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Microsoft Security Operating Systems Software Windows

Pirates Find Proper Way to Crack Vista's Activation Schema 213

Posted by Zonk
from the little-ants-can-fell-big-trees dept.
El_Oscuro writes "A genuine crack for Windows Vista has been released by pirate group Pantheon. The exploit allows a pirated, non-activated installation of Vista (Home Basic/Premium and Ultimate) to be properly activated and made fully-operational. 'It seems that Microsoft has allowed large OEMs like ASUS to ship their products with a pre-installed version of Vista that doesn't require product activation — apparently because end users would find it too inconvenient.'"
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Pirates Find Proper Way to Crack Vista's Activation Schema

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  • Old News Crack (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:17AM (#22622494) Journal
    In other news, pirates have created a crack to prevent news from 4th March 2007 appearing a year later on /.

    Well we live in hope.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:24AM (#22622540) Journal
    I remember a CNN news snippet on YouTube... it's just not worth pirating Vista, unless one is a hardcore masochist, of course.
    • by rucs_hack (784150) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:31AM (#22622594)
      You have to admit it's a novel approach, making a product so bad that hardly anyone is interested in cracking it.

      Who cares about a crack, I wouldn't run Vista if microsoft gave it away free, and I *like* windows...
      • by pallmall1 (882819) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:49AM (#22622702)

        Who cares about a crack, I wouldn't run Vista if microsoft gave it away free...
        Yeah, it's the old joke about game show prizes. Grand prize, one free copy of Vista. Second place prize, two free copies of Vista.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by squiggleslash (241428)
        It's the fourth copy control system they're using on Blu-ray discs: On top of AACS, BD+, and ROM-mark, they're making the content as awful as possible.
    • by Sancho (17056)
      Vista Media Center is pretty spiffy, from what I hear.
  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:25AM (#22622548) Journal
    Although this particular "activation" method has been around for awhile, it is interesting to see that microsoft never bothered to fix it.

    I can't believe that microsoft is still a lumbering software giant; notwithstanding their disdain for consumers (Turning off vista if it wasn't genuine ... even when it was!), they continue to make boatloads of money. This 'workaround' for activation is another example of their disdain for the end user; they're willing to accomodate the manufacturers in order to push an inferior software package onto the masses.

    It makes me feel like Henry Ford is running MS - 'you can have any OS you want, so long as it is VISTA'.

    I've personally decided to put the effort into getting my home computers running OSX (a very FUN project) so that my family can have the eye candy that is associated with MS without ... MS.
    (and yes, linux can be pretty... but I'm the only one that uses it!)
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:25AM (#22622556) Homepage
    It seems that Microsoft has allowed large OEMs like ASUS to ship their products with a pre-installed version of XP that doesn't require product activation -- apparently because end users would find using Vista too inconvenient.
  • SP1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xenolith (538304) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:28AM (#22622566) Homepage
    Since this article is a year old, no testing on SP1, I assume.
    • What SP1? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Gr8Apes (679165)
      What SP1? Wasn't it yanked due to incompatibilities?
      • Re:What SP1? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Xenolith (538304) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:56AM (#22622748) Homepage
        Yup. But the version MS was about to release contained updates to stop the more common hacks. This hack may have been one of them. There are other activation hacks out there that have been tested to work with SP1 RC.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Gr8Apes (679165)
          Obviously I'm a little in the dark :) I've no interest in Vista other than to see it fail to become the next standard. I do not wish that for silly reasons like "MS is da evil" or anything like that, but rather because with Vista they've created essentially less of an OS, and more of a proprietary content delivery appliance disguised as a general purpose OS.
          • Yes, but open source hackers will release all kinds of interesting hacks that let you do things like listen to FLACs or edit ODFs and PDFs. Of course, that picture of GNOME on Vista has been gimped.
          • by Phroggy (441)
            Your lack of interest in Vista explains your lack of knowledge about Vista; it's not "less of an OS" than XP. It does have some problems, the most glaring of which will hopefully be fixed in SP1; the larger issue is third-party compatibility which is comparable to the problems Windows 2000 had when it first came out.

            Vista doesn't piss me off the way XP always did. They've fixed a lot of little things. The problem is that XP is good enough for most people, and there are enough compatibility problems, plus
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Puppeteer_23 (1249966)
        No. SP1 is RTM, but a pre-requisite update went a bit awry and THAT's what they pulled back.
  • Inconvenience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:28AM (#22622574) Homepage
    I don't know how Vista's activation works, but I imagine that you only have to type it in once. Surely they could have just asked the user to type in the key on the back of the DVD / CD case, and if they don't have a DVD / CD then to contact their OEM. Works for me.

    Unless of course Microsoft have done this on purpose to get more copies on Vista on the desktop...
    • Re:Inconvenience (Score:5, Interesting)

      by IBBoard (1128019) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:11AM (#22622884) Homepage
      You probably would - you only typed it once for XP (unless you upgraded your machine, at which point XP thought it was a new machine and wanted re-activating). The problem with CD keys (from Microsoft's point of view) is that you can copy a key and hand it around, but you can't copy an activation code that needs to be confirmed by a remote machine.

      I'd rather have a single CD key than 35(?) characters I need to type in to the phone followed by 35(?) characters you have to type back in to your computer. I had to activate three XP laptops at work that were purchased specially for a project and that was a pain. Actually, no, I'd rather not have a CD key at all, but that's why I run Linux at home.

      One of the linked articles does cover an implicit acceptance of piracy in countries like Romania, mainly as a way to get people hooked on Windows before making them buy it (or just to keep OSS in check).
      • by Kwirl (877607)

        Actually, no, I'd rather not have a CD key at all, but that's why I run Linux at home.

        That may be one of the most pathetic endorsements for Linux I've ever seen pushed on slashdot. I suppose you would rather use the open source alternatives for every program that requires a cd key or activation to operate or function. Hell, why even bother supporting software development at all. We have all seen the unheralded success of open source alternatives to their commercial brethren. Remember when Adobe went bankrupt? Or back when Microsoft gave in, lamenting that had they only found an altern

    • Re:Inconvenience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by transporter_ii (986545) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:16AM (#22622926) Homepage
      Yeah, Microsoft keeps locking it down, and then backing off on the lock-down right at the last moment. What we need is a crack to turn the lock down back on in full force, not to totally bypass WPA.

      Back in the day when there wasn't anything else, pirating copies of Windows was OK. Now that there are good choices, lock that bitch down hard and when you hear people PMS, tell them there is no WPA in Linux.

      Transporter_ii
    • by Taelron (1046946)
      Actually Vista retail phones home every 6 months to reactive itself. The OEM vendor copies don't do that though, they are one time activation...
    • Re:Inconvenience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:34AM (#22623756) Homepage
      Businesses are normally on MSDN and get their activation codes from Microsoft, not from DVDs (MS send out DVDs but nowhere near as frequently as they used to - it's considered normal to download the ISO nowadays).

      Vista does ask for reactivation from time to time. For MSDN users that's once a year as the codes change each year (had this happen this year and I expect it to happen next too). Also if your environment changes it'll ask for reactivation also (much more than XP, which almost never used to do this)... which is why it's good practice to only install it on virtual machines with virtual hardware that never changes.

      There's also the problem of activation codes suddenly going bad.. which has happened to us. Suddenly you can't install Vista and it's a choice of an overseas phone call (typically lasting an hour or more if you're in a qeueue) or an activation crack.
  • by leuk_he (194174) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:37AM (#22622632) Homepage Journal
    Note that the article is dated 4 March, exactly 365 days ago. SOmehow the editor does not have 29 feb and though he was living at tomorrow.

    THis particular crack has/will be defeated by sp1.
    • by baadger (764884) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:32AM (#22623728)
      > This particular crack has/will be defeated by SP1.

      Yes this particular crack (by Paradox) has been fixed in SP1. The thing is, SP1 only blacklists some very specific 'soft mods' (Boot loader replacement designed to emulate an OEM issued BIOS SLIC table and trick Vista into accepting your machine as an OEM product). It is widely known that there are still many others out there, even ones dating from the middle of last year, that work just fine with SP1.
  • by joaommp (685612) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:40AM (#22622648) Homepage Journal
    "Please do not crack software and publish the crack on the net. It hurts my employer's feelings.

    Thank you."
    • "Please do not crack software and publish the crack on the net. It hurts my employer's feelings.

      It hurts his feelings much less than recommending Ubuntu. It's free, works, and is faster. It's also legal unlike a crack.

      Tell your employer that force feeding WGA on my old Windows 98 system wasn't appreciated. I had to go elsewhere to find Direct X 8.1 the capture device requires. I kept Win 98 because it doesn't require WGA, and yes, it's legal, an OEM install that came with the new machine.

      A direct X upda
    • I agree with your views on software piracy; but I have to challenge you on your sig. Skirts and button up blouses can leave you many interesting options besides "stripped," unless you're into the "roll over and play dead" type of girls.
  • Fixed :) (Score:3, Informative)

    by cigawoot (1242378) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:41AM (#22622654)
    This was fixed in SP1! I was thinking they found way around the SP1 fix (not like I condone piracy, but seeing MS get owned every once in a while is fun).
  • If more and more copies of vista are pirated,its microsoft who wins,in its quest of making its bloatware vista more popular than xp. But soon those people would realise what crap they have cracked! :)
  • by xtracto (837672) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:50AM (#22622712) Journal
    Another group has published an undocumented way to bypass the adult verification in the new Leisure Suit Larry game by pressing ALT+X.

    How do these guys learn this stuff??
  • Amusing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NickCatal (865805) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:00AM (#22622774)
    I always find it amusing that MSFT says that Vista is the least cracked OS they have made to date... They fail to see that most people who pirate OSes actually intend on using that OS and are as likely to want vista as anyone else...
  • I'm not buying Vista, or pirating XP. My copy of XP is legal, purchased at Best Buy for a hundred bucks (actually a little more).

    As Windows is so damned insecure, I won't get on the internet with it, period. I mostly use an old distro of GNU/Linux/KDE, and that's what I surf with. When I install Windows I unplug the ethernet, and disable networking in Windows before I plug the LAN back in.

    Even were I to trust a patched copy of Windows, it takes longer to patch than a cracker can find the machine and add it
    • by bhima (46039) *
      My sole interest in Windows is a virtual installation I occasionally use on my Mac. Currently I'm using a very small XP Lite with all the updates slipstreamed in which I got off the pirate bay. Yes I do have an old license for XP but I have no idea where the disk is. Anyway this tiny XP is great version and I think works very well as a 'guest' OS.
    • by Shados (741919)

      And Mandriva runs flawlessly, why wil Linux work flawlwssly with a bad memory chip but not Windows?

      Thats common, both ways. I don't know about now (haven't used Linux in a while), but back then you could tell your harddrives were going bad just by putting Linux on em. Linux would throw a total tantrum, kernel panicks and so on, while Windows would happily go along with it (for better or worse).

      It depends what you do, too... as another example, a lot of people find out about bad hardware when they go and pla

    • by Allador (537449)

      Even were I to trust a patched copy of Windows, it takes longer to patch than a cracker can find the machine and add it to his botnet.

      That's utter nonsense.

      The only way this would happen is if:

      1. You were connecting the computer directly to the internet, with no router/firewall between you and it.
      2. You somehow managed to turn off the firewall that ships on by default with XP.

      Or if you had a bunch of other compromised machines on the network and #2 was true.

  • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:08AM (#22622852) Journal
    Just need to wait a few more months and hopefully Microsoft will start paying people to use it.
    • Almost Dreamspark [campustechnology.com] is given away free by Microsoft to college and high school students. It contains Windows 2003 Server standard edition, but I can't see why the next one won't have Vista in it?
  • heh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Machine9 (627913) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:14AM (#22622914) Homepage
    Am I really the only person who is not super dissatisfied with Vista? I've honestly not experienced anything negative with it. I still prefer the ubuntu installation on my laptop mind, but gamers will be gamers, and Wine hurts my brain =(
    • That's not how you do it. You're supposed to talk about how THIS is the year Linux is finally going mainstream and everyone's finally going to start using it, learning the shell and modding the kernel. That, or how everyone should just buy an Apple or something. Vista's the worst thing ever, remember?
  • Are you into pain or something? Why would anyone want to steal what most consider WinME II? I gave away the DVD I got for beta testing Vista,and last I heard it had already gone through at least 4 people,each having tried it for a couple of weeks and then running back to XP. It is like one of those fruitcakes that nobody wants-it just keeps getting passed around.I wonder if they have started making room in the landfill where they buried the Atari E.T. carts for all the Vista DVDs that will end up getting tossed?


    And yes,I know some folks have managed to get it to run okay.I also have a neighbor who is still using and swears by WinME,but that don't make it good. Enough folks have been burned by Vista that all the service packs in the world ain't going to help the bad experiences of way too many early adopters. I'll stick with Xandros for my laptop and XP for gaming.But you do have to admit it is a brilliant way to combat piracy,just make an OS so slow and bloated that nobody will want to steal it!

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:26AM (#22623014)
    I still don't want it, though.
  • Finding people who will bother to install a pirated Vista thereby requiring said crack.
  • I recall reading about this one before here...slow news day? I think its detectable in the latest updates also.
  • How come it's a "Schema", not a "Scheme"?
  • At last (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It was so embarassing to have to crack it the improper way.
  • by NWprobe (28716) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:54AM (#22623286) Homepage
    For each pirated copy of windows, one more computer doesn't run an alternative OS.
    This is one of the factors keeping the userbase of Linux down. It's a mystery to me why people choose a pirated version of Windows instead an open and free version of a Linux distribution. I guess ignorance is not bliss.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by onkelonkel (560274)
      Why? AutoCAD and games.
      • More or less. Apps matter to people. Windows has apps.

        I've been playing a lot of TF2 lately as well as The Witcher recently. I know I can play them on Windows with zero hassle. I might be able to play them on Linux with Wine but from everything I've heard, it can be a crapshoot and a variety of tweaking/editing to get things to work. I'm not going to say I know anything about Wine and using it (my perception could be quite wrong) but with Windows, I just install and go - maybe update drivers if I need to
    • It's a mystery to me why people choose a pirated version of Windows instead an open and free version of a Linux distribution.
      To me it's damn obvious, in many many categories of software the de-facto standard package (that is the one you want to use if you need to exchange files with other people) or the best package is windows only.

      Also linux is quite a paradigm shift from windows, people hate change because it means that much or all of the effort they spent learning thier way arround the old system is wast
    • For each pirated copy of windows, one more computer doesn't run an alternative OS.
      This is one of the factors keeping the userbase of Linux down. It's a mystery to me why people choose a pirated version of Windows instead an open and free version of a Linux distribution. I guess ignorance is not bliss.



      Not really - there is no way to say someone who doesn't pirate Vista will run some other OS; it could also mean they simply forgo a PC. If they viewed non-Windows OS's as a viable alternative then why pirate i
  • by moxley (895517) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:48AM (#22624630)
    One thing to always consider: Just like it always is, one way or the other piracy plays into the strategy of getting this OS adopted.

    Who cracks and/or installs pirated software? Mostly young techies. If they can get an OS for free or for cheaper than Vista, then Vista needs to be made "free" to compete in that sector - However, you can't just make the product free or reduce the price point, because that is only going to get you less money from people who are going to pay for it anyway and won't affect those who acquire software activations via other means.

    MS knows that people who are going to pirate are generally not going to pay for an OS, and certainly not full price, and some people would pirate even if it cost $2.99.

    I would think that one of the worst things that could happen to a new OS is to be rejected by the young technically savvy users - for so many reasons, but one reason is because they influence adoption; especially upgrades and new system purchases. Do you know when my parents and pretty much every other non-techie person I know decides to upgrade their OS, or buy anything computer related? After they ask my advice (or whoever they consider to be the most computer savvy person in their life). I am sure it is the same for a lot of us here.

    Certainly I used to use pirated stuff sometimes before I could afford MSDN or worked in places that provided all the legit software I needed. I am not posting about whatever piracy is right or wrong here, that has been debated endlessly and it's a personal choice. One thing I can say is that (with the exception of a few times I have seen legit copies of Vista deactivate) it certainly is a lot less of a pain in the ass to use properly activated software.

    I wonder though - if you plotted the adoption rate of Vista on a graph against MS expectations, my guess is that the further below expectations the adoption rate is, the less stringent activations are going to be and more cracks and workarounds (that work well) you're going to see.

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