Feeds

Counterfeit Vista rate half that of XP

And not for the reasons you think

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The piracy rate for Windows Vista is less than half that of Windows XP, according to Microsoft. The vendor made the claim as it revealed plans to further curtail piracy when it launches the first service pack for Vista.

Redmond attributes tougher anti-piracy measures in Vista, which it intends to further improve, for its apparent progress against counterfeiting. Piracy rates are hard to measure precisely, as Microsoft notes.

Microsoft figures on piracy reduction are mainly based on internal metrics, like WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) validation failures. Since WGA has been known to falsely flag up legitimate installs as invalid, this metric is far from robust.

Leaving aside the WGA doubts, Microsoft attributes about five per cent of Windows desktop OEM revenue growth to piracy declines.

The first service pack for Windows Vista will include updates that target and disable two types of known exploits to the Windows Vista activation process. One trick Microsoft aims to stem involves modifying system files and the BIOS of the motherboard to mimic a type of product activation performed on copies of Windows that are pre-installed by OEMs. Another tactic practiced by pirates involves artificially extending the time users have between installation and activation.

Windows Vista goes into reduced functionality mode that leaves systems flagged as counterfeit about as friendly to drive as a car stuck in first gear. Vista Service Pack 1 will change this so that users won't lose access to functionality or features. Instead, users of systems suspected of piracy will be "presented with clear and recurring notices" about the status of their system and how to get genuine systems. Nagging users rather than making them drive a bicycle fitted with training wheels is the way forward, according to Microsoft. Only cynics would suggests it's anything to do with an effort by Microsoft to reduce support call costs.

"Our new tactic, which takes effect with SP1 for Windows Vista and also will be part of Windows Server 2008, due out next year, is a proven and effective way to combat piracy. Customers want to know the status of their systems, and how to take action if it turns out they were victimized," explains Microsoft VP Mike Sievert.

"It’s worth re-emphasizing that our fundamental strategy has not changed. All copies of Windows Vista still require activation and the system will continue to validate from time to time to verify that systems are activated properly. What is changing with SP1 is the nature of the experience for those systems that are never activated or that fail validation."

The changes Microsoft has introduced with Vista SP1 are designed to go after pirates and counterfeit software in a way that minimises any disruption to our genuine customers, according to Sievert. That still leaves Redmond with one major problem, however, getting users to upgrade from XP to Vista. As long as Vista remains slow at performing basic functions like file copying, users and pirates alike will view it with something approaching disdain. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.