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
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