Microsoft Support Caught Solving Windows Activation Issues With An Illegal Crack

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It's probably fair to say that a good number of PC enthusiasts have pirated a copy of Windows once upon a time. It's also probably fair to say that a certain number of folks have had the thought "I'll go legit and buy my Windows this time!" One such fellow in South Africa had exactly that thought, but he couldn't get his legitimate copy of Windows to activate, so he contacted Microsoft... who promptly cracked it for him.

It's a hilarious story, and it would be hard to believe if not for the screenshots. Wesley Pyburn, who goes by @TCNOco on Twitter, says that he contacted Microsoft support after exhausting all automated attempts to get Windows to activate on his new machine. Incredibly, support was unable to help him, so the request was elevated to level 2 support the next day.

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The Microsoft support assistant downloads and executes the crack. (Cropped, click for full)

When he got in touch with the level 2 support technician, the Microsoft staffer remoted into his machine with Quick Assist and immediately started to run Powershell commands, pictured above. Those Powershell commands download and execute a script from Massgrave, which is a site that hosts "unofficial" Microsoft Activation Scripts (or MAS, thus the name.)

If you guessed that "unofficial" means "illicit", you're absolutely right. The scripts from Massgrave allow users to bypass Microsoft's activation procedures and unlock full use of what is otherwise an unlicensed install of Windows and Office. It is tantamount to software piracy—at least, assuming you don't actually own a Windows or Office license.

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A MAS developer responding to the user's queries about the script.

Mr. Pyburn does in fact own a Windows license, though, and Microsoft's own systems should have recognized this and activated the installed operating system automatically. Arguably, the Microsoft support technician that ran the Massgrave script on his machine didn't do anything wrong, because ultimately the legitimate install ended up activated, so all's well that ends well, right?

It's still comical that Microsoft's own technicians had to do this, though. Most folks who work on PCs for themselves or others, including likely a large portion of this site's readership, have had the experience of dealing with a Microsoft product that just won't activate for whatever reason. It's easy to think that the tired and frustrated support tech, weary of dealing with Microsoft's terrible activation process, simply took an end-around to the issue to get the ticket resolved. Kudos to the operator for out-of-the box thinking.