Microsoft: Pirates Not Locked Out of Windows

Despite reports to the contrary, Microsoft has confirmed to BetaNews that it has made no changes to its Windows Genuine Advantage program to lock out users with invalid or pirated keys.

"We need to be very clear, Microsoft has no plans to lock users out of their PCs, nor does it have the technical capacity to do so," David Lazar, Director of Genuine Windows at Microsoft, told BetaNews.

As reported by BetaNews, Microsoft expanded Windows Genuine Advantage in October to include more countries and exclusive access to software. The opt-in program for Windows XP requires users to validate their Windows license in exchange for special perks at the Microsoft Download Center.


Users running non-genuine copies of Windows are given information on how to obtain a legitimate copy before being allowed to download their requested file. In the program's current implementation, those users still have access to all download content, except for the free offerings available only to those who validate as genuine.

"Microsoft is not preventing any upgrades - we simply inform users of the Download Center who opt-in to the pilot about whether or not they may be running non-genuine Windows," explained Lazar.

Web site the Inquirer caused a stir on Windows enthusiast sites when it reported that users in Western Europe were being asked to validate their operating system when downloading software from Microsoft, and users with pirate keys would lose functionality of Windows. Microsoft quickly blasted the report as completely inaccurate.

"We believe the Inquirer misunderstands the program," said Lazar. "WGA is designed to help people who have been cheated by unscrupulous vendors to become genuine users."

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