If you are running a pirated version of Windows XP, you will not be able to download updates / security patches from Microsoft website. Aiming to crack down on counterfeit software, Microsoft plans later this year to require customers to verify that their copy of Windows is genuine before downloading security patches and other add-ons to the operating system.
Customers who visit the Windows Update site will be asked to prove that their copies of Windows are legitimate by allowing Microsoft's system to automatically run a check, or by providing a product identification number. Users who have lost that number will be asked three basic questions, and if they are deemed to be acting in good faith they will be given a free replacement key.
By the middle of this year, Microsoft will make the verification mandatory in all countries for both add-on features to Windows as well as for all OS updates, including security patches. Microsoft will continue to allow all people to get Windows updates by turning on the Automatic Update feature within Windows. By doing so, Microsoft hopes it has struck a balance between promoting security and ensuring that people buy genuine versions of Windows.
The microsoft window genuine advantage validation effort is just part of Microsoft's threefold program, which focuses on educating users, engineering products in ways that minimize piracy, and enforcement through the legal system.
The company's new authentication system - Windows Genuine Advantage requires users to prove they have an authentic copy before they can obtain updates. Pirated copies will still be able to download security fixes, but only if the systems are set to do so automatically.
Microsoft has advised consumers to take a copy of the CD that contains genuine software from retailers. It has advised consumers to check whether the authentication key slip is stuck to the PCs as the window genuine advantage validation tool will require the Original Windows XP CD Key.