Windows expert Brian Livingston found a way to run Windows Vista without activating the product, for at least a year. Microsoft calls it a hack, but the researcher claims it's a documented feature.
"The [activation] demands that Vista puts on corporate buyers is much more than on XP," said Livingston. "Vista developers have [apparently] programmed in back doors to get around time restrictions for Vista activation."
Microsoft promptly labeled the registry change a "hack," a loaded word that is usually synonymous with "illegal."
"Recently it has been reported that an activation hack for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system has been identified," said David Lazar, the director of the company's Genuine Windows program, in an e-mail. "Although these reports are purely speculative at the moment, we are actively monitoring attempts to steal Microsoft intellectual property."
"This is not a hack," Livingston shot back when Lazar's e-mail was read to him. "This is a documented feature of the operating system." To back up his view, Livingston pointed out links to online support documents where Microsoft spells out the pertinent registry key. Nor is it speculative; Livingston demonstrated the procedure live via a Web conference session today and claimed "we have run this dozens of times."