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.