Pirated copies of Windows 7 will be kept just as safe as non-genuine variants of previous Windows releases, by Microsoft via security updates. Responding to questions related to how Microsoft keeps Windows users protected on an ongoing basis, Paul Cooke, Microsoft director, Windows Client Enterprise Security, emphasized that security updates were provided to all Windows users, irrespective of whether they are running genuine or pirated editions of Windows. Windows 7 will be by no means an exception to this strategy, designed not to support piracy, but to ensure a healthy Windows environment.
“Let me be clear: all security updates go to all users,” Cooke said. “Not only do all security updates go to all users' systems, but non-genuine Windows systems are able to install service packs, update rollups, and important reliability and application compatibility updates. In addition, the users of non-genuine Windows systems can also upgrade a lot of the other software on their computer. For example Internet Explorer 8 has numerous security-oriented features and improvements, and it is available to all users.”
Of course it is important to note that while Microsoft is genuinely concerned with the security of Windows users, making no discrimination against pirates, and allowing them access to Critical security updates, the same is not valid for the people providing bootlegged software. Counterfeiters can have a complex agenda going well beyond selling pirated software for profit. In fact, Windows copies obtained from illegal third parties pose a great risk to users, and could come bundled with malicious code, transforming people using pirated Windows into unaware victims of cybercrime.
“Keeping a machine up to date is one of the first steps in helping ensure that they remain reliable, compatible, and safe from threats when they are online. Some of the most famous incidents of malicious software infection have come after security updates were publicly available from Microsoft - Blaster, Zotob, Conficker and Sasser, just to name a few,” Cooke added. “Rest assured that we at Microsoft are committed to making sure that security updates are available to all of our users to help ensure a safe online experience for everyone.”
Still, Microsoft is indeed blocking access to some updates and components for users of non-genuine Windows operating systems. As a rule, optional updates are all blocked, with protection being offered only against severe threats. Scraped from Windows Vista SP1, the Reduce Functionality Mode will not be making a comeback in Windows 7. In fact the experience of a pirated copy of Windows 7 detected as such will be similar to that of Vista's.