Microsoft has reduced the number of product keys available to TechNet subscribers from ten to maximum five, for security reasons.

The change was first related by Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott, less than a week ago, qualifying it as a supposed TechNet bug and on September 19, he updated his bog and confirmed it was intentional.

Apparently this reduction of the number of product-license keys was done without notice, according to The Register, even if Microsoft says it was mainly a security measure, meant to prevent piracy.

Here is Microsoft’s response to Mary Jo Foley’s questions about the change in the number of product-license keys:

“Microsoft is committed to helping prevent software piracy, which often results in end users being the victims of software counterfeiters. More »

Microsoft is offering a range of free resources, from Solution Accelerators to volume activation tools in order to simplify the adoption of its latest technologies, including Windows 7 and Office 2010, especially as far as business customers are concerned. One particular offering from the Redmond company is the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) 2.0, which enables IT Professionals to centrally manage Windows 7 activations. Of course, the tool is by no means limited to the latest iteration of the Windows client.

“VAMT 2.0 also manages activations for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 client suites and applications, Visio 2010 and Project 2010,” Microsoft’s Jodi Kogan revealed. “You can perform KMS, MAK and retail activations on remotely managed systems, all from a single VAMT console. The process is simple; VAMT first discovers the computers and installed products. Then, the product key is installed for the target systems to be activated.” More »

With the latest versions of Microsoft’s cash cows available to volume license customers, a new version of the tool allowing for the administration of volume activation is currently available for download. The Volume Activation Management Tool has made it all the way to version 2.0, and is now tailored not only to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but also to the recently released to manufacturing Office 2010. VAMT 2.0 is designed to allow IT professionals to centrally manage volume activation, as well as automate repetitive tasks. Of course, VAMT 2.0 needs to be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Management Console.

Unlike home users, businesses have the option to buy not only the retail version of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Office 2010 RTM, but also the volume versions, which differ in terms of activation. More »

Just days after Windows 7 was released to manufacturing and Microsoft started handing out the gold bits of the operating system to original equipment manufacturers, the original ISO images of Build 7600.16385 were leaked in the wild and are now available for download. Too-eager-testers had had the chance to grab the gold release of Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 even before the platform was RTM’d on July 22nd, 2009. Fact is that Microsoft compiled the gold build of Windows 7 as early as July 13th 2009, and only made the official announcement on July 22nd.

The full build string of the gold release of Windows 7 is 7600.16385.090713-1255. The following numbers: 090713 indicate that the code was wrapped up on July 13th, 2009. On July 13th Microsoft both confirmed and denied that Windows 7 had been released to manufacturing. At that time the company noted that it hadn’t signed off the successor of Windows Vista.

At the end of the past week, both the 32-bit and the 64-bit of 7600.16385.090713-1255 were leaked and started being served by various third-party sources, from torrent trackers to warez websites, a move that is obviously illegal. You can take a look at what the RTM development milestone of Windows 7 has to offer via this article. One critical aspect that needs to be underlined is that Windows 7 RTM 7600.16385.090713-1255 can no longer be activated with the Beta or Release Candidate product keys from Microsoft. More »

Windows 7 Release Candidate Build 7100 is now available for public download straight from Microsoft. In parallel, users can also access Windows Server 2008 R2 RC, which went live concomitantly with the client flavor of Windows 7. Together with the actual bits for Windows 7, Microsoft is also providing product keys designed to activate the operating system. The Redmond company is offering a fixed set of keys that can be used to activate an unlimited number of Windows 7 Release Candidate installations. You will be able to find the complete collection of Windows 7 activation product keys at the bottom of this article.

If you’re up for the task, you can also grab them yourselves. Just visit the official Windows 7 RC download page, scroll down, select to download the Build 7100 bits in a specific language, sign in with your Windows Live ID and get one product key. Repeat the process to grab additional items. Or simply leverage the keys offered bellow, as you can use them to activate both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7. Windows Server 2008 R2 RC is available for download here, along with the product keys. More »