Windows Server 2003 registration key is leaked

Windows Server 2003 has yet to be officially launched, but a registration key to install Microsoft Corp.'s new server operating system has already been posted online.

The volume license key allows installation of Windows Server 2003 on multiple systems without the activation process required for single licenses. Volume license keys are meant for corporate users. A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that a volume license key had been leaked to the Internet and said the company was investigating the situation.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, is trying to determine whether the key was leaked from within Microsoft or by a customer of the company. "We're still in the investigative stages," the spokeswoman said.

Along with the key, several copies of Windows Server 2003 have been illegally posted on the Web for download. The software will be officially released on April 24.

It is not unusual for a registration key to leak online. There are hundreds of Web sites that offer registration keys, key generators and software cracks, which is software with copyright protections disabled, for just about any software application.

With the release of its Office XP and Windows XP products, Microsoft instituted a product activation feature that was designed to thwart software piracy.

The Microsoft technology requires all users to "activate" their copy of Windows XP soon after they purchase it. This process "locks" a product identification number assigned to each copy of Windows XP to the PC it is installed on. Various information from the machine on which XP is installed are collected and used to generate a unique activation code based on the machine's configuration.

Because no activation is required for customers with a volume license key, however, Microsoft can't remotely disable the key, the spokeswoman said. She could not comment on whether there is a ceiling to the number of Windows Server 2003 copies that can be created with a volume license key.

However, the company can stop customers using the key from receiving future updates and service packs and exclude systems using the key from software updates, which are essential to keep the system secure, the spokeswoman said.

She declined to say whether the license key would be used to identify and block rogue Windows Server 2003 installations or whether some other method would be used.

Despite the existence of a free volume license key, comments posted in an online discussion forum on the Windows enthusiast site Neowin indicated that a lack of access to future software updates means that average users probably won't be interested in playing around with a server operating system.

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.

Joris Evers and Paul Roberts

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?