Windows Vista Product Activation Cracked by a Tool

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Vista Product Key activation page with a Danger sign On Thursday, a website posted a tool that can apparently crack Windows Vista’s activation process by applying brute force – and lots of time – to come up with valid product keys, circumventing one of Microsoft’s most important antipiracy methods.

KezNews.com, a Windows news Web site, put up information about it along with a tool for, cranking out legal Windows Vista activation keys. But even though the tool churns through 20,000 keys an hour, it could take billions – maybe trillions – of years to work through all the possible combinations.

Microsoft said it is looking into the attack. “We’re looking into this issue now,” said Alex Kochis, senior product manager of WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage), on the group’s blog.

A “brute force” key generator that randomly tries a variety of 25-digit codes until it finds one that works is now available, according to KezNews.

As per KezNews.com’s report by someone identified as Computer User, who developed the “KeyGen” tool, the process uses a modified version of the software license manager script file to search for valid keys. Crackers, however, must from time to time check to see if the key they entered earlier has changed, then attempt to activate using the changed key. Those parts of the procedure can only be done manually.

Vista’s activation, which is part of the company’s overall anti-counterfeit program, authenticates the license’s product key – in Vista’s case, that’s a 25-character alphanumeric string – to ensure that the key isn’t used multiple times by pirates. If Vista is not activated within 30 days of its first-time use, it drops into a crippled state in which only the browser works, and then only for an hour at a time.

Computer User claimed that KeyGen can check about 20,000 keys an hour, but cautioned that it could take “hours, days” to come up with a working activation key. One wag on the KezNews forum did the math and concluded that it would take 1.35 quintillion years — that’s 1,351,869,740,791,670,000 years to be exact — for the tool to work its way through all of the possible key combinations.

Although a few on the forum claimed that they’d found a valid activation key, many more who tried KeyGen gave up in frustration. “That’s true; I tried it about five or five and a half hours and I got nothing than … I gave up; you got a very, very little chance, and it may take weeks, months and years to get a key,” wrote Black_Necro yesterday.

Microsoft’s Kochis also downplayed the threat. “Our product activation servers perform a more rigorous analysis of the keys that are sent up for activation than the local key logic does,” he said. “Producing keys that will ultimately activate is less likely than just hitting upon one that will pass the local logic.”

And he promised that genuine users would not be affected, even if a valid, in-use key was uncovered by the crack. “What would happen if a key that was hit upon was also the same key in use by a legitimate customer? Really, this would boil down to a customer service issue and we would work to make sure that our customers are taken care of.

“But if anyone does hear of a report of a legit customer being refused a product activation on a genuine key please let us know,” Kochis concluded.

In an unusual development late yesterday, Computer User posted a public apology to Microsoft on the forum for publicizing the crack. “I apologize for exposing the work-around in question … but we all know it’s highly unlikely to ever work,” wrote Computer User.

“I regret the fact that it has been leaked all over the Net, which I guess was to be expected. I simply love Windows Vista, and I happened to stumble upon this trick. I seriously believe that everyone should stop spreading this idea around and stop using the brute force KeyGen altogether because it takes away from legitimate customers.”

36 Comments

  1. sourabh

    Jun 27, 2007 at 5:43 am

    please send me the activation keygen of windows vista ultimate on my email

  2. per nielsen

    Jul 16, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    need a keygen for vista ultimate 64 bit

  3. sam

    Aug 21, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    may you please send me a windows vista ultimate key generator please

  4. jojo

    Aug 27, 2007 at 12:47 am

    i need a keygen for vista ultimate pls left one day due to activation

  5. Al

    Aug 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Please send me a keygen for vista ultimate.

  6. prabhat

    Sep 1, 2007 at 2:17 pm

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  7. mohammad

    Sep 11, 2007 at 9:48 am

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  8. scarface92

    Sep 28, 2007 at 8:57 am

    eyy i need a key for windows vista ultimate 32 please or a key generator…thats better

  9. sica

    Sep 30, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Hy! Can you send me the Windows Vista Ultimate activtion key?
    If yes send it to sica_s_boss@yahoo.com please

  10. jkvet

    Oct 4, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    please send me the Windows Vista Ultimate activation key!!tyvery much

  11. Markie

    Oct 7, 2007 at 8:17 am

    please send me the generator. thanks

  12. Annabelle

    Oct 12, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Pls send me the 25 digit number to acces vista windows….

  13. Dorian

    Oct 13, 2007 at 5:07 am

    i need a windows vista ultimate edition product key!!!!
    mine just wont work…..
    plz send me one. plz!!!
    thank u.

    send it to d3mon_eyez@yahoo.com
    thank u again!!!!

  14. shankar

    Oct 22, 2007 at 8:27 am

    i need a windows vista ultimate edition product key!!!!
    mine just wont work…..
    plz send me one. plz!!!
    thank u.

  15. ali

    Oct 25, 2007 at 12:34 am

    please send me to my mail activation keygen for vista ultimate version

  16. Roberto Oshiro

    Nov 1, 2007 at 8:14 am

    please product key windows vista

  17. TuanPS

    Nov 8, 2007 at 3:25 am

    Plz!!!send me a activation key for my vista ultimare please

  18. Karkar

    Nov 24, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Please send me the KeyGen for Windows Vista Ultimate, three days left for activation.
    Thanks

  19. jessie

    Nov 26, 2007 at 6:43 am

    please send me the key generator for windows vista. thanks

  20. olly

    Nov 29, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    hey

    i need a product windows vista code my avticaion has ran out so i desburtly need one i got all my bussness work all on this computer can someone send it to my email ollycuff@yahoo.co.uk

    thanks pleas ehelp

  21. Tom

    Dec 14, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Please help me and give me a windows vista home basic N activation key. My work is at stake. Thank You

  22. bah

    Dec 18, 2007 at 7:41 am

    need Activation

  23. jaga

    Dec 22, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    i need windows vista activation key for home basic N edition

  24. ragnar_uk

    Dec 31, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Need vista ultimate 64bit activation key.

    Most grateful if you could email to mark_white64@yahoo.co.uk

  25. danny

    Jan 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    i need a vista home basic activation code i lost the one i had would be very happy as all my picture of children and my important files are locked away please email me the code thank you

  26. raymond

    Jan 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    pls. send to my e-mail someproduct key of windows vista

  27. simon

    Jan 27, 2008 at 12:36 am

    pls. send to my e-mail the activation key for windows vista ultimate.
    thank you

  28. rene

    Jan 27, 2008 at 4:36 am

    a windows vista ultimate keygen where is it i need it????

  29. dambi1

    Mar 2, 2008 at 8:42 am

    i am deaf people. :) please send me the key generator for windows vista ultimate x64 SP1. thanks

  30. chris

    Mar 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    could I get the keys for vista ultimate. thanks

  31. kev

    Mar 14, 2008 at 1:22 am

    could I get the keys for vista ultimate. thanks

  32. Masha

    Apr 10, 2008 at 8:05 am

    I need a activation key for vista ultimate x86 please.

  33. geoffri

    Apr 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

    my vista ultimate is asking for activation.
    i want want vista key genrator.
    plzzzzzzzzzzz send me

  34. anil

    Apr 17, 2008 at 5:20 am

    could you please post a valid windows vista ultimate product key pleease.

  35. koryun

    Apr 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

    my vista ultimate is asking for activation.
    pls. send to my e-mail the activation key for windows vista ultimate.
    Thank You

  36. nigya

    May 13, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    please send me the activation code for windows vista ultimate 32- bit operating system. mine just wont worked

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