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WinXP RC1 leaks on web as fast MS download

Door left open at Conxion again...

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The instant Microsoft releases a new build of the WinXP beta it gets warezed all over the web - this is well-known, and has been well-documented. But RC1 code available to all and sundry on a high-speed Microsoft download partner connection? That's original, isn't it?

At time of writing (afternoon UK time, 4th July) WinXP RC1 code was available as a download from Conxion, without any kind of password protection or validation. The Register's sources indicate that it's been possible to get the code from there since at least last night, and chatter on various bulletin boards suggests that information on how to download it has been slowly spreading for rather more than 24 hours.

Yesterday happy downloaders were claiming speeds of 110, even 215kbps, but alas, The Register's budget DSL line only seems capable of around 47kbps, so verification took us a couple of hours. The file is wxp_pro_rc1.iso, and is a beefy 501 megs. It was created on 29th June, and presumably it's up on Conxion for the convenience of major Microsoft partners and customers - as was the case a couple of months back when people started stumbling across Win2k Service Pack 2 on Conxion prior to Microsoft's actually announcing it.

When the .iso is unpacked it's clear that this is indeed the genuine WinXP Pro RC1, client edition. It may well be that it's been put up there in preparation for more widespread distribution of the RC1 beta, in which case Microsoft is now likely in a tricky position. If itdoes intend to make the code generally available via Conxion, then it's not really going to be able to take it down.

On the other hand, if it simply wants the code up there for customers and special friends, it's going to have to take it down before the ever-widening ripples in the warez world turn into a full-scale gold-rush.

But now we're in something of a moral dilemma. Obviously we're not going to tell the world either how you get to the code, or where you'd get instructions on how you get to the code. Aside of any legal issues, all that would happen if we did that would be that the Conxion site would get hit by vast numbers of download requests, the techies would then notice, and the code would get pulled.

On the other hand, there's no point in us telling Microsoft where the leak is, or where they get information on where the leak is. As the information spreads, the load on the server is going to increase, and the techies will notice, even if it is the 4th July. Sorry about the holiday, people...

Now we've finally got RC1 code we've asked Microsoft if we can keep it - they're going to get back to us. ®

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