Microsoft begins automatic scans of Windows PCs for unlicensed software

“Microsoft today began expanding its anti-piracy program by quietly pushing out a software update that in many cases automatically scans Windows computers and reports on whether they are powered by unlicensed software,” Brian Krebs reports for The Washington Post. “The “new pilot program” is a fairly broad expansion of Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage program, under which the anti-piracy check was required only for users who wish to download security updates or other free programs from Microsoft’s site. Under WGA, users who chose to receive fixes via Automatic Updates were not prompted to install and run the anti-piracy software.”

Krebs reports, “Starting today, however, Windows XP users in the United States who have set up automatic security updates will receive the anti-piracy tool. After installation and reboot, they may find their computers popping up an alert that reads: ‘This copy of Windows is not genuine; you may be a victim of software counterfeiting.’ Microsoft also is pushing the new tool out to auto-update users in Britain, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.”

Full article here.

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Related article:
How Microsoft benefits from rampant piracy – April 18, 2006


  1. I smell an Apple marketing blitz:

    “OS X – because we don’t require you to register your OS, and we don’t spy on you, and we don’t really care that much if you install it on all your computers at home.”

    Apple – going easy on OS pirates since 2000…

    Or maybe that’s not such a good idea… 😀

    And Ampar… quit nit-picking on Ampar’s posts. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Everybody should respect the property rights of others, no matter how big, offensive or wealthy the owner may be.

    That said, this campaign has nothing to do with stopping piracy, MSFT benefits from the proliferation of its products in markets where they can’t afford them,this is about monetizing the effects of that piracy in markets where it no longer benefits MSFT. Just, look at where they are implementing this strategy, “Microsoft also is pushing the new tool out to auto-update users in Britain, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

    Expect them to extend the program into Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Canada and the rest of the EU. You won’t see it in Africa, India, China or Russia for some time to come.

  3. All you have to do is uncheck that “update” when you’re reviewing the incoming auto updates.

    If Windows cost $50, I’d buy it. Since it in fact costs $399, Microsoft can suck it.

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