Microsoft has announced technology initiatives to tackle counterfeit copies of the forthcoming Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn platforms. The developments are also designed to tighten up licensing for the products.
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Microsoft said the technologies are aimed at helping to prevent piracy and to protect customers from software tampering, while making licensing easier to manage.
Collectively termed the Microsoft Software Protection Platform, the company said the new technologies will improve how Microsoft software activates, is validated on-line, and behaves when tampering or hacking is detected.
Microsoft will be hoping that its initiative will avoid the problems faced by some Windows XP users when using the existing Windows Genuine Advantage program, also designed to counter fake software.
Some users have reported erroneous messages appearing on their computers, claiming they are running counterfeit software when they are not.
Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, said that customers using genuine and licensed copies of Windows Vista will have access to Windows Aero and Windows ReadyBoost features, as well as full functionality of Windows Defender and extra optional updates from Windows Update.
Computer systems that do not pass validation will not have access to these features, although they will still have access to critical security updates.
Aero offers an optimised desktop experience and is available in Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate.
ReadyBoost allows a removable flash memory device to be used to improve system performance without opening the computer to install additional memory. Windows Defender helps protect a user’s PC against pop-ups and security threats caused by spyware and other malware.
In addition, users of non-genuine Windows Vista software will be notified if their copy of Windows Vista is determined to be non-genuine, with the appearance of a persistent statement in the lower right hand corner of their desktop space that reads, “This copy of Windows is not genuine”.
As with Windows XP, Windows Vista systems will have to be activated on-line with Microsoft with a genuine product key within 30 days.
Failure to do so will result in the system operating in reduced functionality mode until a genuine product key is used to activate and a successful validation occurs.