It appears that Microsoft has pulled the plug on the pirates again with its Windows Genuine Advantage scheme that was launched a few months ago.
Until now, owners of pirated Microsoft Windows operating systems have been able to bypass the WGA validation as it was not a requirement in order to download the software.
From today, owners of pirate versions of Microsoft Windows will no longer be able to download upgrades to their operating system. When attempting to download an upgrade from Microsoft's download centre, you are forced to install an Active X control application that checks your operating system is a genuine one.
If you are found to be using a pirate version of the OS, you are told to talk to your supplier before you can download anymore Microsoft updates to your system. There are two paths for you to take from here: you can get a free version of Windows if you fill out a counterfeit report detailing the source of the software providing you have a proof of purchase and the counterfeit CD.
The other option, if you're unable to provide all of the required information, will enable you to receive a copy of Windows XP Home Edition or Professional Edition at reduced prices of £56 and £86 respectively.
Pirates will still be able to download security updates, as Microsoft wants to do all it can to prevent the spread of viruses across the web using terminals running pirate software.
Good or bad? How long will it take the pirates to crack this one? Let us know