Microsoft is set to pull the plug on it’s controversial anti-piracy measures contained within the Windows Vista operating system.
The so-called ‘kill-switch’ which is coded into every copy of Vista was designed to limit the features of the operating system when it became flagged as being an illegal copy.
However, there have been several issues which have led to a flurry of customer complaints, predominantly from users with legal copies who then suffered a severely degraded service.
Microsoft claims that use of the kill-switch has led to a dramatic decrease in piracy.
Microsoft’s corporate vice president, Mike Sievert, said in a statement, ‘Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine copies.
They won’t lose access to functionality or features, but it will be very clear to them that their copy of Windows Vista is not genuine and they need to take action.’
Change of tactics
Microsoft hailed the kill switch as a success, saying that the change in tactics had led to piracy of it’s latest operating system being around half the level experienced at this stage with it’s predecessor, Windows XP.
The changes to Vista will be implemented via a major update included within Service Pack 1.
Currently, purchasers of new PCs are required to validate their copy of Vista with Microsoft, via an online tool known as Windows Genuine Advantage, which can verify if the operating system (OS) was legally acquired.
Said tool can then lock Vista down, greatly decreasing it’s usefulness, if it believes that the OS was obtained fraudulently. Many users, however, have complained of error messages from their legitimately purchased copies of Vista.
Microsoft will continue to track down and take legal action against software pirates.
Over the course of the last year they have been responsible for shutting down over 50,000 illegal online auctions and have taken 1,000+ dealers to task for distributing counterfeit copies.