Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

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This post I’m taking a break from my standard technical postings to discuss a disturbing discovery regarding a large corporation’s unauthorized software usage. By now many of you have heard via Slashdot, arstechnica, Digg, or your local newspaper that Winternals Software, the company I co-founded with Bryce Cogswell in 1996, filed suit in Federal court against Geek Squad and Best Buy for illegal use of the Administrator’s Pak. What the press coverage to date might not have made clear is what Geek Squad and Best Buy did prior to approaching Winternals in October 2005 about a license to our software, what they continued to do after terminating licensing discussions in February 2006, and why we felt we had no alternative but to protect our software through the legal system. This is the first lawsuit Winternals has ever initiated, and we did not approach the decision lightly.

Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad several years ago and has grown the unit to a size of approximately 12,000 employees that analysts estimate will generate over a billion dollars of revenue this year alone. The Geek Squad provides system repair, data salvaging, and installation services in each of the Best Buy retail outlets and, for an additional significant fee, a 911 service that travels to customer homes to perform repairs on site.

The Administrator’s Pak is a collection of powerful system utilities, including enhanced versions of Sysinternals Filemon and Regmon that work remotely and have log-to-file capability, that’s sold to individual systems administrators. The flagship tool is ERD Commander, a Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE)-based recovery environment with a familiar Windows user-interface that is the latest generation of the original ERD Commander product we released in 1998 and upon which Winternals was built. While Windows includes a rudimentary unbootable system repair tool in the form of the Recovery Console, Microsoft has chosen not to provide an advanced unbootable system repair, diagnosis and recovery environment on par with ERD Commander. The BartPE freeware alternative that clones WinPE offers some of the functionality as ERD Commander, but is missing key features such as the System Restore Wizard, hotfix and Service Pack uninstaller, password changer, crash analyzer wizard, and integrated Registry editor.

As outlined in our Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (which can be found, along with all other legal documents filed in the case, at http://www.winternals.com/legal/), Best Buy and Geek Squad initially contacted us and said that a license was needed to come into compliance. Rather than focus on the degree to which Best Buy and Geek Squad had previously engaged in the unauthorized copying and use of our products, we entered negotiations for a software license and to establish a long-term business relationship. To educate their employees on the software and facilitate these negotiations, we even held a training session at our expense on the Administrator's Pak at their facilities in Minneapolis and offered an eminently reasonable software license for all Geek Squad employees. While surprised that they ultimately decided against a license, we were willing to go our separate way with the hope that they would someday change their mind.

However, after receiving information that Geek Squad employees continued to use ERD Commander frequently in repairing customers' computers we decided to investigate the situation on our own. The level of unauthorized copying and usage we’ve uncovered in our preliminary investigation is substantial and has apparently taken place over several years. Our evidence includes admissions by highly-placed current Geek Squad and Best Buy employees and interviews of many former employees. As alleged in the Complaint, we also found that Geek Squad employees across the country were still using unlicensed copies of our software to repair computers.

In the end we concluded that the only remaining option was to take legal action. Winternals has invested substantial time and capital in developing this software and believes that Geek Squad should not be permitted to allow its 12,000 employees to use unlicensed copies for free while generating substantial profits from those efforts. Our press release provides a summary of the lawsuit and the court's action to date.

Originally by Mark Russinovich on 4/21/2006 9:28:00 AM
Migrated from original Sysinternals.com/Blog
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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Winternals has invested substantial time and capital in developing this software and believes that Geek Squad should not be permitted to allow its 12,000 employees to use unlicensed copies for free while generating substantial profits from those efforts.

    Damn right!

    4/21/2006 10:06:00 AM by mpd

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Go get 'em.

    I can't believe these guys were so stupid as to admit they were pirating it before trying to negotiate a license.

    4/21/2006 10:23:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Here's an idea: Sick the BSA's Goon Squad on the Geek Squad to shut down a Best Buy store. That'd get their attention.

    4/21/2006 11:02:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    nah - to get the bsa, you need to be PART of the BSA. If you are not in the club, they dont do anything.

    Nic

    4/21/2006 11:14:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I can understand and even accept that private individuals would pirate ERD commander for a one-time rescue job.

    But somebody like best buy? And continuing to use your software without license? Christ.

    Go get 'em, I hope you win bigtime.

    4/21/2006 11:20:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I saw the headlines but wasn't interested in any BB news, glad you're sticking it to those crooks and standing up for what's yours.

    Best Wishes.

    4/21/2006 11:52:00 AM by BillyG

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good for you. We're all rooting for you guys. It's appalling.

    4/21/2006 12:00:00 PM by Sunbelt Software Blog

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    This is the way copyright disputes should go. You guys were reasonable and fair, ignoring Worst Buy's past offenses because they were trying to do the right thing. While a lot of copyright lawsuits attempt to extort people for far more damages than were actually caused, you guys took the high road, and for that alone, I hope you win.

    4/21/2006 12:03:00 PM by Barry

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I can understand and even accept that private individuals would pirate ERD commander for a one-time rescue job.

    Sorry I disagree, Winternals better can offer a "week" license orso for those. If you cannot affort it you hire a company to do it for you. I hardly use Office or MS-SQL, so I can Pirate it? But that's a different discussion.

    I believe that Winternals does the right thing here. If it's on such a scale it's beyond any logic...

    4/21/2006 12:41:00 PM by Bart

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Pure arrogance on the part of Best Buy, its clear their management thought they could push the little guy around....again.

    4/21/2006 1:27:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    sounds like your case is tight. Oh, and you might want to do a quick license audit amongst your own team to be sure there won't be any backlash. good luck.

    4/21/2006 1:28:00 PM by Marty Morrow

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I've used your products for years and I stand behind your decision to go after those money grubbing goons at Best Buy. I wish you the best of luck in your case and look forward to seeing new versions of your tools that "honest" admins can use.

    4/21/2006 1:30:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I used to work at CompUSA and I know they were also using the same program. I'd assume it was an illegal copy because it was burned onto a standard CD-R. I'm glad to see you guys are taking action against it.

    4/21/2006 1:37:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a grateful home user of your software (procexp, filemon,etc) I hope you guys win a HUGE amount. The actions of BB amounts to criminal intent by their crooked corp. officers.

    Go get'm...we love it when the good guys win!

    Peter

    4/21/2006 1:38:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Given BB's attitude towards it's customers and it's bottom line in the last few years, I am not compelled to feel any sympathy for them. They've engaged in quite a bit of crookery towards their customers, which doesn't surprise me that they chose this route with Winternals. Damn right you guys invested a lot of time and work in your product, and DAMN RIGHT you should be paid a portion of the gobs of cash they earn off of it.

    4/21/2006 1:39:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Ugh, the licensing pain of proprietary software in the world.

    You'd think a company like best buy would have read the license, though -- or, better, insist from the vendor of the OS (Microsoft or Apple or whoever it was) that they be given the proper tools to maintain it if that's where windows customers go for help.

    4/21/2006 1:39:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a current Agent of the GeekSquad, it should be known that there are 'agents' that are referred to little timmys. I am not one of those, one of those who will do things like that. There are many others like me, who take pride in their job.

    4/21/2006 1:43:00 PM by Jinto

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Winternal Crew,

    As a fellow developer, I applaud you for using legal action as a last resort. It is unfortunate that Best Buy choose to go this route, even after you were willing to provide amnesty for past infractions.

    You guys make great software that has saved my a** on numerous occassions and I'm happy to contribute money for your time and efforts.

    Why doesn't Best Buy see it the same way? For a billion dollar a year revenue, surely a few million is worth it for such a great product.

    I'm sure you will prevail in court. Meanwhile, my company is ending its relationship with Best Buy for Business.

    4/21/2006 1:44:00 PM by aphexcoil

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I've followed Mark and his crew for years. I can't begin to tell you how much I've used some of the Sysinternals tools. And I'm talking for years and years. Best Buy and their Geek Squad should be taught a lesson. Mark and his company are members of the real IT community. Where hard work and diligence is what get's you ahead. Not robbing from the poor to feed the giant. Anyway, good luck guys.

    4/21/2006 1:45:00 PM by PowermanPhil

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I'm glad to see that you guys are taking action against this. Best Buy is such a rip. With the ammount of money that place pulls in, they should have just bought the licenses in the first place.

    Best of luck in this, I hope to see you come out a winner in the case!

    4/21/2006 1:58:00 PM by Matt

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I used to work for Seimens Wireless in Dallas, back in the late 90's. We found a DOS shareware tool this guy made in his basement, and evaluated using it to quickly deploy PC's, and replace hard drives. I brought it up to my manager, who long-story-short we ended up purchasing a license of the software for -*every pc*- in the division (about a 2000 seat license). It was their largest license sale ever. The software was called "Ghost." We were proud to pay for the software, and would NEVER have continued to use it without paying for it.

    4/21/2006 2:05:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Willfull, pre-meditated THEFT of software. They'll "settle", but make them PAY!

    4/21/2006 2:09:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I wanted to start by saying I love your software and have used process explorer and several other tools frequently. You make some of the best tools. I am amazed that they had already admitted to previous pirating, opted not to purchase a license, but then continue to pirate copies. It is apparent that they had no fear of repercussion.

    I am glad to see someone is standing up to the machine. They know better, and the courts are going to agree.

    Good luck. I would boycott BB, but I already did that almost 2 years ago, just another reason for me to never return.

    4/21/2006 2:19:00 PM by Joel

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Go for it... IMHO they rip people off based on what I've read about their pricing... now if they are using pirated software to do their overpriced work... that's just way to unethical by any standards.

    Take em' down!

    4/21/2006 2:28:00 PM by Robert Accettura

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good Luck to you. I got screwd by Best Buy too. although not on the same scale as Winternals.

    See Best buy Sucks

    4/21/2006 2:37:00 PM by Don

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    You guys do good work, and it sounds like Geek Squad was given more than a fair shake or two before this came down. Best of luck.

    4/21/2006 2:39:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    They deserve this suit since they blatently disregarded the license. Just like some pirates who SELL their warez for profit, Best Buy too should face the legal system and be made to Pay, and Pay for ALL indiscretions! I have a Winternals License (it ain't that cheap, but makes up for it very quickly I might add) and they should too. Good Luck.

    4/21/2006 2:40:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Geek Squad/Best Buy sux. They profit from the less knowledgable general public by scaring them and forcing them to use their inferior products and services.

    4/21/2006 2:46:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Knock this arrogant s.o.b. know-it-all company off it's high-horse!

    It's pretty much BECAUSE of Winternals 'illegally copied' software that GS even gets to enjoy the billion plus in projected revenues. Winternals deserves a percentage. As a punitive penalty, I'd demand at least 10%!!!

    They probably taped Winternals free training session and simply showed it to all other GS employees. ...No need to ever pay Winternals for training...

    4/21/2006 2:51:00 PM by SmartITGuy

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    We all know that there is freeware (Sysinternals.com) and licensed software (Winternal.com). Most of us know the legal issues and trouble-shoot problems with the free tools, when required, we as individuals are ready pay foor the quality software that Mark and his team provides.

    I dont understand how a company like BEST BUY, can do this.

    I guess such policies, make them the "BEST ""BUYS" , they make money and try selling things at competitive rate.

    4/21/2006 2:56:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Your Admin PAK is the best thing in every Windows Admin's arsenal. Nothing better exists out there. Best Buy are shameless money grabbing THIEVES.

    Sue them for all the damages in the book plus some.

    I feel for you all. Good Luck.

    4/21/2006 2:58:00 PM by ad

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I totally support your decision for legal action. You were more than patient and forgiving with them, and they essentially spit in your face. I love your software, you guys are Gods in the IT world.

    4/21/2006 2:59:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good luck guys. I've been using your programs in my PC repair toolkit for years and recommend them to others. Best Buy clearly violated copyright laws and I think they least that they owe you is the quote you originally gave them, but I really hope you get more

    4/21/2006 3:02:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    as a programmer / musician, all i can say is: kick them square in the nads (legally).

    on the plus side, you guys are about to get a nice infusion of cash :). all in all, this will be a nice bump to ppl who make a good product. imagine that, the system sort of works.... once you sue the big guys into submission.

    4/21/2006 3:09:00 PM by TheAmberDonutOfTruth

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am from Minneapolis and at one point proud to have them but I don't believe I will purchase from them anymore.

    4/21/2006 3:16:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I hope that you hired some tuff layers who will be menace and not kind as you are.

    You do a professional job in computing so let do the sueing by ruff professionals just as good in their field as you are in yours.

    Dont be nice to a company playing on your kindnaess.

    I use your procexp om my machine at home and occasionally used other free utilities from your site. I read your blogs and enjoy your openess. I'm sure you will be the same kind people in the future too bur just in this clear case take the fight and harvest the highest possible price for damages.

    4/21/2006 3:22:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. What we have here are allegations - judgement should be withheld until the case is resolved. If there has been a breach of license, then recompense should be made. If there hasn't, a countersuit will probably hurt. A lot.

    4/21/2006 3:27:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Hi,

    I worked for Geek Squad in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Store #440. I worked there over 2 years as a full time employee. I can assure you that we did use ERD commander on a weekly basis in order to crack forgotten passwords. We did charge a fee, I think $25-50, for that service. I know that we used several Winternal products illegally. I know we didn't have legit software for this, or most of the other software titles we used.

    Thanks, questions? comments?

    gravity_zero@hotmail.com

    4/21/2006 3:53:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    When people have the guts to do this, one wonders if they leave a keylogger or some other back door on clients systems. It makes one ponder as where they got these copies, how they were cracked, and if any exposure to their own clients could have resulted. Hope someone looks into if they infected clients as well by using these kinds of methods. Accidentally or OTHERWISE!

    4/21/2006 3:54:00 PM by ZOverLord

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    While having never been opposed to software piracy I wholly support winternals in their effort to assert their right to be paid for their software. In rather low brow terms, grab them by the small hairs and twist. There is a large difference between an individual copying for personal use and an individual/corporation copying for substantial financial gain (be it in sales or usage of the software.)

    4/21/2006 4:03:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I hope Winternals wins the case. As an IT developer I always brief my management and if possible even executive management regarding the need for licenses for software that is used by the company. I have this talk upon the first time I see or suspect software is being used illegally knowing full well that many people have very casual feelings toward simply "burning a copy and worrying later." What I worry most about is personal liability as a contractor or regular employee who might be construed as knowingly abusive of licensing practices when it has been a management or executive decision to run the software without licenses regardless of any suggestion or warning to obtain them and use the software legally.

    The true ethical IT workers out there want good tools and realize, especially in the case of a company that offers so many great freeware tools already, that support should be given through purchased licenses.

    4/21/2006 4:18:00 PM by mutex

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    GS is worthless. $25-$50 for changing a password?! There are toolkits out that are free that change passwords for windows, but they are based on linux, (but that would be problematic, due to the fact that the BB and GS employees would then have to actually use their brains.) AND using winternals software w/o a license, and making shitloads of money for it! You should get 10% AT LEAST. They charge outragious amounts of $ for simple tasks, and use your software to do it, then not pay you. That is just simply not right.

    4/21/2006 4:20:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I was an original Geeksquad employee, ie. before buyout.

    We created our own tools, mostly from freeware and shareware utilities that functioned very well for the tasks at hand.

    With the purchase by Best Buy the culture changed significantly. We went from a small entrepreneurial enterprise of about 50 employees to being sucked into an organization of tens of thousands. The emphasis went from customer service to the production of revenue. This was actually a real dissapointment for me.

    I loved the gig and being sucked into the larger entity seemed a violation of the principals set forth from the founder of Geeksquad.

    I now for fact that Geeksquad techs used these tools. I fear that Winternals will have a difficult time proving Best Buy at fault however. There was no procedural documentation as of the time I left pertaining to appropriate software for field techs.

    I wish best of luck to Winternals. Best Buy is a terribly unethical organization and deserves to be held accountable for this "oversight."

    4/21/2006 4:34:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    We did know how to use our brains. I think that was the problem. I have a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and currently run 6 schools in a metro city. I knew how to use the linux boot image to change passwords and that is actually what I used while working there. If you are talking about the version that looks like Dos, most of the defaults will work. However, there was an ERD disk that circulated while I was there and I know other employees that used it. I do know the store profited from the illegal use of that. I also know that managers did not supply that software, but where aware of the usage of illegal software. At times a manager would randomly test machines to see if software was left behind.

    gravity zero

    4/21/2006 5:14:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I love how the majority of comments here are based on only the comments of the people above them. I think that proof needs to be shown that 12,000 people used this software. I think proof needs to be shown that just because the GS fixed a system, they used illegal software to do it.

    And hell, I am a former employee of the GS, and I can tell you that there are many many employees still there that are phenominal.

    I think before someone opens their mouth in an attempt to sound intelligent, they should do some research.

    4/21/2006 5:48:00 PM by Aaron Dight

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I think something else that should be known is that BBY corporate would never authorize the distribution of illegal software. They are not that stupid. IF employees were using it, then they got it on their own.

    And my final thought on this rediculous matter is that 95% of the people here have something that is illegal. An MP3/Game/OS. And if you look at the majority of computer repair shops, I would bet none of them use 100% legal software. Whether it is right or wrong is irrelevant. Everyone does it.

    IF BBY is wrong, then fine, they will pay. But dont act like they are some huge evil empire. That is just stupid.

    4/21/2006 5:55:00 PM by Aaron Dight

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    This is frustrating thread to read. Why is it that large companies are automatically evil. Best Buy may have used the alleged product illegally, I don't know, but it is not a general rule of conduct or corporately mandated.

    If you are going to piss and moan about stolen software lets talk to CompuUSA, Fries, hey and what about your hard drives. How many of you have a copied DVD, or have stolen music off the internet.

    I can guarantee that all 12,000 employees that are referenced don't use the software. Most of them don't even know what the hell ERD Commander is.

    I hope that this lawsuit is not actually drummed up in revenge for a contract that could have meant millions of dollars.

    4/21/2006 6:04:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Attention Best Buy:

    ************************

    I was going to buy an iPod and a TV from you on Saturday.

    I am boycotting you and you just lost $1200 in business.

    ************************

    Winternals, you guys should organize a boycott of geek squad and of best buy and notify every local news channel in the country as to the reason for the boycott.

    This is more than Best Buy saying 'Screw Winternals'. This is Best Buy saying screw everyone.

    I hope Best Buy management read these posts and remember it as the day that the boycoot started.

    4/21/2006 7:14:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Best Buy has been screwing people over and what goes around comes around. Please do not give into BB make them pay.... they are admitted crooks. YOU GUYS rock! I love your software and tools and your always straight up with everyone - and that is why we back you 110% You deliver what you say and don't rip people off. If we can help by donating to the fight via Paypal or otherwise please create a link.

    4/21/2006 7:38:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    One suggestion: do not, via settlement or award, allow them to get away from this case without public admission of criminal intent and activity.

    4/21/2006 7:52:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    u guys realize this lawsuit is only "pennies" to best buy, right?

    winternals will probably win, as they should... but with the amount BB profited from using that software... the fine is just a shoulder shrug...

    4/21/2006 8:58:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I've used ERD Commander at my workplace, we have a legal copy. I wonder how many of the Geeks can do anything without ERD Commander. Seems like they HAVE to have it eventho GeekSquad could roll their on live linux distro that would do very similar things.

    4/21/2006 9:20:00 PM by Orrin

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am a current member of Circuit City's Emerging In-Store service known currently as “PC Services.” I can say that as of now, the only piece of software/hardware that our corporate officials have licensed is is a simple PC Check software from webroot known as “System Analyzer” and PC Doctor’s hardware diagnostic utility suite; that’s it. At my location we do a lot of manual work to avoid software license conflicts but I can assure you that not all techs are of this caliber and will quickly resort to using software like yours. I have sent out plenty of requests to upper management for them to give us more tools to use and license software like yours but to no avail. It would be a good idea to do an audit of Circuit City’s repair departments across the nation once you are done with Best Buy. Perhaps then it will trigger my employer to get the right software for our emerging service. But by then I might already start my own business.

    4/21/2006 10:15:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I worked at Best Buy 1998 to 2000 and we were using the shareware version of Syschk to inventory PCs. I talked with other techs from other stores and they were doing the same thing.

    Best Buy didn't have a policy about people bringing in their computer for service without an OS CD. If it came in with Windows 98, we put Windows 98 back on without asking for a COA.

    Now, I haven't worked there for the past 6 years, but you think they would have had a strongly worded agreement with techs going onsite with pirated tools. It's only a matter of time before something like this happened. If you are working away on a customer's machine behind the tech bench, anything goes, but using a cracked copy in front of an uncover Winternals representative takes the cake!

    Best Buy is not out of the woods on this one folks. Even though they didn't give the discs out, they commited "contributory infingement". They knowingly contract for services which they know will require certain tools.

    4/21/2006 10:47:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    No wonder why a few years back their IT help/repair department seperated from Best Buy and formed the geek squad... they saw a possible lawsuit and didn't want to put their entire company at a risk. Basically now the worst thing that could happen now is all the geek squads getting shut down and Best Buy just taking them over and turning them back into Best Buy repair stations...

    4/21/2006 10:51:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am a current member of Circuit City's Emerging In-Store service known currently as “PC Services.” I can say that as of now, the only piece of software/hardware that our corporate officials have licensed is is a simple PC Check software from webroot known as “System Analyzer” and PC Doctor’s hardware diagnostic utility suite; that’s it. At my location we do a lot of manual work to avoid software license conflicts but I can assure you that not all techs are of this caliber and will quickly resort to using software like yours. I have sent out plenty of requests to upper management for them to give us more tools to use and license software like yours but to no avail. It would be a good idea to do an audit of Circuit City’s repair departments across the nation once you are done with Best Buy. Perhaps then it will trigger my employer to get the right software for our emerging service.

    4/21/2006 11:41:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good techs do not need extra software to compensate for a lack of skills.

    However when you stretch out that many employees, many of whom are in the 18-22 year old bracket something like this was unavoidable. It is unfortunate.

    However I would hope that anyone posting negative comments on this blog is smart enough to have not ever participated in anything similair. Ever made a copy of a CD/DVD for someone else? Youself? Ever rip a CD to your iPOD? Ever download a single peice of commercially sold media from the internet? Have you ever known anyone who did and not contact the authorities? Have you ever publicly played a copyrighted song?

    All of the above are just as illegal as the subject at hand. The scope of a crime does not change whether it is illegal or not. Hypocricy is usually a funny thing. We are so easily forget our own shortcomings in the face of injustice on a large scale. We do this without considering that the masses through our granulated efforts are actually responsible for the greater sum of the problem.

    Sure we can point the finger at Best Buy or Microsoft and it is easy, because they are a faceless entity. At the most a bunch of stuffy shirts sitting in a board room deciding the fates of american consumers.

    However I would like to see the math showing that 12,000 employees outweigh the millions upon millions who violate copyright law every day.

    So before you get on board against the evil empire make sure that you turn your kid into the RIAA if you find MP3's that were downloaded off of the internet.

    As far as hating on Best Buy goes, or any large company for that matter I have to ask what world you are living in? America's economy has always been, and always will, be about doing whatever it takes to make money. The same opportunities that allow a company like Best Buy to flourish are given to each and every one of us. Don't forget that these opportunities are what allow us the chance at living a higher quality life that the rest of the world. If you don't like capitalism I heard there were other counties that you could move to...

    4/22/2006 12:25:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Mark, your the man. Period. I speak for the free world when I say that your free programs have done more for us than other developers pay programs. I frequent your site all the time, your brilliant and you make my job easier. I wish I was rich, because I would buy your time just to pick your brain on various things and how they worked. Over the years, I've met many pirates. THe only thing that anyone has purchased or thought about purchasing (not pirating) has been your software.

    4/22/2006 4:43:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    i got to say this .... who in there right mind uses geeksquad anyway. this is 2006 people if you dont know someone who can fix a comp or clean a comp..{basically this is all gs does}

    then pick up a book go to a forum pick up a mag and learn.. as for them pirating your software i wouldnt be surprised if they blame it all on the employees and a mysterious memo appears that says not to use the software anymore ....

    4/22/2006 7:44:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    "12,000 employees to use unlicensed copies for free while generating substantial profits from those efforts."

    see, that is the difference right there. I know a lot of people who use your tools, wether licensed or not. If anything I'd say the illegal copies of your ERD commander have only helped to establish your reputation and made your software a cornerstone of many an admin's toolkit. (remember: yesterdays script kiddie is often tomorrows sysadmin commanding a corporate budget)

    But if you start charging money to others for resetting passwords and whatnot using commercial software then you should pay. Plain and simple, and seeing the public reaction here and elsewhere I fully expect you to win. And rightfully so.

    4/22/2006 8:08:00 AM by Michiel

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I gotta say this to the few people who insinuate that fixing computers is simple and that people should fix them themselves. I work in the IT industry and the most flubbed machines are those that are fixed by a neighbor or friend or brother's, uncle's, next door neighbor.

    Remember that what is easy to you may not be easy to someone else. Doctor's find appendectomies to be simple by I sure as hell wouldn't want to do one. Your knowledge and skills have value and you devalue them by saying what you know is simple.

    4/22/2006 9:36:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I worked in the computer sales department of a Best Buy for nine months, constantly being coached on how to get every single dollar I could out of anybody for anything. We actually laughed about the prices for the services Geek Squad offered and all the managers concluded that ignorance is worth profiting on. This, along with AOL accounts being put on customers' credit cards without their knowledge (which the general public isn't aware of yet), sickens me to be a former Best Buy employee.

    4/22/2006 12:19:00 PM by Brew

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good luck Mark & co.

    4/22/2006 1:52:00 PM by Poopy McPoop

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Hi,

    I want to say that your software rocks!

    I have made use of your free utilities over the years and I think you are one of the best Windows security / system software companies around, and I wish you lots of luck in your suit against the big boys.

    You guys need to profit from your hard work!

    4/22/2006 2:41:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Go get em mark :o)

    4/22/2006 8:48:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Hi Mark,

    I'm an intermediate computer user who thinks your freeware tools are so cool and anazing to use. I first heard about you when someone on the Switchfoot forums posted about the Sony rootkit. You probably feel like Sony right now trying to protect your software that you put everything you have into. I'm not saying what Sony did was right, I'm just saying that now you know why Sony was hiding their copy-protection software from users and not mentioning it in the EULA.

    4/22/2006 11:31:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I made the mistake of working for a Geek Squad back in the fall as a "better than nothing" job. I ended up majorly regretting that decision, and quitting over the company's blantant disregard for anything resembling ethics. Here's some of problems...

    1. One of the main "services" Geek Squad provides is the "Advanced Security Setup." We take a new computer, add virus protection and a firewall, and bill the customer the cost of those programs and a $30 install fee. $30 is bad enough - note that we're not actually CONFIGURING said firewall. The real sleeze here, however, comes with the fact that almost every computer BB sells comes with an AV program of some kind, and at least half also have a firewall. In many cases, we end up uninstalling an AV program, and reinstalling the SAME program, billing the customer for software they already have! It gets worse: when customers point out that the machine already has it, the sales people are required to point out that it will expire in 30 days (yeah, that's true, but you can renew it for $12, not $118, which is what the "security setup" costs.)

    2. The ERD thing - no need to go into details since I'm posting in reply to an article about the topic.

    3. When selling service plans, employees will always tell you that it covers everything. It doesn't. It covers diagnostic fees, some hardware failure (generally anything that the warranty on said hardware would've covered anyway), and that's about it. Absolutely no software issues are covered, though sales reps will go out of your way to convince you otherwise. So basically, you're paying a couple of hundred dollars for something that, if you're lucky, will save you from paying a $59 extra fee later.

    4. You have to try to convince the customer to pay for a diagnosis, even when there's nothing to diagnose, to the point of refusing the work the customer requests until they agree. For instance, someone bought a cheapo pack of CDRs, and found out the hard way why you don't use an 8x CD in a 40x drive. Of course, none of the resulting shrapenel left the drive, so we had an otherwise functional system with one throughly trashed CD drive. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the solution here: replace the drive. The customer came up with his computer, explained the problem, and requested a drive install: $29. He had even already purchased the drive and was holding it with the reciept at the time. They still managed to talk him into the $59 "diagnosis" fee.

    5. Sales reps are required to tell you they don't work on commission. This is true. What they work on instead is QUOTA - you talk the customers into buying enough crap they don't need, or you don't pay next month's rent. They'll never tell you that part, of course... and of course, it's not a "quota", it's a "goal" and you aren't "fired" for not meeting it. You just find your department suddenly isn't meeting "the budget" and "the hours need to be cut." Eventually, everyone in your department is getting 8 hours per week, half of the employees quit, and the other half start learning to scam customers better. Oh, and maybe you're thinking: "but I can just get a second job." They thought of that one too - you aren't allowed to change your hours of availability in the first 90 days of employment. You sign your name to that, so they'll just fire you for breaking that, not for not meeting quota.

    5b. Supervisors DO work on commission, and are highly encouraged to think of new ways to scam customers into buying things. When they directly make a sale, they'll even use the "we're not on commission line." They simply word it "my staff is not on commission."

    6. Sales reps are encouraged to add whatever they can onto a sale. Some of these are fine: talking the customer into buying an extra ink cartridge with a new printer and a package of paper, or a pack of CDRs with the drive they just got makes sense, since they'd likely be back to buy them anyway, and smart business says to make sure they get said items from your store and not the competition. However, I've seen flat out rediculous ones. I was at the register at the Geek Squad desk (they have us ring up computer sales to try to push getting them to pay for someone to come to their house to set up the system.) A lady came up with a laptop and a wireless router - not a terribly uncommon pair of items to buy, so I didn't question it... until I scanned the router. She said, "I was told I need this to get internet on my laptop, but I'm not sure that makes sense." I then told her that the router would be useful if she's moving the machine around the house a lot, doesn't want to run cable everwhere, etc, but that no, it's no different from a normal computer - if you have a network cable running from your cable modem to your laptop, it's going to connect. She then explained that the laptop would only be in 2 places - on a desk at home, and on a desk at work, and in both cases, she could just plug in a cable. Needless to say, I immediately removed the router from the sale. (For the curious, at the time, no one in computer sales had more than 10 hours that week, so it was no surprise the more desperate sales were starting to appear.)

    7. BB frequently bills Geek Squad as a highly trained team. There are no requirements to join it, however. You don't need a college degree, A+ certfification, or any other form of credentials - it's not uncommon for between 1/2 and 3/4 of a given squad to not have any form of degree or cert.

    8. Geek Squad employees are encouraged, above all else, to follow the SOP documents, and do NOTHING beyond them. Removing spyware, for instance, consists of running 2 spyware scanners and HijackThis. Granted, that will eliminate about 90% of spyware, but not only if there often some left, but it can be quite obvious you aren't done. (A check of running processes, a bit of Google research, and some manual deletions will clean up the rest, but you're encouraged to not to that so you can spend more time selling, and less time fixing.) Virus removal consists of running a single virus scan, and often without connecting the drive to another machine (good luck getting those boot sector resident ones out of there.) Many employees of course, simply ignore SOP and actually FIX the problem that the customer is paying around $200 to have you fix, but those of course, are also the ones that end up quitting in a few weeks.

    The list goes on and on.

    4/23/2006 12:11:00 AM by Trerro

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Go Get 'em guys! I ran two computer stores. We used Winternals in both stores... and we bought copies for each tech. We followed the rules, so should they!

    -CoolCole

    4/23/2006 1:07:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    see, that is the difference right there. I know a lot of people who use your tools, wether licensed or not. If anything I'd say the illegal copies of your ERD commander have only helped to establish your reputation and made your software a cornerstone of many an admin's toolkit. (remember: yesterdays script kiddie is often tomorrows sysadmin commanding a corporate budget)

    Mark, This point is Key.

    Please review with a ten year focus. I would hate someone to swallow you up and we'd loose tools like contig

    Autodesk mainly got to their power by "giving away" Autocad in the early days. Now look at their power.

    4/23/2006 3:30:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Go get 'em, though I hope you guys still get the time to write software between all the legal proceedings.

    So this why Sysinternals freeware tools got the new licensing. Clever. And anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

    4/23/2006 5:25:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a former Geek Squad employee, I can tell you that all levels of management never knew what we we using. They gave us some utilities on what we called MRI disks, but these only got you so far. The computer would never be finished after using the approved methods, so we used what we knew would work. I don't recall ever using your product, but I just thought my post might get you going in the right direction. Best Buy had a policy that we couldnt use anything other than the approved software on the MRI cd's, but we all knew that this wouldn't fix any problem. Them stating that they had a policy not to use unaproved software will make your case a little harder, but I think someone high up knew the MRI cd's were lacking and employees were using whatever it took to get the job done.

    I still keep up with the guys I used to work with and I think they are charging like $150 to even look at someone's pc. I laughed when they wanted to charge $50 to just look at pc's. Remember, this is just to tell the customer what is wrong - not fixing anything. We still had to charge this even if we knew what the customer needed. I got in soo much crap for not doing this. I couldnt see charging someone that much money for me to tell them what is wrong, when I could tell them what I needed to do before even touching the pc (downloading mp3's and now its slow - you need a virus/spyware cleaning).

    They are screwing people out of soo much money its not even funny! We made a lot of money at our GS, and we were almost always a low performing store. I dont feel for the idiots that are paying for these services, mostly because they didnt shop the local mom and pop stores who could fix it for soo much cheaper and keep the local economy going. I do feel for you guys. You made a good product and are not getting paid for it like you should.

    You are going to have a hard time suing them though. Their lawyers are well paid and have bashed all the local issues that arrised out of our store. You cant go after the company like they gave it to the employees to use and approved the illegal use, because they didnt. Some of the better techs knew what to use to get the job done and they used it and trained the lesser techs how to use it. You need to focus on the upper management looking the other way as the employees used your product. Someone high up knew about it and tried to cover his ass by putting out some policy telling employees not to use it, but there was no enforcement at all. I think the store management was supposed to check on what we were using, but it was not that big of an issue for the company and no one ever did. Good luck and I wish you all the best.

    4/23/2006 6:09:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I'm sure not everyone is using it, but many do. Even more to the point, some folks in management must of known, but probably most didn't know or care. I think looking into the 'didn't care' is the best approach.

    Your best bet is the approach that Best Buy knew they were using the tool extensively at one point, and should of made a decisive pointed effort to ensure removal of the tool from the employee toolset.

    It isn't uncommon these days for a large corporation to have monitoring software to scan employee boxes.

    Good Luck. They have lots of money, quite a bit of it mine ;> )

    4/24/2006 8:33:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    6. Sales reps are encouraged to add whatever they can onto a sale. Some of these are fine: talking the customer into buying an extra ink cartridge with a new printer and a package of paper, or a pack of CDRs with the drive they just got makes sense, since they'd likely be back to buy them anyway, and smart business says to make sure they get said items from your store and not the competition. However, I've seen flat out rediculous ones. I was at the register at the Geek Squad desk (they have us ring up computer sales to try to push getting them to pay for someone to come to their house to set up the system.) A lady came up with a laptop and a wireless router - not a terribly uncommon pair of items to buy, so I didn't question it... until I scanned the router. She said, "I was told I need this to get internet on my laptop, but I'm not sure that makes sense." I then told her that the router would be useful if she's moving the machine around the house a lot, doesn't want to run cable everwhere, etc, but that no, it's no different from a normal computer - if you have a network cable running from your cable modem to your laptop, it's going to connect. She then explained that the laptop would only be in 2 places - on a desk at home, and on a desk at work, and in both cases, she could just plug in a cable. Needless to say, I immediately removed the router from the sale. (For the curious, at the time, no one in computer sales had more than 10 hours that week, so it was no surprise the more desperate sales were starting to appear.)

    Uck! While I agree with everything else you said, a cheap hardware port blocker can do wonders protecting an avarage computer user! I never let one of my users connect to the internet at home without a router, If they do not have one, one will come out of the IT Budget here at work, because $30 for a el cheapo one will can save me HOURS later on (and I cost more than $30)

    4/24/2006 11:28:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Where I work, I have never gotten approval to purchase licenses for your excellent software. I take that back, I got approval once about 5 years ago. The result? I am still using your ERD Commander software from 2000.

    I won't even use shareware without paying for it.

    The point is that some software authors incur a lot of cost when developing their tools. The least the user public can do is compensate them.

    My opinion is that Best Buy didn't know what they were getting into when they bought Geek Squad. They didn't realize that many of the employees were using unlicensed software and violating end-user agreements left and right. I imagine they plan to sacrifice Geek Squad's employees (since they should be able to blame them) and repopulate. That allows them to keep the name Geek Squad but satisfy the requirement to root out the bad apples.

    I have no insight into Best Buy's business practices, so I will not comment on those who think of the giant corporation as a malevolent monster.

    Time will tell.

    4/24/2006 3:13:00 PM by Jason

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Make them pay, its the right thing. I love your software and worked for a co, whom i know for a fact was using it w/o paying.

    As I am sure you dont sell your software with keygens and cracked files.

    Well; I wanted them to buy it , they did not wish to, so as the law abiding software lover and systems / network admin. I stoped using the tool.

    Perhaps you should start what M$ has... A rat them out program, and give away software to people whom rat out large illegal users.

    Just my 2 cents.

    4/24/2006 6:58:00 PM by Mr. Smith

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Winternals should check Best Buy in Canada and their other stores called Future Shop (which have more stores than Best Buy). Guarantee even more illegal activity.

    4/24/2006 8:09:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    It's not a matter of whether or not it's illegal, but a matter of who we want to come ahead in the war of ideas. The law has fallen from a statement of ethical principals to become no more than a tool in which to fight this war. When you don't know the whole truth, sometimes it is necessary to perpetuate a smaller lie in order to freeze out a larger one.

    4/24/2006 11:59:00 PM by Robert Claypool

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Because of this, I will never shop at Best Buy again!

    4/25/2006 12:08:00 AM by Mike

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I'm a current employee, and probably shouldn't be posting anything. But I see so many people talking about Geek Squad as if they're out to get Winternals.

    Policy is that pirated software is not to be used. Period. Some stores enforce it more strictly than others. You simply can't expect a decision to be carried through by every person... after all, its law not to use pirated software, but plenty of people do it. I'm not saying its right, I'm saying that it is not something that Best Buy or Geek Squad endorsed, encouraged, or aided.

    As for claims that its an "unspoken" rule that unlicensed software must be used... There have been plenty of tools provided to us to allow the repair of almost all problems. Needing to resort to pirated utilities shows a lack of knowledge, skill, and ethics that is not at all common to every employee.

    I love my job, I love the company I work for. I'm not saying they are without guilt. I am saying that Geek Squad is not some evil company out to get the little guy, and most agents are responsible, intelligent, and ethical.

    4/25/2006 3:10:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good for you - the software that you've made available to developers free of charge is amongst the most useful and sophisticated in the industry today. You absolutely have the right to protect this software.

    4/25/2006 11:14:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I hope you do win. In a lawsuit crazy world, its great to see that someone is using a lawsuit as it should be used; as a last resort.

    THIS IS PURE SPECULATION, but my guess is that the illegal use of winternals software wasn't the intention of the BB execs (please don't shoot me yet) but rather peon level IT techies bringin in thier own pirated versions, which eventually gained popularity due to how useful the software was. The BB execs probably didn't grasp the seriousness of the infringement, but were aware that they may have a copyright infringement on thier hands...so the started up negotiations with Winternals. After looking at what it would cost, and despite how generous Winiternals was being, they decided not to buy the licenses. The execs probably sent out some low-importance memo telling its emplyees to stop using the software and never gave the matter another thought. Meanwhile the employees disregarded the memo and continued business as usual.

    In other words, the execs didn't care/understand what the geeks were doing, they were just looking at the $$books$$ They made a hafl-assed effort to fix the problem, but didn't follow through and now they are going to pay for thier blind-sightedness.

    4/25/2006 3:14:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Personally. I think when any company as large as Best Buy offers services to repair personal and corporate computers that each employee/contractor should be BONDED, if they can't be bonded, maybe that person should not be doing ANYTHING on your computer? After all if you hired someone working for a national company to build you a new kitchen would they not be bonded?

    4/25/2006 3:17:00 PM by ZOverLord

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Quoting from arstechnica: " In one instance, a Geek Squad employee was videoed repairing a customer's computer using a pirated copy of ERD Commander. Copy of ERD Commander used in the videotape isn't illegal, 'cracked' copy of ERD Commander. This version of ERD Commander is identifiable because the start up screen conspicuously displays the word 'Gold Member' in the licensee information field next to the Winternals logo.

    Winternals has never granted a license to any person or entity named 'Gold Member.' Upon information and belief, Defendants have circumvented Winternals' copyright protection system on this copy of ERD Commander and other copies of The Winternals Software."

    Methinks you may have them by the short hairs on a DMCA violation too. How did they get past your "copyright protection system"?

    4/25/2006 4:40:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am a former Geek Squad agent, probably one of their best in my precinct, however, I have been effected by Best Buy's financial situation and am forced back into a job hunt.

    As a former agent, I have no problem stating (both in the survey and in the forums) that my precinct alone had been using a cracked copy of Winternals software for well over a year, which is the time in which I started at this store.

    I would like to apologize to Winternals for my own negligence and loss of profit.

    Do what you must to cover loss of income and damages. Thanks and Good Luck!

    4/25/2006 5:05:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Lets face it, I've had Geek Squad out to my business and my house many times. I have never had a problem with there prices or their lack of getting my problem solved. Many of you like to lump geeksquad with bestbuy, yes Best Buy ownes Geeksquad but many of the techs say they work for geek squad not best buy. And lets face it. I've been in the tech field for 40 years even HP uses "illegal copies" of software I agree bestbuy should have to payout, and I'm sure Winternals will wait for the big check to come and than poof the lawsuit will be over, as is the way of corporate america. and lets face it, I'm sure best buy didn't "crack" the winternals software, hell I just did a search for it on kazza, and it came back with about 1200 diffent places that I can download it from. So if winternals is listening, I'd probably get your legal team, to start going after those people as well.

    4/25/2006 6:26:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    There was a comment about how many of us have pirate/stolen software, music, etc. Good point! But Best Buy sucks anyways and they got caught! It's one thing to do it yourself, it's another to have a business that encourages unethical practices...dumba**

    4/25/2006 10:43:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Good Luck! It's a shame that you wen that far with them in negotiations and training and they still decided to steal your software.

    Having worked in the tech services business for several years (used to work for CompUSA), I can tell you that you're not alone Mark. The companies don't neccessarily tell their techs to pirate the software, but they shouldn't allow it if they do. We had several issues like this at CompUSA. The techs need the right tools to get the job done. When the company won't pony up the money, they get the software themselves. Fortunately, I took care of my crew. They got the tools they needed. Then again, we were the top shop in the region.

    4/26/2006 9:24:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    What I find funny hear is everyone's and I'll say Hate of Best buy. I've had bad experiances with them, and with pretty much every other retailer that's out there even online stores. But I still shop base on price and sometimes the stores that I don't like have what I want for the price so I do business with them. Even Microsoft does business that way, hell even intel. (intel now in MAC's) who would have thought. WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE THEM SO MUCH? I would also like to point out that as a standard person it's not easy to do the things that most of you tech people do. I can do what I need to on a computer but even I FREAK out when some message pops up or something glitches and what not. In home service is a good idea even dell has it. I'm sure the geek squad agents are BONDED they have to be. And finally Someone mentioned that computers come with virus protection and all that, yeah I thought so to and than 30 days latter when it expired, and I didn't know that and got a virus. I wish the guy at CCity would have told me that.

    4/26/2006 9:45:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Don't ever trust a company that offers rebates.

    4/27/2006 1:05:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Funny story about Best Buy when it opened up where I live, I asked if they sell linux and one of the employees said and I quote "Linux? I've never heard of that game." Never stepped back into a Best Buy since. Go get 'em!! They're ignorance alone deserves a lawsuit.

    4/27/2006 7:56:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I remember years ago when Quarterdeck caught Symantec redistributing their software as part of Norton Utilities... (Some of my friends worked for Quarterdeck) They were awarded a massive judgement by the court (or was it a settlement, I don't remember anymore, lol.) Unfortunately for my friends the settlement was bigger than the total outstanding shares of Quarterdeck at the time, so symantec bought them and closed them down rather than paying the penalty :(

    I guess sometimes even when you win...

    4/28/2006 4:02:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Your software is fantastic.

    I hope you will get GS.

    Maybe try catching on film more examples of infringement.

    All the best to you!

    4/28/2006 6:18:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Mark,

    I'm a Windows developer and a long-time user of the free versions of your Sysinternals products. I can't tell you how many times they've helped me to diagnose and repair problems on Windows computers, whether my own or those of my family and friends. Your free tools are a fantastic resource for Windows users everywhere -- and it's sales of the professional Winternals versions of those tools that makes your generosity possible. The fact that a large corporation would make extended, wholesale use of unauthorized copies of those tools as a core part of their business is frankly appalling.

    I'd like to wish you the best of luck in your dispute with Best Buy.

    Yours,

    Jason Carreiro

    PS. Please keep writing your excellent Sysinternals blog!

    4/28/2006 7:26:00 AM by Jason Carreiro

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Holly Cow, now the real meaning of the BB Innitials in Best Buy is really Big Bullies! Go after them!

    4/28/2006 8:03:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    It's bad when an individual pirates an application for their own use.

    It is inexcusable when a corporation does so, and then PROFITS from this piracy.

    If BestBuy is willing to do this covertly. What covert methods do you think they are doing to consumers?

    I'll never step another foot inside a BestBuy.

    Goodluck with your lawsuit.

    4/28/2006 11:08:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Best Buy / Geek Squad should be ashamed of their wonton theivery. I am in hopes that the judicial system savages them and serves them up as an example. Let the punishment suit the crime by trebling damages.

    One only hope that the damages resulting from years of deliberate piracy by several thousand employees shall result in a court award of truly monumental proportions.

    4/28/2006 9:32:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I'm not going to discuss GeekSquad or Best Buy or my thoughts on them - most of you here have already echoed my thoughts.

    What is _really_ frightening is this ignorance that "'everyone' does this so it's no big deal" or "former GS'ers who say, 'yeah, I've used it illegally, but I'm going to hide behind the corporation and not take responsibility for my actions.'" (BTW, "I'm sorry" is not taking responsbility - returning your paycheck for each sale that you performed an unauthorized use would be a _start_.)

    Wake up, people. You stole the software because 1.) You wanted an easy way and 2.) You didn't think you'd get caught. No corporate suit made you use these tools and blaming the US's "free enterprise" for pirating software just proves your ignorance.

    I don't usually flame, but some people need to sack up and start taking responsibilities for themselves and their actions.

    Good luck to Winternals.

    4/29/2006 7:42:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I work for the Geeksquad, and yes at times people did use the software(actually pretty rare when it was actually necessary to use it, 90% of what we do is spyware removals), and no it wasn't condoned by management or anyone else in the company, in fact it was strictly prohibited and repeated many times to not use unlicensed software. The people who used it were people who wanted to help a customer with their computer problem and were provided no other option by the company. And it's not like we can pull the money out of our own pockets to buy the licenses. It all comes down to satisfying the customer, if I was out on a job and a customer was counting on me to get their computer up and running so they can get on with their life or their business and I know of a tool that I can get my hands on to fix it(and there's tons of places on the net to get this software), more often than not I'm going to use that tool. Are you telling me that of all the posters on this site that none of you have ever used a cracked copy of windows, office or any other software? Yeah right. But, I do want the software company to make money for their hard work as well, as it is a great tool. I really hope this can be settled before it goes to court because for an extended lawsuit like this there's only one group thats going to get paid....THE LAWYERS. Lawyers are the scum of the earth. I'd rather have that money go to the developers. All anyone cares about in my precinct is helping the customer, and even though we had the software it was only used in emergency situations where none of the licensed tools we had would work. And yes, just like any other company there are crappy stores that try and screw the customer, but honestly most GS precincts take pride in their work and just want to help the customer, we're just normal guys like the rest of you who like to work on computers. And to some of the people talking about how we screw people because we charge $30 bucks to do "simple" tasks, well I know a lot of people who pay a mechanic a lot of money to do "simple" repairs on their car, most people just do not feel comfortable or just don't understand computers, they might as well be staring under the hood of their car. Almost every mechanic I know of does a diagnostic, that is for the customers sake, how would you feel if you brought in a pc for a virus removal for $59, then a month later your computer completely crashes because your hard drive was going bad and we didn't test it for that? Thats why we do diags, because the problem is not always as obvious as it looks, and we want to make sure. Yeah a store that charges a diag to change a cd-rom is a crooked store, but thats not the norm. We simply provide a service that there's a market for. Trust me I've done plenty of service calls to fix what some mom and pop operation did to "fix" the customers computer so dont try and pretend that just because it's a small operation they know what they're doing...just like I don't pretend that every GS agent truly knows what they're doing. There's always going to be good ones and bad ones, but for the most part most of the agents and precinct are pretty good at what they do.

    4/29/2006 12:50:00 PM by Anonymous

  • Comments Archive:

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    It saddens me to hear about all of this. I've been going to BB for a while now. If it wasn't for warrenty issues I would stop going in there. I"m very dissapointed in hear this about Best Buys. I really have no use for their Stupied GS anyway as I do my own repairs. I have notice that some of them at the store I've going to do talk technobabble. Really annoys me.

    I do use your freeware to monitor my computer when i'm online (portmon, etc) They have been excellent tools for unwanted connections. Keep up the good work. I hope this problem doesn't stop you from writing more. These progs help people on a low budget.

    No matter what people are saying about that it was the employees doing it without the managment not knowing. They (managment) are still pretty much captian of the ship and as far as I know the captian is responsible for that ship. It doesn't matter that there are people that break copy protection or download MP3's E.C.T. Most people do it so they can have backups of originals. But to blatenly profit from others work is pothetic. Specially when so much is invested. Hell, If I had the money I would pay The price for it. I Say, Get what you can from them!!! They Got what they could from you!!!

    4/30/2006 1:05:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    While I`m not an IT professional, I have over the past year, gained so much knowledge and understanding of Windows by way of your valuable book `Windows Internals` and your excellent free system tools which are frequently referred to in order to illustrate points made, and which I find so complimentary to the book. They must represent many hours of hard work developing for the benefit of people like myself and IT professionals alike. It should come as no surprise therefore, that I find it not only appalling but beneath contempt to think a company like BB, would attempt to gain financial benefit from exploiting your software. Good luck with your pending legal action.

    4/30/2006 9:34:00 PM by Stu harvey

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    The idea for this mission was submitted by a stranger via email. Agent Slavinsky wrote in to suggest I get a large group of people in blue polo shirts and khakis to enter a Best Buy. To see the resulting photos an videos of the Chaos Click Here

    5/1/2006 5:20:00 AM by ZOverLord

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Anonymous wrote: Are you telling me that of all the posters on this site that none of you have ever used a cracked copy of windows, office or any other software?

    ---

    Yes, I'm sure alot of us have never used a cracked copy of windows, office or any other software. It's illegal and unethical.

    5/2/2006 6:52:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I have used many Sysinternals tools in the past, and I recognize their incredible value, especially for the price. It's a shame that a company as large and profitable as Best Buy couldn't shell out for such a necessary expenditure. And if they didn't see it as necessary, they should have stopped using it altogether

    5/2/2006 6:01:00 PM by JB

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a CURRENT Geek Squad Supervisor I do have a few things to say.

    Yes Geek Squad agents use your software(the smarter ones anyways) But what you are going to have trouble proving in court is that Best Buy knowingly let their agents use the program.

    To all you BBY Bashers, we can't please everyone. I don't wanna hear your SOB story, but its just statistical that we will piss off some people.

    To the moronic "Geek" who was talking about the security set ups, being a rip, the 30 day trial version of the anti virus costs, the usual 1 year license fee of $39, not 12 dollars or whatever it is you said. Plus we include an anti spyware program as well. Not to mention all the registry changes we make to tune up the computer as far as boot time and useless startup programs, and the restore being 10% of your total HDD.

    To the idiot who said Supervisors are on commision, you are clearly misinformed, lower to upper level management does get BONUSES not commision their is a world of difference.

    And to everyone else posting here, I am sure only 10% of you are legal copy ownser of this software. Being a technical person, you know how to get your hands on the needed programs to do the job you need. When you hire 12,000 who have a background (even if it's not a degree/certification) they will w/o anyones permission do what it takes to solve the issue....

    BTW Diagnostics is $59 not 100 and whatever someone said.

    Might seem like a wasted charge to you all, but fact remains over 95% of computers in the USA are spyware infested and most of America is computer dumb, so its a GREAT deal for a lot of people.

    Bash on

    5/2/2006 10:20:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    This may come as a shock to some of you forum flamers, but not everyone knows how to fix their own computers. If you think it's unreasonable to charge a customer who willingly buys our time and knowlege (yes, i am a geek squad agent), then consider that they have other options for techs out there, we aren't forcing anyone to come to our stores, but we for the most part get the job done, and imo offer fairly reasonable prices given the cost of some in home IT work. As far as Winternals is concerned, I have never used it on the job, and I can tell you it is NOT on any of our official toolkits, nor has it EVER been an endorsed tool. If an agent brings that software into work, that is an act of piracy commited by that individual, and I believe they ought to be prosecuted, but in no way has best buy or geek squad ever once instructed their employees to use this software, so before you go flaming best buy/geek squad for being a "money hungry corperate giant", maybe do a little research?

    Also, if you don't like our warranties or services, DON'T BUY THEM. It may help if you actually read what you were signing off on when you buy our service plans so you understand what is covered and what isn't. Our service plans cover all hardware on a computer. Given the rate at which HD's and Memory fail, this service plan almost always pays for itself twice over, if not more. So once again, STOP FLAMING BEST BUY UNTIL YOU KNOW WTF YOUR TALKING ABOUT.

    5/4/2006 10:31:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    To the May 4th poster. Your opinion is just as meaningless as any other in this thread. I don't care who you are or what you think you know. The fact of the matter is that a percieved crime HAS taken place and that the courts will now decide who if anyone will be held accountable. Your comments would lead one to believe that you hold a position of authority at BB. If that is true I can see why your call sign is listed as anonymous.. If you are unwilling to identify yourself might I suggest that the next time you feel you have something to say that you just KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. By the way...Best Buy has never been THE best buy in any market I've visited. A very quick search of the local businesses is all it takes to save yourself a lot of wasted time and money...So Fame On everybody.

    5/4/2006 10:36:00 PM by sabinns

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Off topic, but it's killing me...

    YOUR is not the same as YOU'RE.

    There, I said it...

    5/5/2006 5:05:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    At a previous company I worked for we got a 30-day demo\trial of the wonderful Wininternals tools in that time we saved many hours using those tools. The time alone would have easily paid for the license cost. But the suits wouldn’t let us buy it. So we cried and had to stop after our 30 day trial. The main reason Best Buy probably didn’t want to purchase the software was it would have created less billable hours. The techs there scare me and I think they are simply lazy. Mark keep up the good work and thanks for sysinternals and your help to all in keeping us informed

    5/5/2006 11:53:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    billable hours my ass. They work on FLAT RATE... so if it's there for 1 hour or 5, its the same price. If anything it would have reduced labor and cost the money less in paying the agents to do the work.

    And why go after best buy if the company it's self did not use it and actually told everyone not to use it? The RIAA goes after individuals, because it's the idividuals breaking the law. There was an article in rolling stone about a girl that got sued by the RIAA that went to MIT. They sued the girl that broke the law, not the organization that she belonged to. Here, winternals is suing the organization, not the people that actually broke the law or violated the terms of the license agreement.

    5/8/2006 11:14:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    To all those defending BB on the grounds that "the suits didn't know what the techs were doing":

    Bullshit.

    As Mark makes clear, the suits DID know what the techs were doing, and belatedly contacted his company to negotiate a license. The suits then decided NOT to buy a license, KNOWING that their techs had infringed the copyright and WERE CONTINUING to use the software and infringe the copyright.

    Moreover, even if the president of the company doens't know what every tech is doing, the company is liable for its employees' tortious acts committed in the course of their employment. This is a basic legal doctrine called respondeat superior. The company has a duty to see that its employees aren't committing torts.

    5/10/2006 11:30:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Regarding the anon flamer who felt bitterly opposed to flaming, and who wrote:

    "Given the rate at which HD's and Memory fail, this service plan almost always pays for itself twice over, if not more."

    If it pays "twice over, if not more" for the customer, then it should be red ink for BestBuy/GeekSquad.

    Nice picture he gives of a charity operation -- drastically underpricing their services to lose money on almost every sale of their service plan. My eyes moisten...

    5/13/2006 4:49:00 PM by O

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Yawn! What a bunch of whiney, I am so smart dips^!^*s. Yep stupid for a company to do this...will they pay..yes. Should they be put out of business...no. Growup folks...how many of you have paid a mechanic to fix your car and probably paid for things that where never broken....thats life and capitalism in the real world....get over it!

    5/14/2006 5:39:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    When the company decided to break off negotiations a letter was sent to stop using the software, it is good software so some techs decided to go there own and continue using it. Some of us follow the rules and stopped as soon as we were told. Sorry it came to this but good luck.

    5/14/2006 6:36:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As someone who got "burned", providing free proof of software theft use by TRW, to a BSA company lawyer, I say "good luck". I applaud your correct usage of litigation because they are using your product illegally, but "they" (Best Buys) realizes that they can "claim" that their people did so without their consent, or knowledge. The cheap bastards are gonna try to get by, for free. Please do not allow this to happen. In my situation, the usage was sustantial, clearly directed by executive company management, and allow they did pay for some minor usage licensing, they got away with 90% usage unpaid for, and BSA paid me nothing, even though as a whistle-blower I lost my job, and negotiated a good faith finder's fee for positive proof of company wrong-doing. All lawyers, suck.

    5/15/2006 1:19:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    No Enterprise should be allowed to get away scot free whilst using Pirated/Illegal Software. It takes time and effort, even some tears to develop good software. This is particularly true in case of profit making organizations and I believe that Best Buy etc do not exist for philanthropic reasons. If Best Buy wishes to make a profit then so should Winternals. The playing field is level for all players and no one should rob the other of their rightful dues.

    Good on you Winternals, SUE the hell out of them.

    5/15/2006 7:53:00 PM by Hersch Singh

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Well, this is an interesting blog to say the least...full of all kinda opinions...so here is mine.

    I am a Geek Sqauad Agent. I am proud to be a Geek Squad Agent and I do not supoprt any of this crap "some" Agents did. For one, everyone in here is making it sound like every Geek Squad Agent is a software pirate and all the management knows what is going on with every employee. I would like one person to say that the president of Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Office, Depot, Office Max, or any other major chain company should always know and is always expected to know what every employee within the entire company is doing at all times. Yeah, that is what I thought...there is no way humanly posibly to do that. I agree with everyone who said some of the people should not have used the software...I don't htink they should have either. I do think they should be punished for their actions. I also think any software company that is giving someone a license for something (temporary or trial) should put in their code a time limit of the software can be used. I know it can be done. I also know it can be cracked, but it is much more difficult for someone to use it if they have to crack some encryption or file. I do know that our store has been open for a year and we have never had a copy in our store. No store in our district had a copy because of the fact you have to be a authorized data recovery store to get any data recovery software for the store. At our store, since we are not a data recovery center, we have to turn away any data recovery jobs because we have no software to do them.

    We also do not have 12,000 agents in our organization...are you forgetting most of those are district staff, support staff, the 1800GeekSquad staff, and our employee 1800 phone support staff...which accounts for the vast majority of our employees.

    So no, in that respect I don't agree with a lot of what is on here because a lot of people are misinformed.

    I konw there are some people out there that think the Geek Squad is a joke...I think it is the greatest marketing scheme I have seen in the tech industry to date. Also, if you are going to complain about prices...first, get your facts straight; second, go somewhere else. There are many other small "mom-and-pop" businesses that will be glad to charge you anywhere from $60-$90/hour. Hopefully, they are miracle workers and can fix it quick...otherwise you are stuck with a bill you don't even know how much it is. Oh yeah, we charge a flat rate so you always know what you are going to pay.

    Someone also mentioned that we can send some out to do someone on location for someone "a 911" call and we overcharge for that. To that person, once again get your facts straight. For one, a "911" service call is only if the client has to have it done immediately and ther eis no other option, they will pay double for our call. Otherwise, if it is during regular business hours they pay a normal flat fee...if you think it is high, you probably know what you are doing and don't need any help...so don't use us.

    In closing....GET A LIFE. FIND OUT SOME FACTS AND THEN COMPLAIN. THERE ARE MANY GEEK SQUAD AGENTS THAT WERE APPAULED TO HEAR OF THIS HAPPENING AND TO ACCUSE EVERYONE OF DOING SOMEHTING IS NO BETTER THAN BEING A DAMN NATZI, KKK MEMBER, OR ANY OTHER FRICKIN PERSON WHO GENERALIZES THAT A GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE NO GOOD BECAUSE SOMEONE DID SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T.

    BTW, MOST PEOPLE IN THIS FORUM PROBABLY HAVE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER USED SOME ILLEGAL COPY OF SOMETHING, SO DON'T ACT ALL HIGH AND MIGHTY JUST BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET CAUGHT.

    ===END OF COMMUNICATION===

    5/15/2006 11:08:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    It is certainly disconcerning that A corporate entity would foster an environment such as this. Software in my belief, is owned by the Individual or Group that created it. Certainly ERD Commander is the intellectual property of Winternals. In my humble opinion, I would hope that the court would grant a Percentage of earnings based on the Number of machines successfully repaired with ERD Commander. Best Buy had the opportunity to maintain a Level of integrity as a PC Repair facility, and they FAILED at doing so. Given their Reliance on the software and the Fact that the company failed to pay for it. I would suspect that somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of the earnings from Events Requiring ERD Commander would likely belong to Winternals. Again, that is only my opinion, However this was a gross oversight on the part of Best Buy and they knowlingly used the software without an appropriate license. Wish you guys all the Luck.

    5/16/2006 11:23:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    However I would hope that anyone posting negative comments on this blog is smart enough to have not ever participated in anything similair. Ever made a copy of a CD/DVD for someone else? Youself? Ever rip a CD to your iPOD? Ever download a single peice of commercially sold media from the internet? Have you ever known anyone who did and not contact the authorities? Have you ever publicly played a copyrighted song?

    This is simply not true. For starters, one has every right to put songs of a CD they own onto an mp3 player (iPod or other.)

    Second, none of what you wrote can be a direct comparison to what GeekSquad is alleged to of done, which was for profit, where as what you listed was not. Maybe duping a CD or DVD for a friend isn't exactly legal, but it's not for finacial gain, and thus well below radar.

    To use a software, that has a clear license, without said license, in order for aid in profit making, is a very serious matter, and again, you can't compare that to casual CD copying or mp3 downloading, simply because they fall into two seperate categories within a similar subject. It's like comparing an apple pie to an orange.

    5/17/2006 1:33:00 PM by Islaw

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Don't take this defensively, but why do people group a few employees as a company. I work for the Geek Squad and I saw the download for the adminpack when it was legit. I didn't need it to do my job so I didn't download it. I work on normal clients' PCs, MACs, etc. I also work on Active Directory servers and MS-SQL servers, etc.

    I know that if I use unapproved software I will loose my job. Best Buy and Geek Squad do not approve of pirating software. You are right, we are a billion+ business in services. Why would a large corporation take the chance and allow employees to damage their name. Best Buy knows how to make money and that is repeat business and customer loyalty.

    I treat my client like they were my own family. I listen to them, I protect them, and I offer the right solutions. That is why Best Buy and Geek Squad are in business. Not because they take short-cuts and cheat people. I have seen employees fired for using pirated software (prior to ANY lawsuites). The company does not stand for it.

    We make partnerships and if possible we innovate and create our own solutions. Any kid can download pirated software off of newsgroups, IRC, and even limewire. Robert Stevens and all Geek Squad take pride in our brand.

    I have seen our company protect software authors and their property. I can say they do the same for you as well. This is not a case where Best Buy told its employees, "Please use this stolen software!" We have the tools we need. The company pays a lot for our licenses and doesn't mind doing so, for software that we really need.

    I think this may just be a case where Best Buy felt that the software that Sysinternals offers could have been a possible tool for its employees and after recieving feedback from the employees discovered that our line of work does not require it.

    I am not trying to start a flame war. I am saying, look at both sides of the story. At our location, we had no need for it. We have experience and home-brew (Geek Squad made) software that meets our needs.

    5/19/2006 11:52:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    May 4thsaid:

    Given the rate at which HD's and Memory fail, this service plan almost always pays for itself twice over, if not more. So once again, STOP FLAMING BEST BUY UNTIL YOU KNOW WTF YOUR TALKING ABOUT.

    As far as desktops go HDs seem to fail about once in a hundred years (at work with 75 computers we have had two HD failures in three years). I can't think of a case where memory has failed.

    There may be a case for extended warranties on laptops, but only if it included accidental damage.

    5/25/2006 12:34:00 PM by Stephen Jones

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I worked for Best Buy for well over a year recently, during their blitz to get the name Geek Squad out there. I dealt with many an angry customer, and can attest that there were times when people were justifiably upset at our business practices (for instance, it simply isn't possible for us to repair a laptop motherboard within a few days, we can only repair with the parts we have, we don't have hundreds of system boards and processors under the register). And while I think Winternals is doing the right thing, and is just as justified, you have to cut Best Buy some slack for similar reasons. Only, instead of not having the part, it didn't have the control. To monitor USB thumb/flash drives of every employee is difficult to say the least. To assume the company as a whole is a bunch of crooks because a few people used REALLY GOOD tools they weren't allowed to use is asinine. I also know a lot of employees didn't know that this software wasn't allowed, since we had been furnished with very similar tools and since older versions of Geek Squad software also had similar software. Another reason they didn't know was because they were bringing in tools they used personally to the job, which makes perfect sense. There is no manager in the business that would have known the difference. We were all warned not to use illegal or pirated software several times, and signed several papers to that effect, but for a lot of employees, ignorance was bliss. And also in Best Buy's defense, I've since been to locally/family owned repair centers and seen them using software they don't have licenses for to repair machines. It is the scale of things that makes this different.

    Basically, don't hate Best Buy because they are the ones being targeted here, there was never any malicious intent. Best Buy is not in the business of gauging customers, stealing from developers, and providing inadequate service. They are a bunch of human beings working for a bunch of human beings, and making a few honest mistakes along the way.

    5/25/2006 5:04:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Growing up, I learned how to fix computers using pirated apps. I used many programs that I were fantastic, but as a poor high school kid I could barely afford gas, let alone software. I never charged for this. So I'd say that those software developers never lost money on me.

    Now I am a self employed IT consultant, and I spend thousands on keeping my comnay legal. If I can't pay for it then I find an open source / freeware alternative. Sometimes I buy software that I can't even break even on just to get the job done.

    If I can't do the job with the tools I own, then I will send the client to someone who CAN do the job. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANY BUSINESS OR EMPLOYEE TO PIRATE SOFTWARE. "I'm just trying to help the customer" doesn't cut it. I would be happy to help your customer, using my LEGAL software. I assure you that I don't make anywhere near what BB corporate does, but I PAY for my tools.

    BB has supplied many items that were needed on short notice that the mom and pop stores couldn't, so I have nothing against them. If they don't make "reasonable" effort to stop the use of pirated software, then they can pay the price. Reasonable does include a company mandate that states the district manager visits EVERY GS department and personally tells the manager and each employee that they will be fired for using any illegal software or for failing to report another employee using pirated software after this date.

    I remember the mess those guys could stirr up over all sorts of stupid issues, it seems like they weren't doing their jobs on a couple of big ones.

    6/1/2006 1:15:00 PM by kallussed

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Couple's Supposedly Destroyed Hard Drive Purchased In Chicago Thu Jun 1, 9:48 AM ET

    A year ago, Henry and Roma Gerbus took their computer to Best Buy in Springfield Township to have its hard drive replaced.

    Henry Gerbus said Best Buy assured him the computer's old hard drive -- loaded with personal information -- would be destroyed.

    "They said rest assured. They drill holes in it so it's useless," said Gerbus.

    A few months ago, Gerbus got a phone call from a man in Chicago.

    "He said, 'My name is Ed. I just bought your hard drive for $25 at a flea market in Chicago,'" said Gerbus. "I thought my world was coming down."

    Gerbus and his wife had good reason to worry.

    A total stranger had access to the couple's personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank statements and investment records.

    Through information listed on the hard drive, the man in Chicago was able to contact the couple.

    "He said, 'Do you want me to wipe it clean or send it to you?' I told him to send it to me. I wanted it in my hands," said Gerbus.

    Gerbus received the hard drive a few weeks later.

    As a precaution, the couple alerted the major credit bureaus to protect their information.

    "I'm not leaving myself open to identity theft," said Gerbus.

    Target 5's Tom Sussi contacted Best Buy to figure out how the Gerbus' hard drive wound up at a flea market outside Chicago.

    Best Buy issued the following statement to Target 5.

    "Our company values and places the utmost importance on maintaining the privacy of our customers. We will fully investigate these allegations."

    In the meantime, Gerbus said he hopes the couple's private information didn't fall into the wrong hands. "I don?t know if we're going to have a problem," said Gerbus. "I just don't know."

    6/2/2006 1:28:00 AM by ZOverLord

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Just went in there the other day to buy a NIC and guess what i noticed the "tech" using....ERD Commander.

    Go get them!!!

    6/7/2006 9:53:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Question for discussion:

    As an employee of a local computer retail and service store that prides itself on honest business practices, I would like to share with my customers the information I have read on this blog. It's absolutely absurd and horrible what has happened and I feel it would be a disservice to not share this information with "non-geeks", just average consumers who rely on those of us in this field to educate and treat them fairly. How would any of you suggest I share this information with customers I meet each day?

    6/9/2006 10:49:00 AM by livetoserve

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Well traveling, I recently purchased a HP Notebook from Best Buy as I wanted to access the Internet using wireless.

    After attempting to access the net I brought the notebook back and had a couple geeks check it. they used some software and both said that I had a virus that was blocking my access. I told them that I had bought it there a couple day's ago but they wanted to charge me an additional $179 to fix it.

    6/10/2006 7:57:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I would think a nice segment on 60 minutes is called for with this one. Off with their heads! Someone at BB will need new shorts after this one!

    6/12/2006 6:53:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I think I saw this coming quite some time ago.... I know actually quite a few companies that have used Winternals tools for quite a few different reasons.

    6/13/2006 5:59:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    saw this coming for quite some time. actually could think of a couple of other companys using Winternal just as Bust Buy did!...oops! did i say that.. ha, my bad..

    6/13/2006 6:04:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Geeksquad did not care if the employees used the software or not simple as that. All the GS employees on here sticking up for them you are the biggest tools, no wonder why the company hired you.

    6/14/2006 9:22:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    It's my opinion that both BB and Geek Squad are running a extremely PROFITABLE SCAM!!! Anybody interested in Boycotting them?

    6/16/2006 5:51:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am a Geek Squad Agent and i hold my job with the utter most importance, and i value my job at with geek squad, and my mission, to help people with thier computer problems. You Shouldnt Flam Best Buy Or the Geek Squad, and if you do why dont u talk to the thousands upon thousands of happy customers i have helped over the years at this job, we may not directly help you, or someone you, but when someone's grandmother comes in and has a problem i treat them as if they were like my family. I have seen the ERD Commander and was trained to use it, but in conclusion if you know how to do your job right, this tool isnt neccesary, nor did i ever really use it. Im Sorry this mix up happened, i wish best buy did buy a license with you guys. Hopefully it gets Sorted out, Good Luck Geek Squad/ Best Buy

    6/16/2006 10:34:00 PM by GS Double Agent

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    From Wikipedia:

    "DMCA Title III modified section 117 of the copyright title so that those repairing computers could make certain temporary, limited copies while working on a computer."

    This could be a defense against the lawsuit, I think. But I am not a lawyer.

    6/21/2006 11:43:00 PM by Yuhong Bao

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Guys don't flame the whole Squad. It's a communication and managerial error. Should Winternals go after us, sure, but don't flame the workers. We didn't do it. In my Precint we were told to stop using it after the magic date and we stopped. Destroyed all copies and deleted it off our systems. That has a lot to do with me being prior service. I follow orders. Don't flame all of us because some people kept on using it.

    6/22/2006 10:30:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    We destroyed all of ours as soona s we were told to as well. Bunch of hipocrates out here flaming us. I wonder how many flamers out here have a bogus XP install, some free Dreamweaver, or a Photoshop copy or three. Most Agents don't use illegal software, we don't in my store. Don't point the finger at all of us especially when you know youhave some bogus copy of something within arms reach right now. Do as I say, not as I do.... Wow, that's rich.... Hahahaha

    6/22/2006 10:34:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    The gang boss says "Take care of this guy" but doesn't say how and doesn't see it done and might even say "don't hurt him, (wink, wink)". The gangster uses his own resourcefullness. The company boss says get the job done. The company policy might even be "don't use stolen software" but doesn't spend the money to get the correct materials. So the employee or group uses his own resourcefullness. The old saying is that "actions speak lowder than words" and the words may be to not steal anything but the actions are to not supply what is needed and thereby encourage that theft.

    6/23/2006 2:58:00 AM by Felix

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Take them out for every penny/dollar you can get. This is a capital crime and should be treated a such.

    As a tools and dev company we have seen the same thing.. they want to see what you have.. you show them and give them a "free" trial that is not locked in good faith.. the next thing you know everyone's using your stuff.

    6/23/2006 9:30:00 AM by Anonymous

  • Comments Archive:

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Great blog, love the tools. Had some comments to some of the comments as I was reading this.

    "Good techs do not need extra software to compensate for a lack of skills."

    Your statement above assumes that the 'basic' software is adequate. Ususally not the case.

    "However I would hope that anyone posting negative comments on this blog is smart enough to have not ever participated in anything similair."

    Personal misuse is one arena, and corporate is another. Any responsible employee will take steps to ensure that they are not exposing the company to unknown risks.

    I have been the person chasing a license for software. The approval to buy took 2 days. The purchase system logistics took 5 months. Not all employees would have the patience to continue to chase stuff down. I only succeeded with personal help from the local purchasing officer. Once the request was routed to the correct person, it was processed within a week.

    If your not the person who normally brings in software to a company, navigating to the correct person in a corporate structure can be an exercise in frustration. It sounds like someone finally did this, and Wininternals was approached. It shows lack of responsibility by Best Buy to cancel the purchase.

    The boycott idea isn't great. Most people reading these posts are more likely to be techs then not. Mom & Pop stores may not be the best; I had one of these gems tell me hot/cold swaping a hard disk was not possible.

    "I never let one of my users connect to the internet at home without a router, If they do not have one, one will come out of the IT Budget here at work, because $30 for a el cheapo one will can save me HOURS later on."

    We had the opposite policy, that work machines should not connect to home routers, because usually they had poor configuration. We've had virus/malware jump from home systems, or other stupid stuff happen.

    "In my humble opinion, I would hope that the court would grant a Percentage of earnings based on the Number of machines successfully repaired with ERD Commander."

    I don't see how this could be provable. Finding any incident reports that are well documented is unusual. Finding any that in addition to describing the problem and the fix, also detail which tool was used to effect the fix is extremely rare.

    Good luck in the court case. I don't envy you the job of proving the case. The company approaching you. admitting piracy and attempting to correct it before cancelling is the biggest asset in your favor.

    ACD

    "Do not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity."

    6/24/2006 5:35:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Well, I was a former Geek Squad CIA employee, I loved it there until they cut my hours of January 2006, which is when I quit to seek employment elsewhere. Best Buy Geek Squad really had hammers down on everyone. Noone was on commission, but was CONSTANT threats, "HEY! IF YOU DONT PUSH YOUR SALES UP! YOUR OUT OF HERE!" (Even if you are the best tech)

    A diagnostic was $59, Virus/Spyware eradication was $79, A complete REINSTALL of Windows was also $79. Then a "Tune up" fee was also added to what we called "A $167 special" which was a $29. Basically going in Regedit and turning everything off except AntiVirus. Then they wanted to charge them $118 to install NAV/Trend Micro, SpySweeper, and then some Registry fixer called "AgentTweaks"

    Now as SOP went, we were only supposed to use ONE Disk called an MRI. But our MRI was corrupt, it had illegal software and software we were not allowed to use. It got to the point we had software that would forcefully activate Windows on a customer's PC. So some computers had Windows XP Home Edition SP/2 shoved on when it had no COA.

    Then we got the systems really screwed up, there was a disk labelled ERD Commander. It was a burned disk that was used a lot by many employees to fix computers. Mind you I never used it because I tried to stick to SOP or the tools I made for myself out of my PC repair experiences. But some people in Geek Squad don't even know how to install a bloody ATX PSU in a flippin' Dell Dimension computer! I spend FIVE minutes installing one, I hear over my shoulder "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!" This kid was A+ Certified too! Which makes me lose faith in Certification systems! Best Buy had illegal versions of Windows XP that had Activation already cracked too. A CD they'd use when a computer such as HP/Compaq, Gateway/Emachines did not come with a Windows XP CD, and to avoid activation issues, just used that.

    The software piracy was outragious. I think it totaled upto $5,000 in illegal software. We once had someone come in and toss ALL our CD's, but our supervisor made copies of his backup software. So within a few weeks, it was all back. I hope Winternals shows Best Buy who is boss.

    6/25/2006 2:11:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Wow.... Get a life! Are you people for real or what? How pathetic for so many to jump on the band wagon to take down the big bad wolf....

    I've been playing with PC's for about 9 years now and I can tell you your product is not nearly as good as you think it is. Sure it does what you may need - so does alot of other freeware on the net.Everyone on hear pointing their fingers should look in the mirror and simply say - I am a looser cause I use freeware also - or even pirated software! Anytime you fix your neighbors PC for profit or anyones for that matter Timmy the tec) and you use some freeware - you have committed a crime! Yes you have! It clearly states on EULA's not for business use - or that you can NOT accept the EULA on behalf of someone for profitable measure!

    Heres a real fact - there isnt a PC shop in the world that does everything legally!

    So Winternals had a chance to make millions of some deal until the people that were supposed to pay up realized they didnt need Winternals to get done what their software gets done, but could wrather put a PE together themselves and save millions.

    Tisk Tisk.....

    Whose the money hungry scoundrals now? Whose the bad guy that only wants to rip off someone now?

    Heres the facts - GS and BBY employ thousands of people - help thousands of people live normal lives and support their families by providing them with a legitimate job. Of all the thousands their will always be a few bad seeds. So you guys gonna sue Comp USA next? They have a former employee on here stating they use your software also..

    As for CC - hogwash! You guys are no different. Maybe your store does it right but I can assure you the CC in my town uses illegal software - I know because I personally know the guy that runs their instore IQCrew (or whatever their name is now). Looks like Winternals has alot of work to do since they are all of a sudden on some religous quest to stop the use of pirated software - it would be un-ethical to stop with BBY you know, if your reasoning for this lawsuit is honorable!

    6/26/2006 10:20:00 PM by YuP

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I am a former employee in the origional minneapolis location of geeksquad before the sold to BB back in 1999. They have always been unethical. Customers would be so mad they would put dog poob> in the shirts and send them back like that.

    The origional owner encouraged techs to oversell servies and hardware.

    It's just like general contractors who work on homes; once they have your down payment for the work and have broke ground, you are pretty much helpess to switch.

    Good stand Winternals. It's your intellectual property!

    7/1/2006 10:17:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    In responce to YuP:

    I've been playing with PC's for about 9 years now and I can tell you your product is not nearly as good as you think it is.

    I'm sure you have been playing with PCs for 9 years, if you have you would know what software like this can do to save your ass and that big companies love to push around the little guy.

    Sure it does what you may need - so does alot of other freeware on the net.

    Show us some of this freeware, I doubt there is freeware that does everything ERD can.

    Everyone on hear pointing their fingers should look in the mirror and simply say - I am a looser cause I use freeware also - or even pirated software!

    First, learn how to spell loser...

    Second, how does it make us losers to use freeware or pirated software? I bet even you have used both.

    Anytime you fix your neighbors PC for profit or anyones for that matter Timmy the tec) and you use some freeware - you have committed a crime! Yes you have! It clearly states on EULA's not for business use - or that you can NOT accept the EULA on behalf of someone for profitable measure!

    Whos said they are using freeware? You would have no idea if someone was using freeware to repair someones computer, unless you saw them do it or they told you.

    Heres a real fact - there isnt a PC shop in the world that does everything legally!

    State the source of your "real fact", I would love to see where you got this one.

    So Winternals had a chance to make millions of some deal until the people that were supposed to pay up realized they didnt need Winternals to get done what their software gets done, but could wrather put a PE together themselves and save millions.

    Geek Squad still uses ERD commander and they probably do need it, so how can you say that they don't?

    Whose the money hungry scoundrals now?

    Best Buy?

    Whose the bad guy that only wants to rip off someone now?

    Its "Who's" and Best Buy?

    Heres the facts - GS and BBY employ thousands of people - help thousands of people live normal lives and support their families by providing them with a legitimate job.

    And so does Winternals! Oh my god, another company creates jobs and helps people, blasphemy!

    Of all the thousands their will always be a few bad seeds. So you guys gonna sue Comp USA next? They have a former employee on here stating they use your software also..

    If Comp USA used pirated software, then Winternals should sue them to show big companies cannot push the little guy around.

    As for CC - hogwash! You guys are no different. Maybe your store does it right but I can assure you the CC in my town uses illegal software - I know because I personally know the guy that runs their instore IQCrew (or whatever their name is now).

    Is this a case of my brother's friend's sister's uncle knows this guy at CC and he used pirated software? Cause it seems like it to me.

    Looks like Winternals has alot of work to do since they are all of a sudden on some religous quest to stop the use of pirated software - it would be un-ethical to stop with BBY you know, if your reasoning for this lawsuit is honorable!

    This is not a religous quest to eliminate pirating, its a lawsuit to get money that Winternals deserved in the first place. Finally, you got something right, it is unethical to stop, but unless they have solid proof (not he-said, she-said) that another company was doing this, they can't win.

    Before you go on a pointless rant that makes you look like an ass, go get a dictionary and a few grammar lessons.

    7/2/2006 4:43:00 PM by Sam

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    David vs Goliath. With well over 26 billion is profits last year Best Buy will own Winternals before it ever gets to court. Thats what you are really after. Didn't you forget to mention that you had already sold the rights to WinPE to another firm and that you were negotiating to sell licenses on a product that isn't even your anymore. I can't wait till this case gets thrown out. .... Make sure you have your Reward Zone Card so I can scan it the next time your shopping at my store.

    7/4/2006 3:16:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Being a GS tech myself , I have seen erd commander used only once and that was used by the Senior over GS , as soon as he had it loaded and the DCI saw what he was using , the GM and DCI quickly promoted the said senior to "customer ". What that means to all the wonderfull BB and GS bashers out there it means he was fired!!!

    BB is a large corporation and there is bound to be bad techs and ruthless sales people , but I am sure there has never been a large corporation in the world that has had a bad employee , I mean really this is breaking news, a company with a bad employee, ohhhh the sorrow. The fact of the matter is yes they screwed up , yes they admitted to it , yes they told us that if we did use it to stoop using it . Most agents did stop using it those that didn't well they either got promoted to customer or they should and will be . Bottom line is put on your big girl panties and deal with it!!!!

    7/6/2006 11:44:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    actually your wrong

    Best Buy just announced they signed a licensing agreement with WinInternals so that geek squad agents will be able to use "componets of the wininternals suite" under a custom "branded" geek squad disk .

    basically best buy (in my opinion)has an ethics problem. the corp policy on returns/exchanges they would lose a customer who has spend $30k in the past with them over a $10 cd return. the way they treat employees.. and the general pay for a geek agent is no more then a grocery clerk. not an IT professional..

    >>I can't believe these guys were so stupid as to admit they were pirating it before trying to neogotiate a license<<<

    it wasn't the company lawyers or executives.. it was individual geek agents who felt what was happening and stepped up and told the corp office they needed tools like wininternals to do there job.. when they didn't respond they contacted WinInternals directly..

    a kindom divided against itself cannot stand.. they need to start treating both customers & employees alot better.. or they will lose customers... right now it's a top down driven company people cannot think without approval from corporate.. compare that to microsoft where an indivual employee is empowered to make decisions

    if best buy really wanted to change, they would fix there "service plans (PSP)" to be more customer friendly.. and not have customers have to send in there TV 4 Times for repair or 30+ days without a TV.. they would require Certification of geek agents and pay them a decent wage.

    they wouldn't classify employees working 35+ hrs a week as "part-time" to avoid paying benefits. they would offer benefits to all employees after 1yr. they wouldn't offer huge bonuses for managers in the store.. but no incentive for the employees

    Best buy needs serious help with it's internal IT network and needs all the help wininternals & people like Mark can offer.

    7/7/2006 12:05:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    if best buy really wanted to change, they would fix there "service plans (PSP)" to be more customer friendly.. and not have customers have to send in there TV 4 Times for repair or 30+ days without a TV..

    ===Sounds like someone doesn't know how to read. All the service plan brochures explicitly state the policy...if you don't like it, then don't buy it. Just like every other company that writes these policies, they don't just replace a product because one thing might go wrong. The service plan also covers it for 3 years. I personally have had many people who have gotten a free upgrade from a Pentium II machine to a Pentium IV without having to pay a penny because of that policy. Sounds like it benefits the customer more than anyone else...especially when computers are only marked up between 3-5%.

    they wouldn't classify employees working 35+ hrs a week as "part-time" to avoid paying benefits. they would offer benefits to all employees after 1yr. they wouldn't offer huge bonuses for managers in the store.. but no incentive for the employees

    ===Actually, in most states, if an amployee works more 32+ hours in 6 or 8 weeks consecutively, the company is REQUIRED to offer the employee benefits. We have had many people that were "part-time" that received benefits from this...read your local laws if you are interested. Employees have incentive...evidently you are a disgruntlyed employee, have you ever heard of Achievers. Yeah, the big contest they have 2 times a year. I went to Orlando with guest(all expenses paid), received about $5k in merchandise from various vendors, and got to spend a week getting paid in Orlando...I think that is incentive enough.

    Best buy needs serious help with it's internal IT network and needs all the help wininternals & people like Mark can offer.

    they would require Certification of geek agents and pay them a decent wage.

    ===I'm sorry but in this day and age...certs don't mean as much as they use to. With all the test dumping sites out there, anyone who wants a cert can pay and get a huge test bank of questions, study it, and then take the test. I know some 14 year olds that are A+ and couldn't tell you how to repair a frickin' thing or what half of it is. Certs have lost a lot of meaning in this day and age. Don't get me wrong, I do think they are somewhat important. By no means do they mean someone can actually fix something, you have to have more than book smarts for that.

    As for pay...I know what the pay scales are and...as long as you can prove yourself, you are paid what you are worth. If you don't like it, go somewhere else...which evidently you did. Good for you. Nobody should ever have a job they don't enjoy going to everyday. Personally, I get paid very well and the benefits are phenomenal with Best Buy. I wouldn't trade it for anything. What other company has a CEO who gives a bundle of stock options (250 to be exact for each person)to a handful of people from that are below supervisor positions. Yes, this would mean those poeple you refered to as "employees". I personally know 2 people who just received 250 stock options from our CEO...at the going rate that is a very nice bonus for just being an employee.

    Oh yeah, I'm glad that the Winternals Suite is joining our forces...maybe one day I might need it. So far, I have had no need for it...but you never know.

    7/9/2006 9:45:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I'm afraid that the tech world is full of such examples. (I wonder how many unlicensed copies of your software are running around the offices of MPAA member companies?)

    B.T.W. If you ever come out with a "Family Administrator’s Pak" for say $49.99, my credit card is ready. I would love some of the features but $499 is ***way*** out of my league. Thanks for the freeware though.

    7/10/2006 3:19:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Winternals and Best Buy have settled:

    Settlement Press Release

    7/10/2006 3:21:00 PM by Mark Russinovich

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a network administrator and consultant I have used ERD Commander, a recommended piece of any admins toolkit. It's absolutely wrong that BB and GS, who make more money than Winternals, should stoop to this level of greed.

    Geek squad couldn't get their job done successfully without a bootable CD of some sort (ERD, BartPE, UBCD). Lets face it, as a modern day admin or tech, without tools your effectiveness is severly diminished. Freeware just doesn't cut it when trouble strikes and your being paid hourly to repair a computer.

    8/7/2006 12:26:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a GS Agent myself, going to indivuals' homes daily fixing computer problems, I NEVER felt like I needed ERD to perform my job. It might be a good product, don't get me wrong. But really, I do a hell of a great job without it. What incentives would Winternals give me so I use their product? Oh wait, according to the settlement I might have to use it in the future... Seems like Winternals give themselves more importance than they really have!!

    8/13/2006 7:33:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I have worked for the geek squad and I can tell you first hand that your software is not the only software they use illegally. Our standard procedure was to use free versions of Antivirus software (Antivir, Avast) that explicitly stated they could not be used for commercial purposes. We would clean off infected pc's and turn around and charge the customer $120.

    8/14/2006 1:47:00 PM by Scott Goodwin

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I have worked for the geek squad and I can tell you first hand that your software is not the only software they use illegally. Our standard procedure was to use free versions of Antivirus software (Antivir, Avast) that explicitly stated they could not be used for commercial purposes. We would clean off infected pc's and turn around and charge the customer $120.

    8/14/2006 1:56:00 PM by Scott Goodwin

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I was a geek squad employee for about a year and we would regularly violate the license agreements of Antivir and Avast by using them to clean infected Pc's.We would then turn around and charge the customer $120 for it.

    8/14/2006 2:05:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    If you think the AOL call is outrageous, fasten your seat belt. Geek Squad and Best Buy take the cake this month. A week ago I phoned Geek Squad at 7am to set up an appointment to back up my files and get rid of virus. It took all day of hold times, disconnects and nasty customer service people to find a time that was suitable. They offered to try to find alternate times, and asked that I check in, but this turned into 12 hours of hold times and nastiness so I gave up and set up an appointment for this Monday afternoon. When the tech showed up, he didn't bring a storage device to back up my files!! When I protested, he left, saying that if I wanted him to come back with the device, which headquarters mistakenly left out of the service order, I'd need to pay DOUBLE!! That's right, DOUBLE, or else wait another week for an appointment. For hours I was on the phone, given false promises of return phone calls, disconnects and overall insensitivity, nastiness, and -- get this-- an admission that they were wrong, but an insistence that if I wanted the tech to come back tody, I'd be charged DOUBLE!! Then the local Best Buy person on the phone told me that his tech might, at his discretion, waive the double fee, so I asked that he phone back. I waited an hour for the call. Finally I reached him and he was nasty and said double!! So I couldn't get it done becaused that's just beyond my budget. I've tried reaching Best Buy corporate but they too have been bad about returning phone calls. This is not the first time I've had problems with Best Buy, but this will surely be the last, because I don't need to deal with a corporation that doesn't take responsibility for its mistakes

    8/16/2006 9:53:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I have always supported a boycott of Geek Squad since they began the program. I can fix my computer myself. I'm not going to pay money, especially to a big company like Best Buy. People should be donating to the forums online that help people with a wide range of computer problems. (i.e. tomcoyote.org)

    8/16/2006 8:09:00 PM by Rob

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    As a geek squad employee, I dont want to sound one sided. I have NEVER personally used anything illegal. Have other people? Of course. Is it wrong? Of course.

    Is Best Buy wrong? Yes.

    Who is it to blame? All of you flaming idiots up at the top think to just blame all of best buy. I cant think of more ignorant people. America is built on CAPITALISM. If you dont like that move to russia and become a commie, move out to iran and live there. Not everyone is in the wrong. CERTAIN agents used the wrong tools. Not EVERYONE. At least in my precint and store we were always told to use "Authorized tools only" and you actually get fired for not. BUT you cant seek every single employee in the wrong for using it. I believe that BEST BUY overall is in the wrong. They should pay the price but not what you idiots quote. 10% of what? Revenue? Costs gained from using the software? My salary? Get a life and possibly a hobby.

    People that want to boycott geeksquad, its great that you know how to fix a pc. Not everyone can fix a pc. Labor is expensive. Of course it doesnt cost 60$ an hour for bestbuy. I know you idiots cant do everything so... Would you pay a lawyer 200$+ an hour for their services? Would you pay a doctor for their services? Would you pay a mechanic 75$ an hour to work on your car? Bottem line is some people cannot do work themselves. Maybe to you the cost is a ripoff BUT ALL PEOPLE CANNOT REPAIR COMPUTERS. Just like you fools cant do surgery, or fix cars or win a case against another lawyer. USE YOUR HEAD!

    How about a counter-suit by bestbuy? Wouldnt this website, PROVIDED BY WINTERNALS of course, and all of you idiots be considered as providing means, motive and a place where soemthing can be slandered? Unless you have something intelligent to say all of you, and i hesitate to say this but it must be done, keep your comments neat, leave your zealous ways at the door, post intelligent comments and STFU.

    Please all of you idiots leave comments, flames (cause i know some people CANNOT keep quiet and HAVE to flame or else they wont feel well) questions, concerns and those who actually will leave something of an iq higher than a tree branch to aim address of you eat cement

    8/19/2006 6:56:00 PM by static

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I really, really hate arrogant techs, especially ones who stand up high and mighty that $60/hour is justified as a charge to normal consumers for retail computer support.

    Best Buy succeeds because of Capitalism, yes, and damn good marketing. Their policy of hiring folks is proven by the above flame where even the competent ones have enough character flaws to never make it in a real IT or Support job. This is why when I see Best Buy on a resume' it actually adds a bit of reluctance on my part to potentially hire an individual.

    Geek Squad is NOT IT, at least not GOOD IT. Its low end support, that is overcharged. And because they have the marketing dollars of Best Buy behind them, they will push more reasonably prices, more competent local outfits like "PC Doctor" in Pittsburgh, out of business.

    Its also why my friends and my family drive me up a complete wall getting me to fix their issues. Why? Because on average, Geek Squad charges too much and does not deliver. ON AVERAGE. There are a few individuals that show competance but obviously have no way of landing a real job or simply don't want one. You have to wonder how it would be if they actually paid for their tools.

    And anyone who goes on a justify rant on this one? Companies are liable for their employees behavior, and to enforce their own policies. If Best Buy can't run a tight ship--- sink em.

    8/23/2006 8:10:00 AM by PJD

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Shoot first and ask questions later... better yet, forget the questions - reload and keep shooting! Don't let up until you own controlling interest in the corporation, then clean house and straighten out their crooked system!

    8/26/2006 3:39:00 PM by Gary Johnson, CCNP, MCSE

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    From a neutral standpoint, here is the problem with all of this: Geek Squad begins a test run of Winternals software in its precincts. They find that the software is not needed and order all stores to stop using it. Winternals finds out that a store or maybe even 2 stores is still using the software against corporate command and decides that that means every single Best Buy store is using the software. Geek Squad never pirated anything, a few employees did. A select few employees who have shamed an otherwise very honorable company.

    Geek Squad is not 1 person, it is more than 12000 people. Winternals should have never approached Geek Squad with the proposition of a test run if they were concerned that possibly some employees might use their software beyond the test period. When Geek Squad decided that they did not need or want Winternals software and instead wished to pursue their own Geek Squad branded solutions Winternals threw a fit and attempted a lawsuit. Winternals was in it for money, and Mark Russinovich tends to have quite an ego so when Geek Squad rejected his software he retaliated. Geek Squad settled as they did not want the rumors to spread any more than they already had thanks to Winternals slanderous accusations.

    Geek Squad did NOT pirate Winternals software, Geek Squad ran a test run of Winternals software which Winternals failed to place code for a time limit in and when Geek Squad decided against purchasing licenses they ordered that all Agents stop using the software. The majority of Geek Squad responded and stopped using the software, but Best Buy is a huge chain and it's inevitable that 1 or 2 stores are going to disobey when their corporate command orders something. Winternals should have seen it coming, and I suspect that they did; it was easy money, one way or the other.

    I respect Geek Squad for the way they want to do business, regardless of what some stores will have you believe. It is about the customer, and about communication with said customer rather and providing an amazing experience for that customer for Geek Squad. Find me a better computer repair chain.

    By the way, consider that an employee is more expensive to the company than just a paycheck. A company pays roughly 1.5 times what the employee receives on their paycheck after all the benefits they have to give the employee. Best Buy has to make money somewhere, show me a cheaper computer repair solution that actually speaks to the customer and does it right the first time.

    All that said, I have a Masters Degree from Purdue University in Indiana with over 13 years of experience in Information Technology. I know my stuff, and I would never take my computer to Geek Squad, however it is my first recommendation whenever I hear of someone needing help with their computer.

    9/2/2006 3:10:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I think you people are a big joke.. Best buy has done all kinds of things for my business. Lets face it, my time is money, and I make too much money to sit down and try to figure all the computer repair myself. I would much rather pay someone to come do it for me, a reputable place, even if they might charge a little more because I know I can always go back there if I have a problem. If they did use illegal software they should be charged for it, but for all of you to say Best Buy is terrible is ridiculous, they have all the electronics you need, they are comprable pricing to any other retailer (Other than online where there is no overhead), and its hassle free.

    Another thing, you all say they sell you all kinds of extra things you don't need, if I buy a printer and it already comes with a full cartridge of ink, and I do a lot of printing, I would probably love to take a second home that day so I dont have to make another trip later, and you can always use paper, so why not take the offer that day? You people all spend hours and hours trying to find the 'best' deal, and if you think about it, all that time you spent you could have just worked for the extra money to buy it from a reputable place like best buy. Its always the broke people that try to do everything themselves to save a few dollars, and in most cases you dont even do it right.

    9/22/2006 2:19:00 AM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    umm ok, lets get one thing straigt, best buy and there geek squad (SUCKs!) I worked for best buy and the Geek squade agents has hidden fees and over price on some of their service. They do force people to came to their stores and make unnesessary repair to your computer and charge you for them. now thisi may be a little off topic but.......bestbuy in all is all about the money, they fired people for not making sales and also for not making the store buget. my best advice to all is to shop online or find a better store to shop for electronics. There's plenty out there.

    9/22/2006 7:24:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    To all of those posters who have commented along the lines of "it isn't Best Buy/Geek Squad, it is a few [rogue] employees," I can tell you, as a lawyer, it does not make any difference. There is an ancient concept in the law called Respondeat Superior, which means that an employer is liable for the actions of its employees during the course of their employment.

    Think about it, if you get run over by the Dominos truck, do you want to sue the delivery driver making sub-minimum wage, or the company that told him to get the pizza there in 10 minutes or less? Best Buy sent the technician to do the job. How he does it is Best Buy's responsibility. If they don't want their employees to use pirated tools, then they have to provide them with tools that work.

    Good luck, sounds like you have a good case.

    9/28/2006 10:55:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    Listen to the lawyer folks. Companies as well as the department heads are directly responsible for the actions of their subordinates. Also, if your job in any way involves the monitoring of software and / or licenses for your company in any way, you also can be found liable. There is already legal precedence for this.

    10/9/2006 4:27:00 PM by Anonymous

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    # re: Why Winternals Sued Best Buy

    I used to work for CompuSmart in downtown Ottawa. The Tech's in our store were outstanding diagnosticians, and rarely resorted to software 'repair tools', and then they all used Knoppix. The main thing they did was to talk and LISTEN to the end users' issues with their computer. Not often was there a problem the Tech's couldn't identify, fix, or resolve, first time around. If they knew the problem was 'systemic' they would give their recommendations and alternatives for the end user to consider. Best Buy and Geek Squad are a bunch of Techie amatures illegally profiting from your hard work (with ERD), go get 'em.

    10/19/2006 1:06:00 AM by Anonymous