PressPass: Please describe the Software Protection Platform in more detail.
Hartje: One of the things the Software Protection Platform enables is enhancements to the genuine experience in Windows Vista, thereby differentiating it from the non-genuine experience. Customers that use genuine Windows Vista product should expect, and will get, an enhanced set of features that will not work on non-genuine or unlicensed versions of Windows Vista. Customers using genuine and licensed copies of Windows Vista will have access to Windows Aero and Windows ReadyBoost features, as well as full functionality of Windows Defender and extra optional updates from Windows Update. Computer systems that do not pass validation will not have access to these features, although they will still have access to critical security updates. Aero offers Microsoft’s best-designed, highest-performing desktop experience and is available in Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate. ReadyBoost lets users use a removable flash memory device to improve system performance without opening the computer to install additional memory. Both are key features that a user of non-genuine software will quickly realize are not running. Windows Defender helps protect a user’s PC against pop-ups, and security threats caused by spyware and other malware.
In addition, users of non-genuine Windows Vista software will be notified if their copy of Windows Vista is determined to be non-genuine with the appearance of a persistent statement in the lower right hand corner of their desktop space that reads, “This copy of Windows is not genuine.”
Another important change with Windows Vista has to do with the activation process. As with Windows XP, Windows Vista systems must activate with Microsoft with a genuine product key within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in the system operating in reduced functionality mode until a genuine product key is used to activate and a successful validation occurs.
PressPass: Does “reduced functionality” mean Microsoft will turn off people’s PCs running non-genuine Windows Vista software?
Hartje: No, Microsoft anti-piracy technologies cannot and will not turn off your computer. In alignment with our anti-piracy policies we have been continually improving the experience for our genuine customers, while restricting access to ongoing Windows capabilities for those who choose to use counterfeit software. Reduced functionality mode has been a part of the initial Windows XP product activation process for retail and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) installations since its launch, and, similarly, Windows Vista will have a reduced functionality mode but one that is enhanced. Reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista will allow the user to use the browser after the reduced functionality mode has begun. Reduced functionality mode can occur as a result of failed product activation or of that copy being identified as counterfeit or non-genuine. In most cases customers will be able to correct this situation quickly with the options provided. With the tools in place for OEMs, and small to large customers, we expect that most customers should never be affected by having a non-genuine installation.
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