Microsoft made an announcement earlier today that it will add the Windows Activation Technologies Update For Windows 7 in the next 14 days to Windows Update where it will be listed as an important update.
The update improves the anti-piracy detection of the Windows 7 operating system, and it could turn many illegally activated Windows 7 systems into a system that is not activated with all the consequences when the activation period expires.
The update detects more than 70 different activation exploits and acts accordingly if hacks have been used to activate Windows 7.
The Update is designed to run on all editions of Windows 7, although we will distribute first to the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions. It will be available online at www.microsoft.com/genuine beginning February 16 and on the Microsoft Download Center beginning February 17. Later this month, the update will also be offered through Windows Update as an ‘Important’ update.
The update at this point is voluntary meaning that users can but must not install it. Data that is transferred to Microsoft servers during the checks will not include any identifiable information according to a blog post at the Windows Team blog.
How does it work? Once installed, the Update protects customers by identifying known activation exploits that may affect their PC experience. If any activation exploits are found, Windows will alert the customer and offer options for resolving the issue – in many cases, with just a few clicks. Machines running genuine Windows 7 software with no activation exploits will see nothing – the update runs quietly in the background protecting your system. If Windows 7 is non-genuine, the notifications built into Windows 7 will inform the customer that Windows is not genuine by displaying informational dialog boxes with options for the customer to either get more information, or acquire genuine Windows. The desktop wallpaper will be switched to a plain desktop (all of the customer’s desktop icons, gadgets, or pinned applications stay in place). Periodic reminders and a persistent desktop watermark act as further alerts to the customer.
It is important to know that the customer will see no reduced functionality in their copy of Windows – a customer’s applications work as expected, and access to personal information is unchanged. The Update will run periodic validations (initially every 90 days). During validation, Windows will download the latest ‘signatures’ that are used to identify new activation exploits – much like an anti-virus service. When tampering, disabling, or missing licensing files are discovered, the WAT Update runs a check and repair weekly to ensure that the licensing files are properly repaired.
According to the blog post the activation update is being released to protect customers from the risks of activation exploits. Microsoft cites a recent story done by German company Media Surveillance that 32% of over 500 hundred downloaded copies of Windows 7 and Windows 7 activation exploits contained malware.
It will be interesting to see if and when Microsoft decides to make the update mandatory.
We have covered the news about the Windows Activation Technologies for Windows 7 update earlier this month with the expectation that Microsoft would provide downloads for the update later in that month. The first step has apparently been made as a Knowledgebase article now links to the update that can be downloaded for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 computer systems.
The update basically improves the capabilities of the Windows 7 operating system to spot activation hacks that have been used to activate the operating system without a purchased product key.
Windows Activation Technologies helps you confirm that the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer is genuine. Additionally, Windows Activation Technologies helps protect against the risks of counterfeit software.
The update is currently only offered on the Microsoft website but will be added to Windows Update at a later time. It will however be an optional update in Windows Update as well for the time being which means that it only serves the following purposes:
Users who have illegally activated Windows 7 will obviously not install and run the Windows Activation Technologies for Windows 7 update as they might risk getting it flagged as non genuine.
It will be interesting to see if and when Microsoft decides to make the update mandatory for all Windows 7 operating systems.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.