Microsoft Corrects: No XP SP2 for Pirated Copies

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-05-11 Print this article Print

Contrary to some reports, Microsoft confirms that Windows XP SP2 will not install on systems running known pirated copies of Windows XP.

Despite reports indicating that Microsoft Corp. was planning to allow users with pirated copies of Windows XP to install Service Pack 2, the company has confirmed to that this will not be the case. "Recent press reports indicating Windows XP Service Pack 2 will install on pirated or illegal copies of Windows XP are not entirely true," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Instead, prior to installing, SP2 will check the OS product ID [PID] against a list of known pirated PIDs. If a PID is found to be invalid, SP2 will not install." This behavior is essentially similar to that of Windows XP SP1.

Analysts have termed Service Pack 2 a substantial upgrade focusing largely on security enhancements, including a beefed-up firewall with more stringent default settings and a recompilation of large amounts of the operating system with tools designed to defeat common attacks.

For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Some have suggested that it would be better for all if even pirated copies of Windows had the security enhancements in Windows XP SP2. Microsofts response is that "using genuine software is an important part of keeping systems secure and running smoothly because it means continued access to the latest security enhancements and product updates. Licensed Windows XP, coupled with the upcoming Service Pack 2, will represent Microsofts most secure desktop operating system."

Microsoft has stated it will deliver Release Candidate 2 of Service Pack 2 in May and the final version by midyear.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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