Tag Archives: Windows Loader

Windows 8 RTM Leaking Madness

win8rtm-01In less than a day after the Microsoft gave the Windows 8 final RTM version to OEMs, the Big Leakage started. First we got non-bootable images of Enterprise “N” editions with key embedded (N — means no Media Player), and now we got the real thing — good old Russian friend of all computer geeks WZOR released first Windows 8 Enterprise RTM x86/x64 and then Windows 8 Professional RTM x86/x64 which he claimed to be original MS images. To give you some facts let me list the IDs of those builds at the end of this article.

You may see quite a lot of people installed these releases already and have been testing heavily. Look at these forums:

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/forums/42-Windows-8

http://winunleaked.info

If you hesitate which version to install, I suggest you install Professional. It can be activated through all channels by applying the right key, while Enterprise is VL only, as it is primarily made for corporate use.

As for pirates, there is no workaround yet to activate the leaked copies, although Microsoft activation servers are online and Windows 8 can be activated with legit keys such as MAK. In the trial mode Windows 8 goes into specific License Status — Notification State (i.e. there is no 30-day “grace” period), which is quite annoying:

  • you cannot personalize Metro
  • you cannot change Start Page or User Picture
  • you have Watermarks of build number and non-activated stamp

Besides, there is a difference between SKU keys: Retail gets the metro message screen to activate, and Volume License gets the desktop watermark. The latter seems less annoying.

win8rtm-wallpaper

The great DAZ (hero of Windows 7 Loader) already admitted he would not create a similar program for Windows 8 RTM. It is more likely to see updated KMS Server Activator for Windows 8 from ZWT or other genius enthusiast. [If you don’t know what KMS stands for, read this article on TechNet]

Why DAZ believes it is difficult to simulate OEM activation now? Because it is so different now. One source revealed new changes in Windows 8 activation taken from internal Microsoft presentation. In short, in version OA 3.0 of OEM Activation will ensure that each PC with pre-installed Windows 8 will have unique product key in the BIOS and will be activated (physically) at the factory. If you know how old activation OA 2.1 worked, you’d understand it is completely different story now. In the past one OEM (e.g. ASUS or HP) used to have the same product key for every PC they shipped.

But as one guy said in a forum: “I don’t see the point; Microsoft has already taken care of discouraging piracy in Windows 8 — Who really wants to pirate a crippled OS that’s missing the start menu? Well, at least this feature will be something exciting for those up for a challenge in breaking the product activation.” That’s exactly my point — who wants to run Windows 8 and get in trouble even more? Do not pirate, stick with Windows 7, because that is what most big corporations will do — they will ignore Windows 8 for corporate use.

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Windows 7 — The best, expensive, and free

As I wrote many times, Windows 7 (and Windows Vista before) is incredibly popular software, which is the fact. But I think Microsoft deliberately makes it available for crackers in a very hidden way. By doing this, Microsoft can kill two birds with one shot: people who buy software and the ones who don’t — both run the latest superior operating system — Windows 7. My point — one population will never merge with another one completely, so if you really restrict the illegal use, you will loose the other half. You’re only interested when everybody is using your software, because then there will be no real alternative. Linux? It is a free headache in short. Apple? That is a good example of those who want to exclude the dark side. Pirated Leopard is a very rare animal. Result? Look at their market share. Microsoft makes it in a very wise way: they say they fight piracy and they do, but in reality they leave back door open. So, you could ask: Well, how about that activation stuff and genuine software program? That really works, however the workaround is very simple.

Loader

The idea has become possible due to specific OEM activation mechanism (SLP): If the OS can match three things together (OEM information in SLIC table from BIOS + digital certificate (file) + product number), then the activation happens automatically and instantly. The first part is the most tricky one, because it is hardware driven, i.e. depends on PC manufacturer, all the rest can be simply copied, given the System Locked Preinstallation keys are common for one OEM (ASUS could use one product key for many-many computers, for instance). So what hackers did, they introduced a program loader that puts appropriate OEM info into memory before Windows boots.

Here is a very good explanation of the method, ironically called The Official Windows 7 Repository. Let me quote: “Activators, also known as loaders, add a script on the boot partition (Linux Grub boot loader (GRLDR)) which will put OEM information (SLIC 2.1) into memory before Windows starts. This way Windows thinks that the SLIC 2.1 come from the BIOS (which is false). Activators also install a certificate and an OEM SLP key to activate Windows”.

Windows Loader by Daz is the most popular activator which is kept steadily updated (last version is 1.9.2)

Windows Loader by Daz

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Inside Vista Loader

Comparison of Vista Loader 3.0.0.1 and 2.1.3  / Post from 2007

I have the latest Vista Loader 2.1.3 (AKA Windows Vista Activator 2008) in my lab. It is supposed to be invulnerable to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and KB940510. Besides, it makes no boot string flash. I suspect it is exactly the same core element as the VistaLoader v3.0.0.1 by Dasumo. Let’s hack the hack and see what is inside this program, and what makes it invisible. Continue reading

Overview of Windows Vista Workarounds

/First published in 2007/

With that level of magnitude of popularity which is given for most Microsoft products, it is inevitable for Windows Vista to be cracked. There are two main reasons for that: first — there will be always people who do not want or cannot afford to pay the price, second — there are always people who are doing reverse engineering for fun. These two things are connected. You can call it piracy, but in a way it is no more than a “technical dance.” And as any dance it does not have any particular purpose or goal to achieve. I mean one crack is never enough. You can blame users for using these workarounds, but in my opinion, ultimately it is only a fuel to keep the enormous flame of Windows popularity. Continue reading