A genuine crack for Windows Vista has just been released by pirate group Pantheon, which allows a pirated, non-activated installation of Vista (Home Basic/Premium and Ultimate) to be properly activated and made fully-operational.
Unlike cracks which have been floating around since Vista RTM was released in late November, this crack doesn’t simply get around product activation with beta activation files or timestop cracks – it actually makes use of the activation process. It seems that Microsoft has allowed large OEMs like ASUS to ship their products with a pre-installed version of Vista that doesn’t require product activation – apparently because end users would find it too inconvenient.
This version of Vista uses System-Locked Pre-Installation 2.0 (SLP 2.0). It allows the “Royalty OEMs” to embed specific licensing information into the operating system which Vista can activate without having to go back to Microsoft for verification. The licensing components include the OEM’s hardware-embedded BIOS ACPI_SLIC (which has been signed by Microsoft), an XML certificate file which corresponds to this ACPI_SLIC and a specific OEM product key. (link)