The Windows Vista free ride is officially over. The first service pack for the latest Window client brings only bad news for Vista pirates. Essentially, Windows Vista SP1 is the killer of the 2099 Grace Timer Crack and the OEM BIOS hack. With the first service pack for the operating system, Microsoft is claiming back Vista copies that have been activated using two of the most popular illegal workarounds available to date.
Both the 2099 Grace Timer crack and the OEM BIOS hack have been around for over a year. Microsoft did by no means rush to kill either one, although the company has provided official confirmation of the existence of the two Vista activation bypassing methods since early January 2007. This scenario only comes to confirm the depth at which the 2099 Grace Timer and OEM BIOS Vista activation workarounds were integrated into the very fabric of the operating system.
“Known as the ‘timer crack’ or ‘2099 crack’ this hack basically resets the pre-activation grace period to be in effect through 2099,” explained Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager for Windows Genuine Advantage. “Our team is actively reviewing the reports of this workaround now, and I expect we’ll take corrective action soon,” Kochis added on January 2, 2007. (emphasis added)
“I know many of you are aware of reports of hacks that attempt to exploit our OEM BIOS based activation. We’re aware of this type of hack,” Kochis said on April 10, 2007. “There appear to be two primary variants of OA 2.0 hacks circulating. One is similar to the XP approach I described above where actual editing of the BIOS on the motherboard is done to make the motherboard appear to be from an OEM. (…) The second variant does not change anything in the BIOS itself, but uses a software-based approach to fool the OS into thinking it’s running on OA 2.0-enabled hardware.”
For over a year, Microsoft has been building Windows Vista SP1. The service pack was finally released to manufacturing on February 4, 2007, and will ship to end users starting mid-March. However, Vista pirates that will choose to implement the service pack, via manual installation or through Automatic Updates, will see their operating systems labeled as non-genuine.
The experience is a replica of what pirated versions of Windows XP offer today. Microsoft has in fact cut the umbilical cord that connected Vista with the Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism and has scrapped the Reduced Functionality Mode kill switch from the platform. Users of pirated versions of Vista will no longer lose functionality or access to their copy of the operating system, as following Vista SP1 there will be no more Reduced Functionality Mode.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Service Pack, SP1, Vista SP1, Grace Timer Crack, 2099 Grace Timer Crack, OEM, BIOS, Hack, Activation, Piracy