China Selling Pirated Windows 7 Copies

BEIJING — Pirated copies of Windows 7 are being distributed within China’s PC marketplace.

A multistory PC bazaar in Beijing is selling the program — packaged in an unmarked DVD box — for $5.86, a report said.

The program is stored as a .gho file, which is an image of a system that can be copied onto a new hard drive and lets the user bypass the activation key step, such as the one necessary for Windows OS.

According to reports, the program’s setup file promoted the website PKGHost.cn, which contains a high level of malware. Its Google diagnostic page found 31 scripting exploits, 25 Trojans and 21 other exploits that could be used to steal personal information.

Legal and cracked copies of Windows 7 have already been made available online. Subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network can download the “release to manufacturing” version from the network’s website.

The cracked version also appeared as an image file containing Windows 7 Ultimate RTM and a manufacturer product key that was stolen from Chinese personal computer manufacturer Lenovo. In a statement, the company said the program was placed on a Chinese hacker forum.

Windows 7 makes its public debut Oct. 22. The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119.

The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.

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