Microsoft gets serious about Windows piracy

Microsoft has been battling piracy since the beginning. But it seems as though they have finally had enough. In one of the more recent Windows Updates, Microsoft deployed what they feel is a step in the right direction for preventing the theft of their software.

Windows users with the pirated software installed on their computer will soon notice a black desktop, along with a permanent notice in the bottom right of their screen, stating that they must purchase a legitimate copy of Windows. While Microsoft is trying to get their message across as best they can, the company is still kind enough to allow all applications to run normally.

The new tactic has not gone unnoticed or without resistance. Multiple law suites have been filed claiming Microsoft is now the one doing the hacking, though to this date, no claims have been successful. Little time has been wasted, as users have already begun to find ways around the new feature. One way to circumvent this is as simple as shutting off the Windows Update feature to prevent the installation of the validation program.

Many are claiming it is because of the poor economy and high priced software that they are forced to make use of pirated goods. This may be true but they are not acceptable excuses. It is against the law to steal, ladies and gentlemen, and Windows is finally doing something about it.

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"Windows users with the pirated software installed on their computer will soon notice a black desktop, along with a permanent notice in the bottom right of their screen, stating that they must purchase a legitimate copy of Windows. While Microsoft is trying to get their message across as best they can, the company is still kind enough to allow all applications to run normally. "

What is the MS08-xxx or Knowledgebase KB9xxxxx identifier/ number(s) for this insidious Windows Update / patch?

"Many are claiming it is because of the poor economy and high priced software that they are forced to make use of pirated goods"

Oh, those poor victims! I'm sure they also work for free! Oh wait....

Perhaps if you sad sons-of-bitches at Microsoft started working out of a garage again it might wake you up to what people in the real world expect of you!

Just felt like adding that. Having a vent!

How about this, Microsoft? You make a version of Windows worth paying for, and I'll pay you money for it. You've had around 32 years to sort your s**t out, and you call yourselves the best, so do something about it! Don't just slap people's wrists and cry yourself to sleep at night.

Here's hoping for a good and reasonably-priced Windows 7.

when i bought a new pc recently from dell, the option to purchase the system with xp pro actually cost Euro 30 more than with vista business.
this extra charge really annoyed me, so i bought the system with vista business and tried it out for a while.
my suspicions were confirmed.......i hated it.....for performance reasons

so i acquired a pirated version of xp pro and installed it.....now i'm happy

am i a pirate for doing this ?
not really cos i have paid for the "superior" product.
some might argue that it was dell who made the decision to charge more for XP
but i believe that the were under pressure from microsoft to do so xp could be laid to rest quicker.

The funny thing is that the experience has changed me.
now i find myself using a lot more pirated software, but i never pirated before that.
so now i am a pirate and microsoft created me.

so microsoft, you have shot yourself in the foot by forcing the custmers to take what you want them to have instead of giving them what they want.

LOL what a lame badly written article : ) cant believe this dude is working for neowin

on subject: yeah we all scared out of our panties now, who the hell leaves windows update running anyhow on a pirated OS ... DUH ! haven't used windows update in like 4 years, not planing on changing this habit anytime soon !

I dont get why Windows is pirated anymore.... here you can get a WINDOWS VISTA STARTER EDITION
for 30$ now why pirate when you can get an orignal which can keep it self updated all the time...

lets face it wether piracy is illegal or not is not the issue. but the fact that some people have to resort to it should be a sign to these companies to make there products more affordable. take apple for example you can buy there top of the line osx leopard for like 120$ with free shipping and it will work on practically any mac computer. and plenty of other mac software is just as affordable. lets face the facts. people will always want to "own" something they purchase not just get permission to use it. thats just absurd. so if i take a legit copy of a Microsoft os and hack it to the extent that it is basically no longer Microsoft does that mean i can't make a copy of it. i know the answer is yes but thats ridiculous. Microsoft if i buy your software it's mine to do what i see fit just like a car or a house, i'm going to modify and use it as i see fit to meet my needs not your legal team.

"It is against the law to steal, ladies and gentlemen, and Windows is finally doing something about it."

Plenty of actions are against the law, such as Microsoft's monopolistic, predatory behavior with OEMs, bullying, FUD and outright lies against competitors. Yet they continue to do it. Moral dilemma?

In any case, we don't need self-righteous Neowin editors lecturing us.

Pirate on mateys

It is against the law to steal, ladies and gentlemen

Lets teach everyone from now on that robin hood is a cowardly theif.

If they wana curb it charge less thats all.

software is expensive cause only morons pay for it.
and only morons get this black desktop.

the computer is mine and all the stuff in it.
if I copied from anywhere its because its free. if it wasnt, sorry, I dont give a damm, its mine when I get it.

i can think of paying a house for 3 years, not a software, sorry, dont give a damm to companies or developers.
if they cant get money from that, they should do other things.

microsoft is part of the economy? dont care, its not the only thing, we can live without it.

Are you high ?

"microsoft is part of the economy? dont care, its not the only thing, we can live without it."

Where would the world be without Microsoft ? And look at how important MS is to the US economy. Competition among Software developers are whats making our lives easier.

If you think softwares are insignificant , you can go back to the stone age and eat bananas. And exactly why are you here on Neowin ?

Well,one could always use LINUX and say the heck with ms.or you could turn off auto updates.Such as is in most cracked torrent editions,etc...
When my friends son's pc fried,I replaced the mobo,ran,etc...Windows would not re-install,since only HP owns the license?So ,when you own their machine you have to pay then to swap out the exact mobo,or windows will lock you out,and will never let you get your pics of years off the machine?That is B.S
I hooked it up as a slave,retrieved the pics,and they aquired a copy of XP PRO.
Sure,some people are flat out thiefs.But,if they did not try to F#### you at every turn,most people would never consider (self allocation) of a OS.I,would never pirate.But,I can see why some people get frustrated and do--that is my two cents

New tactic? I'm not usually one to complain about old news, but when it's at least a year old come on! I mean, this is really old news.

Actually, while WGA has been out for some time, they've only put a logo on the screen telling you it's not genuine, and make you wait during startup. Now it's changing your background to black every 60 minutes.

Personally, I think they should just make it so the machine halts for 1 minute every 60 minutes, then once every 30 minutes, 15 minutes, etc :P

If they are so hard up to stop the piracy, then just simply make it not work. At all. Period, end of story. If you are a legitimate user who innoently got caught up in it all, then it would be simple to get it fxed.

Quit allowing them to do whatever with the OS. You aren't battling any piracy, yu are almost advocating it by allowing them to run as normal.

Jesus Christ Microsoft, wake up for once.

Anim8or
Meh. I'd rather pirate Windows rather than give money to those money-swilling hogs at MS. Besides, patched versions on Windows can be identified as genuine, so there goes that. Go Piratebay, go!

If you ever bought a computer with Windows pre-installed, you gave money to those money-swilling hogs as you so eloquently put it. Congratulations.

Meh. I'd rather pirate Windows rather than give money to those money-swilling hogs at MS. Besides, patched versions on Windows can be identified as genuine, so there goes that. Go Piratebay, go!

This is a waste of time and resources on MS' part. They'll never be able to stop or even show it sown enough to actually mean anything real. They should just concentrate on making a product that people will actually want to use.

As soon as they put it out it will be "fixed" in no time at all. Its a joke and really only annoys legal owners when it''ll misfire, and I guarantee it will miss-fire often as activations does in Vista and XP.

Interesting article Chris R. Thank you :)

I'd really like to see this happen to somebody's computer with the blank screen & the lil message

Microsoft does not allow validation of legal Windows OS via computer, which is very hard for hearing impaired users, who must communicate, or try to understand, their Indian customer service offices. I have tried twice to validate my Win XP Pro and can never understand the guys at the other end. I have even complained under the Americans with Disabilities act, only to hear that this is not important. - Before that, Microsoft turned me down flat on using a PC.
- But they can use their computers to check into ours?!

I am deaf too and do have some trouble with many businesses using phone menu systems. I use a TTY. A couple ago, I had to call Microsoft to re-activate my XP Pro because I exceed the number of activations. There is one easy way - Call the Microsoft general support number and explain you are deaf and have a TTY. They will help you activate for you. By this way, I called the Australian Microsoft centre and accidentally, they gave me another legitimate product key so I have 2 working product keys for XP

try to get a copy of XP pro corporate........no activation required

where do i get such a thing i hear you asking..............use your imagination.
(i haven't told you cos i don't want my post to be deleted)

Is this supposed to be news or a poor editorial on piracy? Seriously, this comes off as a rant by someone who works for Microsoft.

The new tactic has not gone unnoticed or without resistance. Multiple law suites have been filed claiming Microsoft is now the one doing the hacking, though to this date, no claims have been successful.

Don't you mean lawsuits?

If microsoft wasn't making money they would lower the price, the more things sell the higher the price will be (just like everything else).

sure this won't effect a lot users that pirate everything, but the average user that didn't know they had a pirated copy till this showed up might go out and buy one (meaning increase in sales and less pirated copies out there).

Photoshop is a professional application which is why it costs so much, if you don't have the money then use Paint.Net

Counterfeiting is also not stealing. The issue here is to use non-loaded terminology. I think they figured out people are more prone to respond negatively to a charge of "stealing" than "copyright infringement" or "counterfeit software", so they decided to make the logical leap.

Statement: I have never used any purchased software or OS. Considering I've used just about all MS OS (except Server 2008 and WHS) since Windows 3.1 and every mainstream graphics program, office suite ect. the Microsoft attack on illegal copies seems to good to be true :-)

Windows users with the pirated software installed on their computer will soon notice a black desktop, along with a permanent notice in the bottom right of their screen

That already happens.

"Windows is finally doing something about it."

hardly, if they were doing something about it they would lock down the OS.

Gabe3 said,
"Windows is finally doing something about it."

hardly, if they were doing something about it they would lock down the OS.


The targets for this action are those that don't know their copy of Windows is illegal. Those who bought their PCs from dodgy corner shops where the shop owner installed an illegal copy of windows to save some money.

Microsoft therefore give the user the incentive to 1) buy a cheaper "legit" license and become legal, and 2) tell Microsoft where they bought their PC from. Microsoft then sends Mr. Lawyer around to that corner shop and files a lawsuit against it's owner.

This will force a lot of people that got a computer with a pirated Windows to buy one. I think they have the full right to do this. They could also just lock out consumers with pirated keys. It's still their software, and it's piracy that's illegal, not limiting pirated copies.

Microsoft is being a bit stupid here. If they want to stop people using pirated versions of Windows, why not force them to stop using them? Don't give them a black desktop, permanately lock them completely out of Windows until they buy a genuine copy!

Problem solved.

MightyJordan said,
Microsoft is being a bit stupid here. If they want to stop people using pirated versions of Windows, why not force them to stop using them? Don't give them a black desktop, permanately lock them completely out of Windows until they buy a genuine copy!

Problem solved. :)

maybe, but dont you think MS will be sued if they even lock out a few legitimate users using the method you described?

cause if i had a legit copy of windows and got locked out of it i would be super pis*ed, especially if i had to use my PC for something important.

Exactly. If those people claiming MS is 'hacking' their systems for showing black wallpapers (*cough* Chinese users *cough*) imagine what they'll do if they're locked out of accessing their data.

rm20010 said,
Exactly. If those people claiming MS is 'hacking' their systems for showing black wallpapers (*cough* Chinese users *cough*) imagine what they'll do if they're locked out of accessing their data.

Theres one reason that all of these "Microsoft hacked my PC!!" lawsuits keep failing... the user does not own the copy of Windows running on their machine! The software belongs to Microsoft and can be modified by Microsoft at any time. All the user has is a license to run that software.

Personally I think it works.

I have used pirated software but the campains in the past years have changed the way i think about it.
IT-developers need bread&butter too. And those millions of dollars, that go on as profits - well they are always re-invested.

But it is true - people don't by original software, because they don't have money for it. But hey - use freeware.

Because it's simply obnoxius if i see a student in a university, using torrent for downloading movies or - in this case - a windows genuine pop-ups come to her/his screen every once in a while.

It's like with driving - if you don't have money, go by bus.
If you don't have money, go by freeware.

Or stop drinking and by Windows

Thank god i have access to all the keys that i need on MSDN, one of the perks of the job.
Its true, some of the MS software is way over priced.

But you do know you can use the products those keys are for only for "validation purposes", don't you? You're not allowed to actually _use_ them

Many are claiming it is because of the poor economy and high priced software that they are forced to make use of pirated goods.

Lots of things I would like but cannot afford.

I live with it and do not steal it.

Well, actually, Windows is not that expensive. You could always get an OEM copy which works out far cheaper. Let's face it, the average Joe isn't going to upgrade his PC every year or so, so an OEM copy would be perfectly fine for that.

But yes, I have to agree with the others, Adobe software is ridiculously expensive...

aristofeles said,
Actualy it is expansive in the tird world, 30 to 50% my monthly income for a Vista Premium.
OEM is cheeper, but still...

Well its a good job that you don't have to buy a copy every month then isn't it. You shouldn't look at it as being 30 - 50 % of your montly income, but rather a tiny percentage of your income over 3 years.

Funny that the world statistics talk about countries where people live on less than US$2 a day and yet M$ still expects people in these countries to buy software for $600+ (Combined for Win/Ofc + some) or Adobe for $1000. I find it even funny that they talk about a digital divide and when OLPC tried to sell machines with Linux on them M$ went in and tried to undercut them. Now that there is all the GeoLocation and stuff, maybe software should be GeoCoded and made affordable in other parts of the world to curb piracy.

i dont get this. as far as im concerned nothing has changed in terms of Windows' battle for piracy. what i would like is for users to have to register themselves a la site licence tied to a user account. that user could also be entitled to say 5 installs and can manage their keys (sort of like how itunes DRM works). activation hurts but if they can make the process easy and secure then something like serial numbers would be a thing of the past.

Ferret said,
So could this happen to legitimate users ?

Ahh, that's the million dollar question isn't it! And the answer is yes, some people have been affected, but IIRC it wasn't that hard to get it sorted. Still annoying though.

Raa said,
Ahh, that's the million dollar question isn't it! And the answer is yes, some people have been affected, but IIRC it wasn't that hard to get it sorted. Still annoying though.

Yeah, I was affected a few years ago when I was running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (woah, that was a pain to type.)

I had to call up Microsoft support and they walked me through deleting some registry keys and all was good. It was still annoying though!

petroid said,
Yeah, I was affected a few years ago when I was running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (woah, that was a pain to type.)

I had to call up Microsoft support and they walked me through deleting some registry keys and all was good. It was still annoying though!


If someones legitimate copy of Windows or Office is mistakenly informing them of piracy, there shouldn't be a problem since you can call Microsoft toll free and let them clarify the issue. Its man made stuff, sometimes there are glitches in the system. The only way it ends up not activating or not download updates is if the software is already activated and registered on another system.

ChrisJ1968 said,
aw hell, Bill Gates accused people of being pirates of MS software since the beginning. Nothing has changed.

Only the fact Bill Gates doesn't work at Microsoft anymore and isn't accusing anyone. Stop the BG bashing.

Raa said,
Only the fact Bill Gates doesn't work at Microsoft anymore and isn't accusing anyone. Stop the BG bashing.

And the other fact might be pointed out that Bill Gates has been right since the beginning, so really, what's the point of the original statement anyway?

Raa said,
Only the fact Bill Gates doesn't work at Microsoft anymore and isn't accusing anyone. Stop the BG bashing.

Um, no! Bill Gates is still the Chairman of Microsoft. He stepped down as chief software architect back in June. So he still works at Microsoft.

The thing is, Microsoft's products are ridiculously pricey. Buying a legit copy of Windows/Office or w/e is not really easy for anyone who buys a computer (desktop). Laptops come with their Legit OS installed, which is better...

Adobe is crazy, $1000 for Photoshop CS4? And Microsoft is not that much better anyway.

But yeah, its not an excuse to use pirated stuff, but again.. Do you really think that the price of the Windows copy is reasonable?

Reeve said,
The thing is, Microsoft's products are ridiculously pricey. Buying a legit copy of Windows/Office or w/e is not really easy for anyone who buys a computer (desktop). Laptops come with their Legit OS installed, which is better...

Adobe is crazy, $1000 for Photoshop CS4? And Microsoft is not that much better anyway.

But yeah, its not an excuse to use pirated stuff, but again.. Do you really think that the price of the Windows copy is reasonable?


Yes it's reasonable considering you should be using it for many years.

But beyond that, you can usually find a deal of some sort. Student offers are great. You can get Office 2007 Ultimate for $60 and Vista Ultimate Upgrade for $70 through the Microsoft Ultimate Steal program.

And no matter what you can pretty much just buy the upgrade for Windows OS for much cheaper even if you technically aren't upgrading and still get it to work.

-Spenser

OEM copies are the best way to go, Vista Ultimate OEM 64bit for $180, probably less if you look harder.

That's a good deal for an OS you'll use for as long as you pretty much want. If you payed the same price for XP back in 2001 and still use it that's 7 years for $100-$190 depending on what and where you got it from.

I've got the problem with paying for something if the price isn't crazy, you bring up Adobe and their CS4 price, now THAT is crazy.

GP007 said,
OEM copies are the best way to go, Vista Ultimate OEM 64bit for $180, probably less if you look harder.

That's a good deal for an OS you'll use for as long as you pretty much want. If you payed the same price for XP back in 2001 and still use it that's 7 years for $100-$190 depending on what and where you got it from.

I've got the problem with paying for something if the price isn't crazy, you bring up Adobe and their CS4 price, now THAT is crazy.

Oh course! Back in 2003 I bought a full version copy of XP Pro from Microsoft's Partner's program for $50 in some promotional that came with a baseball, Microsoft themed baseball cards, and a pack of that stringy bubblegum. If people are still pirating Windows, they are just plain Kleptomaniacs

GP007 said,
OEM copies are the best way to go, Vista Ultimate OEM 64bit for $180, probably less if you look harder.

That's a good deal for an OS you'll use for as long as you pretty much want. If you payed the same price for XP back in 2001 and still use it that's 7 years for $100-$190 depending on what and where you got it from.

I've got the problem with paying for something if the price isn't crazy, you bring up Adobe and their CS4 price, now THAT is crazy.

Copying software alone is not piracy, obtaining through wrong channels is also considered as piracy. OEM versions of Windows and Office must be tied to approved hardware such a new PC or mother board. I don't think buying a mouse with Windows Vista Ultimate should make anyone's conscience clean.

Well Microsoft is a perfect example of a business doing what is their constitutional right - protecting the Company's intellectual property. Its setting a bad example if Microsoft decides to just 'let it go'. Then it would suggest then that everybody is free to pirate and not pay for software. I respect their decisions, if I can't afford and don't bother with it. I know that Adobe, AutoDesk, Intuit, Quark, Corel, Roxio and Ahead NERO all feel the same way.
What confuses a lot of people is the revenues Microsoft make, but you need to realize it goes back into research and development, it pays employees, it pays for maintenance of the company and its many locations around the world, patents, lawsuits and marketing. This ultimately goes back into the economy. When Microsoft wants to build an Office in a Country and hire local workers to help develop software and make living. We really need to think how our actions affect others. Some might say nah, 'what if I didn't buy it anyway?', it would be same thing. No, it creates the opportunity for piracy, that is what will happen, you will give it to a friend, a friend will give it to a friend and so on until nobody pays for it.

Um, no where in the Constitution does not say anything about a company's Intellectual Property. The Constitution is a document about the makeup and duties of the US Government. The Constitution was not put in place to protect big business and their Intellectual Property. What you must mean are laws on the books about trademarks and copyrights, which would have been written by Congress and signed by the President.

There is no way to stop it IMO. Piracy is there to stay. I personally know people who will spend without thinking on parties and drinking, but will not shell out even £10 for a small programme which they use every single day.

The Guardian said,
There is no way to stop it IMO. Piracy is there to stay. I personally know people who will spend without thinking on parties and drinking, but will not shell out even �10 for a small programme which they use every single day.

The companies need to realize that if they make their software cheaper, more people will buy it and can afford to buy it and thus they will make more money. I cannot justify shelling out $330 for Office 2007 when OpenOffice works just as well and is free.

As I said, to some people, it will not make any difference. The programme in question is Slysoft AnyDVD, and a LIFETIME license costs 10 or 15 quid. How much cheaper can it get?!

You know what, **** Microsoft, **** Adobe, and **** anyone else pooring millions of dollars to software to stop piracy. It wont work and people will find a way around it within hours of the software release. These idiot companies do not realize that the smartest people do not work for them...the smartest people work for the government or are independent.

Its wasted money because it wont work...

They should concentrate on companies and large organisations, rather than the individuals.
You will ALWAYS have the genuine people who will always buy genuine software, you will ALWAYS have the people who will not buy the software, and you will ALWAYS have the people that cracks the software.

There will be no win for either side. There money is from the Companies and not the Individuals.

... why would anyone with a pirated version of windows have the windows update feature active anyway? it just causes hassles with the validation. You can just pirate the updates too, so this really makes no difference. -1 for Microsoft.

Also, my school has computers that have been marked as illegal copies of windows, how are those people going to feel when their desktops go black and they have that annoying windows validation notice? Come on Microsoft, don't bother trying to stop it, the pirates will always be smarter than you are.

If the school has that going on then their IT department should of taken care of that bit. If the copy is legit then Microsoft will help them resolve it otherwise they need to get legitimate copies.

shinji257 said,
If the school has that going on then their IT department should of taken care of that bit. If the copy is legit then Microsoft will help them resolve it otherwise they need to get legitimate copies.

The problem is that MS' work to stop piracy breaks legit copies of their software.

This does nothing to stop you from even using it, so in the end it's hardly a "breaking" of anything. It just annoys you a bit, but then I have windows open that cover up my desktop anyways.

It being black with a message in the lower corner saying my copy is illegal is hardly a big problem for me as long as I can still run my apps and do my work.

techbeck said,
The problem is that MS' work to stop piracy breaks legit copies of their software.


Are you mental? Show us all where ANY of Microsoft's Anti-Piracy measures has broken 100% Legit copies of their software. Consider this a formal challenge to your bullcrap and a CFR as well!

ScottKin said,
Are you mental? Show us all where ANY of Microsoft's Anti-Piracy measures has broken 100% Legit copies of their software. Consider this a formal challenge to your bullcrap and a CFR as well!


I'll take you up on that. My school bought a KMS license for Vista Business and the activation BS failed so we had to reload Vista.

It is against the law to steal, ladies and gentlemen, and Windows is finally doing something about it.

The company is still called Microsoft, not Windows.

Peter Griffin said,
upgrading itself with this patch as the article mentions......

Uh, no, Microsoft is upgrading Windows with this patch.

Silverskull said,
Uh, no, Microsoft is upgrading Windows with this patch.

Didn't you hear? Programs nowadays update and patch themselves by themselves without the need of programmers (aka Microsoft). You are living in the past baby!

nonick said,
Didn't you hear? Programs nowadays update and patch themselves by themselves without the need of programmers (aka Microsoft). You are living in the past baby!

No, he just switched the "automatic feature" off

michael.dobrofsky said,
Funny thread...

Man you are right, funniest thread to date ! People fighting over grammar. I think it should be "Microsoft is finally doing something about it." cause they are the ones who makes the patch and handles the lawsuits.

nonick said,
Didn't you hear? Programs nowadays update and patch themselves by themselves without the need of programmers (aka Microsoft). You are living in the past baby!

:D