Windows 7 Update – Microsoft Will Seek and Destroy Pirated Copies

Today on the Genuine Windows Blog, it was announced that Windows 7 will get an update to it’s “Windows Activation Technologies” (WAT). So what is WAT? This feature set was developed to detect if a copy of Windows 7 is “genuine“, ¬†properly activated and has a valid license. In plain English, they want to find out if you have a pirated or cracked copy of Windows 7.

Windows 7 TipsThe new WAT update will detect over 70 “known and potentially dangerous activation exploits“. It may be true that many PCs that have been activated using a crack or hack are infected or at risk of infection. However, Microsoft is plainly stating that this update is mainly for the protection of the users. I have a feeling that there are lots of users who don’t want this protection.

According to the post, this Windows 7 update is “voluntary” and it doesn’t have to be installed. I have to take this statement as the truth, however, I’ve seen plenty of times when I had no choice but to accept updates. Have you ever shut down your PC and then discovered that it’s gone into an automatic update before it shuts down? Who has a choice when this happens?

I’m keeping my hopes up, but I would guess that we are going to see lots of problems stemming from this new update. In the past, any time a change has been made to Windows activations, even legitimate copies of Windows suddenly stop working, or start displaying warnings.

Be sure to post a comment below if you see the new update or experience a problem because of it.

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Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

  • I don't see any problems, provided you're not running a pirated copy of Windows 7. They want to protect their investment, after all….

    • So far, every time MS has attempted to reduce the number of pirated copies of Windows, their updates have caused hundreds or thousands of legitimate copies to stop working or to display warning messages. That's the problem.

      • Xiox

        Good luck with that microsoft.. you'll be seeing an effect Sony recently had to give up on. Like Clif mentionted, this will only hurt the legit users, pirates pirate for a reason.. because you can get around anything just give it some time, a cracker will come along and crack it again, besides they saw this coming the updates were already documented, if you have a pirated copy of win7 then you most likely know where to go for the truthful information.

        • Good point Xiox – "this will only hurt the legit users"

  • MeandMyShadow

    that's why I have auto updates shutoff

  • The Dude

    Yea, I just picked that update up last night and now my copy of Windows7 is not 'genuine'

    • Wow, Dude. That's too bad. I am curious though. What is it doing, just displaying a warning?

  • TD52

    Well I can tell you it does hit legit OS's and shut them down … had to go to Dell to get mine running again

  • LoriTech

    I see a HUGE problem. I have several computers and bought a 3 pack of windows 7 upgrades. I installed them on 3 of my PCs and as it said in my research it was best to wipe my drive then install I did this. I backed up my data and then installed my upgrade and put my data and programs back on. Now I am getting messages that I have pirated versions of windows 7!! WTF Microsoft?

    • Hi LT – I think we need to grab some torches and pitch-forks then storm the Redmond castle, shouting Kill Bill! – oh – that's right – Bill is retired now.

      I hate it when I'm right about bad things. I predicted that this would happen to innocent people as well as those who really do have pirate copies.

    • Ivan Ivanov

      microsoft is cool

  • The chinese Developers dont understand American English ,So….

  • pat

    why don’y they spend more time getting rid of viruses that destroy windows? This is true terrorism that cost american businesses and end users Billions…

    • Hi Pat. You ask why they don’t worry so much about viruses? The answer is that those are just as much a source of income for them as they are for the people who write viruses and malware. MS makes money from the anti-malware crowd through licensing. They don’t see any upside to making sure Windows is bullet-proof. My guess is that they plan exactly how much time and effort they put into making Windows secure from attack.

  • Chris

    I bought a full copy in an unopened box of windows 7 ultimate off ebay. When I installed it the product key was accepted and it stated genuine a month went by and it updated then the copy stated not genuine microsoft and the product jey had been blocked by microsoft. After two weeks of dealing with microsoft telling me to do reinstalls and try this and try that I finally got one that said its a pirated copy of a multi business license, they took the ebay ad and my paypal receipt in the piracy department and they offered me a generous 30 dollar discount to by a legal product key for 199.00. I told them with what I had just paid for a fake that looked real theres no way im paying 199.00 more. The time limit to return had surpased on ebay so im out of luck in a refund, trying now to go directly to the company that sold it. Microsoft reps were very accusatory to me for even buying it on ebay, i did a buy it now option with a high feedback seller, then they had the audacity to tell me I cannot use a system builder vista I have since im not a system builder, i flat out said I bought a new system the pack was sold with it thats legal, oh no they cant do that. My opinion is this even microsoft doesnt know whats legal or what they sell, For now im sticking with xp, my next computer will be an apple after that. Beware ya all, these things look real and microsoft expects you to goto their website blowup a pic of they version and compare what you got with a magnoifying glass.

    • Thanks for telling us about your license problems Chris. I’m sure there are many more horror stories about Windows failing the WGA tests. Many people, including myself, have bought copies of Windows at eBay. I would hope that they are all legitimate copies. How can the average person tell? In my opinion, MS should go after the people selling fake copies instead of penalizing the users.

    • Steve

      Why not just put Ubuntu 10.10 on it. Just as good as an apple but free, buth in cost as in what software you want to use.

  • Anyone know the namen for the update?

  • Gwyn

    I have a genuine 7U which was a web download and activated by MS, when the ‘security’ update arrived in my computer it went into terminal decline as systems systematically shut down or malfunctioned until the third day when it announced it was not genuine and refused to do anything except connect me to MS cough-up page to buy a key.
    I wouldn’t do that so the only option was to do a repair install and re-activate which worked.
    But after a week of grief automatic downloads are a thing of the past and will not be installed until I hear they are safe.
    Nice one MS! Keep biting the hand that feeds you and you’ll soon have another pirate to deal with.

  • Colin

    I am the same i got my copy of ebay not i can’t even reload my shop copy on to the heard drive it gets ti=o the point of updates and the wants to restart and then will not come back on again i am trying to reformat my heard drive to see if that will work ???

    • Hi Colin – thanks for the comment. I wish you luck, but you may have to resign yourself to the fact that you’ve purchased a bad copy of Win7. Have you tried contacting the person you bought it from?

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  • For those who are upset that their legal or ebay copies don’t work, don’t sweat it. Reinstalling is not necessary if you know where to find the proper bypass to WAT. (If you’ve installed KB1085566 <– what ever it is) Then it will say your copy is not genuine and all that good stuff. You'll have to dig deeper than a Bing search to find what you need but you can start here:

    Remove WAT for windows 7

    The above site requires you have a 3rd party program called utorrent to use the torrent link but I swear to god it will save you a lot of time and especially $$$ to just use a method like this. Sure its not "MS Approved" but hey if you've already shelled out the cash then I'm sure you won't feel bad for getting your software you own back. If MS has got you over the barrel and the remove WAT (Windows Activation Technology) then you can also try this one:

    The Windows 7 Patch

    This one effectively destroys Windows Genuine Notifications and restores it to an OEM key.

    Hope this helps and that the moderator of this site allows for this post.

  • ron

    my motherboard had to be replaced and I have a purchased copy of Win7 Home not pirated. Now I am plagued with the notifications etc. This is BS. Can this be solved?

  • Daniel

    I have had an OEM version of Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit bought from for over a year now and keep it updated, and have never had a problem, it works great. People complain about MS and control, prices etc.., but if they wouldn’t try to cheat the system in the first place maybe we wouldn’t have these problems. I repair computers, and if someone has a non-legit copy of Windows I won’t go near it. MS does what any company would do if they knew they were being ripped off, just wish it wasn’t such a hassle for the legit users.