Microsoft’s Windows 7 Anti-Piracy Update

Microsoft just released a new Windows update for people currently using Windows 7. What does the update do that will no doubt garnish so much attention the next couple of weeks? Well, it must have something to do with anti-piracy technology, don’t you think?! When Microsoft first introduced the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy system, let’s just say that not a lot of people were happy about it. Depending on who you were, WGA either was just another minor Windows update being installed on your computer or something you had to defeat and circumvent. I’m sure you guys know what I’m talking about. One of the main reason for deploying WGA was to minimize (I didn’t say stop) piracy of the Windows operating system. With the update to Windows Activation Technologies to Windows 7, Microsoft once again will try and help you determine if the copy of your operating system is legit or not.

Windows Update KB971033

For users who are using a pirated copy of Windows 7 (whether knowingly or not), you might find a little surprise waiting for you if you went ahead and installed the KB971033 update. From Microsoft’s support website:

Windows Activation Technologies helps you confirm that the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer is genuine. Additionally, Windows Activation Technologies helps protect against the risks of counterfeit software. Windows Activation Technologies in Windows 7 consists of activation and validation components that contain anti-piracy features.

* Activation is an anti-piracy technology that verifies the product key for the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer. The product key is a 25-character code that is located on the Certificate of Authenticity label or on the proof of license label. These labels are included with each genuine copy of Windows. A genuine product key can only be used on the number of computers that are specified in a software license.

* Validation is an online process that enables you to verify that the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer is activated correctly and is genuine.

Furthermore, here is a little description of what will happen if the update finds that you are indeed running a pirated copy of Windows 7. This excerpt is taken from the Windows Genuine Windows Blog:

Once installed, the Update protects customers by identifying known activation exploits that may affect their PC experience. If any activation exploits are found, Windows will alert the customer and offer options for resolving the issue – in many cases, with just a few clicks. Machines running genuine Windows 7 software with no activation exploits will see nothing – the update runs quietly in the background protecting your system. If Windows 7 is non-genuine, the notifications built into Windows 7 will inform the customer that Windows is not genuine by displaying informational dialog boxes with options for the customer to either get more information, or acquire genuine Windows. The desktop wallpaper will be switched to a plain desktop (all of the customer’s desktop icons, gadgets, or pinned applications stay in place). Periodic reminders and a persistent desktop watermark act as further alerts to the customer.

The good news for some people is that this update is completely optional. That’s right. You can choose to hide the update if you so desire. Head into Windows Update and find the appropriate update. Right click on it and choose Hide Update from the menu. Just like that, you will never see it again. Basically, if you have a store-bought computer like Dell, Sony, HP or from one of the other big PC manufacturers, you have nothing to worry about. If on the other hand your computer has been in the hands of technicians or other computer repair shops, you might want to run this update.

Hide Update

Just read elsewhere that if you are actually using Microsoft’s free antivirus software called Security Essentials, it will actually install this update and ruin your pirated copy of Windows 7.

Before you start complaining about how Microsoft is trying to ruin your life or trying to spy on you and whatnot, take a deep breath and try to see this from another angle. A lot of users will automatically see any type of anti-piracy technology as something that is unnecessary. If everyone buys a computer from the store which is usually pre-loaded with a Windows operating system, why on earth would they have to ‘check’ on me one more time to be sure? Well sadly to say, that only happens in a perfect world and our world as of right now is far from perfect. Piracy is a huge issue and because of it, Microsoft as a company is losing a lot of money. You may think why would they care since they have so much money anyways? Well, that is beside the point. The main point is that a lot of computers are using a pirated version of some type of the Windows operating system and that is illegal, PERIOD. Now the next question you might have is how does this effect me? Well, in the last article, I wrote about PC technicians and the reformat technique. I basically talked about how a lot of PC technician now days perform a reformat of your entire computer no matter how small or big the problem is. While there is technically nothing wrong with doing so, you have to realize that not all technicians and computer repair people you meet are honest individuals. Long story short, they sometimes help you install a pirate copy of Windows onto your computer and proceed to charge you whatever fee it is they charge. When you realize the problem (usually when you are home), it’s too late. This brings into focus the other ‘angle’ I mentioned earlier.

By deploying some anti-piracy technology, users will be able to check whether their copy of Windows is indeed legitimate. I don’t know about you folks but if I had a reformat done on my computer by some random technician (or even brand name companies for that matter), I would want to know if they did everything ‘by-the-books’. But like I’ve said earlier, we don’t live in a perfect world and so neither is Microsoft perfect. WGA had some issues back then with false positives which drove some users insane. Basically, legitimate copies of Windows were being flagged as illegitimate/pirated. That never happened to me before but if it did, I’ll be furious as well no doubt. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned from their past mistakes and have improved this new anti-piracy technology for Windows 7. Judging by the excellent job they did with Windows 7 itself, I have a lot of faith in them to get it right this time.

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  1. Emily Dicson says:

    I have used almost all kinds of OS, Beside of Microsoft Provides many kinds of Operating systems , But Windows 7 is perfect OS for hd gaming with its all versions like; Starter, Home premium, Professional and Ultimate, Which has been used both for home as well as business purpose.I want to suggest for you to use only a full version of any OS to avoid lost of backup files and precious time. Last time, I also need a license for Windows 8.1 pro, Which installed at my cousin’s PC, So I searched at Google to find a free license, but all in vain.
    Then one of my friend recommend me to buy it from: ODosta Store
    I bought it, Now I think, I have Genuine, Which is working well, But Can you tell me, How can i confirm this is genuine or pirated version?

  2. Marcelo

    First of all, are you suppose to have a legitimate copy of Windows 7 installed on the machine? I know it might sound like a dumb question as you wouldn't have seen the black screen if it was legitimate but I'm asking only because if you have given your machine over to a PC repair shop or even to a friend for reformat, they could have installed a counterfeit version of Windows 7 for you. This is exactly what update KB971033 was designed for: checking to see if you have a pirated version of Windows 7 and inform you of it if you do.

    Anyways, to answer your original question, yes you can try to uninstall the KB971033 update. However, users have reported that if you have already been warned about using a counterfeit version of Windows 7 (which happens to be you), uninstalling the update will not do you much good. I guess it doesn't hurt for you to try. If this doesn't work, you'll either have to reinstall your operating system with a legitimate license key, bypass the WGA check itself, or just continue using the counterfeit version. The choice is up to you.

    1. Go to “Programs and Features” either through Control Panel or by typing it in Start Menu.
    2. Click “View installed updates”
    3. Look for update KB971033, right click and click Uninstall. Restart your computer.

    I don't condone piracy so I'm not going to tell you the exact steps to bypass the WGA check. I'll just let you know that it is possible. You'll have to take it from there and continue on your own. Just to let you know, if your machine was store bought with Windows 7 already pre-installed, then you already have a legitimate license for Windows 7, which is good only on that machine of course. You'll have to back up your existing data and perform a factory reformat. That I can help you with.

    If you are positive that you have a legitimate copy of Windows 7 and the update is telling you otherwise, you'll need to contact your PC manufacturer if it's an OEM license or Microsoft themselves if it is a retail license.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions and I'll try to answer them the best I can.

  3. What should I do if my Window 7 had already shown me the black screen saver and saying my copy of windows 7 copilation 7600 is not genuine? If this WGA is already running and I want to deactivate it. How should I do?

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