Pirates, look out. Microsoft has updated the official Windows Blog to say an upcoming Windows 7 update will let the operating system to detect "more than 70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits." Activation exploits are typically used to run Windows without a valid license or activation key.
Entitled Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7, the update will initially target Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of the new operating system, and it will be available from Microsoft's website starting February 16. Microsoft will also roll it out as an "Important" update on Windows Update later this month.
After highlighting the potential security dangers of activation exploits, the blog post notes that users will be able to opt out of installing the patch when it appears on Windows Update. Also, users' personal details will remain secret even if an activation exploit is detected—Windows will merely contact Microsoft servers to "check for new threats" without sending "any personally identifiable information or any other information that Microsoft can use to identify or contact you."
Should the updated activation scheme detect an exploit, Windows 7 will switch to a plain desktop background and pop up warning dialogs, presumably with options to order a legit version of Windows.