Microsoft warns about activation crack, but 'pleased' people want to install Windows 7

As to be expected, Microsoft responded to news today that Windows 7 activation had already been cracked by telling Betanews that customers should not pirate the operating system. But the company also said it was happy to hear that people wanted to install Windows 7.

Following the publication of an activation crack for Windows 7 mere days after it was released to manufacturing, we contacted Microsoft to hear its take on the issue, which appears to be a repeat of the Windows Vista crack from 2006. Windows XP activation was also cracked not long after its launch.

"Microsoft strongly advises customers not to download Windows 7 from unauthorized sources. Downloading Windows 7 from peer-to-peer Web sites is piracy, and exposes users to increased risks -- such as viruses, Trojans and other malware and malicious code -- that usually accompany counterfeit software. These risks can seriously harm or permanently destroy data and often expose users to identity theft and other criminal schemes," the company told us.

Nonetheless, Microsoft actually seemed flattered by the crack, a surprising admission that probably has more to do with making Windows desirable again than piracy.

"We're pleased that customers are eager to begin using Windows 7!" a Microsoft spokesperson added.

Decades ago, the anecdotes go, Microsoft actually liked people pirating Windows, because it helped spread the operating system and eventually establish its dominance across the PC market. It may be "strongly advising" people not to pirate Windows 7, but it's clear the company desperately wants customers to want the upgrade.

Is this a sign of lowered expectations after Vista's painful launch, which was delayed by more than nine months and then saw only a lukewarm reception?

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