Pirates could circumvent the new system's security features
by using corporate key on the back which unlocks the product
Product Activation: feature meant individual customers
had to buy separate copies of the software, activated
by sending a code over the Internet when they first installed
But large companies can buy a corporate key, allowing
them to install the software on any number of machines,
and pirates have been able to steal or buy these keys.
The professional editions on display come with a corporate
key on the back which unlocks the product activation device.
It's obviously come from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer),
probably a PC manufacturer who has bought the right to
install it on new PCs.
Pirates have been able to steal or buy these keys!
Microsoft sticks with product activation, despite
hack: July 2001 (Computerwire.com) Following a German
hack of the code that will stop Windows running on
some PCs, Microsoft vows to press ahead with the unpopular
Microsoft will stick to the Product Activation security
mechanism for Windows, the company said yesterday,
after a German web site published a means to hack early
versions of the system.
Teccchannel.de demonstrated a way to hack Product Activation
shipped in Windows Release Candidate 1 (RC1). According
to the site, Product Activation can be compromised via
the file wpa.dbl, which Windows keeps in the system32
Wpa.dbl stores information about the hardware at the
time of activation and when Windows notices more than
three items of hardware have changed, it deletes the file.
Teccchannel.de said, though, wpa.dbl can be saved and
copied back to a system whose hardware has been changed.
A spokesperson for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft
said Product Activation may change up until the time Windows is finally shipped.
Microsoft XP Pro Installation Method: This is a how to
file I found on the net. I don't know if it works.
This installation method requires you to type in your
Product code key then edit the Registry.
Inter your Product code key** xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
** (This is not a real product key, so don't use it!).
*** Also, the following Registry Hacks are NECESSARY
On the first boot after install is complete, boot into
(that's the F8 key) and open regedit.exe
Locate this following key:
change the "RegDone" key value fron 0 to 1
Then find this key:
change "Activation Required" key value from
1 to 0
Close regedit and do the following:
Go to Start\R
I recommend that you do not
try this on your computer as it may damage your system!
News - Coders Claim a Crack in Windows:
November 2001 - Software crackers have reportedly
developed a technique that bypasses the complex anti-piracy
system that is supposed to protect Microsoft's new operating
According to New Scientist, engineers at a UK computer
security company have tested the method. They told News
Scientist that they have successfully used it to install
the same copy of the operating system on more than one
computer. The very thing that Microsoft hoped to prevent
"It's unbelievable to be honest," John Safa,
chief technical officer of Bit Arts, the company that
has tested the crack told New Scientist. "The cracking
community appear to have bypassed the product activation
Safa added that the tools are already available on the
Internet. These consist of a number of customized files
and an executable software "patch". They deactivate
the system that links Windows to a particular PC, making
it possible to install the software on any number of computers.
According to New Scientist, Microsoft is still investigating
the allegations and has not confirmed that it works. Nevertheless,
the company is working to have web sites that provide
the files shut down.
The company also stressed that the product activation
system that comes with Windows is not meant to be infallible.
"Product activation is not adequate to stop sophisticated
piracy," a spokeswoman told News Scientist.
The product activation system in Windows is designed
to prevent owners installing multiple operating systems
without a license for each. This "casual copying"
has been a major piracy problem in the past, Microsoft
told New Scientist.
Once Windows is installed on a computer, the new operating
system locates unique serial numbers built into different
pieces of the hardware and generates a unique key. Then
the user has to complete installation is by registering
this key over the Internet or by telephone with Microsoft.
Therefore, the same version of XP cannot be registered
with Microsoft for a different computer.
However, so that corporate customers do not have to distribute
thousands of disks and serial numbers, a single "master"
key exists that can bypass all this security for a special
version of the operating system. Safa told News Scientist
that the crackers have apparently obtained a copy of a
master key and discovered a way to make it work with consumer
editions of Windows.
According to one independent security expert, the security
protecting Microsoft's software has often been bypassed
in the past. David Litchfield of Next Generation Security
Software, based in the UK, told New Scientist that "It
wouldn't surprise me if this worked. This has always been
the way with Microsoft products."
Source: New Scientist.
Windows Product Activation:
Windows retail products contain software-based product
activation technology, which means you need to activate
your copy of Windows in order to use it. Some new PCs
purchased with Windows pre-installed will also require
activation. If your organization licenses Windows through
one of Microsofts volume licensing agreement programs
such as Open License and Select License, you will not
be required to activate those Windows licenses.
The Microsoft Windows Product Activation is an anti-piracy
technology designed to verify that software products have
been legitimately licensed. This aims to reduce a form
of piracy known as casual copying. Activation also helps
protect against hard drive cloning. Activation is quick,
simple, and unobtrusive, and it protects your privacy.
The Product Activation works by verifying that a software
program's product key has not been used on more personal
computers than intended by the software's license. You
must use the product key in order to install the software
and then it is transformed into an installation ID number.
You use an activation wizard to provide the installation
ID number to Microsoft either through a secure transfer
over the Internet, or by telephone. A confirmation ID
is sent back to your machine to activate your product.
The installation ID number includes an encrypted form
of the product ID and a hardware hash, or checksum. No
personally identifying data is included or required. The
confirmation ID is simply an unlocking code for the Windows installation on that particular PC.
If you overhaul your computer by replacing a substantial
number of hardware components, it may appear to be a different
PC. You may have to reactivate Windows. If this should
occur, you can call the telephone number displayed on
the activation screen to reactivate the software.
If you have not activated Windows, you will be reminded
each time you log in and at common intervals until the
end of the activation grace period of 30 days. If you
have not activated Windows within this timeframe, you
will need to do so to continue using it. (Game Over)
If you choose to activate your product over the Internet,
upon your submission the activation wizard will detect
your Internet connection and connect to a secure server
to transfer your installation ID to Microsoft. A confirmation
ID is passed back to your computer, automatically activating
Windows. This process normally takes just a few seconds
to complete. No personally identifiable information is
required to activate Windows.
If you want to activate Windows over the telephone,
you can simply call a toll-free* number displayed on your
screen. A Microsoft customer service representative will
ask for the installation ID number displayed on the same
screen, enter that number into a secure database, and
return a confirmation ID to you. Once you have typed the
confirmation ID, the activation process is complete.