Joe Williams, general manager, Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft, outlined what the company has planned for anti-piracy features in Windows 7.
The user’s experience of product activation and validation in Windows 7 are built off of the Microsoft Software Protection Platform that they introduced with Windows Vista.
Microsoft had two primary goals: first, to enable Windows to protect itself by detecting when attempts have been made to circumvent or tamper with the built-in product activation technology; and second, to improve the experience of activating by focusing on enabling the user to activate the product easily and, when necessary, to understand and resolve any issues they might face.
As a result, Windows Vista is harder to pirate and Windows 7 includes the latest generation of this technology.
With Windows Vista Service Pack 1, if a PC was not activated during the login process, customers would periodically see a dialog box as a visual reminder they still needed to activate their copy of Windows. Within this prompt, they could choose to activate immediately or later. But the option to push the “activate later” button was grayed out for 15 seconds.
Users told Microsoft that while the prompt grabbed their attention, they didn’t understand why they needed to activate immediately and that the delay was annoying. In Windows 7 the process has been modified: When users choose to activate later they will see a dialog box highlighting how activation helps them identify if their copy of Windows is genuine and be allowed to proceed immediately without a 15-second delay.
The guiding principle is to enable the user to know when the software they are using is genuine and licensed and help them to do something about it if it’s not. However the technology used in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is fundamentally different from that used with Windows XP. It consists of new code and the latest methods for protecting Windows in ways that can only really be achieved with the components that are built in to both Windows Vista and now Windows 7. For that reason the anti-piracy features in Windows 7 — and future versions of updates of the technology for Windows Vista — will be referred to more accurately as Windows Activation Technologies.