Microsoft on Monday said that piracy rates for Windows Vista are half those of Windows XP.

There appears to be a variety of reasons for that, chief among them is probably the fact that Vista machines that are not properly activated become useless pretty quickly when they enter into “reduced functionality mode.”

Amazingly, in a significant change, those with non-genuine or non-activated copies of Vista SP1 will still be able to use their systems.

According to CNET

With Service Pack 1, Microsoft is doing away with reduced functionality mode in favor of putting prominent notifications on systems that are not found to be genuine. Non-genuine systems with SP1 will display a warning at start-up that the system is not properly activated.

Users will have the option to “activate now” or “activate later,” though the second option won’t show up for a time. Users will also have their desktop background changed to white and a prominent notification placed in the lower right hand corner saying that the machine is not genuine.

I don’t know about you, but harder to pirate none withstanding, the first thought that comes to my cynical mind goes along the line of “Even the pirates can’t be bothered with Vista!”

And as to why Microsoft is making it easier is probably due to pressure from irate users who are wrongly locked out of their own system due to things like device driver upgrades.

And the final puzzle I shall leave you with is — just how did Microsoft figure out the piracy rate anyway? Via Windows update perhaps?


Stay on top of the latest tech news

Get this news story and many more by subscribing to our free IT News Digest newsletter, delivered each weekday. Automatically sign up today!