Microsoft revealed yesterday that it would release an update for Windows 7 to patch numerous holes used by pirates to bypass Windows Activation Technologies. General manager of Microsoft's Genuine Windows division, Joe Williams, told CNET that the software giant will plug more than 70 activation hacks.

What's more, the update will periodically phone home to check for additional vulnerabilities. You needn't worry though, no personally identifiable information will be transmitted according to Williams. Also, the patch is not being force-fed; users can opt out of it. Williams said the update would available for manual download via Microsoft's Genuine site or Windows Update on February 16.

Surprisingly, there's no catch -- or at least not candidly. If you don't install the patch, you will still be permitted to download other Windows updates. It's unclear whether the fixes will be present in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, in which case, they probably won't be discretionary.