The pirated Vista comes with a product key that users can enter to activate a version of the products on their computers without paying for them, a report on the Web site of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said. A product key is a unique serial number tied to each package of a software product.
A second download, called an “activation crack,” can then be applied that bypasses the activation process intended to guarantee that the Vista OS being downloaded is legitimate, the Herald reported. Pirated copies of Office 2007 can be downloaded just with the product key with no second activation code required.
But Microsoft said in a prepared statement that those pirated copies of the OS won’t work for long.
“The copies available for download are not final code and users should avoid unauthorized copies which could be incomplete or tampered. This unauthorized download relies on the use of pre-RTM [release-to-manufacture] activation keys that will be blocked using Microsoft’s Software Protection Platform. Consequently, these downloads will be of limited value,” the statement said.