Feeds

WinXP WPA switch signals RTM is imminent

On track for next week?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

One of the surest signs that Windows XP is close to RTM (Release to Manufacture) is that Microsoft has rejigged the Windows Product Activation (WPA) in the most recent beta build, 2542. The company is widely expected to sign off the final code within the next week, and in the run-up to this it makes sense (at least from Microsoft's point of view) to switch over from the more relaxed regime the beta testers have had to the real thing.

Prior to 2542 testers were able to use their product key for multiple installations, which of course makes sense for beta testers but isn't what Microsoft has planned for the finished product. Business users who buy XP via one of Microsoft's volume (five copies or more) licensing programmes won't have to activate machines individually, while home users will need to, and will have their software locked to a specific machine. Switching testers to this would cause serious inconvenience for them if the beta had much longer to go, so obviously it hasn't.

This system already operates for Office XP; leaked corporate unlock keys which activate the corporate edition without online checking with Microsoft have been around since OXP itself RTMed, but these keys don't work with the home version of OXP. It's probable that this will also apply to WinXP, and it's inevitable that shortly after WinXP RTMs the crackers will have cracks or workarounds for the finished product.

Microsoft can however slow this process down by keeping its cards close to its chest for as long as possible, and by keeping a lid on 'magic' corporate keys (if they're going to exist) until the last minute. This week's switch therefore indicates that the last minute is almost upon us. Testers are having to use new keys, which presumably means the ones that leaked out of the beta programme no longer work, and that the warez people will be needing some new leaks, and probably some new cracks.

This will only slow them up a little, but provided XP does go gold next week, the PC companies could be shipping machines with it preinstalled by late September, a month ahead of the official October 25th launch. ®

Related Story

How XP WPA will squeeze more money out of businesses

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.