BSoD Takes On a Whole New Meaning

The definition of the Blue Screen of Death acronym BSoD may soon be replaced by a more ominous meaning, Black Screen of Death. In an e-mail sent to Windows distributors a Microsoft representative laid out the details of what unlicensed Vista users can expect.

"Good afternoon, as of this week, Microsoft has activated a function in Vista called 'Reduced Functionality.' This is a specific function in Vista that effectively disables non genuine copies of Windows. Therefore anyone who has a pirated copy of Vista will experience:

A black screen after one hour of browsing
No start menu or task bar
No desktop

Please communicate this anti piracy initiative from Microsoft to your resellers -- note this function has only just been activated in Vista worldwide and therefore any issues with non genuine versions will start to arise from now onward."

While it isn't unusual for Microsoft to impede upon the functionality of unlicensed or falsely licensed copies of Windows, this seems to be a new direction in regards to their stance on warning users. Typically users of unauthorized copies of Windows have been alerted to the status of their software legitimacy via Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). The new "Reduced Functionality" approach is certainly more aggressive, and according to the Microsoft representative, will reduce the functionality of an unauthorized Windows system to the point of being near useless until properly licensed.

News source: ComputerWorld

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the smart pirates wouldn't allow wga to verify their computer in the first place

i wonder if this function was in vista when it was released? or if it came with a recent patch? or the latest version of wga. if it was in vista in the first place and this disables a legit computer, Microsoft is f*cked

either way they'll find a way to remove the code :P

Yep...even the text from the supposed e-mail seems like coming from a 12yr old...

"A black screen after one hour of browsing"? Why after browsing and not just using the computer?? And why it wouldn't show you a message telling you that you're using an unlicensed copy if it were the case?

great! more Genuine Disadvantage. I've received that non genuine message three times, first time I had to call and the other two I just waited to see what happened. Oh well .. at the end of the day pirated copies are not going to suffer and the genuine users' opinion means nothing to them :sleeping:

Well it may complement the BSoD but not replace it, I have gotten the BSoD in a genuine copy of Windows Vista Home Premium about 5 times since I installed it back in March. At least unlike Windows ME, the computer resets itself, not that that makes things any better.

This isn't new, as the article states and many users have pointed out. Its quite old and vista has been doing this to non-genuine copies since it was created. If you type too many incorrect product keys or wait out the 30 days, then it will do this. As for me, I never run into this because of my genuine copy of ultimate.

How long do you think this actually does become true? Microsoft keep getting more and more aggressive with each new release. What will the next version of Windows be like?

James7 said,
How long do you think this actually does become true? Microsoft keep getting more and more aggressive with each new release. What will the next version of Windows be like?

'Reduced Functionality.'
A black screen after one hour of browsing
No start menu or task bar
No desktop

Except for the "black screen" statement, this is already happening in the original Vista release. Vista allow you to install and run without a key for 30 days. After that time is up you will be greeted with message to register with a valid key. It launch Internet Explorer and takes you to MS site to buy a license. You don't have access to Desktop/Start/Programs/Windows shortcuts etc... An experience/advance user would know ways to get to their file but for most everyday users they are effectively lockout from their computer until they register with a valid key.

If this happens to those who have a legit copy I wouldn't be surprized if someone would bomb the Microsoft HQ or run amok.

It's a shame that someone has to resort to using dirty tactics to "fight Microsoft". Now the audience of the magazine PC World has to deal with this gross mishandling of information.

Ledward said,
It's a shame that someone has to resort to using dirty tactics to "fight Microsoft". Now the audience of the magazine PC World has to deal with this gross mishandling of information.

Ballmer has said a few times that Vista's anti-piracy "features" could be turned up to a greater degree. Furthermore, during the WGA server failure this exact BSoD behavior was witnessed. I don't think MS wanted the public to learn about it in that way!

It is clear that the functionality exists in Vista and all that's left is for MS to turn it on via the WGA servers. Doing so would be a mistake IMHO, since no pirates would be affected by it as they weren't last time; they use cracked versions without WGA and whenever there is a need to install a WGA update, that update is quickly cracked.

So what does MS have to gain? Nothing but driving away legit customers. Furthermore, there's always XP, OS X and Linux for those who get fed up with being treated like criminals and terrorists.

Go ahead MS, press the button.

A neighbor of mine had this happen to him but i find that there is a loophole in it. When you click the link saying "check how to get genuine software" or such, it will open IE but then again if you enter a file or folder path, it will open. I luckily backed up his files and had him pull out his XP CD and product key and all worked well. I'm just getting to the point that RFM is actually easily hackable if one can go online and get some of these "cracks" to stop activation and RFM will go away.

I don't think this, or really any of the other anti-piracy measures that microsoft puts into windows are seriously designed to stop the hard-core pirates. I'm sure microsoft just as much as everyone else knows there's no stopping them. What they're fighting against is the casual and un-knowing pirates, the grandparents that unknowingly buy a computer with a pirated copy on it, the families that don't realize they can't use their friends cd. Those are the users that microsoft is using WGA and stuff like this (which I remember reading about before Vista launched) to educate. They're trying to stop the casual piracy through these means, not the hard-core stuff. Everyone needs to realize that MOST computer users are not as knowledgeable as we all are, and don't know how to crack wga or where to get the patches from. They're the people that will find out they have a pirated version and get a legit license.

I am shocked, shocked that a hoax like this can circulate on the internet. Thankfully everyone here has a great sense of humor.

Wow. i would have thought it obvious this is fake.

All the people with the OEM hack would have a dead copy of Vista. Meaning anyone who bought an HP machine (such as myself) which came with an OEM copy of Vista preinstalled would die.

I vote this as an obvious fake. Just like the emails you get saying that Hotmail is going to stop working soon, so turn to yahoo.

Really the bad thing about this whole thing to me is that I don't want anyone to be able to disable or turn off my computer remotely. No one lets spywares or viruses into their machines if they can help it. Why go with Vista when it can do that? At least XP didn't shut you off if it thought you were a copied copy. The rash of false positives is something every legitimate user should worry about, I think.

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