Vista has a surprise for pirates

Tech Culture

It's no secret that Microsoft loses millions of dollars to software pirates every year. So, with Vista, the company has a new idea to help stem its losses: Show the good stuff only to paying customers.

Vista will run a check to make sure the software was properly purchased before it will display new, flashier graphics. Known as Aero, the new display software features translucent windows, animated flips between open programs and "live icons" that show a graphical representation of files.

Microsoft has used a similar strategy in the past to protect certain downloadable features of Windows XP. But this is the first time that the company has applied the technique to limit the operation of core operating system components.

Microsoft hopes that the plain-Jane version of Vista isn't as appealing and will ultimately discourage pirates. Will it work? Some bloggers are skeptical.

Blog community response:

"I think that's a good thing. Wouldn't you consider it unfair paying for the software while others just download off torrent sites without any cost to them?"
--Andre: Teching it easy

I canÂ’t fault Microsoft wanting to slow the pirates down. I donÂ’t think this will do much more than slow them down, but I think it is a quite interesting way to encourage people to purchase Vista legally. It will be interesting to see just how this security feature of Vista works. If it is completely local it will get cracked in a few days.

"It's not necessarily about hoping that the pirates are able to crack it. It's also about living in reality. And the reality is that it'll be cracked. No amount of effort on MS's part will keep it from happening. At some point you get to a diminishing returns situation as the developer. When you've expended more time and money trying to keep it from being cracked than is worth and that could have been spent on other things, you need to question your approach."

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