Vista pirates safe from darkness, for now

Piracy cat and mouse continues

Microsoft has denied it has switched on an anti-piracy measure in Windows Vista that would result in a "black screen of darkness" for unlicensed OEM copies of the operating system but the software giant did not rule out turning it on in the future.

According to a leaked e-mail from a local Microsoft OEM partner, the strict Vista anti-piracy measure, known internally as "Reduced Functionality" would be enabled this week leaving pirated copies without a start menu, task bar, desktop, and only one hour of Internet browsing before the screen turned black.

Responding to the Computerworld report, a Microsoft spokesperson said the information received was inaccurate and Microsoft has not deployed the update that includes reduced functionality mode in non-validated copies of Windows Vista this week.

That said, the spokesperson indicated the anti-piracy measure is still on its way in the form of a Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) update.

"An announcement regarding the timing of this update will be made when appropriate," the spokesperson said.

According to Microsoft, the new "Software Protection Platform" built into Windows Vista detects non-genuine versions and disables "valuable enhanced features".

Nothing new, reduced functionality has been a part of the initial Windows XP product activation process for retail and OEM installations.

"As with Windows XP, after initial installation and the conclusion of the 30-day grace period, product activation will be required for Windows Vista," the spokesperson said. "If a system fails to activate, it will go into a reduced functionality mode."

So software pirates are safe for now until WGA arrives on the Vista scene which will begin the black screen of darkness paradigm.

The spokesperson said every year, Microsoft, its partners, and consumers "lose billions of dollars to software piracy", and the company is committed to helping protect consumers and software resellers from the "fraud and abuse" associated with counterfeit software and other forms of software piracy.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?