Hunter Strategies LLC logo

Microsoft News Tracker

What's more interesting than observing Microsoft?

October 4, 2006

Microsoft details Windows Vista and Longhorn copy protection

Posted by David Hunter at 10:25 AM ET.

Excuse me, for Vista and Longhorn it’s not copy protection, it’s now the Microsoft Software Protection Platform and it has some previously rumored new twists that Microsoft confirmed today:

In the fight against software piracy, Microsoft today introduced an innovative set of technologies that will be included in Windows Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn.” The technologies are aimed at helping prevent piracy and protect customers from software tampering while making licensing easier to manage.

Collectively termed the Microsoft Software Protection Platform, the new technologies will introduce improvements in how Microsoft software activates, is validated online and behaves when tampering or hacking is detected. The upcoming releases of Windows Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn” – code name for the next generation of Microsoft’s server software – will be the first two products to ship with the new technologies included, but eventually more Microsoft products will adopt the technologies.

So what does MSPP actually do?

Customers using genuine and licensed copies of Windows Vista will have access to Windows Aero and Windows ReadyBoost features, as well as full functionality of Windows Defender and extra optional updates from Windows Update. Computer systems that do not pass validation will not have access to these features, although they will still have access to critical security updates.

In addition, users of non-genuine Windows Vista software will be notified if their copy of Windows Vista is determined to be non-genuine with the appearance of a persistent statement in the lower right hand corner of their desktop space that reads, “This copy of Windows is not genuine.”

Another important change with Windows Vista has to do with the activation process. As with Windows XP, Windows Vista systems must activate with Microsoft with a genuine product key within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in the system operating in reduced functionality mode until a genuine product key is used to activate and a successful validation occurs.

The details of the “reduced functionality mode” aren’t entirely clear, but apparently you can use Internet Explorer for an hour. (Details are now available – see the update below – ed.)

There are also some changes in copy protection for volume license customers that are termed Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0. Joris Evers at ZDNet provides a terse explanation here, but basically there are a variety of options, all of which require more work by large customers and have already drawn some complaints and those complaints aren’t new.

Update: Ed Bott weighs in on ”reduced functionality:”

Microsoft denies that this is a “kill switch” for Windows Vista, even giving it a separate question and answer in its mock interview announcing the program. Technically, they’re right, I suppose. Switching a PC into a degraded functionality where all you can do is browse the Internet doesn’t kill it; but it’s arguably a near-death experience.

Per the Microsoft white paper that explains all this (MS Word format):

… the default Web browser will be started and the user will be presented with an option to purchase a new product key. There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in.

Filed under General Business, Genuine Advantage, Legal, Licensing, Microsoft, OS - Client, OS - Server, Piracy, Technologies, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista

Related posts:


5 Responses to “Microsoft details Windows Vista and Longhorn copy protection”

  1. Office 2007 “kill switch” spotted -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Ever since Microsoft snuck out the Office Genuine Advantage copy protection scheme in October, there’s been speculation as to what the full implications would be for Office 2007 and whether there would be a “reduced functionality mode” just as was implemented in Vista for copy protection. Well, the other shoe has dropped – Mary Jo Foley has spelunked the Microsoft Knowledge Base and found the Office 2007 kill switch. Hit the link for the details, but basically Office 2007 will only read documents, but not create or modify them if you fail the OGA test. [...]

  2. Vista, Office launch reaction roundup -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] For the former, Microsoft CEO Sees Less Piracy With Vista and the Vista System Protection Program “kill switch” certainly makes that likely. The new Genuine Advantage programs for Windows XP and Office also make it less likely that pirates will find any havens there, so Microsoft is making the choice quite clear: pay up or don’t use Windows/Office. Whether this translates into more paying users or a flight to free Open Source alternatives remains to be seen. [...]

  3. Microsoft girds its loins for battle with Vista pirates -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] While there undoubtedly are unknowing users who end up with counterfeit goods, I suspect that most piracy involves customers who are fully aware of the clandestine nature of what they are buying and thereby indifferent to the nuances of the packaging. For them the deterrent is the Vista Software Protection Platform announced in October and related Microsoft actions and that’s actually the meat of the press release. Basically Microsoft promises to routinely retire compromised product keys and also release Vista updates that target specific counterfeit versions as they are discovered. [...]

  4. 22% of Windows XP installations bogus? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Whatever the number of pirated copies, all this may be morally commendable, but the real question is how many scofflaws did it turn into paying customers? Aside from the 56,000 freebies there isn’t likely to be a clear answer. The next act in this morality play will be the Windows Vista Software Protection Program which has rather more draconian penalties than WGA. Filed under OS – Client, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Legal, Technologies, Piracy, Microsoft, Genuine Advantage [...]

  5. Microsoft kills the Vista "kill switch" | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The most controversial aspect of  the original Windows Vista copy protection was the introduction of a “reduced functionality mode” better known as the “kill switch”. This was a state where users found themselves when they ran afoul of the Microsoft Software Protection Platform (also called Windows Genuine Advantage or WGA) and if their machines weren’t completely dead, they might as well have been. After many complaints, Microsoft today announced that with Vista Service Pack 1, the “kill switch” will be replaced by what can only be described as “nagware.” [...]

News Search:

Recent Posts:

Daily Digest Email:

Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz


Full category list


Archive List

RSS Feed:

HunterStrat Links:


  • Powered by WordPress.