In an effort to combat piracy and to protect users from non-genuine versions of Windows pre-installed with keystroke loggers and other malware Microsoft is to make available an optional download for Windows Activation Technology.
Once installed if the software detects the user has a non-genuine version of Windoews 7 installed they will not be able to use Windows.
The update will be available for manual download from Microsoft’s genuine Web site on Feb. 16 and from the Microsoft Download center the following day. Later this month, the update will also be offered through Windows Update as an “important” (but optional) update.
Williams [Joe Williams, general manager of Microsoft’s Genuine Windows unit] said the new update will remain optional and that those who choose not to install it will still be able to get other Windows updates, a position that marks a fairly sharp contrast to the once hard line Microsoft was taking against piracy.
Windows Genuine Advantage which later on transformed into Windows Activation Technologies was initially slammed by the IT industry due to the way Microsoft advertised it as an essential security update when in actual fact it was designed to check if the version of Windows a user had installed was genuine. Microsoft was taken to court but subsequently won when being accused by some users in a class action suit about the way the whole WGA affair was handled by Microsoft.