Vista 'Trick' Theorist Defends Loophole Claims

The Windows expert who originally speculated that Microsoft deliberately included a 'trick' in Windows Vista that lets users install the OS from the upgrade version on Wednesday defended his position. Earlier this month, the Windows Secrets newsletter reiterated claims it made last year that Microsoft is aware that users can clean install the fully functional, but cheaper upgrade edition of Vista on any machine, but doesn't want to actually stop them.

Microsoft denied this, and last week, Eric Ligman, Microsoft's senior manager of community engagement for small business in the U.S., railed against unnamed sources he accused of spreading misinformation and promoting software piracy. But Brian Livingston, editorial director of, doesn't think that speculating on the reasons why Microsoft included the loophole in Vista, and why Microsoft didn't eliminate it in Vista SP1, is tantamount to supporting illegal behavior.

"No one is encouraging people to try to 'rip off' Windows for zero dollars," Livingston said. "One or two people might buy Vista without having any prior copy of Windows, but that would be a fraction of the people who are using this documented feature."

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