With the latest Windows 8 build (8064) that has been delivered to Intel, it’s clear that the company is taking strides to make sure that its upcoming OS isn’t quit so easy to pirate. For starters, the generic volume license keys that were so easily exploited during the early days of Windows 7 leaks will no longer be an option for pirates. Product keys also won’t be shipped in the prodkey.txt file included in the build packages. Instead, installers will need to retrieve a unique key from a Microsoft web page.
There’s also a good possibility that the recently-surfaced fast booting patent could come into play as well. If Microsoft does indeed have designs on using a remote server to push OS code to systems at boot time (even if it’s cached locally for extended periods), that code would be a very clever place to embed activation-related programming. Even if a crack was discovered, it would be neatly undone during a subsequent start-up sequence — similar to the way Microsoft’s now-idle Windows Steady State could turn back the clock an entire Windows installation after rebooting.