Microsoft will introduce a new system for fighting software piracy with its upcoming Windows Vista and Windows Longhorn Server operating systems, the company said Wednesday.Called the Microsoft Software Protection Platform, it\u2019s a collection of technologies that aims to do better at detecting pirated versions of Windows, and will also force unauthorized versions of its software into a limited-functionality mode, encouraging users to obtain a legal copy.People using unlicensed copies of Vista will be blocked from accessing certain features, including a new interface design called Windows Aero, and software for fighting pop-up advertisements called Windows Defender, Microsoft said. The company has already used a reduced functionality mode with Windows XP.Users with an unlicensed version of Windows will also see a persistent reminder message in the corner of their screen, reading "This copy of Windows is not genuine." The new software is bound to come under scrutiny. Microsoft\u2019s previous attempt to reduce unauthorized use of its software, Windows Genuine Advantage, was partially rolled back after it was criticized as "spyware" for stealthily installing itself on users\u2019 PCs and reporting information back to Microsoft.Microsoft said the new technologies are necessary to fight software piracy, and said end users can also benefit because they are less likely to be exposed to faulty or compromised software.End users installing pirated Vista copies, or who don\u2019t register their software using a product key within 30 days, will have their OS functionality reduced. The product key is an ID number assigned to customers for each purchase of Windows. The company said it will also be able to track more easily when products are activated with product keys that have been stolen from a business.Regardless of the authenticity of their Vista copy, all users will have access to Microsoft security updates, the company said.For businesses that use volume license keys for Vista and Longhorn Server, Microsoft will introduce new, policy-based tools for activating those systems. The new tools, called Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0, won\u2019t be linked to Microsoft\u2019s software billing systems, the company said.Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn\u2014the code name for the next version of Microsoft\u2019s server software\u2014will be the first products to ship with the antipiracy technologies, but they\u2019ll eventually be used in more of its products.Around 35 percent of all software installed worldwide in 2005 was pirated or unlicensed, Microsoft said, citing a figure from the Business Software Alliance, an industry group.More information is available here.-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)Related Links:\n\nMicrosoft WGA Program Continues to Urk Users\n\nMicrosoft Faces Class-Action Suit over Antipiracy Tool\n\nPressure Spurs Microsoft to Revise Antipiracy Program\n\nMicrosoft: Windows Antipiracy Tool Not SpywareThis article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.