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I got the following via mail:

Steps to permanently activate Windows 8 :

  1. Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/feature-packs and enter email for media center key. You will recieve the key in email.
  2. Follow the steps in the mail to upgrade to PROWMC (RESTART NEEDED)
  3. RUN CMD >> TYPE "slui", HIT ENTER >> ACTIVATION WINDOW APPEARS, CLICK ON "ACTIVATE" BUTTON (INTERNET CONNECTION NEEDED)

Is it some vulnerability? Would this be called illegal?

Update:

I emailed the source and they sent me this picture :

enter image description here

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closed as not a real question by Journeyman Geek, Karan, HackToHell, nhinkle Nov 5 '12 at 1:08

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Was your copy already activated? This product code should just add features. –  kobaltz Nov 4 '12 at 23:43
    
@kobaltz I haven't tried yet, wanted a feedback if anyone else did it because it looks like a vulnerability. –  Kang Nov 4 '12 at 23:48
    
If the result is supposed to be that picture, then they're just telling you how to install Media Center on your legally-activated Windows 8 Pro installation... –  Tortoise Nov 5 '12 at 0:00
    
Sounds like a Phishing email to me. –  Moab Nov 5 '12 at 0:13
    
Are activated copies of Windows supposed to have an expiration date? What happens at the expiration date? –  Guillaume Brunerie Nov 5 '12 at 0:14
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5 Answers

More than likely. Any method you use to attain permanent licensed status without purchasing a license is surely illegal.

Posting the exact steps to superuser isn't exactly bright, either.

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+1 for the last bit. –  Tortoise Nov 4 '12 at 23:45
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I doubt this would exploit any vulnerability, given that you're not downloading any non-Microsoft files. As for the legal aspect, it depends on your definition of "illegal."

Assuming this actually works (which it probably doesn't), it would violate Microsoft's EULA. Though this is theoretically a breach of contract, the binding status of software license agreements has proven different between courts.

I would just play it safe and spend the $45 or whatever on a legal copy of Windows. (Note that I'm biased here, as I have an MSDN subscription, so I don't have to pay for my operating systems.)

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Its violation of the EULA, which doesn't need to be illegal. For example, it maybe financially advantageous to break a EULA and pay the fine and it won't be more illegal than your plumber messing up.

This is to say that MS can peruse you, but the government won't peruse you because you didn't violate the law of the land.

I really liked the breakdown offered by David Madden, who is more of an expert than I.

There's a whole lotta issues in your question, so it's impossible to give a definitive answer. Some EULA terms are simply unenforceable (for one reason or another), so nothing will happen to someone who violates those terms. Some EULA terms are enforceable, but only on a contract basis, so if you violate them, you'll probably only have to pay money damages, and/or lose your right to use the software. And some EULA terms may connect to copyright, so violation of those terms would constitute copyright infringement. Of these, only copyright infringement is actually illegal. It's even possible, but not common, to go to jail for certain types of copyright infringement.

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I feel like posting any sentence containing "it isn't common to go to jail for..." on the internet isn't the best of ideas. ;) –  Tortoise Nov 5 '12 at 0:02
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Before you can apply the additional features of Windows 8 Pro, it first must be activated. Your steps are a hoax more than anything else. I just tried adding the features to an unactivated copy of Windows 8 Pro. It told me that I must first activate prior to adding the feature. Hence, your steps don't do anything because most likely you're already activated.

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Yes, it seems a way to do it 'permanently' as in no date of expiring license as in the screenshot updated. –  Kang Nov 5 '12 at 0:01
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according to your link, the free key is for windows 8 pro pack to be installed on top of windows 8 pro OR windows 8 media center.

the key is not valid to use with the windows 8 operation system.

there is a limit for 5 licenses only.

so the short answer is "it is legal because they are offering it" but you need to read the fine prints to be compliant.

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