Shifting to the ridiculous

Here’s a fact that’s reasonably well-known among anybody who’s been tinkering with Windows for a few years: If you don’t want your machine to run the software on a CD automatically when you insert it into your machine, hold down ‘shift’.

In what must be one of the silliest of the recent “Let’s sue a student” cases, SunComm are planning to sue John Halderman for pointing this out. Why? Because the ‘autorun’ feature was used by their CD copy-protection software, and by pressing shift you can bypass it.

The company claims to have lost $10 million of its value as a result of Halderman pointing this out. Which makes me wonder what they think such blatantly useless technology is actually worth? It doesn’t need a PhD student to deduce how to break this – it’s the first thing most 12-year-olds would look at as well.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser