Microsoft updates Vista in latest piracy crackdown

Microsoft has released an update to Windows Vista to prevent workarounds to its product activation system

Microsoft Thursday released an update to Windows Vista that will shut down unauthorized versions of the OS that allow users to skip the product's activation system.

The move comes as pirated copies of Vista are already making the rounds, mere weeks after the product was released to business customers.

The update, which Microsoft has dubbed "frankenbuild," detects tampering of Windows Vista code that would allow users of the OS to work around the product's built-in activation system, which requires users to validate their copy of Vista with a product activation key to use the full version of the product after 30 days.

Frankenbuild mixes files from various test and final versions of the software. It will require only systems in which it detects specific tampering to go through a validation check for authenticity, according to a posting on the Windows Genuine Advantage blog.

If a version of Vista that has used a workaround to avoid product activation is detected, a user of that software will have 30 days before the OS goes into a reduced functionality mode, Microsoft said. In this mode, all users can do is access their existing files and surf the Web for an hour before having to log back on to the software.

The pirating of Windows has been a perennial problem for Microsoft, particularly in developing countries. The company began coming down hard against piracy last year with a widely criticized system it called Windows Genuine Advantage, which initially required users to validate their copies of Windows if they wanted to use Microsoft's update services.

Microsoft took its antipiracy campaign one step further with Vista by building the validation system directly into the OS. This system requires a Windows Vista user to validate the software through a product activation key within 30 days of using the OS to avoid having the software go into reduced functionality mode.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?