Windows 8 is still at least over a year from RTM, with the Beta expected in the fall of 2011, but hacks have already been produced to circumvent the operating system’s antipiracy mechanism.
With Build 6.1.7850 6.1.7850.0.winmain_win8m1.100922-1508 leaked in the wild earlier this month, there have been quite a few users ignoring all evident risks, downloading the bits and installing the Milestone 1 (M1) development milestone of Windows vNext.
Those that did hit a bit of a snag. Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 was compiled in September 2010, and since it was time-bombed, what users got was a very early copy of the operating system that had expired since February 5, 2011.
However, in normal Windows leak fashion, this did little to discourage testers, and only catalyzed crackers to come up with solutions.
At the time of this article I’m aware of two different hacks designed to bypass Windows 8 M1 activation.
Both the activation circumvention methods are capable of removing the non-genuine flag and the expiration date, as well as activate Windows 8 M1 Build 7850, testers that tried them claim.
One of the bypass methods involves a frankenbuild approach, which means that the crack replaces Windows 8 files with those equivalent from Windows 7 in order to get the platform appear as genuine and shutter the time-bomb limitations.
In addition, a volume key is used in combination with a Key Management Service (KMS) in order to activate the leaked copy of Windows 8 M1 Build 7850.
Not only this, but this particular hack is also set up to enable all the locked next generation features that have been built into Windows 8.
Another activation circumvention method abuses the OEM activation mechanism specific to Windows, enabling even the creation of ISO Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 images which can be activated without any problem.
Once again, the files from Windows 7 are being used, with the crack also relying on volume keys and KMS to allow for the activation of the leaked Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 release.
The OEM Windows 8 hack also allows for the leaked platform to pass for genuine, without any expiration restrictions, and enables users to unlock the hidden features such as the Ribbon / Fluent UI in Windows Explorer, WebCam, the new PDF reader and the Modern Task Manager.