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Microsoft: Pirated Windows 7 Will Still Get Updates

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.

  • fuser
    I 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.
    Reply
  • daft
    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
    Reply
  • tipoo
    Saweet.
    Reply
  • bill gates is your daddy
    If you are pirating an OEM then in the eyes of Microsoft and it's update servers the software is legitimate.
    Reply
  • -unknown-
    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.
    Reply
  • hotroderx
    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
    Reply
  • The Schnoz
    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.
    Reply
  • A Stoner
    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.
    Reply
  • fuser
    -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.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    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.
    Reply