Vista to make life difficult for pirates

— 2:11 AM on October 5, 2006

The fact that Microsoft intends to step up anti-piracy efforts with its upcoming Windows Vista operating system is no secret. We already heard that the company intends to disable its hardware-accelerated Aero visual interface in illegal copies of Vista, but the Mercury News now says Microsoft has some much more drastic measures planned.

Microsoft has disclosed that users running a pirated copy of Vista will have 30 days to get legit, after which the operating system will lock itself down for an hour at a time in a way that strips access to everything but the web browser. Affected users will be able to browse the web and check web-based email—and, presumably, purchase a legal copy of Vista online—but they won't be able to open documents or other programs on their hard drive. Windows XP's anti-piracy scheme was recently updated to nag pirate users with warning banners and balloon notices, but stripping functionality from the core OS will be a first for Microsoft.

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