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Microsoft Requires Windows Piracy Checks

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      07-29-2005, 02:50 AM
Microsoft Requires Windows Piracy Checks

Users will have to validate their OS before using Microsoft's download

Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Microsoft Tuesday is expected to go live with a program requiring
customers to validate that they are running legitimate copies of
Windows before they can use Microsoft's download services.

The Windows Genuine Advantage 1.0 program ensures that customers using
Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows, and the Microsoft
Download Center run a program that checks that their Windows operating
system is genuine before they can download updates or new content from
those services, says David Lazar, director of Genuine Windows for

The Redmond, Washington-based company has been testing the program
since September and has validated more than 48 million systems so far,
Lazar says. Until Tuesday the program has been voluntary.

Customers who discover they have a counterfeit copy of Windows through
the program either will be given a free version of the OS or can
purchase it for a discounted price, he says.

To get a free version of Windows, a customer must fill out a
counterfeit report identifying the source of the software, provide a
proof of purchase, and send in a counterfeit CD of the software. If
customers don't have all of that information, they can still fill out
a counterfeit report and receive a copy of Windows XP Home Edition for
$99 or a copy of Windows XP Professional Edition for $149, Lazar says.

Windows XP Home normally sells for $199 and Windows XP Professional
Edition usually costs $299.

Fighting Piracy

The move to lock out pirated copies of Windows from the download sites
is part of Microsoft's effort to fight software piracy, which is a
major issue for the software vendor.

Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney in the legal and corporate affairs
department of Microsoft, says the company estimates that more than
one-third of all copies of its software are counterfeit, based on a
recent joint report released by the Business Software Alliance and
research firm IDC. The study found that 35 percent of software
worldwide is pirated. In North America alone, the piracy rate for
software is 22 percent.

"We consider that to be a staggering number," MacNaughton says.

One issue the software maker faces in fighting piracy is that many
users don't know that their copy of Windows is illegal. Windows
Genuine Advantage allows customers to solve this problem in a few
minutes through the automatic validation, Lazar says.

The Windows Genuine Advantage checking mechanism is anonymous, and
includes an ActiveX control on the client side and the Windows Product
Activation service on the Microsoft side. During the testing process,
a user had to install the ActiveX control and enter the Windows
product key, which on new PCs bought with the operating system is
typically found on a sticker affixed to the PC. However, providing a
Windows product key is no longer required in the live program, Lazar

This is not the first time that Microsoft is checking whether
installed copies of Windows are legitimate. Windows Update already
checks for certain volume license keys that are known to be used
illegally to activate copies of Windows.

Microsoft also has a Web site at, providing customers
with information on how they can discover whether or not they have a
genuine copy of Windows, Lazar says.

While counterfeit copies of Windows will be prevented from downloading
updates, Lazar says Microsoft is not including security updates in the
lock-out. Even customers who do not check their copies of Windows for
authenticity will be allowed to download security updates through
Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows and the Download Center,
he says.

"Those are available to all Windows users with or without validation,"
Lazar says. "We think of it like public health. We want to make sure
no one gets infected by another system on the Internet because of our

"We have seen the enemy, and it is us."
-- Walt Kelly
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Some Guy
Posts: n/a
      07-29-2005, 03:45 AM
Ablang wrote:

> Microsoft Requires Windows Piracy Checks

Not if you're running Windows 98.

Macro$haft is hurting because their revenue growth is at it's lowest
since they went public. They are at a low point because it's been 5
years since Windows XP (eXtra Processes) was introduced (force-fed)
into the market.

Longhorn (or Vista, or V, or V for Virus) won't be available until
well into 2006, and when it does become available, hackers, crackers,
and mal-ware authors will be able to quickly build new armies of
zombie home computers for a year or two before security packs get
released for it.

To help kill off Windows 98, ME and 2000, Micro$lack will introduce
(by the end of this year) a new version of Internet Exploiter that
will only run on XP and Server 2003. Longhorny is a derivative of
Server 2003, which Microsoft says is not designed for use on home
computers, but then again that's what they said about Windows 2000 and
then came out with XP which was based on 2k.

> "We have seen the enemy, and it is us."
> -- Bill Gates

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