Black screen of darkness to haunt Vista pirates

Buy the software or suffer the consequences

Microsoft Windows' infamous "Blue Screen of Death" has become synonymous with an operating system crash or freeze, but that's nothing compared with what users of pirated copies of Vista worldwide can expect from now - a black screen of darkness.

In an e-mail to a large Windows Vista OEM distributor titled "Pirated Vista - A darkness descends!", a local Microsoft representative made it quite clear what Vista pirates can expect to happen to their unlicensed installations.

A copy of this e-mail was obtained by Computerworld.

"Good Afternoon, As of this week, Microsoft have activated a function in Vista called 'Reduced Functionality'. This is a specific function in Vista which effectively disables non genuine copies of Windows. Therefore, anyone who has a pirated copy of Vista will experience:

A black screen after 1 hour of browsing
No start menu or task bar
No desktop

Please communicate this anti-piracy initiative from Microsoft to your resellers - note this function has only just been activated in Vista worldwide and therefore any issues with non genuine versions will start to arise from now onwards."


Microsoft's new tough anit-piracy move also proves the company still controls its software releases with an iron fist, but it marks the first global use of heavy-handed tactics for pirated copies of Windows.

The e-mail message also included what resembled an advertisement of the new anti-piracy initiative.

Titled "Don't let this happen to your customers", the advertisement indicates non-genuine copies of Windows Vista will lose access to key features, have limited access to updates, and thus risk attack from viruses, malware, and spyware.

"If Windows Vista is not activated with a genuine product key, your customers will experience reduced functionality," according to the ad. "The blocking of non-genuine product keys is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. To help protect honest partners and fight piracy, Microsoft will continue to block product keys that are determined to be pirated, stolen or otherwise deemed non-genuine."

The ad concludes with "Don't risk it!" and "make sure your customers always get genuine Windows Vista preinstalled".

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.

Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?