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If you have a router and Internet works with any application/site but you can't connect to any microsoft.com site (e.g. WindowsUpdate, Windows Live Messenger [error code: 81000306], etc.) you might have your MTU set to a too high value. The default MTU for ethernet devices is 1500 but since the PPPoE header adds 8 Bytes to the packets, they get fragmented. And the microsoft.com servers seem to not accept fragmented packets.

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Microsoft distributes the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification Tool (KB905474) through the WindowsUpdate mechanism. This tool should detect fake Windows serial numbers and nag the user. Interestingly, Microsoft hid a small paragraph in their EULA after that the tool sends daily(!!) reports to Microsoft. According to MS this "is neccessary" since the tool is BETA and MS needs to be able to react if it goes crazy. Yeah … sure!

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At My Digital Life you can read about Belarc Advisor spreading Windows license keys. Advisor is a system profiler which also includes the Windows key in its reports. Users posting them to the Internet also publish their Windows key. A common string of Advisor reports is "Belarc Advisor Current Profile". Together with the desired Windows version you can easily find license keys:

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Windows XP Professional only allows 10 simultaneous connections to shares and printer spoolers. The eleventh user gets a System error #71 message. The unused connections get freed after 30 minutes which is a bit late since often you just need a few files or to print some pages but this blocks the connection for 30 minutes.

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