Pirate group Pantheon released the first crack for Windows Vista that properly activates the operating system. After applying this crack pirated copies of Vista will be turned into activated "legitimate" copies that will pass all current Windows Genuine Advantage checks.
Unlike cracks which have been floating around since Vista RTM was released in late November, this crack doesn’t simply get around product activation with beta activation files or timestop cracks - it actually makes use of the activation process. It seems that Microsoft has allowed large OEMs like ASUS to ship their products with a pre-installed version of Vista that doesn’t require product activation – apparently because end users would find it too inconvenient.
This version of Vista uses System-Locked Pre-Installation 2.0 (SLP 2.0). It allows the “Royalty OEMs” to embed specific licensing information into the operating system which Vista can activate without having to go back to Microsoft for verification. The licensing components include the OEM’s hardware-embedded BIOS ACPI_SLIC (which has been signed by Microsoft), an XML certificate file which corresponds to this ACPI_SLIC and a specific OEM product key.
Pantheon released a bundle which includes the certificate files from ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo along with OEM product keys for Vista Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate, and an emulator which allows the BIOS ACPI_SLIC driver for any manufacturer to be installed without requiring the system to be physically running that hardware. For example, you can install the ASUS certificate information on any machine, not just an ASUS.