A Philosopher's Blog

Returning to World of Warcraft

Posted in Video Games by Michael LaBossiere on November 26, 2008

I played World of Warcraft for a bit over a year before losing interest. But, the release of the Wrath of the Lich King and the return of some friends to the game has restored my interest.

While I still have my original WoW disks, I did not have the Burning Crusade (which is needed to use the Lich King expansion). Fortunately, the World of Warcraft Battle Chest can be had fairly cheaply. It is a fairly good deal-you get the WoW DVD, the Burning Crusade DVD and the two strategy guides for the game and expansion. I got mine for $25 on Amazon, which was well worth it.

Installing everything is fairly straightforward, but I have the following advice.This assumes that you are doing what I did-doing a new install of WoW, BC and WLK.

Begin by installing the original WoW software. Once it is installed, start getting the updates via the Blizzard updater. You do not need to have a paid account to do this. However, you will (obviously) need to create an account in order to be able to play. You’ll probably see numerous error messages popping up that actually do not cause any problems-I saw them and so have some other folks. If the install is going fine, don’t worry about them. The first few updates will be fairly quick and the updater will even begin to download the newer updates in the background. Naturally, each update changes the program-so you will need to manage any firewall or other defensive software you have going. Otherwise, the download will be stopped.

After a few “small” updates, you will soon hit a huge update (more than 2 GB). I started the download and went to sleep-it was supposed to take several hours. If you do this, be sure that your computer is not set to sleep, hibernate or otherwise cease activity (use the power management control panel in Windows). A friend of mine found that after he had left his PC downloading, it had gone to sleep and the download stopped after about 300 MB.

Once the big download is done, you’ll have several more updates to go through, but these will be fairly quick. Interestingly, when I put in my Burning Crusade DVD, the only option was to play BC rather than install it. I infer that the BC files were already installed. Check to make sure that the same is true in your case before moving on to the Lich King.

Before you install the Lich King software, be sure to update your account to the Burning Crusade (if you have not already done so). Go to account management and chose the upgrade option. You’ll need to upgrade again to the Lich King by putting in your Lich King activation code (located on the disk sleeve). You can do this even if your account is still not active (paid).

Put the Lich King DVD in and select the install option. It will install away. Then go through the upgrade process again-this will be fairly quick.

If you are not interested in the Burning Crusade or the Lich King, you can simply play without installing them or upgrading your account. However, you will not have access to the “premium” content (new races, new areas, etc.). Also, the monthly fees are the same whether you stick with just the basic WoW or have both expansion sets installed. You do need both WoW and BC installed to install the Lich King, however.

Once you give Blizzard your money, you’ll be ready to play.

Useful info about Windows XP

Posted in Technology by Michael LaBossiere on August 12, 2008

Because my friend Dave killed his PC, I set up an old Dell as a replacement. The Dell belonged to another friend and it suffered a hard drive failure. I had replaced the hard drive and installed Ubuntu on it as a test platform. Since Dave is not the sort of person who would want to face Ubuntu, I decided to install Windows XP on the Dell. Fortunately, the Dell still had its Windows XP  Home sticker with the product key.  Unfortunately, I did not have any of the disks for the Dell nor (obviously) the restore partition on the hard drive.

Initially I tried using a Windows XP upgrade disk and the Dell’s Windows XP. I didn’t think it would work, but since I didn’t have a full copy of XP on hand, I gave it a shot. So the first piece of useful information is this:

Windows XP Home upgrade disks will not work with the product key from a full version doing the normal install.

Luckily, I had just ordered an OEM Windows XP SP 3 disk from New Egg. I wanted to buy one because Microsoft has decided that XP will no longer be sold to customers (there are some exceptions, such as the EeePC). I tried the OEM disk with the Dell product key and it worked perfectly.  So, the second piece of useful information is this:

OEM Windows XP Home (service pack 3) disks will work with older Windows XP Home product keys-including those of consumer PCs.

Since my PC, like most PCs, didn’t come with an XP disk (or any disks at all-I had to make my own restore DVD) it is good to know that I can use the OEM disk and the PC’s product key.

I also found out that the OEM Windows XP Home disk is not copy protected. I prefer to work with copies of CDs in case something goes wrong.  So, the final piece of useful information is this:

You can copy an OEM WIndows XP disk and it will work just fine.

To recap:

  • Windows XP Home upgrade disks will not work with the product key from a full version doing the normal install.
  • OEM Windows XP Home (service pack 3) disks will work with older Windows XP Home product keys-including those of consumer PCs.
  • You can copy an OEM WIndows XP disk and it will work just fine.

To anticipate some questions:

  • No, I will not make you a copy of my Windows XP disk.
  • No, I will not give you a product key.
  • Last I checked, XP disks are still available at various resellers. But, Microsoft says that this is it for XP (with some exception).
  • If you lost your product key and Windows is still installed, you can recover it with the wonderfully named Magical Jelly Bean Keyfnder. It works great. It will also recover other product keys (such as Office).