Turns out that the Windows Vista key generator that got wide publicity last week, including on this blog, is a dud.
The tool, offered for download on several Web sites, purported to randomly try product keys to find one that could be used to activate the latest version of Windows, foiling Microsoft's piracy protection.
"Over the weekend we learned that the widely covered 'Vista Brute Force Keygen' turned out to be a hoax," a Microsoft representative wrote on a corporate blog late Monday. "It's nice that the originator has come forward and is encouraging everyone to buy and use genuine copies of Windows Vista."
Microsoft's note follows an admission over the weekend by "Computer User," the individual who first posted the tool on KezNews, a news Web site. "Fact is the brute force keygen is a joke," Computer User wrote.
Windows Vista has been fitted with Microsoft's latest piracy protection. The software maker wants people to buy its software, not steal it. So, if Vista isn't activated within 30 days, users are effectively locked out of their computer.
The piracy shield is under repeated attack. In December, Microsoft issued an update to Vista to thwart a way people tried to use pirated versions of the new OS.