Pirates to face tougher challenge with Windows 8

Windows 8 is coming, and Microsoft naturally wants to make the new OS difficult to pirate. ExtremeTech has a few details on Redmond’s strategy based on the latest build of the upcoming OS. Volume licenses are reportedly on the way out, and product keys won’t be included with the OS. Users will instead have to hit up a Microsoft web page to get their key.

It’s unclear whether one will be able to get a Windows 8 key without a working Internet connection, but it’s certainly possible that the Borg mothership’s phone lines will be open as an alternative. Anyone with a working connection should be able to install the new OS and reach Microsoft’s site before inputting a key to activate Windows 8.

ExtremeTech says there’s "a good possibility" that Windows 8 will have additional anti-piracy protection related to a Microsoft fast-booting patent, which uses a remote server to send client systems the OS code they need to boot. Such a mechanism would be more difficult for crackers to defeat, but it sounds like a complex approach that’s fraught with potential problems that could negatively impact legitimate customers.

Comments closed
    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Why should we care about Windows 8?

    It is Windows 7 Moblie 2.0

    Windows 7 is the new “XP”, business (MS’s bread and butter) have little or reason to swtich to 8.

    • Philldoe
    • 8 years ago

    So what’s all of the fuss about? We all know that there will be a boot loader crack released shortly after the RTM is leaked to the internet.

    • egon
    • 8 years ago

    I’m for anything that makes attacking ships more difficult.

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    Everything MS has been doing to protect their own rights is having a negative impact on legitimate customers since W XP.
    The illegal copies are actually being paid for by the legitimate customers.

    • DavidC1
    • 8 years ago

    Here’s some of the reasons I upgraded to newer Windows over the years.

    Windows 98: Compatibility with latest manufacturer drivers, better stability than 95
    Windows XP: Same reason as above, but stability improved in even bigger steps
    Winows 7: Few blue screens I used to have in XP is non existent in 7. Oh, the new Aero features are cool, but they are worth no more than that

    Never get Windows that Microsoft claims is the biggest overhaul ever. Get the one that fixes the “biggest overhaul ever”. 98 is a fix of 95, XP is a fix of ME and 2000, 7 is a fix of Vista.

    I think this time I might even skip the “fixed version” of Windows 8 and wait for the “fixed version” of the next new great OS. By then there will be incentive to upgrade in terms of lack of support for Windows 8 in drivers and hardware.

    Speaking of piracy. I bought Windows XP OEM(NCIX) because I got fed up with having to find pirated versions all the time, and the updates needed for it. I bought Windows 7 HE upgrade pre-order as $50 was a steal compared to what they charged for before. Having to call Microsoft for a new activation is a annoyance every time I change the internal hardware but I don’t have to do that often.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      One cool thing about MS recently is Win7 had lower requirements than Vista and Win8 has slightly less requirements than Win7.

      Hell has frozen over. I hope it continues.

      Wayland and opensource ATI drivers are right on MS’s ass.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      “XP is a fix of ME and 2000”

      That’s just plain wrong. XP was where NT merged with the DOS/Win16/Win32 kludge.
      From my experience Windows hasn’t been as stable since the NT4/Win2K days. It’s still been a worthwhile transition in my eyes as it has gained a lot more functionality.

      “Never get Windows that Microsoft claims is the biggest overhaul ever.”

      Windows 2000 was in that category and I don’t recall it being a problem but it was NT 5.0 rather than Kludge xx.

    • wiak
    • 8 years ago

    didnt the pirates crack that fast-boot like code that command and conquer 4 has?, it sounds familiar

    • link626
    • 8 years ago

    someone will crack it.

    and Windows 7 is just fine. I used XP for 9 years. I can use w7 for another 9.

      • FireGryphon
      • 8 years ago

      I’m *still* using XP.

        • Joe Miller
        • 8 years ago

        So am i.

        • bcronce
        • 8 years ago

        “Don’t fix what ain’t broken”

        Once you get some new hardware, you’ll want win7/8.

          • A_Pickle
          • 8 years ago

          Agreed. I sympathize with the folks running XP, it’s a great operating system. It’s stable, it’s fast, and there’s plenty of application support (seriously, who actually gives a shit about IE9?). It does what most people need it to do — it’s not as if you can’t play games, can’t browse the web, can’t create Access databases and Excel spreadsheets, etc. You can — XP works just fine.

          But getting the most out of newer hardware (particularly with respect to multi-core processors and solid state disks) is just implemented better in Windows Vista and Windows 7. I’d say, if you’re building a new system, to go with Windows 7. It’s hella solid.

          But XP is near and dear to my heart, and always will be. 😀

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    Some stuff out of context here.

    MS in previous OS betas, included a generic key on the ISO, which activated that beta for everyone. They now require you to log in to your developer account and get a user-specific key.

    That is the ONLY change. Volume keys are generally not available for external tests, with the above exception of the one ‘generic’ key.

    Windows 8 will still have volume activation, using a similar system to 7 (MAK, KMS, OEM).

    Also, that fast-boot patent being used for anti-piracy? The only places that have offered that theory have only been guessing.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Instead of trying to make Windows tougher to crack, Microsoft should just make it available for free like Ubuntu is. That way, no one would be guilty of piracy in the first place. 😀

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Sounds expensive… I’m sure Windows 8 will be crack on the same day it’s released, if not before. People are stupid.

    • cegras
    • 8 years ago

    First of all, pirates are incorrigible and will do anything to defend their position.

    Second, even if I did pirate software, the one thing I would like to do is at least run it upon a stable, legitimate, worry-free foundation.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      Windows 3.11!

    • evilpaul
    • 8 years ago

    I got a free legal copy of Windows 7 from a launch event. If I upgraded sufficiently that it will no longer work I’d be headed straight to a cracked pirated version.

    If you’ve ever used the telephone activation you know why. It’s fucking horrid.

    You spend 30 minutes on the line reading a 54 digit number to a computer that misunderstands you half the time and even after finally confirming it doesn’t work. You then spend another twenty minutes talking to an actual person repeating the process.

      • Ethyriel
      • 8 years ago

      The key to getting the automated system to understand you is being sufficiently pissed, the voice recognition seems to have been tested with angry voices. That said, I haven’t had to call for Windows 7 yet, and I was doing it a couple times most weeks with XP.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      “You spend 30 minutes on the line reading a 54 digit number to a computer that misunderstands you half the time”

      1. Does your phone not have a keypad?
      2. If you must speak the numbers do it before you open the second bottle of Merlot.

    • wierdo
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t agree with the title of the article. Almost always it’s not the pirates having a tougher challenge, it’s the customers having more inconvenience.

    • thesmileman
    • 8 years ago

    As long as there are offline systems in classified government sites there will always be an offline method. Everyone said Mac OS X Lion would be this way but no they sent out CD to the Government customers and defense contractors (Not the USB sticks like everyone else got actual CDs) and the same will be available for Windows. Because they have to support these offline systems there will always be an offline workaround that is possible.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      Sorry but you are wrong. The USG does not use any Apple products on classified systems online or off line. Not only does OS X Lion not support smart cards natively but it’s completely incompatible with DoD’s CAC (Common Access Card) authentication for all computer systems. AFEM (Apple’s Federal Engineering Management) is working with Centrify to make their OS compatible under DoD guidelines but as it has been and as it is now they are using MS solutions as well as classified versions of all MS OS for running USG computers. Any government contractor must use a OS that is L clearance level and Apple has no previous or current OS that have that level of security.

      I don’t know where you made up your info but you are wrong. I will not even get into the ridiculous idea that they would be sent CD\DVD’s of a L level software package, lol.

        • RAMBO
        • 8 years ago

        apple products in general are way overpriced, the low cost of the OS means next to nothing when you consider that.

        • PainIs4ThaWeak1
        • 8 years ago

        Sorry, but YOU’RE wrong on some of your points.

        YES, The USG does, in fact, recieve compact disc media for thier operating systems (originally). Images are then made from said media, and deployed accordingly.

        NO, there is not “classified” versions of MS products. Volume licensed operating systems, and other software, are configured to a “DISA Gold” (Defense Information Systems Agency) standard, and then receive accreditation to operate at the classification level intended for use.

        “Any government contractor must use a OS that is L clearance level and Apple has no previous or current OS that have that level of security.”

        I firmly believe you just so happened to pull this one out of the sky.

        I [i<]AM[/i<] a government contractor, and this "L clearance level" non-sense, is just that. Non-sense. I use volume licensed operating systems configured to the aforementioned DISA standard(s). These standards vary depending on the level of classification that the system is intended to operate at. How do I know this, you may ask? Because I'm responsible for said configuration and accreditation of the systems under my control, thats how. 🙂

      • RAMBO
      • 8 years ago

      The USG uses the OS they found in the crashed “weather balloon” in Nevada-1947..lol

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    tougher challenge? inst it already reg-edited? please don’t make me do that stupid cracked in 3..2..1..thing again.

    • internetsandman
    • 8 years ago

    I was at my local Best Buy a few days ago, and retail copies of windows 7 start at $230 CAD. That’s for home premium, while ultimate was a good $110 more expensive. If Apple has one thing going for them, it’s the price of their operating system. I’m willing to bet good money that the number one reason people pirate MS’s operating system is because they charge an arm and a leg for them

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      While MS does over charge for their software, I think the price you are quoting is a little high. I have found Win7 HPE for just over $80 and Win7 Pro for around $120. Even at say $200 for the OS that you will use everyday for at least 3 years with free patches, software and feature enhancements I find is a good deal. Plus searching around you can find any version of Windows for way less than the retail pricing.

      I myself have never paid for Windows (not pirated, work purchased) and any tech savvy person can do the same. However the machines that I have built for friends or purchases for work I have always been able to find the version I want to at least a 1/3 off the retail price. Apple does have good pricing but I see it this way. I don’t consider 10.X.X to be a major upgrade I see them as service packs. Just how WinXP is way different from WinXP SP3, Apple from 10 to 10.7 is just the same. I know Apple and the Apple fanboys see different but if you get the console going and dig around you will see hardly any changes, most of it is cosmetic or stuff that was broken or not implemented to start with.

      WinXP Pro > Win7 Pro = major upgrade
      OS X 10 > OS 10.7 = major upgrade

      So add up all those upgrade prices from 10.0 to 10.7 and it far exceeds any price MS has for a current consumer OS. I was not trying to start a OS war and really only wanted to comment on the price for MS operating systems so sorry about that. However it still stands. Hell I see MS doing the same thing with Win 8. It looks like Win7 with a dumb smart phone interface and bug fixes. I really hope MS does not charge a full price for this release. Win 8 hopefully will have a build number of 7.x.xxxx rather than 6.x.7600.

      I’ll end this now before i rant more…sorry…..

      • sreams
      • 8 years ago

      Trouble is… Apple charges for every “service pack”, so it isn’t cheaper at all.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      Apple doesn’t sell an OS, they sell hardware. The OS costs are subsidized by their price gouging on hardware.

      This is why they don’t have monopoly issues with their software, since they’re technically not competing in software.

    • Hurstmeister
    • 8 years ago

    “[i<]Pirates to face tougher challenge with Windows 8[/i<]" Trying not to be cynical here,.. but this is starting to sound like a mantra. 'This time we made it more difficult,.. yadda yadda. With XP, with Vista, 7 and now with 8. Stop charging $120+ for an OS and they might sell more copies. Granted there are people who will pirate Windows no matter what the price. But there are others like me who are frugal when it comes to buying software. Were it not for a student discount I'd probably still be on XP or using a pirated version of Win7. From what I understand, the way they have Win7 hacked now,.. people can download updates and patches they need even though they are using a hacked copy. So other than a moral reason,.. why not use a pirated copy for those who cant afford the full retail?

      • Sahrin
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Stop charging $120+ for an OS and they might sell more copies. [/quote<] Seeing as how NT6.1 has sold at a faster pace than any OS ever, I don't think this is a huge concern. [quote<] Granted there are people who will pirate Windows no matter what the price. [/quote<] This is the concern. MS is trying to discourage the 'fuck you MS' crowd. And I encourage them to do so. Fuck you, people who pirate. [quote<]But there are others like me who are frugal when it comes to buying software. [/quote<] There's a fine line between frugality and stupidity. For instance, if a new vital safety feature is introduced in cars that makes them 1000 times safer you'd be pretty dumb not to upgrade. [quote<]From what I understand, the way they have Win7 hacked now,.. people can download updates and patches they need even though they are using a hacked copy. So other than a moral reason,.. why not use a pirated copy for those who cant afford the full retail?[/quote<] Why not indeed. Because *incentive* is required for being honest.

        • Glix
        • 8 years ago

        Are you a proud owner of Windows Vista?

          • Sahrin
          • 8 years ago

          I don’t take pride in purchases; but I am a satisfied owner of 2 licenses for Vista, and 3 licenses for Win7.

        • Hurstmeister
        • 8 years ago

        I dont care how well it sold,.. I know I cant be the only one who would not have upgraded to Win7 were it not for a serious discount.

        A safety feature in my car relates to upgrading an OS how? I fail to see any correlation between the two. If buying an OS gets in the way of paying a bill or getting school cloths for my kids,.. I guess I’ll stay stupid with an older OS.

        I honestly have no incentive to upgrade to Win8. 😉

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]This is the concern. MS is trying to discourage the **** you MS' crowd. And I encourage them to do so. **** you, people who pirate.[/quote<] That's fine and dandy, but the reality is that the vast majority of people [i<]simply cannot afford[/i<] to spend $200 on the retail version of the "mainstream" consumer version of Windows (Home Premium). Something like $50 would be quite a bit more reasonable for Home Premium, and $100 for Professional. I can guarantee that there would be a huge reduction in piracy, and then Microsoft would actually be price competitive against Mac OS X. I encourage them to fight the "fuck Micro$oft!" crowd as well, but I also suggest to Sony and Warner Bros that cutting prices would probably curb piracy. I extend the same logic to Microsoft. I posit that people are generally [i<]not[/i<] theives, but simply have a limited budget, and will pirate when their expenses equal their budget if they know how. In addition, I'll feel a lot more sorry for Microsoft regarding their Windows piracy problem when they stop being so dickish about activation. I fix computers as a side job, and [i<]GOD ALMIGHTY[/i<] it's a pain in the ass to get fresh Windows installations to be happy. It's a point of fact that XP is simply unable to use the product key on that Genuine Windows sticker -- how am I supposed to fix that without using the manufacturer's recovery partition (which defeats the purpose, as it re-installs all the bullshit that Joe Schmoe paid me to delete)?. If a computer can run 64-bit, then I should be able to install it with the same key as a 32-bit system -- regardless of whether or not it is an OEM or retail version of Windows. I should be able to select any version of Windows to install from any Windows disk (this was the case with Vista, seems not to be the case with 7). Genuine Windows stickers should not be required to be on the outside of the case (or, even more idiotically, on the bottom of a laptop) for they can easily wear out, becoming illegible. If Microsoft were to address these concerns, I'd be 100% happy. >There's a fine line between frugality and stupidity. For instance, if a new vital safety feature is introduced in cars that makes them 1000 times safer you'd be pretty dumb not to upgrade. No, you wouldn't. I use cars for transportation, not "to be safe." If it gets me from point A to point B, do I care? Do you realize the safety disparity between the millions of cars on the road today? I used to drive a 1984 Subaru GL, back in 2003-2004. Weren't there safety advances between then (1984) and now? Well then, wasn't I a complete idiot for not upgrading? I'll defend myself here -- no, I wasn't a complete idiot. [i<]I was a college student who couldn't afford a nice, new, 2005 model-year car with all of the latest bells and whistles[/i<]. I [i<]could've been[/i<] like the rest of country, and just put a new car on a piece of plastic representing imaginary currency, "I'll pay it off later!" mentality and whatnot... but I didn't, because the car got me where I needed to go. I make t

    • oldog
    • 8 years ago

    This’ll probably work as well or as poorly as any other scheme to deter piracy.

    Even so, anyone coming to this site will buy in one way or another.

    • spigzone
    • 8 years ago

    Being a mobile luddite old geezer, Windows 7 should serve until i’m into advanced senility because Windows 7/IE 9 AIN’T broken.

    • Mystic-G
    • 8 years ago

    Well this is gonna be one exciting train wreck. They must want people to skip Windows 8.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    This is silly since for the next 10 years or so people will be pirating XP, Vista, or Windows 7 if this new version is truly un-crackable.

    Are they really going to risk annoying their paying customers in a feeble attempt to curb piracy in countries where a windows license is a month’s salary rather than an impulse buy?

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]ExtremeTech says there's "a good possibility" that Windows 8 will have additional anti-piracy protection related to a Microsoft fast-booting patent, which uses a remote server to send client systems the OS code they need to boot. Such a mechanism would be more difficult for crackers to defeat, but it sounds like a complex approach that's fraught with potential problems that could negatively impact legitimate customers.[/quote<] Wow so they came up with an idea of screwing legitimate users in order to combat piracy? Speachless

    • slaimus
    • 8 years ago

    Windows has a dominant position in the world market due partly to piracy. If it works, and that’s a big if, that will push third world countries to free alternatives.

    Plus, needing network access just to boot is a horrible idea, worse than Chromebook.

    • BeowulfSchaeffer
    • 8 years ago

    I just don’t get it. You should be able to build an OS SSD that was small, cheap and would plug in as a regular hard disk into you computer. No more optical disks for OS distribution. Hard coded security built into the SSD with enough space on it for OS upgrades.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      If I wanted that kind of hardware inflexibility I’d buy a Mac.

        • ClickClick5
        • 8 years ago

        Give apple five years…

      • rhema83
      • 8 years ago

      Or they can start using hardware keys like most industrial software are already doing.

        • Joe Miller
        • 8 years ago

        … and the hardware keys are crackable via software as well.

    • GTVic
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]complex approach that's fraught with potential problems that could negatively impact legitimate customers.[/quote<] Could we get a few more adjectives in there? I'm not sure that I'm sufficiently alarmed!

      • grantmeaname
      • 8 years ago

      Adverbs, too.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      Meadows didn’t even say anything about it.

    • Game_boy
    • 8 years ago

    You should be able to reinstall an OS an unlimited number of times. I don’t care what MS does as long as they don’t prevent that, it’s an essential part of maintenence.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Reinstallation maybe required regular maintenance for Windows……

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    In other news, pirates to be more motivated than ever by Windows 8.

    A really good anti-piracy measure would be reducing Windows upgrade prices to at least be on par with what OEMs pay for the license on a new computer. I’m sure the OEMs would go nucking futs, though, claiming that it makes buying a new computer less appealing.

    • Madman
    • 8 years ago

    This is probably good news because:
    – Those who won’t be able to crack will use Linux and MacOS, therefore boosting cross platform product development

    This is probably bad news because:
    – Other users will stay on W7 which will force developers to support IE9 for eternity

    And, this probably doesn’t matter because:
    – Everything gets cracked in a few days, no matter the DRM system

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      IE9 is a very capable, standard following browser for the most part. And there is nothing saying IE10 has to be on win8 only.

      • jcw122
      • 8 years ago

      If your using IE9, you fail at computing regardless of who you are.

    • Skrying
    • 8 years ago

    I swear I remember reading similar headlines before the Windows 7 release.

      • swaaye
      • 8 years ago

      and Vista, and XP, and …. 🙂

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    In related news, Windows use in China collapses until the pirates work around it.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    No VLK for real, or will they force us to use a key server?

      • Ryu Connor
      • 8 years ago

      I’m somewhat curious what this article means as well. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. Vista and Windows 7 do not have the same volume licenseing scheme that Windows XP did. The KMS and MAK are pretty radically different designs and neither of them are especially friendly to pirates.

      This sort of strikes me as the staff writer of Extremetech only just now realizing that the 6.x Kernels aren’t Windows XP. He’s a few years late to the party in that case.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      Oh, good God I hope not… FLEXlm and its ilk are an absolute train wreck. I’d rather deal with Product Activation.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      Seems like another brilliant feature of Microsoft’s which offers its customers hours of pain and frustration.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      MS has been pimping KMS for so long I am surprised it’s taken them this long to really get it going if this is true.

        • axeman
        • 8 years ago

        I’m not sure if this is a standard thing, but we haven’t been given MAK keys for Office 2010 where I work, it’s KMS or nothing, which simplifies things in some respects, is a pain in others which I won’t go into. But for pirating stuff, it matters not one whit, at least from what I’ve been told. They are far stricter in enforcing the activation of Office 2010 keys as well. The key I have from our HUP for Office 2007 I’ve used several times, no issues. The one for Office 2010, used once. Even after uninstalling it, to use it on another system, which is just fine under the terms of the HUP, had to phone in now. One friggin’ activation. I am not impress. Once again, stricter measures to combat piracy only really hurt the legitimate customers.

          • d0g_p00p
          • 8 years ago

          I totally agree. KMS is a nightmare. I am currently at a Linux based shop and we have to implement MS software in our org to move forward. I am stuck dealing with software licensing and it’s changed big time from when I last had to deal with it (6+ years ago). Right now even with OEM Win7 licenses attached to boxes that have been turned into Linux boxes I was told by MS that it’s ilegal to run a VM on that box using that same license even though it’s a guest OS and not host, WTF???

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    does this mean it’ll take one day instead of zero-day?

    • Jigar
    • 8 years ago

    And we have been hearing this things since decade, but in the end we know what happens in just a couple of days after release.

    • Zorb
    • 8 years ago

    This sounds like a bad joke but knowing MS, they will have some sort of new anti-crack system. But, to have to get code from a remote server? Stupid move if used. Good luck with that program…..

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