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Microsoft Pushing Patch to Snuff Out Win 7 Pirates

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 64 comments

Shiver me (Aero Peek) timbers!

Although Microsoft has gone to further lengths than ever to ensure that as many Windows 7 users as possible are using genuine copies of the software, there always will be those pirates who find ways around the system and illegally profit from the sale of copyright infringing software.

To combat this, Microsoft will soon be rolling out a new update for Windows Activation Technologies which will detect more than 70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits.

Microsoft detailed the pending update on the Windows Team Blog, and warns that "Searching for, downloading, or installing activation exploits or counterfeit software on the Internet is risky, because sites that advertise these pirated products often contain malware, viruses, and Trojans, which are found bundled with or directly built into the activation exploit or counterfeit software."  

The update will be rolled out next week to users of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions. It will also appear on Windows Update as an Important one at the end of this month.

Microsoft also points out that this update is completely voluntary and users can decline the update when it appears. Of course, if a hack or exploit is found, Windows 7 will alert the user by removing the desktop background and pop up periodic reminders of just how non-genuine it is feeling.

Joe Williams, general manager of Genuine Windows, wrote:

Once installed, the Update protects customers by identifying known activation exploits that may affect their PC experience. If any activation exploits are found, Windows will alert the customer and offer options for resolving the issue – in many cases, with just a few clicks. Machines running genuine Windows 7 software with no activation exploits will see nothing – the update runs quietly in the background protecting your system. If Windows 7 is non-genuine, the notifications built into Windows 7 will inform the customer that Windows is not genuine by displaying informational dialog boxes with options for the customer to either get more information, or acquire genuine Windows. The desktop wallpaper will be switched to a plain desktop (all of the customer’s desktop icons, gadgets, or pinned applications stay in place). Periodic reminders and a persistent desktop watermark act as further alerts to the customer.

It is important to know that the customer will see no reduced functionality in their copy of Windows – a customer’s applications work as expected, and access to personal information is unchanged. The Update will run periodic validations (initially every 90 days). During validation, Windows will download the latest ‘signatures’ that are used to identify new activation exploits – much like an anti-virus service. When tampering, disabling, or missing licensing files are discovered, the WAT Update runs a check and repair weekly to ensure that the licensing files are properly repaired. 

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  • 23 Hide
    tat2demon , February 11, 2010 10:02 PM
    Eh, it'll work for a week, then someone will find another crack. The never ending cycle. Sometimes you have to wonder if its worth the trouble of trying to beat the hackers.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    tat2demon , February 11, 2010 10:02 PM
    Eh, it'll work for a week, then someone will find another crack. The never ending cycle. Sometimes you have to wonder if its worth the trouble of trying to beat the hackers.
  • 5 Hide
    ubernoobie , February 11, 2010 10:06 PM
    I just wish people actually buy windows 7, It's actually worth buying since performance of xp with interface of vista
  • 2 Hide
    cadder , February 11, 2010 10:06 PM
    Is there a reason that a legitimate user would want to decline the update?
  • -3 Hide
    toxxel , February 11, 2010 10:08 PM
    Does this mean people doing a full install with "upgrade version" changing a registry key to activate with no error will now have problems? Or is this only for cracked versions of windows to get around activation and or spoofing it?
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , February 11, 2010 10:13 PM
    I'm sure it will hinder pirates and hackers for a few days, but for the rest of us it's another useless resource sucking update. Stop inconveniencing paying users Microsoft.
  • -5 Hide
    number13 , February 11, 2010 10:16 PM
    MSFT not making enough money, should have given 7 to everyone that got sucked into buying Vista, like tat2demon says:The never ending cycle, we the consumers get shafted again, look at what DRM has done for us, MSFT sells music and makes a bunch of cash and then shuts down the servers, games that use SecureRom, limited installs and playing issues, notice it is the legit consumer that is burdend with this crap, there is a NOCD patch for games to ease the problems, the never ending story
  • 0 Hide
    Core2uu , February 11, 2010 10:16 PM
    cadderIs there a reason that a legitimate user would want to decline the update?

    Why would there be? Even if you install it and you have a pirated copy of Windows, it doesn't actually do anything other than make your desktop background blue and tell you that it is non-genuine. You keep full functionality otherwise.
  • -4 Hide
    nforce4max , February 11, 2010 10:21 PM
    The empire strikes back.
  • 6 Hide
    ben850 , February 11, 2010 10:29 PM
    i bought XP cause it was revolutionary compaired to ME that i was coming from, and i will soon buy OEM 7 when i build my new gaming pc.

    For now i am on my bought XP Pro cause win7 beta is running out soon :) 
  • -5 Hide
    ordcestus , February 11, 2010 10:44 PM
    Core2uuWhy would there be? Even if you install it and you have a pirated copy of Windows, it doesn't actually do anything other than make your desktop background blue and tell you that it is non-genuine. You keep full functionality otherwise.


    yeah but it would still be annoying and no doubt this will also install framework where they can shut you down remotely or add an automatic shutdown every 2 hours or something like that
  • 3 Hide
    Core2uu , February 11, 2010 10:56 PM
    ordcestusyeah but it would still be annoying and no doubt this will also install framework where they can shut you down remotely or add an automatic shutdown every 2 hours or something like that


    Why do you even care? If you have a legitimate copy of Windows you don't have to worry about it anyways and if it bothers you that much you can just reject to install it. Microsoft isn't trying to shove it down your throat; it's completely optional.
  • 5 Hide
    doc70 , February 11, 2010 11:02 PM
    Once it validated your copy as legit, why does it need to run again afterward? After all, if your copy was validated as genuine, why would you want to run any activation exploits on your legit installation? The reason does not stand any logic, that's why I suspect ulterior motives in pushing this update. And that's why I will avoid it, even though my installation is genuine. I don't like sneaky stuff. MS has to give us the real reason why this app will continue to "phone home" long after it's purpose has been accomplished.
  • 0 Hide
    victomofreality , February 11, 2010 11:04 PM
    It actually removes 0 functionality even the background can be changed back to whatever you had before. The only thing that can;t be removed is the "this copy of windows is not genuine". This happened to my budy over a month ago and he's still getting updates.
  • 4 Hide
    Silicon Jesus , February 11, 2010 11:09 PM
    cadderIs there a reason that a legitimate user would want to decline the update?


    I don't see the reason why a legitimate user would want to accept the update. It sounds like something that would do nothing for me except use resources. Even if the resource usage was small, what's the point?
  • -5 Hide
    Ciuy , February 11, 2010 11:18 PM
    i give it 2 days ... and bang a brand new "hack"
  • -3 Hide
    dmwright , February 11, 2010 11:24 PM
    As pointed out earlier, a legitamate user would have no worries downloading the update, while those using exploits would in the end be the only ones downloading all other updates except that specific one. Quite interesting as Windows will have a rough count of the number of legal/illegal copies of windows on the market. But, in the end I'm guessing this focuses on the internet cafe's and such that use illegal versions of windows, since they have recently been talking about "Rental" Versions of their software.
  • -6 Hide
    siuol11 , February 11, 2010 11:27 PM
    Perhaps this is yet another "phone home" update? MS is notorious for them... But you won't read about that on Tom's.
  • -5 Hide
    JonathanDeane , February 11, 2010 11:43 PM
    I wonder if this will detect the BIOS OEM hacked versions, from what I recall of reading about them is that they store the key in the BIOS and its the same key for all systems from say Dell or HP. I am fuzzy on the details but I seem to recall that it was nearly impossible to tell a legit install from a fake one when done that way. Since OS wise there is not a single bit or byte changed. Either way its all trivial the price of 7 is so cheap and worth it that I doubt piracy is a huge issue.
  • -5 Hide
    JonathanDeane , February 11, 2010 11:50 PM
    Edit: Searching around google WAT has already leaked onto the net and of course the hackers have already broken it.... So it lasted ummm -5 days? Thats got to be some kind of new record or something.
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