vista activation update
(Click to Enlarge)

We knew that Microsoft was getting ready to crack down on Vista piracy even more so than it did in Vista SP1, and that day is upon us. All Vista users will see a new update that is classified as important, and once you proceed with the update it will check to see if your system has been activated using a known exploit.

We once again wanted to see how well this works, and so we set up yet another virtual machine running a pirated copy of Vista. This time around we used the OEM BIOS crack that we knew isn’t detected by Vista SP1, and after about an hour-long preparation period we were finally able to install the update pictured above. Immediately after the update was installed we were presented with this dialog:

vista activation exploit
(Click to Enlarge)

Yep, it looks like Microsoft adjusted the detection technology to pick up the other activation exploits. However, this is just a notification and didn’t deactivate the system that we were running it on. You are given an option to go online and learn how you can remove any installed exploits, but I’m fairly confident that a lot of the pirates out there won’t be doing that. ;)

The good news is that users running a legal copy of Vista won’t ever see a prompt like this. You’ll still be pushed to install the update, but on all of my legal machines the update didn’t trigger any prompts like the one you see above.