Microsoft will change the user experience of its automatic anti-piracy checks in Windows Vista and also make it harder for hackers to bypass the system in the first service pack for the OS due out early next year.
Once Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is installed on a PC, that computer will no longer go into limited functionality mode if a user or administrator fails to activate Vista on that system in 30 days or if the system fails Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation, which checks to see if a version of Vista is pirated or counterfeit. In Vista, WGA is called the Software Protection Program feature.
In limited functionality mode, a computer will shut down after 60 minutes and then allow only browser use. Now, instead of going into that mode, a version of Vista that has not been activated in 30 days will start up with a black screen and a dialogue box that gives users the choice of activating Vista now or later, said Alex Kochis, a group product manager at Microsoft.