Bootleg Windows update

We posted yesterday about the new Microsoft policy of checking if your copy of Windows is legal before doing Windows updates. How does the update work, a tech friend asked, and indeed, I was wondering that too. There seemed no obvious way to install a new Windows key without an install CD and even then, there’s a risk it might re-install files it shouldn’t and screw up your existing Windows setup.

Well, Microsoft has made it simple and easy. One of my computers did indeed have bootleg Windows. I ordered the key online for $149 after Windows Update scanned my system and determined my Windows was counterfeit. They then email you a new key with a link to download the installation software.

To convert your counterfeit Windows XP software to a genuine copy of Windows XP using the new Product Key, you will need to download and run the Windows Product Key Update Tool on the same computer you used to purchase the electronic license for Windows XP.

It scans your system, does a bit of hidden voodoo I’m sure, then you cut and paste the new key in. Reboot, and your copy of Windows is now legal. It took about 3 minutes.

Microsoft appears to be steadily tightening up on allowing free Windows updates for bootleg copies of Windows and indeed said online this upgrade offer is for a limited time only. So you might want to get legal while it’s still easy to do so.