Microsoft will be increasingly combating illegal use of its software by requiring that those who want to update their software with free updates from Microsoft.com, have legally purchased software they wish to update.
Currently you can go to Microsoft.com and download many add-ons to Windows software.
Even if Microsoft didn’t initiate this crack down, its best and legal to only have legal copies of software on your computer. High purchase price is the main reason most people have illegal copies of software on their computers.
PC World reports At an unspecified date in mid-2005 Microsoft will require all Windows XP and Windows 2000 users to validate their copy of Windows before they can download software from the Download Center or Windows Update Web site, the company has said.
Microsoft’s Download Center and Windows Update Web sites offer applications such as Windows Media Player and the Windows AntiSpyware product as well as security updates for Microsoft products. Windows Automatic Updates, the security update feature in Windows, will not require validation, nor will security patches on the Download Center, according to Microsoft.
The Windows Genuine Advantage checking mechanism is anonymous, according to Microsoft. It includes an ActiveX control on the client side and the Windows Product Activation service on the Microsoft side. A user has to install the ActiveX control and enter the Windows product key, which is typically found on a sticker affixed to the PC.
Software piracy is a major issue for Microsoft. In the U.S. alone, almost a quarter of all Windows users run an illegal copy. However, one problem the software maker faces is that many users running illegal copies of Windows don’t know that their software is pirated. Users who discover that they have a pirated copy of Windows will be offered a genuine version of Windows at a discount, Microsoft has said.
Microsoft has adopted a multipronged attack on software piracy. The company is selling cheaper versions of Windows in certain Asian countries where software piracy is widespread and is also working closely with law enforcement to stop those who manufacture or sell illegal copies of its products.