Microsoft official support used a pirate script to activate Windows, customer claims

Alfonso Maruccia

Posts: 1,017   +301
Staff
Facepalm: A South African customer contacted Microsoft support to activate his legal copy of Windows. An early attempt to resolve the issue was unsuccessful, so Redmond personnel had to employ one of those loathed pirate scripts to activate the OS.

After forking out for a genuine Windows 10 license purchased on the Microsoft Store, full-time South African YouTuber Wesley Pyburn had to deal with the unpleasant fact that he could not activate his Windows install. He contacted Microsoft, but even official support techs could not get him up and running.

Pyburn tweeted that after the first unsuccessful attempt, the tech elevated his support ticket, and another Microsoft employee logged into his system through the Quick Assist remote app. The YouTuber was surprised that the Microsoft employee resorted to a very unexpected method to finally activate Windows, namely one of those "pirate" scripts designed to mimic Microsoft's official servers to bypass the OS legitimacy check.

In the new Windows 10/11 era, activation is straightforward; users can use a digital license or the traditional 25-character product key to activate the system. Microsoft says that Windows activation helps verify that a copy of Windows is authentic and not installed on more devices than the license allows. Upon activation, Microsoft generates a digital certificate that can be easily connected to a Microsoft account or recovered after the OS reinstallation.

Gone are the days when Windows users had to endure the loathsome Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) DRM protection to assure Microsoft that Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista were legit, but Windows activation is still giving legit users headaches while pirates are suffering no issues at all. Pyburn contacted the team managing the server used by the Microsoft employee—Massgrave.

The Massgrave is an unofficial repository of Windows and Office activators. The group confirmed that the method was neither official nor legal and that it wasn't the first time someone reported that Microsoft official support was using the scripts. Pyburn said he was dumbfounded, as he purchased a license to avoid some nasty surprise like malware or rootkits. "Then they crack it for me," Pyburn said.

Microsoft told BleepingComputer that it strives to "provide best-in-class support for our customers" and that the technique used to activate Pyburn's OS is against company policy. Redmond is now "investigating" to determine who the script-loving support agent is and why he used the script. The company said it would take "appropriate steps" to ensure that employees follow the procedures and protocols it has in place for customer support personnel performing Windows activations.

Permalink to story.

 
Pretty funny - think I heard developers using 3rd party stuff in games and emulators.
I assume another activation code was useless here.

probably most of us have phoned MS to get that XP or W7 to reinstall - never had a problem doing that
 
It's been obvious for some time that M$ doesn't care for money from an actual OS install license, but rather data from mining scheme, so I fail to see the problem here?

I think it's a little bit more nuanced - You can still probably take any W7 code and turn it into a full w11 system you have to do some googling - as far as I know MS hasn't closed these upgrade paths.
You can go to ebay and buy a cheap windows pro code.

people will still pay $100 from MS for the official site - new PCs they probably make $20 per license or something near it .

But you are right MS would rather you have a pirated copy than no windows - for your reason and to stop Apple, Linux and Chromebooks - same as say Autocad and other pirated software - they go after businesses .

Add in Cloud , game pass etc - they need you in the ecosystem
 
It's been obvious for some time that M$ doesn't care for money from an actual OS install license, but rather data from mining scheme, so I fail to see the problem here?

Then they should give the OS away for free, once and for all. In 2020, I spent almost € 100 for a legit Windows 10 copy to install on my newly purchased high-end gaming PC, and I had to endure all that crappy third-party apps and advertising stuff Microsoft put in the system.

Needless to say, I won't spend a cent to get a Windows 11 "boxed" copy - if they even exist in the first place.
 
So the guy had non OS related issues,
connecting to the auth servers

a second level used a 'workaround' to help him use his legal windows, without telling him
"Bring your pc to our nearest service provider/partner in 2 weeks and let it rot there for 2 more weeks" and this gets someone fired.
 
Then they should give the OS away for free, once and for all. In 2020, I spent almost € 100 for a legit Windows 10 copy to install on my newly purchased high-end gaming PC, and I had to endure all that crappy third-party apps and advertising stuff Microsoft put in the system.

Needless to say, I won't spend a cent to get a Windows 11 "boxed" copy - if they even exist in the first place.

you srsly paid 100€ for windows ?! it cost 1-2€ max and legally ( windows 10/11 pro ) on websites like Allkeyshop... I bought a sh!ton of those...
 
I have (allegedly) never paid for Windows, why pay for spyware? And I don't use Windows anymore, it's not even worth using for free.
 
My notebook bought in 2021 comes with Windows 10 Home Edition. I bought the Windows 10 Professional digital license and unable to activate. I contact Microsoft Support and they couldn't resolve it. Then they escalate the issue to a senior support staff but they still didn't resolve the activation problem, finally they transfer the call to their finance department to arrange the refund to me.

The next day I bought the Windows 10 Professional digital license again and was still unable to activate the license, I told the Microsoft Support staff I have contacted them yesterday and their escalation support staff was unable to resolve it, so I asked them to transfer the call to their finance department directly and arrange for refund.

I guessed I need to third party script to activate the Windows 10 Professional license as well.
 
Then they should give the OS away for free, once and for all. In 2020, I spent almost € 100 for a legit Windows 10 copy to install on my newly purchased high-end gaming PC, and I had to endure all that crappy third-party apps and advertising stuff Microsoft put in the system.

Needless to say, I won't spend a cent to get a Windows 11 "boxed" copy - if they even exist in the first place.

I agreed with you, sir. I have been using Mac at home since 2012 while using Windows PC in my daily work. I was lucky that my Mac comes with Mountain Lion and when Apple upgrade the OS to Mavericks in the following year, they announced that upgrade to Mavericks is FREE and since then all future macOS upgrade are free until now.

I think it is old fashion that Microsoft still charge for OS upgrade.
 
Yes, I can still activate Win 10/11 using my old Windows 7 Pro/Ultimate keys.

Sometimes, repeatedly on another system.
 
So, is Pyburn's current activation going to be revoked? Or will he get another key from M$?
 
probably most of us have phoned MS to get that XP or W7 to reinstall - never had a problem doing that
Oh, I'd say you haven't tried to get Win 7 activated recently. M$ no longer allows to use the COA code that came with the copy to activate.

OK, I bought a few DVD copies from Ebay ($28.00). OK, you have to wonder if they're legit. COA code doesn't work, phone M$. You go through a rigmarole reciting the numbers on a fly out CMD line SLUI 3.to bring up the dialog. Then you go through typing in 9 blocks of 6 numbers with the chatbot operator. You do get as much time as you need, although they don't tell you to write the numbers down, until after you activate, at which point they've disappeared.

OK, so I get a system activated, take it offline, with the clock accidentally set to "internet time. Hook it back up, the clock is now 3 months off, and Windows is no longer activated. (The first time was with a live operator, that wasn't offered the 2nd time around.

Now, since I bought this off Ebay, you might think it was hinky or counterfeit

After the system was activated, I turned on the "games" in settings. The very next day, Windows was telling me the OS is "not genuine. I turn the games off, and it goes right back to being "activated"

However, with another system, I had a legally purchased legit copy of OEM Win 7 Home, (from Newegg), trying to install it on the same board it came.out of. I have to go through the same nonsense where, "you can't use that COA to activate the system". I call again, and go through the same process as I had to with the Ebay disc.

Then, I tried to bring it up to SP1, which I was told that was no longer available, but I could download the final "cumulative security update", which I futilely hoped would bring the OS up to, and post as SP-1. No such luck. I threw that copy of Windows away

The final update effectively bricked the system, since apparently `with any Chromium based browser, (I use Opera), all the browser did was blow up security warnings, claiming "bad certificates". I couldn't even navigate to Walmart or Wikipedia..!

So, IMO, M$ is intentionally bricking Win 7. When I was on the phone with the live operator, he kept trying to sell me W10 or Win 11. At which point, on the tip of my tongue was, "look a**hole, do you really think that Windows 11 will install in a 12 year old Intel G-41 / Pentium e 6300 rig"?
I did tone it down a bit, but I still managed to get my point across.
 
Last edited:
That isn't an illegal hack. (but can be used to illegally activate windows) The original script was a leaked Microsoft internal tool. It is all command line / PowerShell.

It isn't blocked by Defender or other Anti Virus / Malware scanners.
 
Oh, I'd say you haven't tried to get Win 7 activated recently. M$ no longer allows to use the COA code that came with the copy to activate.

OK, I bought a few DVD copies from Ebay ($28.00). OK, you have to wonder if they're legit. COA code doesn't work, phone M$. You go through a rigmarole reciting the numbers on a fly out CMD line SLUI 3.to bring up the dialog. Then you go through typing in 9 blocks of 6 numbers with the chatbot operator. You do get as much time as you need, although they don't tell you to write the numbers down, until after you activate, at which point they've disappeared.

OK, so I get a system activated, take it offline, with the clock accidentally set to "internet time. Hook it back up, the clock is now 3 months off, and Windows is no longer activated. (The first time was with a live operator, that wasn't offered the 2nd time around.

Now, since I bought this off Ebay, you might think it was hinky or counterfeit

After the system was activated, I turned on the "games" in settings. The very next day, Windows was telling me the OS is "not genuine. I turn the games off, and it goes right back to being "activated"

However, with another system, I had a legally purchased legit copy of OEM Win 7 Home, (from Newegg), trying to install it on the same board it came.out of. I have to go through the same nonsense where, "you can't use that COA to activate the system". I call again, and go through the same process as I had to with the Ebay disc.

Then, I tried to bring it up to SP1, which I was told that was no longer available, but I could download the final "cumulative security update", which I futilely hoped would bring the OS up to, and post as SP-1. No such luck. I threw that copy of Windows away

The final update effectively bricked the system, since apparently `with any Chromium based browser, (I use Opera), all the browser did was blow up security warnings, claiming "bad certificates". I couldn't even navigate to Walmart or Wikipedia..!

So, IMO, M$ is intentionally bricking Win 7. When I was on the phone with the live operator, he kept trying to sell me W10 or Win 11. At which point, on the tip of my tongue was, "look a**hole, do you really think that Windows 11 will install in a 12 year old Intel G-41 / Pentium e 6300 rig"?
I did tone it down a bit, but I still managed to get my point across.
Not good - I probably have a W7 code around somewhere unused - but won't try it.
I now just buy cheap pro online - Don't really need many features of Pro - but think they hassle you less and give you more control - so not to P.O business customers.

I did use a crack for XP a long time ago - tired of buying at NZ $100 at a time - did regret it - as I put it on a more important PC - though it worked perfectly - think just an activation crack - was ultra cautious using it - still nervous for all XP upgrades - but flew through - which is funny at China, India weren't most XP pirated versions
 
You can go to ebay and buy a cheap windows pro code.
These are illegal codes, like everything else.
It has long been proven by lawyers. It's like buying the keys to someone else's apartment or house in the market. You are entitled to it. But you do not have the right to open with these keys (although they are exactly suitable) someone else's apartment or house, and even more so to live there, if you do not have legal access rights there. With activation keys, everything is the same. But unfortunately the illiterate crowd does not understand this.

people will still pay $100 from MS for the official site - new PCs they probably make $20 per license or something near it .
And this is a common misconception - OEM versions are almost as expensive as Retail versions. Therefore, buying an imposed copy is meaningless for you, because along with the failure of the hardware, you automatically lose the right to use the OS or software for new hardware. In the case of rights for the retail version, you simply install it to new hardware. It's profitable for M$ and manufacturers to force buyers to buy hardware with an OEM license - that way they make you pay for the same thing over and over again in your life. This is a scam, but people themselves agree to this.

In fact, since the forced collection of telemetry, Windows should be free. Since its owner and the sale of his data is the purpose of M$.
 
However, with another system, I had a legally purchased legit copy of OEM Win 7 Home, (from Newegg), trying to install it on the same board it came.out of. I have to go through the same nonsense where, "you can't use that COA to activate the system". I call again, and go through the same process as I had to with the Ebay disc.
There are no "legal" OEM licenses, because these licenses are sold only as part of some hardware and are tied to it by an agreement with the copyright holder.

This is also a typical misconception among the townsfolk.

Never buy to take hardware with an OEM license, because. in case of hardware failure, you automatically lose the right to use such software. In fact, I repeat once again, this is pure fraud for constantly extracting money from consumers for the same thing.
 
There are no "legal" OEM licenses, because these licenses are sold only as part of some hardware and are tied to it by an agreement with the copyright holder.

This is also a typical misconception among the townsfolk.

Never buy to take hardware with an OEM license, because. in case of hardware failure, you automatically lose the right to use such software. In fact, I repeat once again, this is pure fraud for constantly extracting money from consumers for the same thing.
Yeah I know those Ebay ones are grey market - probably unused licenses education , corporate bulky thingies - or from countries which get it cheaper.
I don't lose any sleep.
As for OEM - my understanding is can have some hardware failure - was it W7 that tracked the changes in hardware - Think M/S eased off - I've moved the key to pretty much new system - never cheated as old system close down.
My legal take in M/S accepting the key - they confirmed it is now legal - yeah BS - just like Eulas and updated terms enforced or hidden until post purchase.

I think my basic posit stands further up - M/S prefer you to have a pirate copy to no copy.
Don't W10 and W11 allowed you to run an unactivated copy indefinitely - with just a nag ? could be wrong.
M/S do ok - as most laptops /surface pros etc come with windows

The other funny thing is - it you want a basic PC or laptop - with W10 - you get them real cheap with authorised real sellers of ex-corporate/government devices - eg small desktop for $200 everything included ( with upgrade options - larger SSD ) or a powerful laptop $500 with a pro version .

These big corporates play countries off against each other , avoid local taxes , try to get every govt rebate - hide behind lawyers - or make themselves hard to contact for resolution for Joe Bloggs - leave pollution and social costs etc - you can see why I don't lose any sleep - and that is a real key M/S got some money for- the target is those that sell to resellers - not me- M/S could have a buy back of unused keys if it so chooses.( Obviously the whole operation could be grey/black - seeking bulk cheap keys with a legitimate front (charity etc )
 
There are no "legal" OEM licenses, because these licenses are sold only as part of some hardware and are tied to it by an agreement with the copyright holder.

This is also a typical misconception among the townsfolk.
OK Mr. "Doe", one of those "simple townsfolk" here. Newegg, Micro Center, and other reputable retailers have been selling these "illegal OEM copies" of Windows for decades.

While arguably it is, "taking advantage of a loophole", the end user can in point of fact, "build a system", and then "sell it to themselves". In fact, the very act of buying certain pieces of hardware, (mobo, HDD, etc), qualifies you to do so.

Mighty M$ has been going along with this, quite willingly, for decades. In fact, I have seven, (7), systems, self built, at home, all plugging along happily with OEM copies of Windows..

A couple of years back, one system, (Win 7 64 bit "Home"), which was rarely, if ever, online, "deactivated", when I installed a video card. (GTX-750 ti). All I had to do was, type in the original COA off that nasty "illegal" OEM version box while online, and voila, (pronounced "vwaa laa"), it reactivated, instantly..

M$ is doing all it possibly can to get rid of all traces of Windows 7, while avoiding being sued. To that end, they have stopped making available all downloads associated with with 7, such a SP-1, and my favorite, "XP-Mode", which was a VM which ran an unlicensed copy of XP within it for software compatibility. (It was most likely tied to the Win 7 license in use).

The "cumulative security update", was merely a pretext to brick Win 7, and install telemetry. As you may, or may not know, "Edge", is a Chromium based browser. The way b know that telemetry has been installed, is that is that the bricks all Chrome browsers, to the point you can't navigate to someplace as pedestrian as Walmart, without being blocked by, (supposedly), "bad server certificates". This is "social engineering". When the end user "realizes" his or her PC is "not secure",, (perhaps even hopelessly insecure), the hope is that they will jump, like rats from a sinking ship, to exactly where M$ wanted them to be, Windows 10.

So, riddle me this one,if M$ didn't install telemetry with the "cumulative security update", how on earth was my Opera, (chrome based) browser, able to detect all these (allegedly) "bad certificates", when Firefox, (supposedly a more secure browser) just ignored them completely?
.
 
Don't W10 and W11 allowed you to run an unactivated copy indefinitely - with just a nag ? could be wrong.
There's the nag, but I believe they also take away your ability to "personalize" the system. In other words, you get the nag, along with a black wallpaper, nothing more.

I believe XP, (the first version of Windows that even required activation), had the most sever penalties for not doing so.

XP was registered / activated on a points basis, with the most points assessed to the mobo and LAN card. That allowed you to change anything but those two parts, and still maintain activation.

In fact, that only held stringently true, to commercially built systems. When a commercially built PC's mobo quit, the copy of XP died with it..

All you have to do to fully comply with Windows OEM EULA, is to image C:/, and supply yourself with "restore discs", and reinstall from those, not the original Windows disc.In practical reality, all you likely have to do is install to a "backup drive", activate it, them migrate to another drive as your final installation. The original drive, after all, would be the equivalent of , "restore discs".

Try not to get invested in the this bullsh!t that the only option open to a home builder is to buy a retail version of the OS.
 
Last edited:
Back