Microsoft Windows Vista's 'Black Screen of Death' Is a Hoax

Has Microsoft adopted an even tougher stance on piracy? According to recent e-mails warning of new, harsher anti-piracy measures in Windows Vista, that was believed to be the case.Australian PC World printed an e-mail Tuesday it says was sent from a Microsoft representative to an unspecified large Vista OEM distributor. The e-mail describes a new […]

Has Microsoft adopted an even tougher stance on piracy? According to recent e-mails warning of new, harsher anti-piracy measures in Windows Vista, that was believed to be the case.

Australian PC World printed an e-mail Tuesday it says was sent from a Microsoft representative to an unspecified large Vista OEM distributor. The e-mail describes a new initiative which renders computers running a pirated copy of Vista unusable by making the screen totally black.

Microsoft was quick to debunk this e-mail warning of a Black Screen of Death. A Microsoft representative told Wired News "the reporter received inaccurate information," and that the company has not rolled out any updates to Windows Vista's anti-piracy platform.

This report originally sent up a red flag since it simply sounds like a poorly-worded description of Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode, which we've known about for a while.

Vista's Software Protection Platform (SPP), itself the descendant of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy system used by Windows XP, switches into this mode when the Vista product key fails to authorize properly. While the platform's purpose is to prevent people from running pirated copies of Vista, SPP has encountered criticisms from users citing instances of false positives and privacy concerns stemming from the fact that the system "phones home" to Microsoft to validate the key.

When Vista is forced into Reduced Functionality mode, the start menu and desktop icons disappear, and the desktop background is changed to black. Here's an animated demo of RFM showing the black desktop (Thanks, Yea).

But this leaked e-mail -- which, according to the original story was sent out last week -- talks about a black screen, leading many to assume that Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to thwart Vista pirates.

Microsoft, Windows Vista, Piracy, Pirated Windows, Pirated Vista, Genuine Windows, Genuine Vista, WGA, Software Piracy, BSOD, Vista BSOD, Hoax

Source:→ Wired Blog