Microsoft yesterday said its forthcoming Vista operating system for desktops and servers would have built-in anti-piracy features that it hopes will be more effective than previous versions of Windows in preventing the proliferation of illegal copies of its widely used OS.
Users running a version of Vista that Microsoft determines is pirated will initially be denied access to some of the OS' newest features, including its improved graphics technology Windows Aero.
If the user does not replace the suspected pirated copy with a legitimate one within 30 days, the OS will restrict users to only the Web browser and for just one hour at a time, Microsoft said.
In other words, the user would not be able to open any documents stored on the machine or run programs such as Outlook. However, machines running pirated Vista will continue to operate and will still have access to critical security updates.
Also, users of pirated Vista will see a persistent statement in the lower right hand corner of their desktop space that reads, 'This copy of Windows is not genuine'.
For volume Vista customers that upgrade existing Windows XP machines to Vista, the Software Protection Platform includes a set of technical and policy-related features, called Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0. It promises various options for volume license keys to deploy many Vista installations in one location. This can be done in batches or individually by PC. "We will have deployment guides available for those who are going to plan an enterprise-wide Windows Vista upgrade," said Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative.
She also noted that the new platform reduced the risk of theft, leakage and illegal use of volume licensing keys risk, as well as ensuring that copies of Windows in a company have not been tampered with. Microsoft is not using the product's activation to affect the billing process for volume license customers, Hartje added.
Anti-piracy features have also been included in Windows Server 'Longhorn'. Eventually, more Microsoft products will adopt the technologies, dubbed Software Protection Platform, Microsoft said.