I got a nasty surprise this morning when every machine on my LAN started reporting that every installed application was infected. I traced the problem to the machine that I use as my DAW and video editing work. It is connected to the Internet, only because NI pretty much requires it for authorization.
The virus (identified as "unknown") was apparently located in a folder named c:\Documents and Settings\user1\Local Settings\temp\Patcher\Patcher 2580\Staging Area\. The user name may be different on your machine. Windows XP Pro normally hides this folder, so you have to make it visible in Windows Explorer. (It may be different on VISTA or other versions of Windows.) I had to find and delete it myself because my antivirus application (NOD32) -- which was the highest rated (and most expensive) available at the time of purchase -- choked when it go to this entry. Froze up and wouldn't let me shut down the machine (except by literally pulling the plug.)
It removed the infected files (executables and dlls for Kontakt2, NI Akoustic Piano, Kontakt Player 2, and several others). I have had to reinstall everything from scratch because NI's installation programs won't replace the single infected executible in each that was removed. I am now having to deal with NI's maddening and infuritating re-authorization process (but for which this machine would not have been on the Internet and gotten infected in the first place). The NI Service Center, as always, tells me there is an update available, but hangs 99% of the way through the process and never finishes downloading or installing the update. If I elect not to update, it goes ahead and tries to install it anyway, while I sit there and watch the progress bar for 20 minutes. After it has made one attempt, I can usually abort subsequent ones. Once I get in there to authorize the NI software, I get messages telling me that it is all ready authorized. But, of course, ithe NI applications say the opposite and won't let me start them. Round and round we go until something kicks in and it lets me in -- at least that's the way it has been in the past -- not there yet, this time.
So basically nothing is working and I am spending my day trying to convince NI's authorization software that I am a legall licenced to use it and pleading with them to let me use the software that I have all ready purchased and have been using for several years. All they have to do is look at their billing records -- or the first time I authorized this stuff -- and then unlock it, permanently, so I can use what I paid for.
I know I have said this before, but I think here is a case where a boycott would work. NI should not only come up with a more reasonable authorization scheme, but a patch that no longer allows my existing purchases to be crippled by their lack of expertise in designing an authorization scheme. And, regardless of whatever other users do, this absolutely the end for me with NI. Never, never, never again will I purchase anything made by this company. And for developers who develop libaries that depend on Kontakt to run, I would strongly urge you to start developing for ARIA or another platform that does not treat end users like this. It just generates so much bad will and it so discouraging that I at this point I don't care WHAT their sampler sounds like or WHAT it can do. Nothing is worth going through this madness every time Windows has problem -- and it certainly wasn't worth infecting all my other computers with a virus and cripling my ability to conduct business for the better part of a day. This latest fiasco has cost me more in lost revenue than everything I've spent on NI products to date.
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When I try to start any NI application, I get an error message saying that I have to use the registration tool in the application folder. When I use it, it goes to a web page, saything that I have to use the update center.
When I use the update center, I still see the behavior mentioned above (it tells me that I am all ready registered) and no button, link or command on the update center will allow me to change it.
So I am completely and utterly disabled here -- not able to use any NI application, nor any of my Kontakt instruments. Garritian, Kirk Hunter, Westgate, Dan Dean, et. al -- are you listening? The sample libraries that I puchased from you are going unused because of this same authorization problem that I first reported to NI years ago.