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News on XP copy protection

Geoff Gasior
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There’s some [H]ard new information on the Windows XP copy protection scheme available. Nothing official of course, but something to chew on anyway.

When you enter a PID in Windows XP, it is hashed against several pieces of hardware in your machine. (I’m not at liberty to tell you what pieces of hardware, or how many.) The resultant value is then passed to a clearinghouse (on the internet, or by phone if you prefer) and a verification code is sent to activate windows. In effect, it ties the PID to that specific computer, in its current configuration. Microsoft is aware that customers will change the configuration of their computer. Changes in hardware are expected, and allowed. It is only when a PID is trying to be cleared on several hundred/thousand configurations that Microsoft would even care. Microsoft isn’t in the business of screwing customers, but they would definitely like to give the shaft to thieves.

Sounds a little more reasonable than many had initially assumed, but there’s always the inevitable:

We’ve determined that a crack will be out for this method of activation within one week after RTM, but this is not to stop those guys. This is to stop the casual piracy of Windows, and I think it will be a viable solution. Bottom line is you should pay for the software you use.

Looks like, regardless of copy protection, paying for XP will be the only way to get Media Player 8.

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