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MCTS Windows Server® 2008 R2 Complete: Study Guide by William Panek

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Configuring Microsoft Windows Activation

Windows Product Activation (WPA) was introduced with the release of Windows XP. The early versions required a 25-character alphanumeric format, and then Windows XP SP2 added a physical key (which is identified by the hardware). Large corporations, however, used a different set of rules.

In the beginning, they were given OEM copies of the software, which did not require activation. Over time, these copies were leaked to other users and then the Internet. Microsoft worked hard to combat this by introducing Windows Genuine Advantage, which, when the user opts to use it, will allow them to download updates and content from Microsoft’s websites.

Starting with Windows Vista, if a user does not have a product ...

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