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Installing SP2 won't necessarily report an illegal Windows installation.

If install SP2 onto an illegal copy of XP Pro, in addition to a legal Home version, will it "call home" with news of the illegal version? Will it send Microsoft information about the computer, where it is and so on? Might all of their prepaid CD's have registration signal or something, to track it? In other words, not good idea install sp2 in non registered windows?

The short answer is that it's not a good idea to have an illegal version of Windows, period. Besides being illegal, it's unethical. If you object to Microsoft's pricing or strategy or whatever that you refuse to purchase a legal copy then use a different operating system. There's plenty of good, free, alternatives.

But to get to your question, like E.T., will SP2 "phone home"?

First, I don't believe that the CD's of SP2 Microsoft Ships out are serialized or encoded with any ID. I believe that all the SP2 CDs are identical.

Second, if you're afraid of SP2 reporting to Microsoft during the setup process, then disconnect from the net while you upgrade. If you've got the CD the internet shouldn't be required.

Thirdly, I don't believe that SP2, Windows, or whatever "reports back to Microsoft" even after it's been installed. I know many folks are paranoid, but there's never been any evidence of this kind of activity.

Finally, and perhaps more relevant, is that there have been reports that Microsoft will disallow future patches and upgrades to unregistered versions. The bottom line is that if your copy is illegal, then you aren't entitled to updates. This will require a little detection when you attempt to install an update.

So the bottom line is this: if you're illegal, you're on your own. If you're paranoid (and since you're asking the question, I'll assume you are at least a little), sure, Microsoft could try to identify your machine. But even if you're not, eventually running an illegal copy will prevent you from getting the updates you may someday need.

My advice? Get legal. Register. Then there's simply no issue.

Article C2195 - October 2, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Bob Jones
May 16, 2005 8:51 AM

Should one be wary of purchasing software from a site offering deep discounts, and where "cannot register your software with the manufacturer" is one of the terms and conditions of the sale (i.e.,, $50 for Office XP Pro is a pretty good deal, but if it's unethical or illegal, I won't do it. How can you tell?

Thanks in advance for the help

May 16, 2005 8:39 PM

Always be wary. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Yes, if "you cannot register" the software, then I'd certainly think it's not legit.

December 18, 2005 2:01 AM

if you wish to upgradu online then you should plug the internet out as soon as a second window appears (the one that tels you to close all other apps, cause here it wil preform a online validation. It wil then simply go on and install sp2)

December 27, 2005 10:04 AM

I have tried installing SP1 and SP2 with the same result it detects that I have a bootleg copy of XP and halts installation regardless of whether I am connected to the internet or not.

Leo A. Notenboom
December 27, 2005 10:28 AM

As mentioned in the article, MS has turned off updates for unregistered versions. It does not "report back" to Microsoft, it simply disallows the updates. Bottom line: get a registered version and you'll be fine.

May 11, 2006 2:12 PM

Thre is a trouble while instaling malayalam Language Interface Pack it is when i try to install malayalam Language Interface Pack there is a message box cames in which the message appears that"Validation of your Microsoft Windows installation has not been successful at this time.To get Windows Interfac Pack you must first validate your Microsoft Windows Installation.Validation assures that you are using an authentic and fully licensed copy of Windows.Please visit Microsoft web site to learn more about the Windows Genuine programe or contact your system supplier for more info".In that box there is two bottons one is ok and other is cancel when i press ok button then Microsoft Web page open.When i press cancel the installation is cancelled.please sugest a solution.I hve pirated edition of Windows SP2

May 11, 2006 6:53 PM

You have identified the problem yourself: you have a pirated copy of Windows. Get a legal copy that can pass validation, and you'll be fine.

ram katwal nepal
November 4, 2010 12:40 PM

i am using window xp professional but i want to change window xp pack 2 but when i try to update window xp pack 2 by online there is message display in my computer screen entry point is not found how can i
change window xp professional to window xp pack 2 pls help me by sending email with posative reply

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