Research firms estimate roughly a third of all software is pirated and today Microsoft activated its Windows Genuine Advantage to to move people away from illegal Windows copies. From now on everyone who wants to download Windows XP will be required to check that their operating system is genuine.
Although the company will still allow pirated copies to download security updates, in order to prevent viruses from spreading lightning-fast across the Internet.
Microsoft holds 90 percent of the world's operating system market and claims it is losing billions of dollars a year due software pirates.
Customers who discover that they aren't using a genuine product will have two options. They will be able to get a genuine copy of Windows for free if they fill out a counterfeit report identifying the source of the software, providing proof of purchase and returning the counterfeit CD.
The other option is to buy a copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 or a copy of Widnows XP Professional Edition for $149. Normally these versions cost respectively $199 and $299. More details at BBC