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Microsoft

SP1 Unsuccessful in Preventing Vista Hacks 214

"The other A. N. Other" writes "It seems that Microsoft has been unsuccessful with SP1 in preventing hackers from turning a pirated, non-genuine copy of Vista into genuine copies that pass activation. The article initially looked at two of the most popular hacks (OEM BIOS hack and the grace timer hack) but after a little digging ZDNet were able to transform a non-genuine install into a genuine one. 'After a few minutes of searching the darker corners of the Internet and a few seconds in the Command Prompt I was able to fool Windows into thinking that it was genuine.'"
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SP1 Unsuccessful in Preventing Vista Hacks

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  • WHAT!?!?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:42AM (#22378422) Journal
    A Windows upgrade leaves Windows vulnerable? It didn't fix the problem? I'm shocked! SHOCKED, I tell ya!

    -mcgrew
    • by WK2 ( 1072560 )
      Linux suffers from the same vulnerability. You can copy it as many times as you want and it works just as well as the copy from the original developers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Linux suffers from the same vulnerability. You can copy it as many times as you want and it works just as well as the copy from the original developers.

        And it's much easier with Linux - so Windows is more secure!!!
    • My tears fall now
      like waterfalls of salt

      from using Vista

      Split my belly now
      I just can not live with
      shame of Vista

      Balmer you jackass
      what is that coming this way
      a flying chair

      Look what you caused such horrible poetry
      was thus inspired

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:43AM (#22378428)
    So, if the screen goes black on users who have a genuine copy, maybe they can use this hack? Or would this be illegal? Although it would then be like tricking Windows into -realizing- it is genuine...
    • If you have a genuine copy, and all of a sudden your windows thinks its not, I don't believe any court will convict you of piracy.

      Ok they probably will, oh well thats what we get for being duped into buying a completely unnecessary OS upgrade.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      So, if the screen goes black on users who have a genuine copy, maybe they can use this hack? Or would this be illegal? Although it would then be like tricking Windows into -realizing- it is genuine...

      It would be a pretty clear violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and similar laws in countries outside the United States -- bypassing a security system designed to prevent copying. Might be okay in Canada, though. I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and you if you want legal advice -- go hire a lawyer.

    • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @05:44PM (#22383794)

      So, if the screen goes black on users who have a genuine copy, maybe they can use this hack? Or would this be illegal? Although it would then be like tricking Windows into -realizing- it is genuine...


      You know, it's funny... I've often found it easier to crack a piece of software than it is to track down my legitimate license. I can imagine does that with VIsta. If I were running a legitimate version of Vista and changed my hardware (or whatever causes Vista to require a to require you to reregister), I'd sooner install a crack than spend any amount of time on the phone with Microsoft.

      -matthew

  • by Computershack ( 1143409 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:43AM (#22378438)
    And it's because of people doing this that stuff gets tightened down and in the end, its not the thieving bastards who suffer but the rest of us who pay for what we use instead of stealing it.
    • by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:46AM (#22378462)
      Simple solution: pay for a copy, throw it in the bin, and install a stolen copy instead.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mattmcm ( 1143125 )
        My kingdom for mod points. Hell, that's insightful and funny.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Call it funny, but it's actually nearer the truth than most imagine. I get so sick and tired of serial keys, activations and what not. And then still being artificially restricted in what you can do.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by somersault ( 912633 )
          True. It's much more convenient to use cracked copies of games rather than take the CDs with you everywhere in case you feel like playing them on your laptop at your friend's house/whatever. Note: I do buy all my games, but I like to download the 'No CD' versions so that I can keep the original CDs/DVDs in good condition, and so that I dont have to swap out friggin game CDs to watch a DVD. Games should not need the disc after installation. Hopefully I'm not being hypocritical because I'm happy to use plasti
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by majorme ( 515104 )
            I hear you, mate. You should try Steam, direct2drive or just buy only id Software games as this company always removes the cd-check after month or two. Unlike Blizzard... who did that only TEN FUCKING YEARS AFTER the release of StarCraft and 6 years AFTER they released WarCraft 3. And that's not all. For this nocd patch to work, you HAVE to COPY a few 600MB files from each cd to the hard drive...
            • hmm do you have a source for them removing the CD check from starcraft? I would imagine that would be a bit tricky as starcraft does actually use data from the CD when running.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Vexor ( 947598 )
                I actually typed my Starcraft CD key so many times I ended up memorizing it. 2518-77178-9492
            • sorry should have read the whole of your post before replying. It seems indeed that the latest patch can read setup.exe (which is really a huge mpq file with a small exe stub on the beginning) from the hard drive but you have to copy it manually.

              btw if you only want to play multiplayer a much smaller mpq will surfice though you have to build it manually using tools like mpq2k and mpqver.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by jdinkel ( 1028708 )
            I do the same thing. I don't even open the game box anymore. I view them as collector's items like old action figures that have never been removed from their packaging.
      • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:28AM (#22378820) Homepage
        You've been modded funny, but that's how I run half my software. By running a cracked copy, I never have to worry about WGA, (re)activation, etc. I could do things completely legitimately and call up India every few months, or just install from a different disc despite owning a legal, shiny, "do not make illegal copies of this disc"-hologrammed copy, and never have to be bothered with any of it.

        It's been working well for me for years, and I see no reason to stop. They have my money, I have their software, and I get to use what I paid for. Problem? Didn't think so.
      • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:39AM (#22378946)

        Simple solution: pay for a copy, throw it in the bin, and install a stolen copy instead.
        This is honestly what I do with the games I play. Purchase the game legally from my favorite retailer, install it from the disc, and promptly download the no-CD crack/patch.

        I started doing this a year or two back when the latest and greatest copy protection broke a game that I had legitimately purchased. It wouldn't run at all. No matter what I did it told me I didn't have the disc. So I grabbed the no-CD patch and had no trouble with it.

        Ever since then I've made it a habit to crack/patch every game I purchase. Not only do I no longer have to dig through my discs to find the right one when I want to play, but it seems to me that the games run better too.

        All these assorted copy protection schemes only affect those of us who actually pay for the software. The folks who are pirating the stuff are already bypassing it all anyway, so they never get inconvenienced at all.
        • This is honestly what I do with the games I play. Purchase the game legally from my favorite retailer, install it from the disc, and promptly download the no-CD crack/patch.

          The only problem that I've seen with this is that sometimes, the no-cd patches will break the game in other ways. Not to mention the hassle of having to wait for the new ones to come after every patch. Lately I've taken to using publisher's download offerings instead, and have been loving it. No CD checks anymore. One time I got locked out of a game after upgrading and reinstalling my PC; but within 2 hours of an email to support, the issue was resolved.

          (Upon rereading... ugh, no I'm not a game publi

          • Until you get something like EA Link, which doesn't let you re-download something you've legitimately purchased unless you pay the extortion fee, and then only for 6 months.
      • Yup, been doing that for decades with DRM programs. Ever since Leasure Suit Larry, Lotus 123 and Dbase III. Yeah, I'm that old...
        • Ah, the days of CopyIIPC... copy protection on floppies was doubly stupid because floppies were a much more volatile medium than CDs.

    • by SailorSpork ( 1080153 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:53AM (#22378526) Homepage
      You mean, someone would actually want Vista so much they'd pirate it?! These allegations surely come from M$'s PR department! If there's someone out there that really wants a copy that badly, I'll trade my Vista Home Premium that was bundled with my new system for your XP serial number...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AIkill ( 1021773 )
        I can understand your animosity, but not all Vista installs are bad. I have found that Vista Ultimate tends to do better than the Home editions. It could be said that Vista Home Premium/Basic could be analogous to XP Home, which every1 knows is absolute junk. However, I will admit that Vista definitely needs some work before it will be widely used in offices and corporations, but of course there will be those corps whose CTOs will demand that they have the newest stuff so they force their computers over to
        • I had some bad experiences with x86 Vista when it was first released, but after recently installing the 64-bit version to get rid of Witcher crashes I must say that Vista has worked pretty well. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm now running the x64 version or if it is the 5 million Vista patches I immediately installed from Windows Update, but most of my gripes with Vista have been fixed. I still hate the new file explorer though (why the hell they changed the backspace from "one folder up" to "previou
    • by mysticgoat ( 582871 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:13AM (#22378672) Homepage Journal

      And it's because of people doing this that stuff gets tightened down and in the end, its not the thieving bastards who suffer but the rest of us who pay for what we use instead of stealing it.

      Well... it's more like from the beginning, not in the end.

      Basically its just another example of how even elegant code is unnecessarily costly when used to stupid purpose. Trying to prop up a 1989 business model with the likes of WGA, DRM, etc is just stupid. Find another business model. It isn't like there is some worldwide shortage of them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by drharris ( 1100127 )

        Find another business model. It isn't like there is some worldwide shortage of them.
        Except that all the other good business models have been patented.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:31AM (#22378850) Homepage
      The ORIGINAL real XP WGA crack still works and still can not be defeated by Microsoft. It has been a solid working crack for over 2 years now.

      That is the funny part. WGA is a solid failure, yet Microsoft will not give up on it. It only get's in the way of legit users and eats up processor cycles for no useful reason. Yet they insist on making life hell for everyone that is a legit user while all their attempts no not even bother the stolen software users.

      It's getting as bad as Games, Legit copies are more of a PITA than a cracked copy. Which is why as soon as I buy a game, I go searching for the cracks, no-cd patches, etc... to give me back control of the game I bought.

      BTW, the cool part of the XP WGA crack, I can reinstall XP on my machines at will without calling Msft. I simply use the crack to insert the COA sticker's number inot XP and it instantly becomes that copy, WGA is happy, the "you must register" crap goes away. I have a better experience.
      • I do it the other way around. First, download a crack and virus check it, then purchase the game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That is the funny part. WGA is a solid failure, yet Microsoft will not give up on it

        That's because Microsoft hates you. They say "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence", right? Well, in the past year or so, I've come to the conclusion that incompetence is no longer sufficient to explain Microsoft's products, therefore they must be the result of malice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sfing_ter ( 99478 )
      Unless you have had your head in the sand for the last 15 years, Microsoft has gotten most of their popularity from the fact that you only had to buy one copy of the software. Office has took over because of it's ease of installation on multiple stations without "needing" to buy more copies; same with Win3.1 WinNT Win95 Win98 and WinME. In fact a couple of shops in the area got busted numerous times for selling "pirated copies" (actually they were real serial numbers but they were used more than once), in f
    • And it's because of people doing this that stuff gets tightened down and in the end, its not the thieving bastards who suffer but the rest of us who pay for what we use instead of stealing it.

      Activation does nothing whatsoever to stop people stealing Windows, because if you steal it you get a serial number in the box. I doubt most stores inventory management systems are sophisticated enough to track the individual serial numbers of boxes in stock, so if you get away from the store without being caught i

    • case of diversionary tactics, or diverticulitis... Oh, bummer... bummed, but not down or out...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:46AM (#22378460)
    MS doesn't want to stop all Vista piracy. Sure, they want to stop commercial outfits producing fake Vista DVDs but stopping all Vista piracy is bad business. Using Vista (even a pirated copy) keeps you locked-in and makes it easier for MS to get people using more MS software. After all, Vista was an industry-wide attempt to get everyone buying new hardware. Yeah it failed (hardware sales have been well below expectations) but using free Vista still encourages you to get new hardware like DX10 video cards & other DRM-riddled hardware.
    • by morcego ( 260031 )
      I don't agree with the "piracy boosts sales" theory regarding Windows.
      Yes, this might have been true in the past. These days, with all the OEM bundling MS manages to achieve, they don't need piracy anymore. For Windows anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ericlondaits ( 32714 )
        Perhaps not in the US, but they do in the rest of the world.

        At least here in Argentina most home and small office users have pirated copies of Windows. Although it's bundled in brand computers, most people buy computers assembled by small computer shops or by themselves, because there are much much cheaper than buying Dell, Compaq, etc.

        OEM copies of Windows, though much cheaper than boxed versions, are expensive enough to have a big impact in the price of a custom-built PC.
      • by araemo ( 603185 )

        I don't agree with the "piracy boosts sales" theory regarding Windows.
        Yes, this might have been true in the past. These days, with all the OEM bundling MS manages to achieve, they don't need piracy anymore. For Windows anyway.

        I respectfully disagree - partially.

        I think that there are a LOT of geeks who build their own systems who wouldn't buy Vista unless they have experience with it, and wouldn't have experience with it at this point without 'pirating'("free trialing") vista.

        Which is why I think MS made these changes in SP1 rather than as soon as the 'cracks'/tricks came to light: They got a year of geeks tinkering and learning that isn't "that bad", and then they close the holes and nudge the geeks to buy it for real. Now th

  • was the time most peoples pirate copies of XP got found out due to activation exploits being broken.

    Will be the same in Vista I'd imagine.

  • by Toreo asesino ( 951231 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:51AM (#22378506) Journal
    I've often thought that for Microsoft to significantly damage Linux on the desktop for Windows 7 for instance, all it would need to do is make Windows 7 licensing about as intrusive as the Win2k licensing. I.e enter a serial during setup, and that's it.

    Geeks complain about WGA and then crack it anyway, n00bs buys their boxen with it pre-installed and so the audience WGA seems to be the most effective against are the casual upgraders that don't have the cash to shell out, but want the shiniest and latest software regardless.

    Another angle; several friends of mine have to my pleasant surprise, asked me before if I knew of a retailer that would sell PCs with Linux on. Upon querying if they're sure they want Linux what with most commercial software being incompatible etc, the answer has always been the same; "no, but I'd save fifty quid (pounds) on Windows and then install it anyway".
    Invariably, if this process was easy to do, it would beg the question; without the hassle of cracking Windows, would Linux even be considered? I think not, but increasingly it is.
    • by Graftweed ( 742763 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:21AM (#22378742)
      I, for one, hope that MS is entirely successful in their (alas futile) search for the means to stop piracy.

      If people actually have to buy Windows and Office for what MS is charging for them, maybe they'll stop for a second and finally realise what it means to enter into business with a monopoly: high prices and low quality.

      There's no doubt in my mind, from the sample of people and businesses that I know, that they'd take a long hard look at Linux if they were unable to pirate MS products so easily.
      • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:37AM (#22378926)
        Funny. I ran Linux on my server for about a decade, and Linux on the desktop for three or four years. I now happily pay for Windows to use my computer instead of fighting with it. The quality is about the same, its just that I don't need to research 20 hours to figure out why my printer isn't working.
        • by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @12:30PM (#22380054) Homepage
          That's an unpopular sentiment around here, where the upgrade-Vista-by-installing-XP +5 funny post apparently never loses its humor, but there's a lot of truth to what you said. Linux has come a long way towards desktop/user friendliness and distributions like Ubuntu are a huge leap forward, but they still haven't achieved the holy grail of but-can-my-grandmother-use-it. Getting closer, though.
          • by mcrbids ( 148650 )
            Linux has come a long way towards desktop/user friendliness and distributions like Ubuntu are a huge leap forward, but they still haven't achieved the holy grail of but-can-my-grandmother-use-it. Getting closer, though.

            Depends on what you do. I've been using Linux since about 1998 or so. I have the same home directory all this time, all my email, etc.

            Windows machines have to be reloaded every year or two to "stay fresh". I've *NEVER* reloaded the O/S on my Linux system (now a laptop) for this reason. The ot
        • by araemo ( 603185 )
          Funny, I am still seeing that problem with windows.

          In fact, I'm not FINDING a solution other than 'turn it all off, wait 5 minutes, reboot'.

          (Yes, it is because we have a lexmark printer, but it was free-to-us. ;P)

          I run windows on the desktop because I play windows-only games regularly, and rebooting is annoying.

          My server/router is running linux because it works, and works well.
          • Funny, I am still seeing that problem with windows.

            I'm sorry, where did I say no one ever had problems with Windows? The fact is though that you can't walk into any store, buy a printer, and bring it home expecting it will work on Linux. Chances are it won't.

            I run windows on the desktop because I play windows-only games regularly, and rebooting is annoying.

            You're doing something wrong if you're rebooting a lot. Most people can run XP just fine, never turning the computer off. Unless you're dual booting.
        • The main difference I've found is that on Windows I can't find any information to help me and so am either left on my own to figure it out or I give up. On Linux I can actually find what I need to know in forums, wikis, etc. One winds up working in the end, one doesn't.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:39AM (#22378948) Journal
        Exactly. A lot of people tell me that MS Office is better than OpenOffice, but is it really $400 better? For a few classes of user, maybe. For most? Probably not. But if you're pirating MS Office, then the cost is exactly the same as OpenOffice, so if it's any better at all then it will get used.
        • If you buy a copy of Home/Student Office 2008, you get 3 license keys (3 installs) for $130 at Amazon. That's $44 per install for those of you keeping score.

          That is probably a truer indication of it's worth. Basically, you're paying $44/machine to moves office files to/from work. That's a reasonable price.

          As for the several hundred dollars MS wants for the "corporate" version... not so much.
          • However that license is only geared towards a specific set of users. If you do not fall into the license type that can use a student copy, you are still committing copyright infringement.
      • "There's no doubt in my mind, from the sample of people and businesses that I know, that they'd take a long hard look at Linux if they were unable to pirate MS products so easily."

        The people at Microsoft know this. That why they leave it easy to install stolen copies. Their plan is to make everyone who can pay and to let the others use it for free. Much better to give away a copy for free then to let them find out about the competition.

    • by HardCase ( 14757 )

      I've often thought that for Microsoft to significantly damage Linux on the desktop...
      I think that Microsoft is worried about Linux on the desktop in the same way that John McCain is worried about Ron Paul.
  • No surprise there... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:58AM (#22378552) Homepage
    Sure, they've always found a crack. And every time you try to get updates, the crack will break and you need to find a new one. It's not about making it impossible, just about making it annoying, timeconsuming or scary because you don't have the latest security fixes. To paraphrase a little: "pirated Windows is only free if your time is worthless". While I'm sure it makes some people pay for Windows, I do hope it also brings some people over to Linux mhere apt-get distupgrade "just works".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Soporific ( 595477 )
      To paraphrase a little: "pirated Windows is only free if your time is worthless".

      I don't know about that, I've been able to get along just fine with XP...
    • It didn't convert me to Linux (although I always use it in servers), but it did convince me to buy a Mac. Windows Vista is just a great advertisement for Mac OS X.
    • $150 is worth at least five hours of most people's time, and that's cheap as Windows goes. And it's
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        $150 is worth at least five hours of most people's time, and that's cheap as Windows goes. And it's
        ...nah, too easy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by petermgreen ( 876956 )
      here apt-get distupgrade "just works".
      Sure as long as you are running a stable release and stick within that release. Upgrading between releases can be much more troublesome.

      In the windows world most home and small buisness systems are never upgraded from one windows release to the next. they are purchased with a version of windows and that version of windows stays on them until they are retired. Versions of windows come with a very long security update life cycle that facilitates this (7 YEARS of overlap!)
      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @05:02PM (#22383338) Homepage

        In the windows world most home and small buisness systems are never upgraded from one windows release to the next. they are purchased with a version of windows and that version of windows stays on them until they are retired. Versions of windows come with a very long security update life cycle that facilitates this (7 YEARS of overlap!).

        in the linux world you are lucky to find a vendor offering more than a year of security update overlap for desktop versions.
        Unless of course you consider the service packs, which by themselves introduced and broke quite a bit of functionality, to be the equivalent of releases with other distros. My experience with distro upgrades have certainly not been more painful than that, and plain XP as well as XP SP1 are no longer supported. And you're certainly counting if you bought XP in 2001, if you bought XP right before Vista was released there's no 7 years of support for you, more like 2.5 years. Well, the LTS versions of Ubuntu has 3 years on the desktop with a 1.5 year release cycle, in the worst case this means 1.5 years remaining support. It is somewhat poorer but nowhere as much as you make it out to. That also doesn't take into the account that two of the main reasons for not upgrading is the upgrade price and new anti-features, none of which are present on Linux. Personally I've found the 6 month release cycle to be more preferable than the LTS release because they keep introducing nice features, though I suppose evil tounges will say that's because Linux has so much catching up to do. I disagree but still, 1. It's not Windows and 2. Some Windows applications don't run well under WINE means it's not for everyone just yet...
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan ( 80826 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:58AM (#22378554)
    M$ could lock it down and make it much more difficult but why? With everyone using it because it's easy to pirate they maintain their market share, and it appears there is no shortage of people willing to pay for that crap called Vista.
    I have to say the other post about "the ones that steal it making it harder for everyone else" is one of the most naive and ignorant post I have ever seen.
    It isn't "stealing" it's copyright violation, and you have fairly naive view of human behavior.

    Relax there are more important things to worry about than some crappy OS.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:08AM (#22378632)
    If they tighten it down too much, everyone bitches that they can't get legitimate copies to pass. If they don't tighten it down enough, people like this find ways to pirate copies and chide MS for it. So how are they supposed to come up with a happy compromise in a no-win situation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

      So how are they supposed to come up with a happy compromise in a no-win situation?

      Ideally you want a balance of price to value, so that people feel they are genuinely getting their money's worth. I know there are some pieces of software that I gladly pay for because they do what they are supposed to and do it very well. I genuinely want to help the developers out and ensure that they will continue to develop the product. Then there are other pieces of software that seem like a waste of money.

      No matter wh

  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:26AM (#22378788)
    Does anyone think MS really cares?

    In an age of copy protected floppies and copy protection on games and virtually every type of software, MS still shipped DOS and Win 3.1 unprotected. Friends would install it, and even geeks would go, wow, a GUI that works and I can even multi-task my DOS applications.

    Corporation and distributor fraud has been at the heart of the MS movement for Geniune. Yes, they are stupid about it, as WGA has screwed users more than it ever should have with XP and Vista, but prior to WGA, even if you were a legit OEM MFR of computers you often had a 50% chance of getting pirate copies of Win9x/Win2K and especially Office.

    I know from being an OEM and buying through distribution channels that 50% of the product that came through the door was not legit. It was so bad that even employees at some of the larger vendors, would place your MS software orders to their 'friends' and invoice it separately without your knowledge or the knowledge of some of the distributors.

    This also wasn't from fly by night wholesalers. Our corporate IT people also had problems, even orders from companies like CDW and others had a large chance of being fake.

    So MS added WGA and activation, this cut down the problem, but put a strain on legitimate users. MS would have been served to just put more monitoring and pressure in the distribtution channels, but again there are retailers and OEMs that would take advantage shady 'good' deals, and the customers would again be using forged copies, not even knowing that their local shop was screwing over people.

    SP1 lightens WGA, and MS has internal plans to further lighten WGA on the websites and for allowing updates. They are looking into taking the burden of WGA off the end-user. I would look for more OEM tools and OEM activation, and keeping Corporate IT activation systems intact and WGA for consumers going away eventually.

    This is a good thing and now SlashDot makes the article read like Vista is 'hackable' in a 'bad' way, instead of a 'good' way.

    Also remember MS has already put out enough copies of Vista, that they probably don't care about the few *nix users hacking it for a VM or dual install, nor even the OSX Mac base.

    Counting the entire sales history of Macs as total base, and the entire *nix installation base, Vista is still millions of copies ahead and still growing, and THIS is even if you only count the retail copies sold, not even the OEM portion which is substantially even larger.

    MS can afford for people to Hack Vista, especially when there are cliches in the Mac community that love the hardware, but like Vista better than OSX and use it as their primary OS and great if they hack and install Vista, and find out that it runs better on Mac hardware than OSX. MS has a win win, even if the people don't like Vista, and it didn't cost MS anything for the % that did prefer Vista. (See online articles comparing Vista to Leopard or running native Intel binaries under OSX compared to Vista. (Adobe products and OpenGL games are great selling points for Vista, all running faster under Vista than OSX on the same machine.)

    • by Firehed ( 942385 )
      I agreed with you up until this point:

      MS can afford for people to Hack Vista, especially when there are cliches in the Mac community that love the hardware, but like Vista better than OSX and use it as their primary OS and great if they hack and install Vista, and find out that it runs better on Mac hardware than OSX.

      I know that I'm probably hanging around with the wrong stereotypical Mac types, but nobody I know buys them for the hardware. I've spent more time trying to get OS X running on non-Mac hardwar

      • I've never heard of anyone installing vista on a mac to use as the primary OS.. maybe under vmware fusion to play a couple of games.. but as the primary OS? Willingly? When you have OSX already? Doubt it.

        In fact there's been quite an accelerated mac migration around these parts.. it's a combination of lots of things - they're familiar with ipods (know the brand), vista is a trainwreck and comes preinstalled on new PCs so puts them off (It's hassle to get a geek to install XP, and this geek in particular
        • There has been some movement to Macs and OSX, but the dual-boot is a key in some of this migration.

          There is also a part of the market that likes the iPod and Mac hardware and doesn't even understand the concept of an OS.

          From the two there is a small uprising of people from the Mac world using Vista more than OSX on Mac Hardware. It is not quite as rare as you think, especially with Leopard requiring as much or more hardware to run well than Vista. (1GB RAM, and even Newer GPU than Vista)

          When have I used OSX
    • by argent ( 18001 )
      Yes, Microsoft really cares. If they didn't care, they'd stick with the honor-system security in Windows 2000 and earlier.

      the customers would again be using forged copies, not even knowing that their local shop was screwing over people.

      You say that like Microsoft isn't complicit in screwing people over by putting the drop-dead code in there in the first place.
  • It seems that Microsoft has been unsuccessful with SP1 in preventing hackers from turning a pirated, non-genuine copy of Vista into genuine copies that pass activation.

    Can someone please explain to me how they can get a non-genuine copy to "pass activation"? I can understand hacking WGA so that it doesn't request activation or hacking WGA so that even when Microsoft tells it that its failed, it reports a success.

    However this article suggests that you can feed a duff key to Microsoft and they'll incorrec

    • by rriven ( 737681 ) <slashdot@rriven.com> on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:49AM (#22379050) Homepage

      Can someone please explain to me how they can get a non-genuine copy to "pass activation"?

      Sure, some OEM versions don't need activation, all they need is the correct SLIC table embedded in the bios to tell vista that it is a OEM computer and a OEM product key.


      With that you will not need activation and you will be Genuine. So you are right it does not pass activation, just like the VLK keys of XP don't pass activation, because it is not needed.

      There are tons of sites about it

      On a side note if you buy a computer that is OEM Vista Home Premium you can use the SLIC table in your BIOS and get Vista Ultimate, just by changing your key. Once again no activation

  • I wonder how much money Microsoft spends on this WGA crap, versus how much is actually lost in pirated software, versus, the monetary benefits of having people using a non-legitimate OS copy. Seriously, maybe spend that money on bettering the compatibility of Vista with it's own brothers (XP, 2000, etc.) and sisters (Samba network shares, etc.).
  • Ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @10:50AM (#22379062) Homepage Journal
    Its ironic that if you are sometimes better off hacking Windows to pretend it is genuine, than using the clean bought install. Case in point: I have a legitimate Windows XP install on a MacBook Pro, using BootCamp. First due to a few install issues I ended up having to activate it three times and for the final, but successful install, had to call Microsoft. Later on I decided I would use Windows with the help of Parallels, but found the even if I was using the same install, it required me to activate it again. Yet another call to Microsoft and trying to explain that yes this was the same machine. With the cracked version I wouldn't have to worry about calling Microsoft once in a while.

    I understand why Microsoft does this, but I wonder if it is really solving the problem?
    • I have a legitimate Windows XP install on a MacBook Pro, using BootCamp. First due to a few install issues I ended up having to activate it three times and for the final, but successful install, had to call Microsoft. Later on I decided I would use Windows with the help of Parallels, but found the even if I was using the same install, it required me to activate it again.

      About a year ago my girlfriend and I realized we could not share a computer (I do web design for a living) so she decided to go out and

    • False positives is one reason I haven't bought a copy of Windows since Windows 2000. I half expected that Microsoft would put their Vista-style disable code in XP, and the overhead and annoyance of the extra insecurity features in XP has made me glad I've stuck it out.

      Just need to keep finding ways to bypass those unnecessary "we're not going to install on anything but XP" checks idiot hardware manufacturers put in their driver installers.
  • Maybe if M$ unlocked Vista to make it easier to share with friends and family, it would enjoy a greater market share. If it helps to keep Micro$oft's lock on the market, they will still be making money. Yeah, I am basically advocating that Micro$oft consider giving Vista away for free. Vista Ultimate, at that, not the lesser cripple-ware versions.
    • Troll? I think not. Think about it. Microsoft is spending money to spread the word about Vista. Personally, I will never touch it, but if you want the adoption rate of a product to increase, you make the ability of entry EASIER, if that is that means "allowing" the pirates to spread your software for you.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday February 11, 2008 @11:54AM (#22379698) Homepage
    If Microsoft keeps with its typical "I don't care if we piss off our users" M.O. then Microsoft will present some update to WindowsXP that will make WinXP so annoying to use that it makes Vista look attractive by comparison. Off topic? I'm not so sure, because for the most part, people are going with their "downgrade" option quite a bit and Microsoft will want to prevent or dissuade people from using that option if possible.
    1. To introduce and try to copy-protect the OS?
    2. To put effort into cracking an OS that you probably won't use anyway.
    OK, the second issue is probably answered by "Because I CAN".
  • ... any real point to pirating software (on any sort of significantly large scale, at least) like windows, which comes effectively "for free" with any new computer purchase that isn't a Mac. Pirating Windows really seems like a case of "I do it because I can, not because I necessarily need to or even want to".
  • This is rather the opposite. Microsoft has finally understood the importance of piracy: to build up a large userbase, and then lean back and relax whilst the synergy effect takes care of business.

C for yourself.

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