations were explained, but not DRM. I’m still interested, so I’ll use Google to find out, but should I really need to. Well, maybe I’m not quite “geeky” enough, and this venue is meant for people more technologically informed than I.
    (thank you for allowing me to vent).

  4. I havent had a problem at all, I have 56,000 and change mp3 files and no one pops up to grab me.

    The only problem I have with Win 7 64 bit is the constant crashing of Firefox and chrome

  5. Been using Win7 Ultimate and Professional since Feb 2010 and before that a Beta version of each. I have not experienced any of the multitude of “reasons” cited by folks for not upgrading to Win7. Win7 is by far the best rendtion of Windows MS has ever produced. Once one figures out where things have been moved to (I do dislike it that MS seems to enjoy changing navigation paths between versions of Win.) or what their new name is, it is my OS of choice. And all I had to upgrade on any of my towers or servers was the video cards, which I was going to do anyway. On my several year old Dell and Toshiba laptops, a minimal, clean install to a new hard drive and even they seem content to behave nicer than with Vista or XP Pro did. — rk

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