Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Microsoft: Pirated Windows 7 Will Still Get Updates

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

Even Windows pirates get the security support from Microsoft.

Microsoft earlier this week clarified that all versions of Windows, both legitimate and illegitimate, receive security updates – and that policy will carry over to Windows 7.

“There seems to be a myth that Microsoft limits security updates to genuine Windows users,” wrote Microsoft’s Paul Cooke, who works in Windows Client Enterprise Security. “Let me be clear: all security updates go to all users.”

“Not only do all security updates go to all users' systems, but non-genuine Windows systems are able to install service packs, update rollups, and important reliability and application compatibility updates,” Cooke continued in the blog entry. “In addition, the users of non-genuine Windows systems can also upgrade a lot of the other software on their computer. For example Internet Explorer 8 has numerous security- oriented features and improvements, and it is available to all users.”

That’s not to say that non-genuine copies of Windows are allowed to run completely free. Certain updates and software may be blocked at Microsoft’s discretion, such as value-adding updates and non-security-related software.

Bootlegged copies of Windows Vista can still access updates through the Windows Update control panel. A non-genuine Windows XP system can only access updates through Automatic Updates, but not through the update websites.

Microsoft said that it won’t be changing this policy for Windows 7, meaning that pirates will still be as protected as legit users. While this might seem a little strange for any software company to provide software support to pirates, keeping even illegal copies patched up is in the interest of the entire computing ecosystem.

While it may be mildly entertaining to laugh at illegal installations of Windows fall at the hands of a computer worm, an epidemic is still an epidemic – especially if it affects legitimate users who simply haven’t applied the current patches or security software.

Discuss
Display all 44 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    The Schnoz , April 29, 2009 8:20 PM
    HotRoderXI am sorry but the big M is only doing this to protect its on butt...

    Not true. They are doing this so that the user's experience with Windows is still enjoyable and secure. Each pirate may become a future customer so it is within their best interest to satisfy every customer. Microsoft would rather you pirate their software than use Linux or OSX and thats the bottom line.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    daft , April 29, 2009 6:45 PM
    i managed to lose my serial number for vista once, and, when i reinstalled planning to put my number in when i got back home, i couldn't get any updates auto or manual
  • -8 Hide
    tipoo , April 29, 2009 6:46 PM
    Saweet.
  • 1 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , April 29, 2009 7:10 PM
    If you are pirating an OEM then in the eyes of Microsoft and it's update servers the software is legitimate.
  • 5 Hide
    -unknown- , April 29, 2009 7:17 PM
    fuserI think MS should auto download their own custom malware to pirated copies of Windows. It would still patch the system up, but then would install MS friendly (i.e.- doesn't attack legit Windows installations) that would drive the user crazy.

    So 2 wrongs make a right?

    This is just for liability reasons, there are false positives when it comes to detecting legitimacy. If a legit user was not protected and they lost data or were unable to use their computer as a result of negligence (being denied a security update), Microsoft could be on the hook depending on who it happens to.
  • -2 Hide
    hotroderx , April 29, 2009 7:18 PM
    I am sorry but the big M is only doing this to protect its on butt, think about the back lash if lets say there was a new worm epidemic or some kinda virus that used a fault in windows to cause damage to the computer either software or hardware. Now lets say this person has automatic updates turned on and has a legal key and is a legit big M Software owner. Let say big M's Genuine software approval tool screws up (which has happened in the past on a large scale and I have seen a good number of times where system is a legit system and they passed Genuine advantage only to have it fail a few months to a year or more down the road. Not sure why guessing they update Genuine advantage.). So they don't get any type of security updates and are affected by this what do you think would happen next? I know they would want there PC fixed free they did nothing wrong and due to a windows glitch they where put at risk so either Big M. pays millions to fix PC damage by this outbreak/bug or they say no and the lawsuits start rolling. So by Big M offering everyone security updates there covering there on butts in case of a major melt down. To tell ya the truth I don't really blame them and thats why they also don't introduce any malware to infect un-legit copies of Big M products and I not even sure if that would be legal cause maleware installs with out consent I not a lawyer so I am not really sure. But just my guess
  • 17 Hide
    The Schnoz , April 29, 2009 8:20 PM
    HotRoderXI am sorry but the big M is only doing this to protect its on butt...

    Not true. They are doing this so that the user's experience with Windows is still enjoyable and secure. Each pirate may become a future customer so it is within their best interest to satisfy every customer. Microsoft would rather you pirate their software than use Linux or OSX and thats the bottom line.
  • 2 Hide
    A Stoner , April 29, 2009 8:30 PM
    Makes good business sense. If Microsoft did not do the updates, hordes of illegal versions of Microsoft Windows would be infected and used for attacks against legitimate user's computers. This would make for a PR nightmare. Better to be on offense than defense, and certainly ensuring that ALL copies of Windows are as protected from virus' as is possible is a good offensive tactic that will pay great dividends in their defense of legitimate users. Since all updates cost Microsoft the same amount of money, no matter how many computers get updated, the only additional cost to Microsoft is the bandwidth and the extreme minority of illegitimate users who would go out and buy the software for the updates.
    Microsoft as a whole is a really good company. My only real complaint is Vista, and it looks like they are going an extra mile to clean it up and repackage it as Windows 7. An easy way to remove the nagging "are you sure" pop-ups without significantly affecting my security would be very welcome and actually be the straw that tipped my purchase decision into their favor. I know how to turn off UAC, but UAC is not the only annoying pop-up. There are also the "Downloaded from internet" "The unknown publisher "Microsoft"", and a couple more I am not remember exactly at the moment.
    Hell, if they just made a screen with a list of publishers where you could check off your trusted/not trusted status with, that would be a huge improvement.
  • 1 Hide
    fuser , April 29, 2009 8:39 PM
    -unknown-So 2 wrongs make a right?This is just for liability reasons, there are false positives when it comes to detecting legitimacy. If a legit user was not protected and they lost data or were unable to use their computer as a result of negligence (being denied a security update), Microsoft could be on the hook depending on who it happens to.

    You didn't understand my point. If MS downloaded their own malware, it would be annoying but would not delete data, attack other systems, etc. It would be annoying enough to encourage the user to buy a copy of the operating system, but would not make MS liable.

    I understand why MS is patching pirated copies. Even if I hadn't, it was stated in the article.
  • -2 Hide
    randomizer , April 29, 2009 9:21 PM
    The SchnozNot true. They are doing this so that the user's experience with Windows is still enjoyable and secure. Each pirate may become a future customer so it is within their best interest to satisfy every customer. Microsoft would rather you pirate their software than use Linux or OSX and thats the bottom line.

    What percentage of OS pirates, after enjoying a thing called "free," would later go and buy the software? The same argument applies as with game piracy. These people never will nor would have bought anything.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 29, 2009 9:29 PM
    ...anyone even tried updating an illegitimate copy?
    "Hey man, I just tried to install updates and it messed my computer up"
    Me ~ "...was it a real copy of windows?"
    "No..."
    Me ~ "Then Windows genuine advantage has just messed your computer up.. sorry man, reinstall"
  • 0 Hide
    nekatreven , April 29, 2009 9:40 PM
    andethddgb...anyone even tried updating an illegitimate copy?"Hey man, I just tried to install updates and it messed my computer up"Me ~ "...was it a real copy of windows?""No..."Me ~ "Then Windows genuine advantage has just messed your computer up.. sorry man, reinstall"


    Yeeea, except after I confirm it was not legit I go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon\Notify in the registry and also search for files created within 2 days of the GA update being installed... then just identify and remove its files and registry entries like any other virus that invades the system tray.

    (well, and then tell them to skip the GA update in the future, and that they actually do need to get legit!)
  • 1 Hide
    kingnoobe , April 29, 2009 9:47 PM
    randomizer don't talk about what you don't know. You don't know me, and what I do. I did pirated xp, but then I got tired of having to redo it every month, and I thought xp was well worth it after I tried it. The same doesn't apply to vista, while I was gonna buy it.. I sure am glad I didn't know that win 7 is so close.

    And computer games.. Guess what don't work so well online. You have to do a bunch of crap and only run on certain servers. So if you want to play online with everybody/anybody you need a legitmate copy.
  • -3 Hide
    randomizer , April 29, 2009 9:54 PM
    Clearly you didn't read my post properly. I never said everyone who pirated Windows never paid for it.
  • -2 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 29, 2009 10:02 PM
    HotRoderXI am sorry but the big M is only doing this to protect its on butt, think about the back lash if lets say there was a new worm epidemic or some kinda virus that used a fault in windows to cause damage to the computer either software or hardware. Now lets say this person has automatic updates turned on and has a legal key and is a legit big M Software owner. Let say big M's Genuine software approval tool screws up (which has happened in the past on a large scale and I have seen a good number of times where system is a legit system and they passed Genuine advantage only to have it fail a few months to a year or more down the road. Not sure why guessing they update Genuine advantage.). So they don't get any type of security updates and are affected by this what do you think would happen next? I know they would want there PC fixed free they did nothing wrong and due to a windows glitch they where put at risk so either Big M. pays millions to fix PC damage by this outbreak/bug or they say no and the lawsuits start rolling. So by Big M offering everyone security updates there covering there on butts in case of a major melt down. To tell ya the truth I don't really blame them and thats why they also don't introduce any malware to infect un-legit copies of Big M products and I not even sure if that would be legal cause maleware installs with out consent I not a lawyer so I am not really sure. But just my guess


    Either way, the Big M is doing a better job of helping even non-genuine users than your God Big J.
  • 0 Hide
    rooket , April 29, 2009 10:28 PM
    "Microsoft said that it won’t be changing this policy for Windows 7, meaning that pirates will still be as protected as legit users. While this might seem a little strange for any software company to provide software support to pirates, keeping even illegal copies patched up is in the interest of the entire computing ecosystem."

    Microsoft wholeheartedly would disagree with this statement. Remember they say that pirated software can contain virii, security holes, malware, etc. If you take a copy of pirated Windows XP Pro RTM and install it on a PC and connect to the internet, guess what can happen? Automatic reboots like crazy due to it containing the sauser worm or other malware.
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , April 29, 2009 10:49 PM
    I'm happy to see this.
    I simply cannot afford a new OS.
    If I have to stay legit, I'll simply go back to XP. The couple hundred dollars just isn't worth it me, sadly enough.
    I have bought XP 2 times, Windows 2003, 2000, and 98. It gets expensive.
  • 0 Hide
    rooket , April 29, 2009 10:54 PM
    anamaniac, it is a pain to run a pirated copy of vista, I wouldn't be surprised if it is even more of a PITA to run Windows 7 non-legit. They tend to do security updates that check for pirated copies and will evidentally block you out of the entire O/S. That wasn't mentioned in this article, but it is part of their security updates. Which is why if you run non-legit Vista, you usually are better off reinstalling the entire o/s with a slipstreamed copy rather than using their online updates. I'd more than suggest going legit in this case, as the time you spend rebuilding your machine is probably more valuable than the $300 or whatever bloated price they charge for the full version of Vista Ultimate.
  • 0 Hide
    7amood , April 29, 2009 11:17 PM
    This news was like a shock for me...
    I almost decided to BUY a microsoft windows 7...
    almost...
    Just a little bit more and I think I will...

    First... i thought they are so proud of their OS that they know that if people like it... people will buy it...
    On a second thought... i think they can't do anything about it.

    If am satisfied with 7... maybe i'll buy the Win7 with SP1
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2009 1:37 AM
    This is related to China, not L337 pirates in America and Europe. China pirates the crap out of it because they can't possibly afford it. Bill Gates once made a statement about he'd rather they be pirating his product than someone elses, he could find a way to collect on it later...
Display more comments