I recently had a computer here crap out on me. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out what piece of hardware was the actual culprit, I took the easy route and just swapped out my old computer (just built a snazzy new Core 2 Duo system) with the old one. My wife wanted to keep all her old programs, data, settings, etc... so I just installed her old hard drive into the other system. After a few reboots to get all the different hardware working under Windows XP, everything seemed to be working fine (other than some issue with the USB only wanting to operate in 1.1 mode instead of 2.0 - but I digress), other than having to re-activate XP (doing this one would assume would resolve any type of issues of hardware migration, but noooo....That would be too easy). We listen to a lot of music so the last thing I made sure was working was her Rhapsody and its syncing with her portable player. Things didn't go too smoothly here....
Upon starting up the Rhapsody player, I was presented with this nice message about corrupt licenses with a link to the MS help system. At this point I figured things shouldn't be too bad. I knew I was going to have some issue after replacing all the hardware and I was conveniently lead to a help file on how to resolve the issue. Of course it couldn't be this easy. After being lead through a maze of hot fixes (it was required that they all be applied to resolve this issue), I finally rebooted the computer and went to check on the fruits of my labor (I am now 2 hours into dealing with the DRM issue alone). I tried to install the last hotfix and get a nice error message telling me that the components I have installed are not compatible with this last fix. 2 hours of my time wasted following THEIR directions and it didn't even come close to working. I was no closer than when I started. I had enough at this time and stormed off for a while.
After an hour or so, I decided to take another crack at it. This damn computer was not going to get the best of me. I finally found instructions on just resetting the entire DRM library store (I wish I had started with this one in the first place). By doing this and the fact that I was unable to backup my existing licenses with Windows Media Player, I knew I was going to loose any licenses I already legally acquired. I finally said screw it and followed the instructions. This time it was really easy. 1) Delete the directory called DRM (this step put a nice smile on my face after the trouble it was giving me). 2) Run the MS DRM component upgrade tool. That was all there was too it.
The good news in my case is that I hadn't purchased any music. I subscribe to the Rhapsody To Go service, so once I fired up their software and synced up my library, my licenses were properly restored. This got me thinking about what happens to those people who purchased their music? Most services provide functionality to re-acquire purchased licenses, but only for a certain number of times and usually only within a certain period of time.
It's no question why the music industry is pushing DRM. Imagine ever time you get a new computer system (let's face it store bought ones are leaning towards being disposable), or you replace too much hardware, you have to buy new licenses for your music. Of course there are tools to back them up (I personally have never tried them nor tried moving them to other systems) or the songs could be burnt to CDs - thus removing the DRM, but for many ordinary home users, they would have no idea about any this. How many people actually know where the utility to backup the DRM store is, let alone how to use it? Jeez, I personally know enough computer owners where it's hard enough for them to figure out how to turn the machine on.
This situation really ticked me off this past weekend , so hopefully the next one is better.