Windows 7 Ultimate RTM Cracked, Fully Validated (Already?)

That didn't take long. It has only been a week since the official Windows 7 RTM announcement by Microsoft, but crackers have already managed to activate and validate the tricked-out Ultimate version of the OS. The hack is nothing new, as it borrows the same techniques used to bypass activation and verification of previous Vista editions.

According to Softpedia, crackers somehow obtained a copy of an OEM Windows 7 Ultimate disc from Lenovo. From there, they were able to extract two critical bits of information: Windows 7's OEM-SLP (system-locked pre-installation) product key and the OEM certificate for Windows 7 Ultimate.

But before these can be of any value, one first has to modify a system's BIOS to fool the operating system into believing that the PC is an authentic OEM machine. This is done by tweaking the values found in the Software Licensing Description Table (SLIC) that is stored in the system's memory during boot-up.

Once a person has disguised a system as a legitimate OEM machine, the OEM-SLP and OEM certificate allow for permanent, validated activation of the operating system. To Microsoft, the PC is no different from a functional OEM machine--and the "OEM machine," in turn, has no need to call back to Microsoft's activation servers for any kind of additional verification. That would defeat the convenient basis behind the creation of SLIC-based OEM activations in the first place.

Just because the OEM disc and keys came from Lenovo doesn't mean that the crack is exclusive to that brand. According to Softpedia, the crack has proven successful on Dell, HP, and MSI machines as well.

Bypass Geek Tech blogger David Murphy's activation on Twitter @Acererak.

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