Microsoft’s Vista and Office 2007: bad news for pirates

It should be interesting to see how will Microsoft will be able to keep pirates in their place with their new technology. But the bad guys are pretty smart and Microsoft will have their hands full. Only time will tell how. This article covers most of what Microsoft is trying to do.
“Can Microsoft’s latest anti-piracy protections really stop the Vista and Office 2007 pirates, or will pirates finally have to walk the plank?

Efforts to stamp out piracy have been with computers since it became possible to make a copy of a program and run it on another computer successfully. Anti-piracy software, code wheels, license keys, hardware dongles and more all failed in some way, either through the use of a master key code, a crack that turned trial software into the full version, removed the check for dongles, or somehow picked the lock of anti-protections.

But now that almost all computers and an increasing array of electronic devices are almost permanently connected to the Internet, or can be wirelessly Net connected in just a few seconds, anti-piracy features that are delivered and updated over the Internet are starting to change this forever.

Copies of Vista and Office 2007 installed from a friend’s CD or DVD will need a valid license key within 30 days or will enter into a ‘reduced functionality mode’, severely limited the ability to use the software. This is actually nothing new, with XP and Office 2003 already having these features for years.

But with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) and the nearly 18 month old Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program in full swing, even if pirates are able to ‘crack’ copies of Vista and Office 2007 to work without activation, if you want to get Vista and Office updates, you’ll be subjected to a Genuine Advantage check. If you don’t pass, you don’t get updates.”

Full story here.

[tags]microsoft, vista, office, 2007, pirates, piracy, license, key,DVD, CD, WGA, OGA, activation, browser, software, [/tags]

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Amer

    yeah that’s true
    even XP Now , you cant update it without WGA Check
    but there are some softwares which change your Pirated XP Copy to Genuine Copy in less than 5 Seconds
    I Think Microsoft or whoever , will never stop Pirates
    as much as we get more technology as much as the pirates will create new ways to pirate , crack and whatever!


  • http://doh me

    You know why microsoft have a lot of mony !
    because pirate distribute the soft for the company.
    Everyone at home use it. After that, microsoft just have to sell it to business.
    the pirate are the marketing for those company… microsoft, winzip etc..
    pirate can’t stop ! it’s a small defit for pirate to find solution !
    they are currious !

  • Ron Schenone

    Grazie per le informazioni.

  • Abelius

    Microsoft’s WGA and OGA come across as gimmicks, from somebody trying to sound serious. I agree totally that the Windows domination is largely due to the mass availability and reach of Windows, which is due to the pirates. It’s stupid to think that MS does not understand this.

  • Mark

    Make it $20 instead of $200 and people will buy it, try and rip people off with a massively inflated price tag and people will crack and pirate it… simple, you’ll only stop attempted piracy by making it not worth while.

  • Ron Schenone

    Abelius and Mark,

    Thank you both for your comments. I think Microsoft does understand this, but is having a hard time dealing with it. And it makes one wonder just how much pirates actually take away from the MS profit machine.

    Thanks to you both for the comments.

  • Some Guy

    You can manually edit a single line within windows xp that will allow you to get all of your updates on a pirated version… no need for software. (I’ve done this several times on development machines).

    I’m not sure if this vulerability has been fixed in Vista, but they still have not fixed the problem in XP.

    I consider Vista at $250 for the ultimate upgrade price to be “ok”. But when you are asking $679.99 for Office 2007 Ultimate… ha – ya right, I’d rather buy another computer for that price.

    MS – If you lower your price, more people will buy your product. I dont mind buying office if it is a reasonable price… but for $679.99??? Are you insane? Many people out there live almost paycheck to paycheck and cant afford to drop $700 just for newer features of Office. If you drop it to maybe $150-$200, people would consider the option of buying a legit copy. That in turn could probably make you more money.

    Since your asking us to pay such an inflated price, I’d rather stick with the pirates.

  • GAB

    Mark and Some Guy, there are always people who will steal this stuff even if it was free. And who are you to tell MS what to charge? If you do not like the price, then do not buy the product – simple. And most people will be buying an office upgrade for a lot less than $679.99!

  • Priced out of the Market!

    “If you do not like the price, then do not buy the product – simple.”

    Um-Dah! You’re trying to make a republican pro-monopoly capitalistic argument but, in fact, you are just saying the same thing everyone else is saying.

    “Who are you to tell MS what to charge?”

    Um, I’m a consumer who is NOT willing to pay that outrageous price! And when MS discovers there are more pirated versions than registered versions, they STILL wont get it.

    “There are always people who will steal this stuff even if it was free.”

    Ah, it’s called “DOWNLOAD”, as opposed to “CRACK”. Hmmm, Open Office is looking better and better! Let’s see here…free or $449 (for my needs)? Now, lets analyze the $449 (I would choose this one because it’s the minimal with Publisher): The OS is $249 and I use it every time I turn on the computer vs $449 for Publisher which I use every three months. For $449 I could buy 2 Vista Ultimates or 3 flat panel monitors or 8 video games.

    Yes, even if the software was $50, there would be pirates cracking it, but the WGA and updates, it’s a bit more attractive to buy. Makes you wonder if MS intentionally leaves flaws in their SW just so you buy for the patches.

  • Ron Schenone

    Quick point – if anyone reading this thread hasn’t tried Open Office, it is a viable alternative to MS Office and it’s a Free product with a Windows version as well as Linux.

    Thanks to all who have commented. It is appreciated.


  • http://none Dev

    I think piracy can NEVER be eleminated from this software world,So MICROSOFT should make software protection by new methods because activation metheds are old, and what about WGA I say NOTHING , because no one want updates ,He can download new version of software with updates from NET and use a crack.

    So I think protection should like this that one key works one time on setup of product, then if owner have to Reinstall software then he can demand a new key from vender of software company by using his software ownership certificate.

    if U like my views please E-Mail me

  • http://none Raju

    THANK YOU for giving views DEV I like ur views. I think you have given right direction to removing PIRACY.

  • Ron Schenone


    Thanks for your comments. And I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my article. And also the nice compliment.

    Thank you, Ron

  • Ron Schenone

    Thank you for taking the time to express your viewpoint.I believe each of us have some thoughts on how the issue of piracy should be handled. and your comments are appreciated.

    All the best, Ron

  • Don

    I understand why you couldn’t keep my post up there so ill revise. Microsoft’s new verification software isn’t as secure as you think. Plus there are many loop holes to pirating these os’s and office programs. The corporate edition is the biggest flaw by far, being used by huge buisnesses and colleges, it allows students to easily look up the serial and use it for themselves, since they are all ready verified. To keep privacy you dont have to activate the corporate editions. Even though they are listing the $600 for the office pro, you can buy just the software cds for 100’s cheaper through some companies that keep the other stuff. If you don’t need the instruction manual which is usually built into the program anyways. Hope this helps.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hi Don,

    Thanks for your comments and revisions. And points well taken. Something is going on behind the scenes, that we are not aware of.

    And also thanks for the information about using a thumb drive to obtain a serial number from you know where. I wasn’t aware of this but it sure makes sense. :-)

    I look forward to your future comments.

    Thanks, Ron

  • Dude

    Bull shit!

    There is nothing that can’t be cracked!
    Stop talking nonsense!

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Dude,
    Thanks for the comment. Only time will tell how good of a crack someone comes up with and what the MS response will be. :-)

  • Real4ever

    man all software can be cracked ,all means all ,otherwise there would have been the existence of programming language ,put yourself in a Craker skin,You know how to crack and you have money as well ,a software is at outrageous price,which one would you prefer to buy or will some tweaking you crack the software and use it freely.There is a logic behind it.None loves Bill Gate more than himself?

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments.

  • John Bailey

    All software can be cracked. Its just a matter of how much effort it takes, and how awkward it makes the process for the users. With WGA, the software can be updated each time you log on to the Windows update page. So its a moving target. This isn’t going to stop anybody determined, but it will stop a lot of casual copying where people bring home a copy from work, or download a corporate edition of XP.

    The problem for Microsoft and anybody who copies the method is that a pirated copy is not always going to be replaced by a legit copy. Many can’t afford or refuse to pay for the OS, so will just get a fresh crack or move to another OS. Which in the case of an OS so heavily pirated, could be very bad for Microsoft’s market share.

    I wonder how many new Linux users have been created by WGA?

  • Ron Schenone

    John Bailey,
    Thank you for your comments.It is appreciated.
    Regards, Ron

  • jimmy

    I have to concur what is written in the comments already. ALL software can be cracked. I have cracked a few myself. I have some friends who have done also…not some big time cracking group, just some people who like to learn how things work and also don’t have much money or means to get any so if I can extend a shareware programs trial time, I will.
    I won’t then go and spread it all over the internet but I also make use of the ones that do.
    I have used cracked Office XP before now and also XP.
    It does not constitute a lost sale for anyone as simply, I could NO WAY afford to buy it and would never have that much cash to allow me to buy it.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Jimmy,
    Thank you for your comments and for sharing your experience with us.
    Regards, Ron

  • Dapper

    I am a pc technician and I work with businesses and home users. It is quite funny that big organizations from my thought process would not buy upgrades in fact I have had rich clients state they rather buy a new system for 400.00 with everything on it and thats it. Some never even used patches or windows updates. Heck I even met companies that use pirated software because the price for office and xp is ridiculous.

    I like original versions non pirated but I rather wait until the price drops then spend 1400 on a pc with vista or spend practically 300 for vista. I had a client so upset they bought a pc similar specs to what they have already on a laptop they spent 450 on just to have Vista $1600. After trying to install the software they have many were not vista compatible so he spent more money to install windows xp on virtual pc just to use his regular applications now he loads vp as soon as he signs on.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Dapper,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. People are funny. :-)
    Regards, Ron

  • Ian

    I’m so sick of the anti-piracy movement. Do you know who this hurts the most? The legitimate end user. Its so insulting to get alerts about being honest when you have bought software. Same goes for games, music and movies. You pay 12 bucks to see a movie and they insult you buy playing 20 advertisments and the final one telling you not to pirate movies even though you just paid 12 or 14 bucks to get in.

    Same with games, buy the disk and forever you need the disk even if its stuck under some box. Imagine if you needed to insert your office CD every time you wanted to use it.

    Same deal with music. I can buy a CD, copy it to my laptop / PC no problem. But if I buy it in a new medium, what happens? I have DRM crap. Now I have to remember to de-activate my music from computer to computer. What other hoops must I jump through? Stop punishing people who pay for software. Pirated software / music / games are nag and ad free!

  • Ron Schenone

    Hi Ian,
    Thank you for posting your comments. And I must agree. It is the honest consumer who gets punished. :-(

  • Nguyen


  • Piracy Underground

    GAB sounds like he/she works for Microsoft.

    The WGA and OGA are very easily defeated. Since I would be censored for sharing ways just google and do a little reading.

    The key to a successful defeat of WGA / OGA is not using a downloaded “public” fix as future WGA / OGA updates will defeat those. Do a little reading and you will find ways to get a validated XP, Vista or Office application.

    Heck if you are persuasive enough and have the “correct” information you can get Microsoft to give you an activation code over the phone.

    The bottom line is MS is charging way too much and since avg. joe consumer can’t afford all the costs the regulators will do it for them. They will be ruled a pseudo monopoly similar to what happened in the EU in other countries because they let their greed and arrogance get in the way.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello PU,
    Thanks for your comments.

  • Dan M

    The whole copy-protection and activation scene is rife with double standards. Everyone by now knows that one of the main reasons Word beat out Wordperfect is that they didn’t copy-protect Word so it got circulated and more people used it, making it popular. Now that Microsoft is big and greedy they see that instead of making billions they could make tens of billions(or whatever) by bringing copy-protection and activation in. Talk about a company not learning a lesson. They are giving OpenOffice and Linux a huge market share with their limited corporate thinking. I hope they successfully lock Vista and Office down so that no pirate can break it, because then they are handing the competition the victory on a silver platter.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Dan,
    Thanks for your comments and your points are well taken. Regard, Ron

  • DK

    Vista has been cracked. With WGA Validation.

    Office 2007 has been cracked. With OGA Validation.

    The cracks are more confusing, but it is a sure way.

    Patch files taken from the BIOS FLASH from OEM manufaturers who issue VALIDATION READY Windows are used as an “EMULATOR” in any system.

    A Generic CD-Key issued to that manufacturer has been implanted.

    Thus…the 3 main components that inform MS if your system is legitimate or not, has been eliminated.

    The crack involves modifying your computer to make it look like it was from one of the large companies that manufacture desktops and notebooks. And using their OEM licensing keys to validate your system.

    So, the battle is over, the pirates win again.

    Let’s see how this war works out in 1 million years.


  • Ron Schenone

    Hello DK,
    Thanks for the information and comments. Your thoughts and observations are appreciated.
    Regards, Ron

  • T00bers

    I would like to give you the view of a college student. I have to have a computer I have to have Office programs I have to have auto cad and photoshop just that in itself is about what would you say about 6000 dollars or more. I just want to ask one question pull out another student lone or find a way to get it other than putting yourself in a massive hole of dept. Software manufacturers in general are getting greedy finding ways to milk you for money. I think that’s worse than piracy because I don’t just need this stuff it’s require to get my degree and forcing me to pay bloated prices?!?!?!? Just my thoughts….

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello TOObers,
    Upgrading to Vista in your case would be very costly. Thanks for you comments and for sharing your thoughts. Ron

  • nohackneeded

    I downloaded a torrent of office xp and it passed validation. You’ll run into problems if you borrow a friend’s retail CD.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments,

  • Hay

    Odd, For my copy of XP, i get all the updates, i just select to NOT download the WGA.

    i have a cracked copy too.

    All i do is i use the update downloaded that came with windows.

    I have NEVER downloaded the WGA, but i have a up to date windows copy

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Hay,

  • qdos freak

    Microsoft make all their money from corporate and govt clients who can’t afford to cheat. And retail/OEM’ers who can afford it.

    For the average grey-boxer with no money like me I *always* torrent MS products. If (and it will NEVER happen) they found some way to negate piracy, everyone would just go to linux, etc anyway.

    Remember, these are the guys who sell $20 cut-down versions of xp in china cause they know they need windows on your computer, whatever the cost.

    Can’t wait till google sends a free CD and you just boot straight to their free online OS with all the bells and whistles, etc.

    It’ll come. That’s why Xbox 360 and mobile is so important for MS. Until then, I don’t think I’ve purchased a single MS product new. Linux is better but the games… oh the games.

    PS. I DO buy games, after I’ve seen how good the pirate version is I’ll splash out.

    PPS. The Compaq deskpro 386 cost $15000 when it was released. now u couldn’t sell it for $10. All those who bought a Kawasaki KLX250 instead are still enjoying their bikes 20 years later. Who still runs a 386?


  • Ron Schenone

    Hello qdos freak,
    I look forward to see waht Google does as well. :-)
    Thanks for your comments, Ron

  • Wilbur

    About two years ago I bought Windows XP Media Edition for a new HTPC. It failed to install on that or my other PC because one of the CDs had a persistent error. Microsoft wanted US$30 before they’d send me another. Having paid full price for the genuine Windows XPME pack I wasn’t about to hand over a lot more for yet another disk. I told Microsoft I’d begrudgingly pay the actual cost of a CD and postage, but not any more. But no, they wanted US$50 – their pound of flesh. Hence I’m now running non-genuine Windows XP and Vista, and a real Linux.

  • Rantermesipoet

    LOL at Microsoft !!!!
    I downloaded and I’m running an illegal copy of Office 2007 and it does updates!! LOL
    You can’t fight pirates, you’ll always loose no matter what level of protection you use. It’s like the RIAA and the mp3 sharing, there’s no end to it.
    Instead of lower the price, why dont they allow 2-3 people to share Office 2007. Each people would pay legally 200-300$(reasonable price) to Microsoft and they would receive the updates, but NO they are too greedy to do that. Instead they prefer that those 2 people download an illegal copy of Office 2007 (like me) and what do they earn?? O$

  • Oops

    *cough* OpenOffice

  • lisa

    So pirates steal a bit of microsoft’s profits – they charge an insane price anyway! Far more than it costs them to make it, clearly otherwise they’d have gone bust years ago, but they haven’t have they, no, they’re filthy stinking rich. I’m sure the head of microsoft doesn’t mind paying £400 just to be able to type his work – he can afford it. If office cost £50, I’d buy it. But I’ll just stick to my cracked copy for now, thanks, seeing as I don’t have the huge sum it actually costs to buy. It’s basic economics – when a product gets too expensive, it’s just not worth the money to the consumer.

  • Jonny

    Well, the simple fact is if the computer can run the software, it can be hacked. All programs eventually get down to machine code and machine code is not encrypted. There will always be a competent hacker, such as DVD Jon, who will make fools of the software companies who (rightfully) try to protect their products.

    As far as pricing goes, there is a sweetspot where the average Joe will just purchase the product instead of pirating it but it is very difficult to find that price. They really need a two-tier system where companies pay one price and home users pay another FOR THE EXACT SAME PRODUCT.

    I do like the option my company provides. For $30 I get a “Home Use” version of Office. I have no idea what my company pays for this ability but it is great. Microsoft should consider this as a standard policy – all corporate licenses come with a single home use license.

    Just my opinion…

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