Report: Microsoft to change Windows 8 OEM activation

While Microsoft's largely left its Windows activation the same since Windows XP, it appears the company may now be changing its activation requirements with the upcoming October 26 release of Windows 8.

A new report from Justin Kerr of Maximum PC claims Microsoft is looking to close "loopholes" in the current activation requirements in an effort to reduce piracy rates for its signature operating system. One of the ways Microsoft hopes to achieve this is by modifying the OEM versions of the operating system, making it more difficult for pirates to avoid paying Microsoft for the operating system. Instead of providing OEMs with a single activation key, Kerr states, OEMs "will be required to write a unique Windows product key into the BIOS of each new machine shipped."

Additionally, OEMs will now have to contact Microsoft directly to obtain product keys. OEM machines will now feature a "Genuine Microsoft" sticker to alert consumers of the machine's authenticity. Certificates of authenticity were previously the only requirement Microsoft imposed on OEMs to ensure authenticity.

Kerr states the new OEM activation requirements will only be used in Windows 8 products (and presumably Windows RT products as well), although the program could potentially be expanded to Microsoft's previous operating systems.

Via: Gizmodo
Source: Maximum PC

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bring back the star menu, dont force metro ui, and maybe i will get this otherwise i just stick with windows 7

Fourjays said,
Is this going to affect OEM purchases on new builds (like many of us here do), or only big suppliers?

This won't affect anyone other than the big OEM system builders (dell etc). For the end user (installing their own OS) you'll enter your key just like you do now.

Piracy actually very good for Windows's (ANY VERSION) popularity, and now with Windows 8 new 'risky' interface, to make win8 hard to pirate , that will be a stupid decision , I believe.

sinis said,
Piracy actually very good for Windows's (ANY VERSION) popularity, and now with Windows 8 new 'risky' interface, to make win8 hard to pirate , that will be a stupid decision , I believe.

Ya they are alienating their user base.
When MS (for XP) offered amnesty when WGA came out a ton of the pirates were transformed into current legal customers. The side effects of this MS behavior is damaging.
Its gonna get pirated anyways so..

one way microsoft can reduce piracy of their os is to have rfid hardware built-in to the motherboard. and have a unique rfid-enable "genuine microsoft" label pasted onto each machine. the os boot up the machine, enable the rfid module, which check and verify the label. then proceed.

this should **** off pirates, and, oh i'd say 90% of winegg fanboys on neowin.

Albert said,
one way microsoft can reduce piracy of their os is to have rfid hardware built-in to the motherboard. and have a unique rfid-enable "genuine microsoft" label pasted onto each machine. the os boot up the machine, enable the rfid module, which check and verify the label. then proceed.

this should **** off pirates, and, oh i'd say 90% of winegg fanboys on neowin.

This won't work. Someone will then figure out how to "emulate" the RFID hardware on the motherboard. If each RFID tag was unique it might help, but how is that different from Microsoft changing to require each OEM device to come with its own key?

The Dark Knight said,
That would be good, yes, except that RFID tags can be cloned and or bypassed quite easily.

Another words like anything it can basically be emulated.

The true cost of piracy is not the amount lost in sales, but in the amount companies must spend to implement anti-piracy measures, customer support, loss of customers because these measures cause problems for paying customers.

Windows piracy is a major problem in countries where the income is low ($40 is still a significant amount in many places) and in those markets MS already has lower prices.

We already know the music and movie industries report loss of income due to piracy which is totally fabricated and a lie. I wonder who pirates Windows in places like the US - the only people who do would be those that assemble their own pc's, i.e. the enthusiast community. Most people who buy a pc/laptop won't do so, and businesses certainly won't unless they are shady to begin with. Most normal consumers also hardly ever upgrade their OS.

anything to stir the feathers of pirates is fine with me. piracy is just a damaging thing to all developers and companies.

aviator189 said,
anything to stir the feathers of pirates is fine with me. piracy is just a damaging thing to all developers and companies.

Good.
No one cares.. the world keeps on spinning..
Piracy is going no where so deal with it.

I am Not PCyr said,

Good.
No one cares.. the world keeps on spinning..
Piracy is going no where so deal with it.


Piracy could very well be defeated--or at least marginalized to an extreme.

To be very blunt, your attitude reeks of defense mechanism. Nobody says "piracy can't be stopped" as loudly and insistently as pirates. And not the people who make piracy happen (crackers, etc), but the people who leech off that work, downloading and acquiring and never actually contributing to the hacking side of it.

What does this sound like? It sounds like addicts repeating a mantra to assure themselves that their supply will never dry up. If you truly believe piracy is unstoppable, you would never feel threatened by things like SOPA. You'd be purely apathetic to it, much as pirates put on an apathetic face when sites like demonoid, whatever-nova, winmx, edonkey, and so on are shut down or reduced to crap. "So what if they enact SOPA? The internet is organic and unstoppable. It will adapt."

Nope. Nobody ever said that. There's knee-jerk fear of everything any government body does because there's a voice in the back of everyone's head reminding them that piracy really can be curbed. Just like the original pirates may have felt that the ocean was too vast and wide to ever feel threatened by governments, their culture was curbed. What's more, sea travel just became a novelty over time for the average person--we use planes now. The sea is quaint, just like the internet as we see it today will become quaint, and software piracy with it.

Where is piracy if the cloud becomes a platform? Where is piracy if all of our paradigms change? Methods of delivering software adapt, sure, but they still ultimately rely on techniques we've been using for 20 years on a form factor we've been using for 20 years connecting over protocols that we've been using for 20 years.

It isn't going to last forever, and believing it will means you're either a kid and you simply haven't developed a perspective yet on time and progress, or you're an adult with a very narrow field of vision.

Yeah, this $40 stuff is limited time offer for Existing customers. Current pirates will never pay a full price tag of eventual retail version. And if I were (forced) to buy full Win8, I'd rather switch to another OS. Most users would think the same. Apart from games, there is very little that can keep Win on most people's PCs.
Win8 is not worth the hassle even if it were for free. Win7 was much more deserving its price, even if higher.
MS (and most other fat companies) knows perfectly that their success is largely due to the piracy, given the very high price of their OSes as for most parts of the world.
Bottom line - either this isn't going to work, or it will have negative consequences for everyone. Either way, Win8 is a lot less attractive to hackers and hopefully users... I personally, won't use it, no thrill at all for the first time a new Win comes out, after 20 yrs. of Windows-ing. I don't even care what its price will be.
Where are you Bill?! Why did you leave us in the lurch..

The $40 price is for existing customers (upgrade version). If they want to fight piracy, they should think of a low price for full version too.

As has always been said - DRM only inconveniences the real customers.. hackers will always find a way to beat this stuff. If it was written by humans, it can be beaten by humans.

Sigh.

Chicane-UK said,
If it was written by humans, it can be beaten by humans.

Sigh.

Tell that to TrueCript

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrueCrypt#Operation_Satyagraha

In July 2008, several TrueCrypt-secured hard drives were seized from a Brazilian banker Daniel Dantas, who was suspected of financial crimes. The Brazilian National Institute of Criminology (INC) tried unsuccessfully for five months, to obtain access to his files on the TrueCrypt-protected disks. They enlisted the help of the FBI, who used dictionary attacks against Dantas' disks for over 12 months, but were still unable to decrypt them.[45] The case presented a noteworthy real-world test which proved the strength of TrueCrypt.

There's a reason people trust Truecrypt over ANYTHING m$ or proprietary put out...TRUST. I wouldn't trust ANYTHING M$, Google or other corporations try to convince me is "secure", it tickles me when people compare them as if this isn't a factor or as if they're all the same.

Makes sense, the exploit of using OEM licenses to bypass activation in Vista and 7 was frankly far too easy.

Javik said,
Makes sense, the exploit of using OEM licenses to bypass activation in Vista and 7 was frankly far too easy.

sorry but i think you mean it was too easy to find a download that does the work for you.

Big difference between making a crack and downloading one spread across the net like wild fire

Considering how much Microsoft makes on Windows sales from those who purchase the DVDs and those who buy OEM computers, the piracy rate would be very small thus not worth all the effort.

What about those system builder licenses you can get? Didn't they just loosen up the requirements for the installation of those licenses for Windows 8?

shinji257 said,
What about those system builder licenses you can get? Didn't they just loosen up the requirements for the installation of those licenses for Windows 8?

This activation scheme is for large OEMs like Dell and HP, not smaller builders who make PCs by hand (which have always had individual keys).

mrp04 said,
At $40, what's the point of pirating?

People pirate $0.99 Android apps... even if they charged the same amount for Windows, people would pirate it. Some people just don't seem to care about paying for software no matter how cheap it is. Sadly.

Chicane-UK said,

People pirate $0.99 Android apps... even if they charged the same amount for Windows, people would pirate it. Some people just don't seem to care about paying for software no matter how cheap it is. Sadly.


How many people do it? People pirate songs that are available for $0.99 as well.
In most cases it's the hindrance of placing an order or the total order/banking fees that can exceed the value of the order itself, by a factor of 10 or more.

mrp04 said,
At $40, what's the point of pirating?

I currently own an original copy of Windows 7, courtesy of Microsoft for betatesting. I would pay that if Windows 8 gets to convince me to upgrade, I'm trying out the CP build right now

robert_dll said,

I currently own an original copy of Windows 7, courtesy of Microsoft for betatesting. I would pay that if Windows 8 gets to convince me to upgrade, I'm trying out the CP build right now

RP, please.

rhianntp said,
I think they don't have to worry about this OS hehe...even for free it's not worth the hassle

LOL U R SO RITE

rhianntp said,
I think they don't have to worry about this OS hehe...even for free it's not worth the hassle

Ya for sure !
lets take a new OS you want promoted and make it harder for people to use it..
smart

rhianntp said,
I think they don't have to worry about this OS hehe...even for free it's not worth the hassle

so sad but at the same time its true, common user will get confused, pro user its **** to have to do more clicks to do a simple thing, maybe it works for windows phone and tablets but why force this change

Jimmy422 said,
Good. It was way too easy to fool Windows 7's activation.

it was easy for you to code the first crack for windows 7 ?

or was it too easy for you to download something that does ALL the work for you.

You had nothing to do with anything i bet.
And go ahead and ask the people the found the weakness and coded an exploit to capitalize on that vulnerability how easy it was..

It's not going to work. Microsoft should just stick to keeping the price low in order to entice people to purchase it.... I mean isn't the upgrade price like $39? (£25). That's pretty insignificant for an OS, considering many AAA games cost more than that.

Dushmany said,

I think this would be the best way to kill hacking and piracy in general, simply price them out of the market.

+1


I think this has become a moot argument. The mobile app economy has shown us that no matter how much goes into development, even with a 99 cent price point there will be people who pirate.

The argument that Windows is expensive has always been overblown. Making it cheaper doesn't matter to the sort of people who say things like "They couldn't pay me to use it" (read: "I'm going to pirate it").

It also doesn't matter to the sort of people who are used to piracy. Once you're already pirating everything, what's one more product, no matter how cheap it is? It's a childish, selfish attitude, and the apologetic attitude that believes simply lowering the price will solve everything needs to stop pretending software piracy is a purely economic issue.

I don't pay twice for any OS. I paid for w7 once and run it on all my machines. I'm not arguing what anyone thinks about that, I really don't care. BUT if M$ sold them $29 I would BUY them because it's a fair price. For almost anything more than $20, I will use a pirated version for a while first, if I like it, I buy it, if it sucks I feel vindicated, again don't care what useful idiots do, this is what I do...and a lot of other people I know.

JessJess said,
It's not going to work. Microsoft should just stick to keeping the price low in order to entice people to purchase it.... I mean isn't the upgrade price like $39? (£25). That's pretty insignificant for an OS, considering many AAA games cost more than that.

for pirates the right price is $0.

i mean they must know that's how we cracked windows 7 activation right? we went at the oem bios key and emulated that part.. i can see several ways of closing up said "loopholes" but i doubt any of it will happen. OEM side will say "screwww that."

therealJ4 said,
i mean they must know that's how we cracked windows 7 activation right? we went at the oem bios key and emulated that part.. i can see several ways of closing up said "loopholes" but i doubt any of it will happen. OEM side will say "screwww that."

Its true leaked videos with the RTM showed how activation is going to work,

therealJ4 said,
i mean they must know that's how we cracked windows 7 activation right? we went at the oem bios key and emulated that part.. i can see several ways of closing up said "loopholes" but i doubt any of it will happen. OEM side will say "screwww that."

You're wrong, the OEM's agreed to Microsoft's terms, they went with it. The usual Windows 7 Loader method won't work anymore with Windows 8 Clients. However, the servers still support the offline BIOS key activation, so there are talks of using that as a workstation OS. And there's already a KMS crack in the works for Windows 8 Enterprise. But the standard Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will probably not be hackable any time soon.

Ambroos said,

You're wrong, the OEM's agreed to Microsoft's terms, they went with it. The usual Windows 7 Loader method won't work anymore with Windows 8 Clients. However, the servers still support the offline BIOS key activation, so there are talks of using that as a workstation OS. And there's already a KMS crack in the works for Windows 8 Enterprise. But the standard Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will probably not be hackable any time soon.

This man is absolutely correct.
The "old" way (Vista/7) basically meant that certain details were injected into the BIOS from the OEM and that activated windows at boot, offline without Microsoft saying one way or another.
The "new" way (Windows 8 desktop, server is different) involves the OEM placing data inside the BIOS and sending Microsoft a token that's unique to that machine. Then the machine is shipped still unactivated and the user activates it. Your machine will send off this Token to Microsoft again and once its verified, Microsoft will activate your copy - if ANY hardware changes are made before this, the token is invalidated and Windows will refuse to activate.

That's a "simple a and dumbed down" version of how it actually works, it's a fair bit more complicated than that. Suffice it to say, rather than OEMs basically using a single Key for everything, now each OEM machine is unique (still using the OEM master key, but MS keeps track of individual machines).

Ambroos said,

You're wrong, the OEM's agreed to Microsoft's terms, they went with it. The usual Windows 7 Loader method won't work anymore with Windows 8 Clients. However, the servers still support the offline BIOS key activation, so there are talks of using that as a workstation OS. And there's already a KMS crack in the works for Windows 8 Enterprise. But the standard Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will probably not be hackable any time soon.

They've already released a KMS crack??? Please explain!!

Dushmany said,

You'll be surprised at how soon hacked activators for Win8 that do work will surface, I'm in no way trying to rain on your parade, nor do I condone hacking, I paid for my last 3 OS's, 2 of them were pre loaded, the machine I'm using now was home build so I bought the OS Disk, but I'm also very aware on how dilligent hackers can be.

Problem is that 90% are just trojan binded, visual basic cooked, exe's

ingramator said,

They've already released a KMS crack??? Please explain!!


Hackers are working on creating a crack. Read that reply again.

ingramator said,

Problem is that 90% are just trojan binded, visual basic cooked, exe's


What's wrong with anything built with visual basic? You got a grudge against VB?

Kushan said,

This man is absolutely correct.
The "old" way (Vista/7) basically meant that certain details were injected into the BIOS from the OEM and that activated windows at boot, offline without Microsoft saying one way or another.
The "new" way (Windows 8 desktop, server is different) involves the OEM placing data inside the BIOS and sending Microsoft a token that's unique to that machine. Then the machine is shipped still unactivated and the user activates it. Your machine will send off this Token to Microsoft again and once its verified, Microsoft will activate your copy - if ANY hardware changes are made before this, the token is invalidated and Windows will refuse to activate.

That's a "simple a and dumbed down" version of how it actually works, it's a fair bit more complicated than that. Suffice it to say, rather than OEMs basically using a single Key for everything, now each OEM machine is unique (still using the OEM master key, but MS keeps track of individual machines).

Huh? "Inject" data into the BIOS? WTF? It's simply not true. And btw. they already used BIOS data for volume licensing, google for ACPI_SLIC.

bviktor said,

Huh? "Inject" data into the BIOS? WTF? It's simply not true. And btw. they already used BIOS data for volume licensing, google for ACPI_SLIC.

true.

emulation is emulation
wether they change what needs to be emulated or not it will be.
I've spent LOTS of time coding emulators in c++
and spent years in IDA and OllyDBG so i can see where this is all gonna end up..
Windows 8 KMS server emulator
and another new generation loader / emu.
No offence but i don't have much faith in what people say about cracking
if they are NOT a cracker.. what the hell do people think ? lol
If you don't know what your talking about.. then..

Tyler R. said,
DRM= Paying customer's worst nightmare

yeah, really... we bought OEM copies for our machines at work we built, they are coming back now as "invalid" when you try to activate them they refuse to, they did perfectly fine a year ago when we built them, out of no where they went not genuine, and MS refuses to say why and newegg refuses to help also...

neufuse said,

yeah, really... we bought OEM copies for our machines at work we built, they are coming back now as "invalid" when you try to activate them they refuse to, they did perfectly fine a year ago when we built them, out of no where they went not genuine, and MS refuses to say why and newegg refuses to help also...

funny you should say this. I wonder if they haven't already implemented some of this new system.

last month, my Windows 7 Professional x64 OEM (very MS product name btw) seemed to "un-activate" itself. it started telling me that some system files were changed and I need to run setup again to repair it. I was just lucky it allowed me to install Win8RP over it. I have flattening machines.

anyone else got something similar?

Tyler R. said,
DRM= Paying customer's worst nightmare

except off course windows has had that for years and so far it has worked just fine.

neufuse said,

yeah, really... we bought OEM copies for our machines at work we built, they are coming back now as "invalid" when you try to activate them they refuse to, they did perfectly fine a year ago when we built them, out of no where they went not genuine, and MS refuses to say why and newegg refuses to help also...

Screw it! Just use Windows Loader by Daz. I usually don't approve of piracy, but in this case, it TECHNICALLY isn't illegal--your just making the product work again.

Good one Microsoft - first get all your users off-side by removing the start button, now make it a LOT harder for OEM's to pre-load Windows 8.

In other news Microsoft shares hit another low as people shun their new operating system.

dvb2000 said,
Good one Microsoft - first get all your users off-side by removing the start button, now make it a LOT harder for OEM's to pre-load Windows 8.

In other news Microsoft shares hit another low as people shun their new operating system.


How is it harder?