I'm using an illegal/pirated copy of Windows!

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Illegal/pirated copies of Windows include: Windows PNX, LSD, Arium, NaNo, Orkas, Sweet, Reborn, Unicornis, UN V2, Mad Dog, Atrium, Orion, Syana, Windows Uranium, Windows Titanium, Windows XXL, Windows TKT, Windows Coccinelle, Windows Darklite, Windows XP Crazy, Windows XP Édition Maître, Windows Édition Ultra, Windows XP Édtion Classique, Windows XP Ubuntu Édition, Windows Yoshi édition, Windows Yoshi Ultimate, Windows XP Catharsis, Windows XP Titan Revolution, Windows Trust 3, Gold, Windows XP Pure Power 3, Windows XP Ultimate Edition, Windows XP Disney Edition, Windows XP Crystal, Windows XP suite, Windows XP Fire, Windows Vista Ultimate par Mad Dog, Vista Black Edition, Vista premuim lite, Windows 7 Arium, Windows 7 Alchemiste, Windows 7 Titan, Windows 7 Alienware, Windows 7 Orion, Windows 7 Futuris, Windows 7 Élite, Windows 7 Extreme Edition, Windows 7 GT, Windows 7 Tiny, Windows 7 Black Edition, Windows 7 ultimate black édition, Windows 8 Pro Blue,Windows 8 AIO-Orion,Windows Arium 8.0 or even genuine version of Windows for which the Windows activation process has been removed.

What is an Illegal/pirated copy of Windows?

Pirated version of Windows are legal operating system that has been modified for an illegal use, among the common modifications:
  • Removal or bypass of copyright protection systems.
  • Adding/removing components, software or utilities.
  • Changing system files.

Why you shouldn't use these pirated versions?

Legal prosecution:

You may have noticed that LSD Windows, Windows PNX or many other versions with strange names are not available on the Microsoft website. This is because these versions are not from Microsoft, but "made" by "pirates", out of a legal version of Windows!
Windows being a proprietary software, nobody has the right to fiddle and make any changes to it. Some pirated versions require that you enter a valid activation key, but even so, the use of such software are deemed as illegal.
The use of an OS derived from Microsoft Windows is illegal and may result in prosecution:
In France, an individual is liable to imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of € 150,000.

Limited support

With a pirated version you will only enjoy limited support, whether free (Internet forums are also subject to laws) or paid (Microsoft). Often it will be impossible to make any critical security updates. The Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) protection system limit the updates to Service Packs (SP non-installable without a legal version), Microsoft services (downloading additional software or upgrades for components such as Windows Media Player ) and will eventually tell you that your version of Windows is pirated (even if no software upgrade is installed).

Spywares and rootkits

As the system files are modified, you may end up with a malware infested machine. Even with a good protection (Antivirus + Firewall + Updates to security updates + Antispyware), the fact of using a pirated version, you are at risk of having a completely undetectable spywares on your computer! Indeed, by modifying system files (executables and DLL Library systems), it is relatively simple for the "pirates" to include spywares to these fake version of Windows.
The possible consequences of having spyware or a rootkit installed on your system are:
  • Use (without your knowledge) your internet connection and your IP address (hacking other computers, spreading viruses, spam and child abuse images). As your IP address is used, you who will be held responsible.
  • Spying on all visited sites, everything that is typed on keyboard (including passwords, credit card numbers, names, addresses ...). Increase the Risk of identity theft.
  • Theft of personal and important files on your hard drive.
  • Spying on your screen
  • Take control of your webcam

Startup Options

Some od these pirated versions of Windows have their boot options changed. Thus, it is impossible to find repair option when booting on a pirated Windows installation CD. If you encounter problems with your system, the only option available is to completely re-install the system!

From ethical point of view

In addition to all the reasons mentioned above, there's another reason for not using a pirated version of software. Indeed Windows (as many software) is produced and marketed by a company that lives off the profits generated by its work. Even though more and more people adopt an anti-Microsoft attitude (partly due to the fact that Microsoft made considerable margins on these products ....) the use of pirated software is not the solution.

Microsoft anti-piracy fight

Link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/piracy/default.aspx

The local reseller sold me a pirated version, or my version of Windows is legal but WGA tells me otherwise!

  • WGA is not infallible, it sometimes makes mistakes.
  • Simply contact Microsoft, you will be entitled to exchange your pirated against a legal version.


Are there other cheaper alternatives?

Alternative operating systems exist (either free or available for a few euros).
Among the recommended Linux distributions: