Windows

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 Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

58 comments
sonicsteve
sonicsteve

has already said this but for record I believe that WGA anti piracy is a joke that only stops those who want to honest. Many times fixing a persons computer I've had a properly licensed OEM computer fail to activate. Usually it tells me the code is invalid when I'm staring right at the OEM sticker. Then Microsoft gives the song and dance and you have to fight with them for a bit and then back down and give you a new code. OHH but not before they try to tell you call the OEM builder because "they are the ones who must help you". In reality windows anti piracy has failed. They go open source and forget about it. (yes I say that sarcastically)

.Martin.
.Martin.

piraters will find a way around it, so in the end, no difference will be made, apart from those who own a genuine copy...

Sujoyghosh297
Sujoyghosh297

Microsoft uses a singular strategy to gain market share. Not only does it makes its products monopolize the OS\Applications market but always has innovative and non-conventional way of improving its market share. It actually plays a dual game, showing other application developers their efforts to reduce piracy while on the other hand it incorporates Anti-piracy measures which can be easily be hacked and circumvented. The bottom line is even if pirated copies of their OS are distributed and they don't earn one penny on it, it still increases the no of windows users globally. Here strategy is coax the user into buying the original software after the user makes the mistake of using pirated windows copy. The user who initially desires free OS always succumbs to using windows instead of Linux since the former is easy to use, popular and used by his peers and also pirated version is easily available. Here microsoft comes in, lets the user install the pirated copy and then later coaxes the user to buy the geniuine copy which adds revenue from the pirated software user market too. For example, this idea can be ported to their video game console - The XBOX 360. It was launched more than 8 months before Sony's PS3. Although the XBOX360 is secure on the upper layers it was actually kept unsecured at the lowest hypervisor level. Thus the system was Hacked for priacy 3 months later after its launched and it popularity tripled than original figures since nobody required to buy games anymore, you could copy or download them thus drastically reducing the overall long term cost. Microsoft knows human tendency\psychology towards free\no cost software and exploits it. The bottom line here was that to mod an Xbox you would need to buy one first thus increase in sales. PS3 on the other hand has been secured for 3 years straight but being honest is really having it tough in the Game console market. You don't stay market leader by following rules, sometimes you need to bend it with your influence, giving you advantage to remain one.

harryolden
harryolden

I run xp and old wordprocesors, Microsoft says the it is not a legal copy and it prints a banner across the page that it is not legal then I go hunting and find a little file and delete it but leave the key in the redgister and all works fine I dont see why I should buy new software when the old stuff is as good and I do legally own it. and dont want to buy new software that thy say I should.

Rick-J
Rick-J

When MS first introduced activation, they said that piracy was keeping the price of software high, because paying customers were subsidising pirate copies. So did you notice how they reduced the prices of their software once they'd introduced activation? Hogwash! They are in a price war, not with another product because there's no real competition, but with pirates. The higher the price the more tempting it is to get a pirate copy. If they reduce the price you're more likely to buy a real copy (it's the same with music & videos). The harder they can make it to pirate, the more it stacks the odds in their favour. As someone else said - first you get your free/cheap copy, then they make you pay for it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

WGA was even more instrumental in the growth of Linux as a viable desktop alternative than Windows Vista. There are still certainly many people willing to work with the hassles of constantly battling with WGA to keep their Win32/64 installation humming along - and some people are even content to operate with a Windows install that constantly alerts that it is not legitimate and therefore skips updates. I've never, ever, never in my life had a pirated version of Windows on any of my systems, nor would I ever even contemplate such a horrible thing. But my *guess* is that a lot of people would become tired and aggravated at fighting with WGA. In that group, some of them are going to go ahead and pony up the relatively big expense for a retail copy of Windows. The grandmother who has a geek grandson who set her up with a pirated version of XP on a machine he put together from parts, maybe. But the geek grandson - he'll probably move on to Linux. I mean - the truth is, most people who don't have an OEM machine with an OEM install of Windows have a DIY box they assembled from parts. Most people who do this fit a couple of criteria. They're cost conscious. (You get a lot more bang for your buck, in a lot of cases, with a DIY machine). They're nerdy. (Buying a computer and taking it out of a box and hooking up the cables is one thing. Buying pieces of a computer and putting them all together from a bare MB and CPU is another entirely). When push comes to shove and you aggravate these guys enough, they're not going to go drop $100 plus for a legit copy of windows. They may spend some time trying to find an inexpensive gray market copy, or try to recycle an OEM license from a dead machine, or seek an education discount or other cut-rate path to Windows. But a lot of them are simply going to move to Linux. And if they like it, the next machine they make for mom, or grandma, might end up with Linux on it too. Long term, Microsoft may find the cure to their piracy problem more expensive and distasteful than the problem WGA is designed to address.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

fro every copy of Win XP in their business, yet the actual copy installed on their systems is a pirate copy as they found the pirate copy worked faster and didn't crash as often as the legal copies. They have the legal copy and the licence sitting beside each box, in case a software inspection occurs. They did some investigation and found out the reason the pirate copy worked better, is it's based on an early Gold Disc copy of XP and it doesn't have WGA or the routines WGA uses to kill the system. They don't install any of the service packs as they load in WGA and slow the system right down, and kill it at the next set of security updates. So they just ignore the updates and just stay with the original install. They do put a LOT of time and effort into making sure their gateway is damn secure and strong; also, they use an Internet proxy appliance to screen all web sites before the staff can see them. It works for them, but I shudder how open they are to some of the malware out there.

Lacedaemeon
Lacedaemeon

I learned the hard way on XP never to update unless I had cleaned, checked for errors, defragged, AVGed, and blown a shadow copy and full backup. With Vista, SSDD; but now I have two portable external drives for backup and images (I even keep a spare browser (chrome) updated and current data imported in case FF upgrade kills it again.) And, should I have to restore, I always recheck my update default, and only once in a blue moon do I do a a la carte update selection. After many years, I am totally convinced that Windows update intentionally crashes. On the other hand, I'm not so sure about space aliens visiting earth (although I still have doubts regarding Rahm Emmanuel and Chris Dodd.)

khaledhady
khaledhady

Well Microsoft let their software especially Windows be pirated because if not no one will use Windows and alternatives like Linux would show up and take the market, I think Microsoft just tries to "control" piracy not to prevent it.

gak
gak

Do you remember a Vista SP that killed some but not all activation hacks? Hack authors commented in the Net that hacks that were allowed to work were basically the same as those that were killed and they did not understand what was going on. After that there was a comment from MS that they at least want to be sure that those who hack Vista know what they are doing. Put another way, competent users are allowed to use Windows for free. In yet another way, if one can use Linux then Windows is offered for free. And isn't the gratis activation period mean "OK, you may continue to use Linux if you as that smart, but do not forget you can have free and legal Windows in a VM"?

taylorstan
taylorstan

As long as people are using their software they are content. They get plenty of revenue from OEM builders and the private sales to offset the amount of pirated software out there. Really think about it, WGA...to get around it was as simple as copying files from a legit source. Is that a true fight against the pirates? I think not. Truth be told, most people that have pirated software are fed up with pay good money for terrible software. Microsoft's programs are so buggy from the release that it's almost a year before the features you bought the program for work right. Same with games, they come out, then are so full of bugs that you have to wait for a patch to fix them. They got your money, so what's to make them care how long it takes before it's fixed. Rush to market so we can make this quarter's numbers look good. That's what it's all about. People wouldn't mind lumping down 100 bucks for a game, or 250 bucks for Windows, if I knew that it was going to work correctly from the install.

jlambert
jlambert

Suppose Someone has a windows XP machine with registered validated installation and this computer is used to repair other computers. Like testing Hard Drives or running virus scan or many other things that are easier to do by connecting to other machine. Microsoft asks for this machine to be reactivated every few weeks and then says it has exceeded the number of activations allowed. Thats a rip off.

Ocie3
Ocie3

to be reinstalled several times before the user must contact them for permission to reinstall their "genuine" instance of it from the Microsoft CD-ROM. The person who answers the toll-free telephone call asks some questions, and decides whether to give the caller a license key which the caller can use to continue the installation. I found that out when I had to completely nuke the HDD, then reinstall Windows XP, and everything else, from the original CD-ROM or from a "fresh" download -- for the fifth ( -?-) time. I had already reinstalled Windows XP at least twice before, when a real-time hacker seized control of the router and used it as the basis for invading my computer, attempting to get control of it as well. When I bought the computer, the vendor offered (1) for no charge, Windows 2000 already installed, without an installation CD-ROM for the OS; or (2) for $100.00, Windows XP Home Edition on a Microsoft "retail CD-ROM" (which actually turned out to be an "OEM" version with SP1A slipstreamed); or (3) for $150.00, Windows XP Pro on a Microsoft "retail CD-ROM" (probably an OEM version with SP1A, too). I took option #2, but in retrospect should have spent the additional $50 for #3.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Through MSDN, Partner and other programs. If you're in business, they don't think you should be using a retail license designed to be installed on a single, end-user, consumer PC in order to perform troubleshooting and repair. This seems reasonable enough. You may not like the fact that Microsoft is effectively creating a business program where you're going to have to take on increased business expense in order to perform your duties in a legally licensed, legitimate way, but Microsoft isn't ALONE in this kind of practice. And there are alternatives, and always have been. Winternals, (I know Microsoft bought them out and closed them down), and various Linux boot CD distros. Heck, a copy of W2k (pro or server) doesn't have WGA, and it should work in most cases for a test-rig used in the scenario you describe. XP, Vista and 7 are maybe not the best solutions, especially retail versions, for the situation you describe.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

because I'd changed graphics cards and hard drives so often that MS kept crashing my system due to WGA showing it was a pirate, after the fourth long call to Microsoft Australia to get authorised over the phone, I switched to Linux and haven't looked back. The only stuff I need Windows for is to run games on the old box I've rebuilt in Win 98 as I don't do the Internet monthly rental game thing, just older ones off hard drive or CD.

kpbarry
kpbarry

If Microsoft can end the pirating of Windows, then everyone will be better off. They will make more money off of increased sales while at the same time driving more users and mind share to free open source operating systems. If the market eventually demands open standards, Microsoft can easily adjust if they want to. They will lose control, but they don't have to lose money. If the market tolerates vendor lock-in right on, then that will work for them too, but it is almost a guarantee that they will lose some market share, which may be enough to reach a tipping point for software being developed for other platforms.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

it wants vendor lock in. If Microsoft weren't so predatory and having to spend billions on legal fees, court fines, and compensation they could easily cut back on the retail charge for Windows, after all, they do sell to Dell etc for about 20% of the retail price, and still make a profit. If the legal price was low enough, the pirates couldn't make any money out of making pirate copies, and that would end piracy.

dougogd
dougogd

If you saw the way it worked then you would know that. In the us anyway. I have come across different websites that had pirated software on them they don't charge a penny. every thing is free according to what you see. the don't charge for downloads either. But thankfully i don't have to worry about that. I have already bought all of the software i want. Everything new has activation and would not taint my computer with that anyway.

Lacedaemeon
Lacedaemeon

Buying pirated software off websites is too small time for the real pirates; they take the time to copy real packaging, and slip them into legitimate shipments and remove the real ones. The stolen real ones get resold as well, but by slipping in a small no. of copies into large retail shipments, they make the serious cash. You'll never see the heavy-hitter pirate copies coming, you'll get them from a reliable retailer who doesn't know which one was pirated.

rambo919
rambo919

The kind that profiteers and the kind that just shares because he feels like sharing. Anywhere along the chain of sharing anyone can start to try and profiteer, in the end it comes down to the individual's personal value system.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

very nice profit for the pirate. What happens is some other enterprising soul takes the pirate copy they bought and puts it up on a web site for sharing software etc - and voila, you have generally available pirate software. Meanwhile, the original pirate is still selling pirate copies on CD/DVD for about $5 to $20 a copy in malls etc. to people who don't know how to find the copies on the Internet. Not everything new has an activation that requires Internet access, some don't have any, just put the disc in and use, while others just require you to enter the code on the disc, and others require you to visit their web site and get it activated.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You can download copies that you can fully ativate and upfate through pirate copy wevsites anyway. Someone will just jack it again. The alternate to such copes is that the updates are also provided on pirate sites. Not sure how they are going to circumvent people who simply wont buy a copy. As for the warning you mentioned, I've never seen it and I use licenced copies unless testing betas etc.

cressean
cressean

It will probably decrease piracy, but many of the world's users can't afford MS's big price tag. I'd be interested in your opinion on an alternative. What would be the outcome of those same users discovering Ubuntu's latest offering? Could this reduce MS's problem and the proliferation of malware at the same time? I was forced to use Ubuntu to replace a sick Vista OS when backup disk and inexpensive replacement options did not exist. I was quite impressed, but I admit my usage is narrow and my knowledge limited. Would you venture an opinion on how those two Os's compare? Thank you.

otaku_lord
otaku_lord

how else can I play FEAR2 or FALLOUT3? Can those port to Ubuntu or any other distro of LINUX?

j-mart
j-mart

The market has decided you are required to use Microsoft OS's, Purchasing the OS and game software is required if this is what you wish to use your computer for.

dcolbert
dcolbert

You could dump PC gaming and go with a console, which is what the majority of modern gamers seem to be doing. Other than FPSers, almost all other gaming benefits from console I/O controls. Ever since the days of sound cards with built in gaming ports, hooking up a control device to the PC has been hit and miss. A lot of PC guys will talk about how much more "customizable" the experience is on a PC. I think this is one of the pitfalls. GTA IV is where this first occured to me. You pick up an XBox copy of GTA, and you read the manual, and the buttons are configured in a very logical way out of the box. No need to remap keys - because the designer has heavily play-tested the game and found what works best for the majority of players. On a PC, because it doesn't know what kind of controller you're going to plug in, it doesn't have any real standards. Worse, some combinations just may not work, even if they make sense to the player - because of the way that game I/O was added as an afterthought to PC gaming. You introduce all these hassles into the gaming experience. This is after you've dealt with all the issues that mean that the PC game won't start up. You read the little trouble-shooting insert, update to the latest graphic drivers, 3D accellerator drivers, graphic subsystem drivers, tweak a few config settings, and man, even though you've got dual-GPUs and a screaming quad-core, you still can't go above 1024x768 on your 24" wide screen... how aggravating. Meanwhile, the console gamer is already on the first boss encounter. :) I suppose if I was still a real hardcore gamer and FPS games were my first choice, I might still look to PCs for gaming. But as a semi-casual gamer at this point, a console is just so much easier, while delivering a passably close experience. Online gaming is often "free" on PCs, I hear that argument too... especially as an XBox360 owner. Well, I'd rather pay for Live than go into the typical "Free For All" that is free online PC gaming. In this case, you get what you pay for, as far as the company you get to keep, between free online gaming and paid online gaming. There are certainly trolls and annoying players, even on paid services - but they're far less of a problem. The Games for Windows initative kind of fizzled, after all. I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way. The problem is that Linux itself, even Ubuntu, simply isn't very nice as an OS once you get past the Compiz Cube. It is OK... it'll get you there, kind of the same way an entry level Korean car will get you there. But next to OS X or Windows 7... it looks pretty basic.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

allow you to run Windows games and apps in Linux. Cedega specialises in making Windows games run in Linux.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

P2P websites are full of nix users who run Windows in order to play certain games. So far, all copies and comments I've seen are fullly updatable too, they never have reactivation nags. Mind you, neither do I and I run a licenced copy.

Toni_Gonc
Toni_Gonc

It does keep the more innocent from temptation.

dougogd
dougogd

I will explain how the pirated operating systems work... I do a fresh install done. no activation no nothing. Granted i might not be able to update but who cares I might not be able to update using legal software so how does activation help? people get irritated by not being able to activate their legal software so the download a copy that doesn't need activation. I personally don't need to worry about it since my software was preactivated by lenovo. so if my computer crashes i just reinstall the backup. which is pre activated.

j-mart
j-mart

I Feel, if not an impossible to win war on pirated software, the pirates seem to have had no problems in the past catching up with whatever protection Microsoft comes up with fairly quickly. As Microsoft adds anti-pirating measures that are becoming more and more part of the OS, what scares me is that these measures are adding more "features" that the malware creators will be able to use. With excellent open source free software available why bother with bent copies of Microsoft products. If you need a MS only application, the cost of the software, must be able to be funded from the income it will generate. if the numbers don't stack up you are only fooling yourself.

windowsmt60
windowsmt60

Those that are guilty of piracy are often the ones that have used, developed or search for workarounds (DLL replacements, etc...) for the software that allow you to bypass activation. These days, in my opinion the personal piracy by individuals is reduced somewhat by the high availability of open-source alternatives. For instance, most people with access to a high speed internet connection would rather use OpenOffice instead of dealing with the piracy issues, viruses and rootkits that are associated so often with pirated software. There is of course a niche of products to which there is no alternative, and these will continue to be pirated, right or wrong. As far as operating systems, Linux, Ubuntu, etc... are gaining ground, but until the cross platform barrier is TRULY broken, there will continue to be operating system piracy... The alternative, myself, I buy a Technet subscription... Problem resolved. Access to all the software and applicable license keys. It functions, it activates, and it is completely legal. A technet sub costs about $349, about the same cost as Office Pro, and you get the OS, Servers, Office, and any applications you require. No need to pirate. For under a dollar a day, why risk the damage to your system from root kits, viruses, and piracy issues?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

went to great trouble to restate it with Win 95. The reason Microsoft and Apple need their own versions of things and drivers is they do NOT use the industry standard command sets established back in the early 1990s.

Lacedaemeon
Lacedaemeon

I started open-sourcing when I bought a new computer and of course needed word (most courts require it for online filings), but a friend who had just gotten the version I needed showed me the posted complaints. I decided to try OpenOffice, and once you get the hang of it, it's wonderful. (I was the only one using it for a long time, but my friends soon discovered the joys of converting formats, so I got very good at the tweaks.) Even the powerpoint is good. Since then, I've gone to OS pims, databases, paint.net, utilities, all with great results - I'd never go back to Windows. I guess next computer I may do a dual Linux/ubuntu and Windows installation, like the rest of the world.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

On whether "one activation is enough" or "re-activate necessary after significant change" (a-la WGA and Office) Once, OK it probably helps somewhat. After software is installed and validated, I shouldn't need to re-activate simply because I added a hard drive or memory. That becomes something like computer terrorism - willfully and deliberately installing something that will disable legitimate software. Supposedly that's illegal, but some (big) companies just do what they want.

arthurborges
arthurborges

I've been told pirate copies of Windows 7 on sale in Zhengzhou, China crash pretty quickly. So far, at least.

Lacedaemeon
Lacedaemeon

This is extremely common with mass produced pirated copies, which keeps specialized attorneys very busy. A 3dWd firm can blow off 10,000 copies of a dvd or program, so close they are almost identical in packaging and content to the original, but the poor reproduction will fall apart fairly quickly, only slightly slower than the speed at which the piratefirm disappears from the scope. Some of these copies do end up at American retailers, folks, which you may find out someday. On the other hand, a first-gen copy blown off a reliable clean computer system, once 'washed', is fairly reliable, although still illegal. I think most IT-literate folks like me 'wash' all software before installation, even the stuff that is bought from "reliable" retailers. Only takes a few minutes to avoid a whole host of problems.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Microsoft website for updates. Give them time, they'll get around that.

dougogd
dougogd

I have seen the files that are sent by the wga program why do they need credit card numbers and names and address of everyone you know. Sorry I don't just trust what i am told I verify what is actually going on.

Ocie3
Ocie3

Whom do you mean by "they" and "them", the pirates or Microsoft, or both? It has been a long time since I discovered any evidence that MS was probably collecting data from my computer. It became apparent to many other people that MS was doing something that came to be known by the title "baytest1", which was the name of web site to which MS software was connecting without our explict knowledge and consent. Just use "baytest1" as a search term with Google and you can still find posts on the subject. Then again, every svchost.exe process has the capability to connect to another computer [i]via[/i] the Internet and, essentially, [i]demands[/i] that it be allowed to make such a connection if and when it wants one -- as is usually the case with at least one of those processes. Often there are so many svchost.exe sub-processes, any one or more of them could be malware masquerading as a Windows OS component and who would ever know they are not? I have forgotten how many Windows services, that are "essential" and run every time that the system boots, have the capability to connect to another computer [i]via[/i] the Internet, but it was at least nine, including explorer.exe. Use Windows Media Player and it sends TCP packets to at least two other computers, and sometimes as many as eighteen other computers. But no doubt this is not news to you, is it?

dougogd
dougogd

They include so much spyware on their own anyway they know exactly what you are doing with your computer every minute of everyday. If you don't believe that go through the files that are sent to them and see what is sent then you will know.

Ocie3
Ocie3

effective and widely available, why are they so obviously [b]not[/b] being used by the people whose computers are running pirated Windows XP and subsequent?? Yes, I've read about KB971033 (although my computer still runs Windows XP). Can't say that I like the MS plan, insofar as there is no apparent reason for automatically validating the OS every 90 days. It is already validated at the start of every update. So people who have installations of pirated Windows 7 are likely to be warned to not update the OS, or told that it is not necessary for any reason. It seems quite likely that there is a significant risk that innocent people will be harmed by Microsoft's Windows 7 validation scheme, as it stands. Of course, the "update" that installs it is voluntary, but it won't be long before Microsoft makes it mandatory.

pgit
pgit

That's horrible. But I can't be surprised any more with how low MS can get. We have a local shop being sued by MS for selling pirated systems. The proprietor was the director of the local cooperative education system's computer science program, and lifted the open ended licenses the program had to sell through his store. He's still standing after 5 years, so maybe his brazen public pronouncement that he would win because he had "a lot of good lawyers" has merit. So here's an open and shut case of real piracy, and the fellow still walks and reaps financial reward. MS killing or financially impacting legit businesses is just another nail in the coffin in which right and wrong is slowly being buried... thank you Microsoft.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

it also sent a lot of smaller Official Microsoft Partners into bankruptcy- following the instructions they got from Microsoft to use a Master disc they were sent to install XP on a lot of machines in roll outs and sales through their business, and just attach a serial number sticker to the machine. The businesses validated the systems with Microsoft through their own networks, and all was well. BUT, once the systems had to revalidate through the WGA from the various client sites, Microsoft crashed them as being pirate systems as they were NOT on the business network they were originally validated from or for. People went back and bitched and complained, lodged complaints etc. By the time the dust settled, the business had to fork out the cost of new XP licences out of their own pocket in order to keep the clients happy and stay out of court. However, for many, the costs involved and the loss of trust and business was the death knell for their business. They'd have actually done better if they had been selling real pirate software, as it was missing the shut down trigger that WGA activated to kill your system.

gak
gak

Pirated Windows is better than legal. At least I know what to do to keep it activated and do not ask myself things like "may I upgrade this?". MS promises but does not guarantee that I will be equally safe with a boxed Windows, but that doubles the price of a budget PC.

DNSB
DNSB

From what I've seen quite a few of the hacks to disable and/or workaround WGA on Windows XP are easily available and work well. Just make damn sure you scan the downloads with one of the online multiple vendor virus scanners since close to 60% of the ones I looked at came complete with free extras in the form of malware. As for Windows 7, again, a good selection of the hacks I've looked at have been quite successful which is why Microsoft is implementing changes in detecting hacked systems. You have read the information on just what the update in KB971033 does? As for the motivation? Money? Bragging rights? Maybe even a chunk of thumbing your nose at "The Man".

Ocie3
Ocie3

and have failed to find a way to update installations of pirated [b]Windows XP[/b]!! Why else would there be, at last report, about eight million computers in Asia that are infected with the Conficker worm?? They cannot update their pirated copies of Windows XP with the patch that prevents Conficker from invading their computers, or run the MS Malicious Software Removal Tool to evict Conficker from their systems. How much time do you want to give "them" to "find a way around it"?? And what motivation would the pirates have to bother with doing that, anyway??

pgit
pgit

When "genuine advantage" first came out my phone rang off the hook. It was a splendid opportunity to move people into Linux, which I did to a moderate degree. Some people bit the bullet and bought a new machine (of course with a valid OS) and a couple took their machines back to the bat cave and I haven't heard from most since.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

must do something, as it kills a lot of legal copies as well.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It will update just fine.

Lacedaemeon
Lacedaemeon

but even if you buy brand name from known retailers, you run a significant risk of getting pirated goods. The ability to accurately copy the packaging to avoid detection allows them to slip pirated copies in with the real ones on the way to the retailer. You may never find out unless the software fails and you try to return it. This is at all uncommon. Most common; popular games, popular programs (eg W7), expensive personal databases, etc. Where there is a sale, there's a pirated copy.

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