back to article Licensing snafu leaves Windows 8 open to PIRATES

Microsoft's decision to offer the Windows Media Center Pack for Windows 8 as a free download may be coming back to bite it, as software pirates have reportedly discovered a way to use the add-on to permanently activate pilfered copies of Windows. The trick, as a few Reddit users discovered, involves activating Windows 8 …


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  1. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Not suprising the someone has worked out how to get around the activation in Windows 8, the more Microsoft annoy genuine users with their enter product key, then activate then, download some additional software with a hotfix to validate again the more likely people are going to look for ways around it

  2. fridaynightsmoke

    At first I was excited by this news...

    ... but then I realised that I don't bloody want Win8.

    1. Mr_Pitiful

      Re: At first I was excited by this news...

      Ditto & I got a bloody key that I don't need or want!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With it being so cheap is there really any need to pirate it?

    I'm sure these losers would pirate it even if it was 1p.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      > With it being so crap is there really any point in pirating it?


    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Shufflemoomin
      Thumb Up

      I agree. This is further proof that lower the price of something doesn't stop people pirating it. At least we know that 13 losers, and counting, on here have pirated it.

  4. Bob Vistakin

    Been using it today

    Its genuinely terrible - a lot worse than my previous tinkering led me to believe, and I don't know how many thousands you'd have to pay *me* to use it, never mind all this "you can get it free now" malarkey. I certainly don't know anyone who wants it. Anyone with any doubts will have them all cleared up by catching a YouTube reaction, there's a few now - try this for starters:

    1. David Webb

      Re: Been using it today

      That video was made by an idiot to be blunt. MS do a little tutorial at the start "move the mouse to the corners" which generally takes you back to Metro, needing to log in to access your calendar which is stored in the cloud? It's in the cloud, what would you expect?

      I've been using Win8 since release, I'm having no issues with it, some small annoyances like it not updating on shutdown only on reboot, and that's about it.

      1. Shufflemoomin
        Thumb Down

        Re: Been using it today

        Maybe if you took the time to watch the full video, you'd understand. I'd like to see you defend his other points.

        1. Bob Vistakin

          Re: Been using it today

          Did they stick their fingers in their ears and sing "la la la" after the "consumer preview"?

          Once the public, rather than the puppet yes men, use it this is what you get, and there's a shitload more of them about to tsunami the news than the astroturfers:

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Been using it today

      "try this for starters:"

      I went two minutes into the video before I hated Windows 8 more than before...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One more reason...

    "But unlike earlier versions of Windows, Windows 8 does not offer a 30-day grace period until it must be activated. "

    Both XP and W7 took a few attempts to install them cleanly on new hardware combinations. The 30 day activation delay was useful to avoid wasting OEM licences when a particular hardware combination wasn't up to scratch.

    1. xj25vm

      Re: One more reason...

      "Both XP and W7 took a few attempts to install them cleanly on new hardware combinations."

      Strange that. Can't work out why would anyone "attempt" to install XP or W7. There is no way I can recollect how many XP and W7 machines I've installed - but I certainly didn't have to "attempt" to - never mind few times.

    2. RICHTO

      Re: One more reason...

      OEM licences are now tied to a per machine certificate in your BIOS. Hence no activation work arounds using OEM BIOS files with Windows 8.....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't give it away.

    Simple as. If this applied to Vista RTM at the initial release this thread would be at 1000 posts by now.

    Sinking below Vista. That has to be taken as an achievement.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm surely the obvious solution would be if they asked the user to enter their current win8 pro key when applying for the media centre key - and make it one media centre key per win8 pro key?

    I reckon thats what was supposed to happen and then the website guys forgot to ask for the win8 pro key.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      They didn't forget- a deliberate part of the limited time offer was that people could obtain a Media Centre key even before buying Win8.

      Ho hum. Let's hope that Win8 is just an interim OS, from which MS will learn. Apple did a smoother job of bringing multi-touch gestures to OSX- their laptops all have a suitable touchpad, but it is only an optional extra for their desktops. Users have the option of using gestures but haven't had them thrust upon them. OSX has had 'corners' for years, easier to get your mouse to the corner of a full-screen than it is a window. Likewise, OSX applications retain their menus.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. johnwerneken

    serves Redmond right

    Have a $40 version as well as a plethora of free but time limited versions. Hadn't remembered the fool media center on this copy, my main one and the paid-for one; thanks Reg for the reminder.

    The key before boot was a real annoyance. Not quite enough to motivate ME to set up a KVM but nearly. Glad those who did, found a way to get even. LOL.

  10. dssf

    Will another exec see his or her job cut?

    Will there be another, what I termed about Sinofski, "Winfenestration"?

  11. JaitcH

    Thank you, again El Reg

    I've just gven a copy of the article to my local alternative software sourcing shop.

    They said Thank You, too.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's part of the plan

    Piracy is good for Microsoft. They need their software to make it onto home machines. That way users will whine when they don't get XYZ at work. Then business will cave in and buy said software. It's wonderful plan!

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: It's part of the plan

      That used to be true - now they beg work not to use it having seen the massive reduction in productivity it causes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: It's part of the plan

      I was thinking the same.

      Tolerate the odd pirate install, as they used to do back in the Office days (which has ended with Office being the standard for, well, office documents), or when it was possible to install Win3.1 without entering a key, or 95 with a licence key of all '0's.

      In this case, it'll get Win8 onto one home machine. Then,when the user is used to it, they'll not mind Win8 installed as standard by the OEM on other new machines and tablets, and possibly make the case for it's deployment at their place of work.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If MS make a mess of this ....

    how will they get on managing 'secure' boot ??

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: If MS make a mess of this ....

      They don't manage Secure Boot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If MS make a mess of this ....

        Oh !

        They seem to be involved up-to-their-necks in this

  14. mdc

    Reddit, I think not.

    This method was actually discovered by myself and a few others over on the MyDigitalLife forums, and is in fact rather more serious than this article makes out. KMS activation is NOT required to activate using the ProWMC key; all that's required is a modified data.dat, and then the OS can be installed AND activated using the ProWMC key.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Thumb Up

      Re: Reddit, I think not.


  15. wt29

    Dunno if its big deal

    KMS activation requires periodic re-connection to the original KMS server to maintain activation. Unless the pirates are putting a KMS server online, where it could be easily discovered, the activation only lasts 90 days. You also need a patched 2008 R2 or a 2012 KMS server to provide the activation.

    I heard from our MS tech rep that MS were also taking a much softer line on W8 Activation. The nag screens are more subdued, just the "Build 9200" in the corner of the desktop and the inability to personalise which, for a lot of people won't be a big deal.

  16. Uwe Dippel

    Doesn't work for me!?

    I read the 'instructions' and asked for a key - the request was accepted, but the key was never sent.

    I tried again, from another site, with another e-mail address, the request was accepted, and I was also informed it would be sent - and never arrived.

    That's the MS-way to rectify a snafu?

    1. RICHTO

      Re: Doesn't work for me!?

      Perhaps you didnt read the bit that says it takes time (up to 48 hours)?

      1. Uwe Dippel

        Re: Doesn't work for me!?

        Clever boy! - See, you get the third different time frame now. I had actually done my first trial yesterday, and then it said maximal "24 hours". That was yesterday. Why should it take more than one hour in any case? So I tried a second time, this morning. The message said "within 72 hours". And seemingly it gave you "within 48 hours".

        That's what I'd call the MS-lottery.

  17. Alex Wilson

    Tried on 3 different email addresses and got the 72 hours dialogue, 48 hours so far and nothing yet.... anecdotal evidence shows people receiving their codes in a couple of hours at most (some sooner).

    Looks like MS have panicked a bit at all the publicity and frozen the promotion?

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