Microsoft now requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation on
Windows Update. However, security updates are not part of WGA, and they can be downloaded with a pirated Windows system through XP Automatic Updates, or from the Download Center. WGA is a mixed blessing, and there’s been on a lot of heated discussion on it lately. Unfortunately, much of the information online is speculation or just plain incorrect, and press releases, though correct, provide very little actual information.
I wanted to do something different. So I decided to go straight to the source and installed the original devils0wn release of Windows XP Professional Corporate. Their infamous key is:
and the Volume License Key (VLK) release spread like wildfire because VLK editions do not require product activation. And all was well in the world,
right up until Service Pack 1, which disabled systems using the two most commonly pirated keys. These keys in turn generate the product IDs found in Microsoft KB326904.
Note: I’ve lost the original
NFO file packaged with the release. If anyone can provide it, I’d greatly appreciate it.
But their efforts did not last for long. SP1 banned a very limited set of keys, and soon after, key generators were made available. A commonly used working key is:
and continues to work with Service Pack 2. Systems that were disabled in SP1 used tools like the Magic Jelly Bean Keyfinder to convert their system to the new key, or simply followed the Microsoft KB328874 instructions.
The other is to go under Manage Add-Ons in Internet Explorer, and set Windows Genuine Advantage ActiveX control to disabled. Unfortunately, these all seem like short-sighted solutions.
As of now, I haven’t found a key that validates through WGA. Some people on forums claim that the MSKey4in1.rar key generator works, but none of the keys that I’ve generated with it have been accepted by WGA. I think that’s a good thing. Businesses should not be in the business of pirating software. But I worry that if Microsoft cracks down of this too much, the next generation of techno-wizards with their bedroom networks will know Linux inside and out, and won’t have a clue about Microsoft products. Then again, maybe that’s a good thing too.
Update: After discussing the article with Microsoft lawyers, we agreed that removing the letters
2XT62 from the product keys above would "not be infringing" (Peter Anaman, Microsoft Legal). Also, Jama Mastaha has written about the Microsoft Windows Launch event, which I’m simply thrilled about.