As promised by Microsoft (although Microsoft supposed to include it in Windows Vista SP1), the update to detect activation exploits that commonly used by hackers and pirates to bypass and crack activation in Windows Vista has been released via Windows Update as Important Update. The anti-crack update, KB940510, will install a detector or sniffer on Windows Vista system to detect Grace Timer exploit and OEM BIOS activation crack and bypass method which allow users to use Windows Vista indefinitely without license without product key and without payment to Microsoft.

KB940510 describes the update that is installed on Windows Vista system “enables Windows Vista to detect activation exploits that bypass product activation and that interfere with usual Windows operation. An exploit is a form of software that replaces or modifies authentic Windows components. When exploits are present on a system, it indicates that a software or hardware vendor may have tampered with genuine Windows to enable the sale of counterfeit software. Therefore, the security and the privacy of the computer are put at risk. After this update is installed, you will know if exploits are present on the system.”

Thus, the KB940510 is for ‘detection’ purpose, and Microsoft won’t forcefully remove the exploit if found. Thus, even if you’re using activation crack to bypass activation requirement, and get detected, you probably still can continue using Windows Vista as normal by ignoring the “Windows must be repaired” warning message about activation exploit software found by Windows Software Licensing module (Note: Some users reported that Windows Vista has been deactivated once detected with exploit or crack).

Beside, Microsoft is kind enough to release KB940510 as an important update, thus WU will automatically install KB 940510 if users turn on “Automatic Updates” option. However, if users manually update, users can ignore and hide the 3.0 MB update if they don’t want to install it. To do so, simply open “Windows Updates”, check for updates if no updates been offered or you cannot see KB940510. Then click on “View available updates”, right click on “Update for Windows Vista (KB940510)” and then select “Hide update”.

KB940510 in Windows Update

But the effectiveness of KB940510 in detecting the cracks used to activate Windows Vista is in doubt. There are reports of continue working and successful activation of Vista based on both “SoftMod” (primarily those based on Vista Loader) and “HardMod” (physically mod BIOS to add in required SLIC) methods. Currently on Paradox OEM BIOS emulator and Timer Stop grace period exploit is detected. Which means KB940510 detector still cannot detects two increasingly popular activation hacks, leaving open can of worms.

If you have installed KB940510, but haven’t restart your PC, you can remove the update.

Update: Microsoft re-released KB940510 anti-crack detector on May 6, 2008 to all language locales, including English version who chose to hide the update previously.