Windows 7 piracy check update goes live

Earlier this month Neowin reported that Microsoft would be rolling out a new piracy check update for Windows 7. The update is said to check for 70 known activation exploits by checking the local PC. Upon realizing that a copy of Windows is not genuine, the program will change the user's desktop to black, leave a watermark showing that it's not a legal copy, and bug the user with notifications.

According to Engadget, the update is finally beginning to make its way to people's computers. The update is vaguely titled "Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB971033)." For 32-bit systems, it will probably say "for x86-based Systems." Just check the KB number to be sure. This is the description of the update:

"This update to Windows Activation Technologies detects activation exploits and tampering to key Windows system files. These exploits try to bypass regular Windows activation and are sometimes included with counterfeit copies of Windows."

It's still unclear what the 70 activation exploits are. The update is listed as "Important" meaning it will be installed automatically to users who have enabled automatic updates. Users are able to deselect the update and not allow it to install if they wish. However, if you're not doing anything wrong to begin with, and you only use legit software, there's really nothing to worry about.

Windows 7 Activation Tech. Update

Image Credit: Engadget.

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118 Comments

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I wonder if all the people who have downloaded this update (legit or not) know this is simply an information grab for Microsoft. So they can learn to spank the crackers/hackers. Just on this principal alone I wouldn't download it. They don't actually have a way to stop the activators, so why not pretend they do and collect as much information as possible? Sneaky. That fact alone is enough to keep me away. I don't appreciate being spied on. Especially if my copy is legit.

All of the PCs in my department are running Windows 7 from our MSDN subscription and one of them woke up this morning saying it was in illegal copy. :P

Thank you for this, I will not install that update and I hope to continue to use Windows 7 Ultimate for free until Windows 8 ... hahaha

Nashy said,
So Neowin is reporting what update for pirates to not install? Good work Neowin.

Aren't Microsoft doing that too? O.o

http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/genuinewindows/archive/2010/02/11/windows-activation-technologies-update-for-windows-7.aspx

Edited by Xav, Feb 25 2010, 12:04pm :

Nashy said,
So Neowin is reporting what update for pirates to not install? Good work Neowin.

If you noticed this update is important..so when you shut down your PC it will install it automatically.

Who cares? Exploits are added daily to prevent M$ to figuring it out. I'm not supporting piracy, I'm just saying. Just disable automatic update if you pirated your 7.

In case someone needs to know:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116713&cm_re=windows_7-_-32-116-713-_-Product

Installed and no issues. Good thing for firewall for blocking out going connections from the wat :)

I was forced to install it anyway since it kept giving me a non-genuine popup when doing MS updates rather that Window updates.

I love this part "Upon realizing that a copy of Windows is not genuine ...". This is a pretty presumptuous statement. Software can't realize and software has flaws.

What happens when the detection software gets it wrong?

I'm not promoting piracy or anything but I just installed this update on 3 laptops; 2 with bios mods and 1 on Bootcamp using a loader. All still say genuine Microsoft gets a F on this one. Hats off to the programmer of the loader, you should be working on the windows activation team.

I don't get this at all? Can't the people then just not install it and be fine?

So truly this didn't accomplish anything yet.

brink668 said,
I don't get this at all? Can't the people then just not install it and be fine?

So truly this didn't accomplish anything yet.

Yeah well their whole purpose of this is for the innocent people.

You know like the Grandma who buys the $399 computer from the guy on the corner of the Street.

shound't that be in the optional tab?

MS should integrate this into SP1 imagine and package

to **** off pirates :P

Ci7 said,
shound't that be in the optional tab?

MS should integrate this into SP1 imagine and package

to **** off pirates :P

Methods still work and more have been created... So, no Pirates don't give a ****.

Edited by nub, Feb 25 2010, 2:02am :

nub said,

Methods still work and more have been created... So, no Pirates don't give a ****.

And never will.

All these technologies only hurt the Innocent people. I love how apple just had their 10 billion download and they act like that is some high. I bet 10 billion songs alone are downloaded every day illegally. I don't mean individual songs of course dumb ass.

briangw said,

It would be if you thought it would kill your copy.

Not really. More than likely if you could enough to be running what you currently are then you are good enough to work around it.

I have tried 4 different exploits on my test machine and all 4 have passed as "Windows validation was successful" and all of the crack's have been download for several months.

roadwarrior said,
As I suspected, this does not affect patched BIOS with SLIC 2.1.

I guess Microsoft should just check the comments on Neowin to see who's using illegal copies... Who needs fancy activation technologies when silly people are so willing to mention it in public forums? LOL

M_Lyons10 said,

I guess Microsoft should just check the comments on Neowin to see who's using illegal copies... Who needs fancy activation technologies when silly people are so willing to mention it in public forums? LOL

Good luck getting a search warrant. Free speech and all. Just cause some guy on the Internet says he is using illegal software or doing something illegal does not mean he is. Thank god I live in America, guilty until proven innocent. ;)

war said,
Good luck getting a search warrant. Free speech and all. Just cause some guy on the Internet says he is using illegal software or doing something illegal does not mean he is. Thank god I live in America, guilty until proven innocent. ;)

No, it doesn't mean they are, but it gives probable cause for a warrant to investigate if they are/are capable of doing so. Freedom of Speach does not cover threats/admissions of violations of the law.

I see this as an additional layer of security against malware. Malware could potentially replace these license files and thanks to this new checker it will repair files damaged by malware.

Rfire said,
I see this as an additional layer of security against malware. Malware could potentially replace these license files and thanks to this new checker it will repair files damaged by malware.

Hm... I'm not sure that it would work like that, but who knows...

InsaneNutter said,
Same here, wasn't found when running Windows Update on any of the computers here.
Updates are distributed in stages, you area simply has not gotten them yet then. You will soon, rest assured.

Pam14160 said,
Win 7 SP1 will probably contain the update, hence you will have no choice in the matter.

That's a good point, you're more than likely right... Not that I care, my copy is legit...

Umm, I somehow got this week ago. Exactly KB971033. From windows update. Strange.
But anyways - from what it seems theres still a ton of working exploits and what not, so in the end this update just mostly scared few people and thats it.

legit install or not. Won't install.

I refuse the system of collective user mistrust per sé.

thanks, but no thanks.

good old days of windows 98. haha!

Glassed Silver:mac

RageOfFury said,
I wonder if one of these "70 exploits" is the bios hack. Wouldn't that be hard to detect?
No not really. And there are about 50 BIOS hacks so you have to be a bit more specific. Probably even more. I gave up keep tracking about a year ago.

i installed it, (for the first time in my life i actually bought windows!), but yeah like someone said, the update does come unchecked which is odd

Scirwode said,
The update is available on my PC, but it is unchecked .

Scirwode

Don't install and mark it as " don't bother me anymore with this update".

Scirwode said,
The update is available on my PC, but it is unchecked .

Scirwode


thats because its not mandatory, as stated by Microsoft reps long ago. you have to select it and install it

Edited by dingl_, Feb 24 2010, 4:35pm :

artfuldodga said,

thats because its not mandatory, as stated by Microsoft reps long ago. you have to select it and install it

That's strange. Ah well, I have nothing worry about :hugs his original Windows 7 Home Premium license: .

Scirwode

Ahhhh hehe I was wondering what updates were pushed out last night......I didn't notice the countdown to reboot and rebooted my computer during a movie I was watching.

ManOfMystery said,
Ahhhh hehe I was wondering what updates were pushed out last night......I didn't notice the countdown to reboot and rebooted my computer during a movie I was watching.

Oh, I hate when that happens... I wish Microsoft could make reboots a little smarter with stuff like that...

I probably had it already, after a reboot (I turned it off and back on again myself) it said for me to verify my copy of Windows, even though I had done previously.

This was Monday.

However, if you're not doing anything wrong to begin with, and you only use legit software, there's really nothing to worry about.

Not so sure about this, my Windows 7 is legit but false positives have happened before with WGA, so I'm always hesitant to install these kinds of updates to my system.

Pharos said,

Not so sure about this, my Windows 7 is legit but false positives have happened before with WGA, so I'm always hesitant to install these kinds of updates to my system.

Good thing this isn't WGA, and hasn't been since vista.

AgentGray said,

Good thing this isn't WGA, and hasn't been since vista.

Meh, it's just renamed because WGA gained such a poor reputation.

Edited by Northgrove, Feb 24 2010, 5:35pm :

Northgrove said,
Meh, it's just renamed because WGA gained such a poor reputation.

Err, no... it basically acts in an entirely different way that is much less likely to trigger a false positive... but reality's never been that important to people who have A POINT TO MAKE!

AgentGray said,

Err, no... it basically acts in an entirely different way that is much less likely to trigger a false positive... but reality's never been that important to people who have A POINT TO MAKE!

HAHA, I love that last line. LOL

Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

I suppose so, if your personal belongings happened to be embedded in the operating system files.
You could say the same thing about antivirus.
I suppose a firewall shouldn't be censoring incoming connections either.

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

Yeah damn MS! When I installed the patch a guy knocked down my door and went through my underware draw. Yeah, that's how silly you sound.

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

Since when does patching their own files (and maybe adding a couple) involve going through your personal files?

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

Here, have a tin hat.

FacialTurd said,
I suppose so, if your personal belongings happened to be embedded in the operating system files.
You could say the same thing about antivirus.

What antivirus scans your PC and sends personal info to the company? I know some do, but that's the ones I wouldn't use. It's nice to have choice!

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

Good grief... Over react much? They are certainly within their right to check that you haven't stolen their software...

James Riske said,
Sure let microsoft into your home and let them go through your personal belongings, as long as you are legit you have nothing to worry about right?

Sheep.

And you can trust apple and Linux developers more? All of them are just people on the Internet and out in the big bad world. Not like you have a clue what your talking about.

Besides it only takes 1 rouge developer to sneak code it. I'm sure Linux, Mac, and Windows all have loop holes left in by some developer no one knows about. ;)

war said,
...
Besides it only takes 1 rouge developer to sneak code it. I'm sure Linux, Mac, and Windows all have loop holes left in by some developer no one knows about. ;)
Of those three that you mentioned, only ONE is available for any third party auditor (and, indeed, HAS had many code audits).

Care to guess which one? ;)

GetUsed2It said,
funny .. i didnt get that update today. i got 4 other important ones. but not this one. why is that?
Spyware on your system hiding the update from you?

haha J/k Updates go out in groups. You turn will be soon enough.

Overclockers are selling Windows 7 Home Premium for £110 delivered. If you can afford a Quad Core gaming rig, then miss out on a weekend bender, and go get a copy.

Elven said,
Overclockers are selling Windows 7 Home Premium for £110 delivered. If you can afford a Quad Core gaming rig, then miss out on a weekend bender, and go get a copy.

So happy i got it through the student discount scheme :D

Edited by PaulCabby, Feb 24 2010, 5:11pm :

Elven said,
Overclockers are selling Windows 7 Home Premium for £110 delivered. If you can afford a Quad Core gaming rig, then miss out on a weekend bender, and go get a copy.

So glad my copy was free from MS :p

They counted 70 different exploits? I'm sure many are the same, just small variations in the code somewhere...

este said,
They counted 70 different exploits? I'm sure many are the same, just small variations in the code somewhere...
Negative. If you count variations, versions, etc. then a few hundred easy.

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=150841 thats the link for the 32bit version

i ran it last week havent noticed anything different

DKAngel said,
i ran it last week havent noticed anything different

Why would you? Unless you're running it illegally...

Things like this aren't really worth it anymore. Most schools give free licenses of Windows, and its a joke how we can install multiple copies of Windows XP/VISTA/7; and simply tell MS customer support that we are doing a simple re-install.

-DanNY- said,
Things like this aren't really worth it anymore. Most schools give free licenses of Windows, and its a joke how we can install multiple copies of Windows XP/VISTA/7; and simply tell MS customer support that we are doing a simple re-install.

nice loophole ;)

-DanNY- said,
Things like this aren't really worth it anymore. Most schools give free licenses of Windows, and its a joke how we can install multiple copies of Windows XP/VISTA/7; and simply tell MS customer support that we are doing a simple re-install.

Until they see that the same license key is on different hardware...

M_Lyons10 said,

Until they see that the same license key is on different hardware...

Like we care in 2015? ;)

Pupik said,
And meanwhile, dozens of loaders has been updated to bypass it.

hehe of course, oh well now I present you: a cascade of proud legal owners ....

Pupik said,
And meanwhile, dozens of loaders has been updated to bypass it.
What you talking about. Many of them still work just fine without a single update. lol

humanz. said,
oh snap! So that's what rebooted my computer last night!

updates rebooted your PC, this update is not installed by default. You have to check it off to install it

sullysnet said,

updates rebooted your PC, this update is not installed by default. You have to check it off to install it

According to the article it IS installed by default... That's what happens when you have your computer set to install updates automatically...

sullysnet said,

updates rebooted your PC, this update is not installed by default. You have to check it off to install it
Negative. All important updates are installed automatically if windows is configured to automatically install updates.

It's still unclear what the 70 activation exploits are.

Not that that matters, because there are probably 70 more exploits that aren't detected by this.

what said,

Not that that matters, because there are probably 70 more exploits that aren't detected by this.

Plus the 200 or 300 more that will come down the pipe in the next few months.

Captain555 said,

Plus the 200 or 300 more that will come down the pipe in the next few months.

I just tested it on a few that are over a year old and none of them are detected. lol Figures. Still activated just fine and windows update still work and no signs of not being genuine. Passes http://www.microsoft.com/Genuine/ just fine.

what said,

Not that that matters, because there are probably 70 more exploits that aren't detected by this.

Somehow I don't think Microsoft's goal is to attempt to detect every single last one of them.