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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?