Microsoft

Poll: Does the activation process really decrease piracy?

Poll: Does the Microsoft Activation process to determine "Genuine" copies of Windows really reduce software piracy?

If you have been using the Microsoft Windows operating system after 2006 and you have been allowing updates (please tell me that you have been updating your operating system), you have probably been asked to activate and validate your copy of Windows as "genuine."

For most of us, this is a minor annoyance that we allow to occur and then move on with whatever it is we have to do.

In a recent blog post on TechRepublic sister-site ZDNet, Ed Bott reports that a new version of the activation application is to be released by the end of February 2010. The blog post, "Windows 7 Activation Update Aims at High-Volume Pirates," explains that the update will include "the addition of new code designed to detect common hacks that allow pirated software to circumvent Windows activation."

He goes on to explain:

"The new update uses signatures similar to those included with antivirus programs to identify exploits and automatically updates itself every 90 days. When it detects that the core licensing files used in Windows have been tampered with or disabled, the update tries to repair those files (or, to put it another way, it disabled the activation hack)."

Question

The basic idea is that applications like this will help prevent the selling of pirated software to unwitting consumers. The "Genuine" activation process will let these unwitting people know that they have been sold a pirated copy and presumably that they will want to correct their mistake. But I wonder: does it really work like that? What do you think? Does the Microsoft Activation process to determine "Genuine" copies of Windows really reduce software piracy?

About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

Editor's Picks