This is everywhere in the news this morning. It appears that Windows Vista has been officially cracked! From what I have read up to now, the crack seems to be working by emulating certain vendor-specific information at the BIOS level, effectively circumventing product activation altogether.
Microsoft allows large hardware manufacturers (e.g. ASUS, HP, Dell) to ship their products containing a Windows Vista installation that does NOT require any kind of product activation as this might be considered an unnecessary inconvenience for the end-user.Instead these so-called ‘Royalty OEMs’ are granted the right to embed certain license information into their hardware products, which can be validated by Windows Vista to make obtaining further activation information (online or by phone) obsolete. This mechanism is commonly referred to as ‘SLP 2.0’ (‘system-locked pre-installation 2.0’) and consists of the following three key elements:
Edit 06/03/07: I can now confirm that the crack works as announced. Someone I know reformated his box to try it out, and it worked perfectly fine. There’s going to be a lot of people using this, so Microsoft better hurry up and close the gap if they don’t want to end up having 1000’s of ‘Genuine’ pirated copies of Vista running out there.