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Windows Vista to incorporate anti-piracy features

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October 5, 2006

Scheduled for the middle of next year, Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system will place the emphasis on pirated software by greatly reducing the functionality of a cracked version of the operating software. The anti piracy protection is part of the new Software Protection Platform that Microsoft unveiled earlier yesterday.

Microsoft's new anti-piracy features will be incorporated into several of the company's software products, starting with Windows Vista and then with its Windows Longhorn Server slated for late 2007.

Microsoft said that, upon installation, its users will have 30 days to enter a valid product key for the software. After that, the operating system will run in a greatly reduced functionality mode.

Such systems won't offer a start-up menu or desktop icons and the desktop background is changed to black. Users will be able to use the web browser and access the Internet for up to one hour, after which time they will be automatically logged out.

This scenerio will occur when users enter a stolen registration key. The operating system also has a way to detect if the activation system is hacked to bypass the product activation feature, but in those cases will respond in a different way.

In those cases Vista will lock out the user from several of the software's advanced features such as the new Windows Aero user interface, Windows Defender security features and the Readyboost technology that offers to increase system performance through the use of USB memory keys.

Unlicensed copies will still have access to critical security updates. Microosft also stressed that it won't disable the computers of users with pirated Windows Vista versions. The Software Protection Platform instead aims to create a gap between the functionalities of genuine and pirated software, thereby creating an incentive to purchase the legal and fully functioning version.

The Software Protection Platform replaces the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) technology that was first launched in July 2005. The feature determines if a system runs an authorized copy of Windows when it attempt to access Microsoft download services such as Windows Update and Microsoft Download Center.

Unlicensed systems are denied access.

Hackers have successfully cracked the feature and instructions on how to disable the validation checks are widely available on the internet.

Windows Vista is scheduled for consumer availability in January 2007. Windows Longhorn Server has been promised for the second half of 2007.

Source: Vnunet

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