Skip navigation

Confessions of a Windows 7 Pirate

Ed Bott cites the Pete Townsend defense in this journalistic walk on the Dark Side of the Net.

I've been digging into message boards and forums run by unabashed Windows enthusiasts who are intent on breaking Microsoft’s activation technology. I've had these forums bookmarked for years and stop in every once in a while just to see what’s new. This time I decided to drop by and actually try some of tools and utilities to see if I could become a pirate, too.

Unfortunately, I succeeded.

In this post, I’ll share my experiences, including close encounters with some very nasty malware and some analysis on how the latest showdown between Microsoft and the pirates is likely to play out.

It's unclear what the point of all this is, beyond of course proving that Microsoft's attempts at anti-piracy are simply the technological version of a hamster wheel. But we kind of knew that, didn't we? I am intrigued by how ineffectual the recent Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7 is already so ineffectual. But this seems like the opposite of the Jerry Pournelle mantra, "I make these mistakes so you don't have to." Why bother documenting how to break the law?

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.