Microsoft is preparing a new version of its OEM BIOS activation for use in Windows 8, WinRumors has learned.
The protection allows PC makers and system builders to pre-activate copies of Windows for use on their hardware. OEM BIOS activation (OA) was originally introduced with Windows XP. Microsoft shipped OA version 2.0 with Windows Vista.
The software giant is now readying OA version 3.0 for Windows 8. According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, Microsoft is working on a key new technology that will enable it to protect against activation hackers. Illegal copies of Windows have been widely circulated thanks to mechanisms created to bypass Microsoft’s OEM activation certificates. Windows Vista and Windows 7, which both rely on OA version 2.0, have fallen victim to activation cracks and bypass methods. In July 2009, months before its release, Windows 7 was fully cracked and activated with an OEM master key. Microsoft is keen to avoid the same cracks with Windows 8.
It’s not yet clear how the company plans to protect against OEM BIOS hacks. Zukona, known for previous authentic Windows information, has claimed that recent builds of Windows 8 include OA 3.0.
Microsoft is believed to be working on a Metro design user interface for Windows 8. Leaked screenshots, posted earlier this month, also show a flattened Metro UI interface codenamed “Aero Lite”. The screenshots show a flattened interface consistent with Microsoft’s Metro UI. Rumors suggest that Microsoft will create a dual-UI for Windows 8. A tile-based “Immersive” user interface will reportedly be included and make use of a Metro style UI.
The software giant is also planning its own Time Machine feature named “History Vault”. The feature will allow Windows 8 users to backup files and data automatically using the Shadow Copies function of Windows. According to one person familiar with the company’s plans, the backup feature will include the ability to restore to a specific time or date on the system. Users will also be able to select files and restore them to different timestamps.
Microsoft has so far been extremely quiet on the Windows 8 front. Windows Chief, Steven Sinofsky, took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to introduce a technology preview of Microsoft’s Windows ARM support and show off an early build of Windows 8. Microsoft is partnering with ARM-based manufactures NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to produce new Tablet devices.
Microsoft has started to distribute Windows 8 builds to key OEM partners via its Connect testing site. The company has distributed build 7971.0.110324-1900 to OEMs in a special invite only “Windows 8 and Server vNext Pre-Release Program.”