Windows Vista/XP hit by OEM activation scam

After several weeks of reports on some of the hacker forums, Microsoft is reported to be looking into the possibility that naught peeps are activating their copies of Windows Vista and XP using an OEM BIOS-based registration feature.

This registration system allows PC manufacturers and system builders to pre-activate Windows for customers, which means that the operating system works on an out-of-box basis.

According to some reports, a number of hacks for the OA 2.0 registration system - used for Vista - are floating around on t'Internet.

The first hack reportedly centres around editing the motherboard BIOS serial numbers, but it seems logical to assume Microsoft is locking down the serial numbers concerned.

The second hack is more subtle, and uses an applet that fools Vista into thinking its running on a pre-registered OEM-supplied PC.

If this second hack does work, it could be a lot more difficult for Microsoft to stop the applet working without causing major problems for some of its system builders.

Mind you, with the ridiculous prices that Microsoft has been charging for Vista since it was launched, you can't blame hackers for ramping up their levels of interest in the registration system for the new operating system.

Myself, I'll stick with XP and XP Pro for the time being...