Feeds

MS beefs up WinXP Pro's anti-piracy nagware

More false positives ahoy?

The next step in data security

Microsoft wants to rein in more Windows XP pirates over the coming weeks, by pushing out a new version of its “nagware” which detects when a machine is running a fake copy of the OS.

The company’s Genuine Windows director Alex Kochis said yesterday that Redmond will release the latest version of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) notifications program for XP through Windows Update starting this week.

Microsoft has built in changes to the nagware similar to those already found in its notifications software for Vista service pack one.

Customers whose machines are found to be running dodgy copies of XP will see their desktop backgrounds change to a “plain black background”. A user can change their screen settings as desired, but the nagware will, er, paint it black every 60 minutes.

nagware

A static message will also hang around on the desktop, pestering the user that their copy of XP appears to be a knock-off version of the operating system.

Microsoft has previously claimed that XP is more pirated than any other operating system. It reckons that the counterfeit rate for Vista is less than half that of XP, it would be below us to suggest that even the pirates have a hard time selling Vista.

But these findings are based on somewhat wonky internal metrics, like WGA validation failures, which have been known to falsely flag up legitimate installs as invalid, making the metrics far from robust.

Kochis said XP Pro topped the piracy list as the number one most-targeted Windows OS, so the firm is aiming the nagware at users of that edition.

“I'm excited about how this release balances our goals of providing a great experience to those who have genuine Windows and at the same time creating a compelling experience for those who have non-genuine copies to get genuine Windows,” he said. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.