Vista volume license activation cracked already

— 1:23 AM on December 12, 2006

Even though Microsoft implemented security features in the volume license version of Windows Vista to make it difficult to copy, the company may see a repeat of what happened with Windows XP five years ago. Windows XP Professional was initially easy to pirate because the volume license version had no activation built in and leaked almost immediately after its release. The volume license version of Vista does include a copy protection system that requires users to register their license keys with Microsoft and report their usage every month, but ComputerWorld says hackers have already put together software that bypasses this system.

To simplify the task of activating many copies of Vista, Microsoft offers corporate users special tools, among them Key Management Service (KMS), which allows a company to run a Microsoft-supplied authorization server on its own network and activate Vista without contacting Microsoft for each copy.

The software, Microsoft.Windows.Vista.Local.Activation.Server-MelindaGates, lets users spoof that KMS process, allowing them to activate copies of the enterprise editions of Vista, its creators say. The hacked download can be found on various file-sharing sites.

According to the software's creators, the spoof takes the form of a virtual operating system image for VMware that mimics Microsoft's KMS activation server on the user's machine. The hack might be a little too complex to let just anyone pirate Vista, but it could allow businesses and power users to get around paying for the software.
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