26 July 2005 Microsoft is stepping up its efforts to counter piracy of its flagship operating system Windows by increasing validation controls.
Microsoft has been trialling its Genuine Advantage scheme since 2004, which allows users to verify that their version of Windows is genuine. Now Microsoft will make it compulsory for users to undertake the verification process before they can access Windows-related updates from Microsoft’s web sites.
The updates will include access to the latest versions of Microsoft’s anti-spyware software, as well as updates to its Media Player and other software. Updates to security patches will not require participation in the Genuine Advantage scheme.
Over 40 million users took part in the initial trials.
“It is clear that customers want to take advantage of special offers reserved for genuine users, with the peace of mind that their software will deliver the features, options and performance they need,” said Will Poole, senior vice president of the Windows Client Business at Microsoft.
To ensure the process is easy, users will not be required to supply the traditional 25-digit software key. Instead Microsoft will use an ActiveX control that checks the authenticity of users’ Windows software and, if Windows is validated, stores a special download key on the PC for future verification.
This should reduce the work overhead for IT staff in large organisations running multiple licences for potentially hundreds of installed desktop operating systems.