This fall, when Windows 8 launches, customers installing the new operating system will find that they do not have a 30-day grace period like they had with previous versions of Windows. Microsoft has eliminated the grace period for its new operating system and will require users to enter a legitimate product key for Windows 8 as a part of the installation process. The new policy is thought to be a means of both combating piracy and ensuring that users activate the version of the software that they purchased.
The new operating system will require that users enter a 25-character alpha-numeric string during the installation process. A failure to do so will halt the process. The computer on which the software is installed must also be connected to the Internet for Windows 8 to connect to Microsoft's servers and verify the software key. Should Microsoft deem the key counterfeit or stolen, a number of measures will go into effect, including a permanently black desktop background, on-screen reminders that the software is illegitimate, and hourly shutdowns.
These measures are only in place for retail versions of Windows 8, and only customers upgrading from a previous version will encounter them. New computers will be sold with the operating system already installed, and companies with volume license agreements will have a Key Management System client key that activates new licenses. Enterprise customers will also have the option of activating devices by connecting with Microsoft's own activation servers.
Windows 8 will launch on October 26 of this year. The pricing strategy for the new operating system leaked yesterday, revealing that the Pro edition will bear a promotional price of $70 through January 31 of next year. Thereafter, the software will be available for $199. Microsoft previously announced that Windows XP, Vista, and 7 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $40 if they forego an install DVD.