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Microsoft to brand pirated copies of Windows…

April 27th 2006 in Uncategorized


“Starting tomorrow, the software giant will permanently flag personal computers that are not running a genuine copy of Windows.”

I think now is the time for a quick holiday… I think I’m glad to be going out of town this weekend…

6 comments to...
“Microsoft to brand pirated copies of Windows…”

Ian Oxley (UK)

Ha ha! You didn’t really express an opinion on this either way. I suppose it is a minefield.

I have a problem with it on several levels. This might sound like a predictable knee-jerk, we’ll see.

The first thing to say is that the description of the patch is desperately understated, almost misleading:

“The Windows Genuine Advantage Notification tool notifies you if your copy of Windows is not genuine. If your system is found to be a non-genuine, the tool will help you obtain a licensed copy of Windows.”

What is that?!

Where does it say that the usability of XP will be crippled thereafter?

I can’t advocate piracy, but I’m not sure if there is a right’s issue that gets clouded by the piracy one. I do tend to advise my loyal followers (LOL) to manually update rather than blindly following the auto update nags, and to think about the updates they accept.

I have long since worried that the new culture of automatic updates would eventually be the foundation for Microsoft to push out anything it darned well pleased to do anything to a system it darned well liked.

Whatever the ins and outs, rights and wrongs, of copyright infringement with XP, surely pushing nagware is vaguely akin to all the malicious code we spend so much time trying to block?

I’ve nothing to fear concerning my systems but will only install this update when it becomes the compulsory key to other updates. I’ll even try to system restore (or whatever) it off other PCs I help to look after. I just have a principal here which feels violated.

What do you reckon?


What do I reckon?? Cool… :o)

Those who know me know that I’m not shy about expressing an opinion (you see, there is this flamethrower that comes out every so often) ;o)

What’s my opinion? I say good on MS. Theft is theft is theft is theft is theft.

In terms of XP usability being crippled, the Windows Genuine Advantage Tool has been around for quite a while now, as has refusal of downloads to those who are not using a genuine versions of Windows. The change is that, whereas previously users would not be informed of their illegal status until and unless they tried to download something restricted to genuine Windows users, now users will be told they are running an illegal version of Windows whether or not they are trying to access a WGA restricted download.

I’ll be honest; I’ve seen far too many machines sold by backyard sellers who load pirated versions of Windows onto shoddy PCs whilst charging their victims full price. I’ve also seen too many kids use pirated software simply because they can. I hate that crooks are taking advantage of the naivette of new users – this change will stop that from happening (unless the bad guys find a way to permanently disable Windows Update).

I’m sure you realise that by using system restore to avoid the change, and by avoiding Windows Update, the users of the PCs you care for are being placed at risk. When does the saving won by using a pirated product become less than the cost of being legal?

Ian Oxley (UK)

Yessssss…..theft is theft is theft (I can only be bothered to type it 3 times!) but, suppose the pirated product was not the OS, let’s say Adobe found a way to bomb a user of a ripped off Photoshop that caused a major clang up in the PC operation – would that cause a morality blip? I think you’re saying that the copyright owner of the OS has rights above anyone else to tunnel in and hack the system. I just don’t know. It means that Windows Update can be used for anything. There’s no real warning from the Update site about what will actually happen with this “patch”, as I said, it is terribly understated. I see a precedent that I don’t like. The blind auto-update mentality Microsoft has created can now be used to show-horn in absolutely anything, under the most vague of descriptions. And I’m sure they’ve asked long and hard if they can take personal details from non-legit systems, I’ll bet they wanted to. What will it come to next year when they want to squeeze every last copy out of sight? This initial aggression has been a long while coming, but it wil begin to open up and shift the basis of what is acceptable behaviour. You don’t usually pull down a garage to extract a stolen car. Or maybe I’m worng, LOL.

I’m not going to get anyone system restoring, that was a knee-jerk comment. No-one I deal with has anything to actually fear from the new tool.

Automatic updates are a blessing and a curse and my recommendations vary.

In the last year I’ve had to attend for screwed-up systems seeming to stem from “forced” patches. There was a plug and play patch that rendered two systems here dead in the water with no operational hardware (well, dead but restorable). An optional hardware update destroyed a perfectly good sound card installation on a family PC a few weeks back.

But I recognise that if people don’t patch they’re going to help pump crap around the internet, causing others to suffer sometimes more than themesleves. I look after a dozen or some machines in a tight family/friend circle and I look at them differently – it matters less to me if someone who simply comes to me now and then as a paying customer has updated and as a result can’t operate Outlook Express this week!! 😉

Anyway, whatever updates I apply to my sister’s boy’s PC, as soon as I get in my car and leave they re-install Messenger Plus!! Laugh… oh, how I laugh….

You’re not wrong Sandi. You seldom are, to be honest, which is why I read your pages!! I just get these odd chills and strange visions of the future, to do with slowly eroding principles.

Scott F.

Got further updated in mid-July AFTER WGA popups claimed I would recieve none except lesser important ones. So far I’ve noticed a lockdown on my tcpip.sys which has it back to 10. I tried to tweak it back to 50 (which is where it should be ideally), and Windows butted in wanting verification by inserting authentic SP2 CD. This means of course the updates will keep on coming for those with pirated XP; and more unwanted bull from forced updates. Can’t wait to see what WGA will tamper with next

Praful Kumar

I know one company which uses pirated windows os. Where can I report this can you guide me?



You can find information about how to report piracy at this URL:


Tony Chor blogged about a dinner he attended which was held at Frisson in San Francisco just prior to the IE7 B2 launch … so many photos.. so many familiar faces… sometimes living on another continent, and even worse, living in the most isolated city on said continent really sucks.
Photos of the party here…http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ie7b2/
Nice to see Tony […]

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