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Windows 7 'genuine' nagware winging its way to OS

Microsoft 'voluntary' update to scan for legit copies

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Microsoft has been keeping a surprisingly low profile about its recent nagware win - could that have anything to do with its latest efforts to sink marauding software pirates?

The company confirmed yesterday that it would pump out a Windows Activation Technologies patch for Windows 7 before the end of this month.

Microsoft said the update would scan for over “70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits” in its latest operating system.

Customers will get the patch gradually, with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise users getting the update first.

In addition MS will make WAT available for download through its Microsoft.com/genuine website on 16 February. The Microsoft Download Center will get the update a day later, it said.

“Although the Update will not be directly offered through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), which is used by enterprise customers to manage the distribution of software updates in their IT environment, a WSUS administrator can import this update into WSUS through the Microsoft Update catalog,” said Windows Genuine boss Joe Williams.

“I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.”

The anti-piracy update will scan an individual’s computer to work out if their copy of Windows 7 is legit or a ripped off version.

However, similar Microsoft patches in the past have left some users complaining that the update wrongly fingered their PCs as running a dodgy copy of the company’s OS. Meanwhile, others grumbled that the firm was guilty of falsely advertising the update as a security one, which in turn landed Redmond in court.

Last week Microsoft claimed victory in a long-running lawsuit against the software giant over its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) scheme, after a US judge dismissed the case.

It had alleged that WGA breached privacy because it was spyware used to gather information about users’ Windows XP machines and accused Microsoft of making false claims about the software.

MS was uncharacteristically silent about the decision. Perhaps it didn’t want to brag about the win ahead of issuing a fresh round of nagware updates to its the-honeymoon-is-over Windows 7 users. ®

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