Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, my post on the Vista SP1 activation hack has generated a lot of feedback (especially in the form of questions) from both individuals and other media outlets. I’ve put together this post in order to answer some of these questions.
First off, the hack. The hack in question is another OEM BIOS hack but packaged under the name of Vista Loader. This hack is similar to the Paradox OEM BIOS. The Paradox hack was the most commonly used Vista activation hack (which is why Microsoft pulled the plug on it) but this one seems to have been quite popular, so I’m not sure why Microsoft didn’t pull the plug on this one too. Since other outlets have now named this hack as working on Vista SP1 I don’t have any problem with naming it here.
As you can see from the video above (or the gallery – I’ve put up a separate gallery because the video is rather small), this hack can take a non-genuine Vista SP1 installation and turn it into one that appears genuine to the OS.
After the reboot you can see a product key being entered – this is one of many OEM product keys shipped with the hack. Unless the hack is correctly applied these key is considered invalid by the OS. With the hack the addition of the product key makes the OS appears like a genuine OEM install.
It seems to me that Microsoft has been rather half-heated about blocking OEM BIOS activation hack. However, just because this hack works today, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t change tweak WGA at a later date in order to close it off. Given how this hack works I’d say that it would be a trivial matter for Microsoft to add a detection routine for it.
SP1 was supposed to seek out and uncover activation hacks so that life was harder for pirates and that customers were reassured that their install of Vista was legit – it hasn’t. What I’ve shown here is that it’s easy to fool SP1 into thinking that a non-genuine copy is genuine.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Sevice Pack, SP1, Vista SP1, Activation, Hack, OEM