back to article Hackers in keyless Windows 7 entry

Hackers have found a way to bypass product activation in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to get free and illegal copies of Microsoft's latest operating systems. The hack, according to My Digial Life, means you can get Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 without the need for a product activation key. The crack apparently …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rogue software

    "warning rogue software often contained malware"

    Yeah, well they would say that, wouldn't they? This is a frequently-trotted-out piece of FUD which usually translates as "we can't stop you pirating our software so we'll try to deter a few people with a scare story".

  2. Dick Emery


    If you are bold enough (Or your machine already is updated) to flash your BIOS with your OEM's latest BIOS firmware then chances are that it's got SLIC 2.1 in it (A means to identify and tie the PC to the OS) and all you need enter is one of the OEM's serial numbers (They only use one per manufacturer) and you are legit as far as MS are concerned. If they were to block the serial then they would have to get every person who purchased that OEM's hardware to get a new valid key. Which is impractical if not impossible to do.

    BTW before anyone mentions Lenovo they had their key leaked before they shipped any PC's so it was not a big problem to change their key. If they did at all that is.

  3. George 24

    Best anti-piracy method

    If the greedy mongrels at M$ would only understand. Sell W7 for a good price and pirated versions would vanish, even in India and China.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "avoid using illegal copies of Windows"

    Oh noes, I have accidentally installed a hooky copy of Win7, better uninstall it quick smart before Steve and his fast response attack chairs get me!

  5. Cantankerous Old Buzzard

    A couple of points to mention

    First off, what took them so long? The way I remember it, most previous versions of The Rubbish from Redmond were cracked the first week they were on the street, or before.

    Second, I get a good chuckle out of reading this article, then meditating on the Apple commercial where the PC guy gets run back through time repeating all the statements about the "new" version of Windoze being the most stable and secure OS Micro$lop has released to date, followed by the infamous statement, "Trust me", over and over.

    Sooner or later, more of the sheeple will catch on, I hope.

    Yes, I am a penguinista. Deal with it.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Windows Activation Technologies' (WAT), fantastic! Yep, Total, Windows Activation TechnologieS!

  7. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    @George 24:

    Er, no. This myth has been disproved over and over. I've handled customer services for an online-delivery-only games company founded in 2000 and used to work in the games industry (mostly as a developer) myself from the late '80s right up until a few years ago.

    I've *personally* seen software sold for a couple of pounds ripped-off by pirates. Even the iPhone isn't immune, and the apps for that are in the region of a couple of dollars each.

    People want good stuff for free. I don't understand why so few people realise this. It's *normal* for people to pluck low-hanging fruit. The *reason* developers go to so much effort to make piracy *harder*—note, not *impossible*; they're programmers and know damned well they can't do that—is to make that fruit hang higher on the branches. They don't expect to stop piracy entirely, but they can make it harder for the newbies and general public.

  8. N2


    A long time ago, I used XP & when the Windows genuine disadvantage failed for no good reason, Microsoft informed me I had to buy another license, hence my un sympathetic title.

    Hoist the Jolly Roger!

  9. Big-nosed Pengie


    ""warning rogue software often contained malware"

    Yeah, well they would say that, wouldn't they? "

    No, no - they're absolute right! It contains Windows!

  10. John Sanders

    There is an easy explanation for this...

    Microsoft can not afford to lock windows too much, or it will end alienating a lot of people who would migrate to another platform.

    Allowing means to bypass the activation ensures that the casual do not copy windows and the slightly technical ones capable of running a mac or Linux stay Windows.

    Or so they think...

  11. Mark McC

    @Cantankerous Old Buzzard

    > First off, what took them so long? The way I remember it, most previous versions of The Rubbish from Redmond were cracked the first week they were on the street, or before.

    This is how it was for Windows 7 as well. Product activation cracks have been in wide circulation since the first beta release, using similar methods to those used for Vista (basically the same OS, why change cracks?). Presumably this is some new and improved method, although AFAIK Microsoft hasn't issued any updates to disable the existing cracks that people have been exploiting since before day one.

  12. Martin Owens

    Waste of Time

    Shouldn't these hackers be working on something a little more productive, like hacking Ubuntu?

    It's like the third level of sad, level 1 is where your just forced into using windows, level 2 is where your advocating windows to all your friends and level 3 is a special place were freedarded and yet highly ignorant crackers decide to spend a ton of time on completely pointless software cracks.

    If ever there was a group of people so deserving of the title of freetard. these would have to clinch it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ho Hum

    I was reading that demand for pirated copies of Windows 7 is much higher than it was for Vista and that a lot people who paid for Vista are trying to upgrade to 7 at no cost. Which is fair enough. Even MS are on record as saying that Vista is a pile of shite, so as such it would be only fair if they allowed people with legit copies of Vista to upgrade for free.

    So in a way MS have only themselves to blame for this. If Vista hadn't been such a POS there wouldn't be so much demand for pirate copies of 7.

    What puzzles me, however is the rush to Windows 7. If you really must have Windows then XP gets the job done. If you're not a sheep there are alternatives which are free anyway.

  14. Ian Coutts

    Illegal Copies?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong. But Is it not true that one can legally copy the Windows installation media as long as one doesn't try to install it with an illicit product key? Part of my Windows installation training involved creating an unattended installation disk, which necessarily involved copying parts of a legitimate Windows installation disk to a CDR bought from Dick Smith Electronics. In the corporate world copies are made all the time so that images can be rolled out seamlessly. If I'm correct then how does having a legitimate Product Key save one from installing corrupted software? It seems to me that the two issues are quite separate.

  15. RIBrsiq

    @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    It's not the absolute price that decides things. If you try to sell something worth 5 cents, if even that, for a couple of dollars then people will naturally not buy it. Even though it's priced "in the region of a couple of dollars". But if you price your product correctly then people will buy it. If people will not pay what you would like to charge for your product, you either need a better product or a different market.

    I get no end of people who would not mind paying, say, US$50 for a decent Windows/Office combo (not that Starter crap. The only use for that is if one has a VL agreement and just needs the CoA to stick on a case), but who would under no circumstances pay the current retail price. I don't blame them for a second: FFS, the current retail price for Windows and Office alone exceeds the price of an entire entry-level PC in my market!

  16. Craig 29

    That penguin

    Every time I see that stupid penguins vacant, derp-de-derp gaze next to a comment, I want to punch its idiot face.

    It almost certainly stands as a giant warning sign that the comment next to its lifeless, dull black eyes is going to contain tired, awful, overused and most importantly, entirely unfunny puns.

    Windoze! Ha ha ha! Doze as in...sleeping! Because of boredom ha ha very good!

    M$! Instead of MS! Ha ha because it's a dollar sign! Because they're a business with the primary goal of making revenue, ha ha good one!


  17. Dave 160

    What do you expect?

    Well if M$ are going to leave holes like this in Windows then people will exploit them

  18. frank ly

    In Simple Terms Please, ......

    ........ How do I stop my working copy of Win-7 RC from freezing up (or whatever) on me in June 2010?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I really hate about Windows 7.

    Instead of having an "move up one folder" key, the chief business analyst (who once a day has to give a demo to someone,) has a ticker tape.

    So, rather than just click three times on the up key, which is always in the same place, in order to save the computer two directory searches (while it would be doing nothing anyway,) the "Chief business analyst" would rather you spent a whole mental context switch, throwing all the short term memory details of what you have just cut/copied away, while your eyes wander around the screen looking for the destination folder.

    Windows seven is littered with all this kind of stupid, productivity destroying shit that they introduced in Vista.

    She wants sacking.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @ George 24

    Nah freetards are freetards. Loads of people still pirate Office even though you can get it at a reasonable price home version with 3 licences for <£100 is't bad, students can get it for <£30 but people still won't pay. Same goes for Windows. I agree it should cost less but I doubt freetarss would part with their cash still.

  21. Simon Langley

    They really aren't that bothered...

    ...nor have they ever been.

    I hate Windows and I always have, but the people at MS are not stupid. If they were successful in reducing the level of piracy, they would have a negative impact on their market share and they really don't want that. Even the arch chair thrower himself has said that he would rather people pirated Windows than used Linux.

    In this day and age it would not be politic for MS to permit unfettered piracy like Apple does with Mac OS X (for those of you who don't use it, there is no activation or key of any sort) so they make a token effort. I would be astonished if anyone in Redmond cares about this.

    Apart from anything, the vast majority of copies of Windows are bought with a new PC and piracy will have only a limited effect on these sales.

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  23. Charles King

    @Mark McC

    "using similar methods to those used for Vista" - this is what gets me. The SLP implementation appears identical apart from a small change to the certs (2.0 vs 2.1), so that no effort at all was needed to work out how to spoof the activation. As soon as a master key leaked (which was inevitable simply because it's so easy to retrieve from any OEM machine), people were running the RTM.

    MS *knew* that SLP was a gaping hole in their Vista protection, a white-box seller with the know-how to flash an MB BIOS can sell machines that appear completely legit (no loader or any OS modification), apart from the lack of a CoA that few consumers notice. With the arrival of Win7 nothing changed *at all*.

  24. Chika

    All Your Base Are Belong To Us

    Read the article that this was based on. For great justice.

  25. Charles Manning


    Freetards != pirates.

    If you want to *tard a pirate then call them mateytards or something.

    Freetards are respectable free software living citizens.

    @@George 24: You're right. People don't rip off games because of price. They rip off games because they have been conditioned to expect not to pay for anything they can download or cut to CD or "borrow" from a mate.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Any developer who complains about their marketing department should just develop some free and open source software. You'll appreciate the comparative tact, eloquence and cleanliness of the world's worst marketers after you feel the slow internal death of your soul from the product you worked so hard on being touted with the tag line 'cuz M$ windoze is fer sheeple hurr durr durr'.

  27. jon 72
    Paris Hilton

    We will always have Paris

    because she is far more fun to play with than Windows or Linux.

  28. Daniel Owen

    "Don't lock it down too much"

    If windows was impossible to install without being legit (and we are talking about the biggest software company in the world so they are surely the ones that could do it). The people that didn't want to pay for it, would surely look for a cheaper OS.... and where would they land?

    With linux of course.

    People use Windows mainly because it's what they have always used, and MS want to keep it this way.

  29. Andy 70

    penguin folk

    if people want windows, people will have windows. Anyway, its not the linux operating system that puts me off, it's the people that use it continuously telling me i am retarded for doing something different. So you know what? eff the penguin.

    *digs amiga1200/060 out of the loft*

    (obligitory car reference)

    like driving a BMW. the cars themselves are very well put together, look good, go well, and all in all, are a good purchase. But i could never have one, as almost all BMW drivers act like complete twunts once behind the wheel. As such, i could not allow myself to be associated with such a group.

    I'm enough of a twunt anyway without needing to publicly advertise the fact.

  30. tiggertaebo
    Paris Hilton

    @Big-nosed Pengie

    Oh I get it Windows IS malware, I see what you did there. I'm sure with such an original and razor-sharp wit you were a big hit in the 1970s or whenever the 5 seconds happend that comment was actually considered funny or insightful.

    @Mithvetr & Craig 29:

    Spot on!

    @frank ly:

    In simple steps here's how to ensure you have a working copy of Win-7 once the RC expires:

    1. Buy Win-7 retail

    2. Install it


    Paris because even she could have worked that one out.

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  33. Shakje

    @Nick Davies

    Presumably you've looked at modern PC games recently? You know, the Windows ones? It's admirable that people are spending time developing games for the Linux platform these days, but Postal 2? The fact that you had to say "I was able to get ... Doom 3... up a running" says it all. Windows = stick DVD in, install, play.

  34. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Gates Horns

    "I sense a great disturbance in the farce"

    Tut Tut!! Can you not see the hand of redmond at work here, this is just another version of the evil empire's attempt to take over your PC's, at the moment M$ are distributing crippleware V7 to the masses, I'd bet that in a couple of months M$ will come up with a "fix" (á lá XPOX) that will bork all the pirated copies and it will be "buy a licence" or all your work is belong to us.

    Please bookmark this page for future reference.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C64 vs Spectrum

    This is oh-so-depressing. People -- grow up!

    Linux is to be admired for many reasons, not least of all, its anti-establishment socialist stance (that notion would kill it in the US, of course). However, to constantly rail at Windows is pointless and stupid. Linux users, if you have seen the light, you need not evangelise. There is no place in Heaven guaranteed for command line users.

    Surely we all use a mix of OSs? I have to use Windows at work and I choose to use it home for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. There is no freeware close to the quality of those, even though Gimp is a good effort. I use Ubuntu on old machines, because it does everything other than photo editing beautifully and extends the life of machines which as a Windows consumer, I would have given up on by now because even XP fails to run adequately fast on.

    Must we really be so partizan?

  36. Michael 28

    Just wondering .....

    From Wikipedia ..................."The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. It proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which tries to appear human"

    I just wonder ... This "Linux is teh suxx cuz u can't play games " vs " Windoze is teh suxx cuz used by sheeple" .... are we setting the bar too low for these machines? (Certainly setting a poor example what with the short tempers some people seem to have ... good job we didn't mention ..cyclists) .

    I for one welcome our new metallic overlords, who'll be running OpenBSD >

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    rogue software.

    Maybe, but it ain't costing a fortune. And it might have tons of malware but the obligatory AV software you have to have with windows will clear that up and you still get a free copy of Win7.

    (Though why bother, I can't stand it and have had to do a full reinstall in the first month just to get it to work.)

  39. PirateSlayer


    People's concept of "worth" has changed somewhat when dealing with electronic goods. If I don't think a T-Shirt is "worth" £10.00 and I don't buy it, and everyone thinks that, the market will more often than not adjust and the price will come down. Not that shoplifters wait for that adjustment...they just nick it.

    I don't think freetard pirates attach any "worth" to the software they steal. They certainly attach no "worth" to the individuals they are stealing from. They are not weighing up the pros and cons and really considering how much something is "worth" (unless they are self righteously spouting arbitrary figures to make themselves feel better about their crime [2 cents, 1 penny]), they are just paying what they want to pay for the goods: nothing.

    Markets do work. Markets full of shoplifting freetards don't. Guess what happens when shops don't sell stuff and it all gets thieved.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy 70 - it's the audi drivers now

    Andy, you can now have a BMW. The twunts are now the Audi drivers or the "SUV" drivers (what the hell is SUV supposed to mean anyway?)

    I have been indicating appropriately in my BMW (i.e. with the orange lights, not with one finger)for the last few years and generally try to check there is noone in the way before changing lanes.

  41. Phil Rigby
    Thumb Up

    @Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Weren't you the guy who co-wrote Lotus Esprit Challenge and Magic Kid on the Amiga in the early 90's?

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