Vista pirates to miss out on eye candy

— 2:26 PM on April 13, 2006

In an effort to one-up software pirates, Microsoft has announced that it will not allow illegal copies of Windows Vista to enable the hardware-accelerated Aero visual interface. This means pirates will miss out on transparency and souped up animation effects, even if their machines sport the required DirectX 9.0 graphics card and minimum 1.8GB/s of memory bandwidth. Instead, pirates will have to contend with the Windows Vista Basic interface, which is said to feature the same level of functionality as Windows XP's Luna, just with a Vista theme. That being said, since the Home Basic edition of Windows Vista is also expected to miss out on Aero, only users who pirate the more expensive Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions will be affected by Microsoft's move.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has decided to cut off features from software pirates. In July of last year, the company made its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) verification program mandatory for users wishing to run Windows Update or download files from Microsoft's Download Center. It looks like Microsoft hopes to wean software pirates through attrition rather than by relying solely on traditional copy protection systems, which have often been cracked in the past. Of course, since WGA has already been cracked, it seems likely that pirates will eventually find a way to enable Aero effects on illegitimate copies of Vista.

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