In an MSDN blog, Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage Senior Product Manager Alex Kochis has admitted that the OEM activation hack for Windows Vista does work effectively. The hack involves either using a custom BIOS to trick Vista into believing it is running on a different computer model and therefore allows activation without connecting to the internet or using the phone, or using software to fool the OS in the same way. Windows XP also suffered from a similar hack, which also fools the Microsoft website into thinking the Windows install is genuine, however it received little attention because of the numerous other ways to bypass activation. Unsurprisingly, Kochis’ blog is largely trying to deter people from using this method due to its risks (custom BIOSes can be dangerous) and claiming that the software equivalent will be easy to detect and respond to, but it would suggest that Microsoft more worried about this bypass than the others.
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Source: MSDN via DailyTech