With every release of Windows is the inevitable race by the pirate community to crack it. Even with activation schemes, which make things considerably more challenging, hackers were able to find a way to activate Windows Vista with a special OEM key. This very same hack has now made its way to activate Windows 7 RTM.
Such a key allows OEMs to pre-activate machines – something definitely not meant for the consumer market. The OEM activation system relies on a special BIOS that identifies itself to Windows. A software hack is all that's required to fool Windows into thinking that any machine is an authorized one that can be activated using the OEM license key.
The OEM license key this time around was extracted from a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD image from Lenovo, which contained the data that hackers needed to make the activation tools.
This type of hack is particularly difficult for Microsoft to stop because it means that it would lock out and greatly inconvenience Windows 7 integration processes already underway at one of its OEM partners – in this case, Lenovo.
Microsoft wasn't able to block out the OEM BIOS hack for Windows Vista until it released Service Pack 1, leading us to suspect that the same could apply for Windows 7.