back to article Windows 7 fake spotted on BitTorrent

Pranksters have taken advantage of interest in the next version of Windows to post fake - but reportedly harmless - builds of Windows 7 on BitTorrent. A supposedly leaked "internal milestone 1" Alpha version of Windows 7 (previously codenamed Blackcomb) is easily found using Torrent search engines. But the weighty 2.17GB …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Fake?

    > But the weighty 2.17GB download is a bandwidth-sapping

    > waste of time composed of fake ISO disc images containing

    > nothing but a string of zeros.

    Finally, a significant improvement to Windows!

    Mine's the penguin-skin coat...

  2. Rob Kidd
    Stop

    Uh oh..

    "Anyone running early Alpha versions of Windows on anything but a test machine are setting themselves up for all sorts of problems."

    Incoming predicable Microsoft bashing! Run for the hills!

  3. Tyler
    Gates Horns

    Wait

    So you mean to tell me that people are downloading a leaked Alpha version of a M$ operating system when not a single one of the retail OS's that has come out has been worth a damn in the beginning? How the hell could you think that an alpha version of new M$ anything could be better than even the crap we know as Vista? The brilliance of people amazes me.

  4. griz
    Gates Horns

    Its a canary trap

    Whats the bets MS are keeping nice logs of the folks who download this "unlicensed" OS. Provides the legal hawks with a few file sharing scapegoats and a ton of evidence to slap ISP's with take down notices of those customers with super fast broadband and huge file servers. Oh and the i spent-all-night-d/l-that anger is sure to fuel some legit purchases (of dvd burners)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But... who? And why?

    Not the posters. I don't care about that.

    But who'd be dull enough to download and install an operating system from a disc they found on the internet?

    Sure, for something that's out and you can verify filesize and whatnot, maybe it's worth it, but anyone getting a pre-release OS or service pack deserves everything they get, TBH.

  6. Ketlan
    Happy

    Hey, it's Vista again...

    'the weighty 2.17GB download is a bandwidth-sapping waste of time'

    Sounds like it's going to be very similar to Vista after all!

  7. Keith
    Linux

    Hmmm, so the download is useless

    No difference with the usual Microshaft stuff then...

  8. Pete ThSplendiferous

    Tracking

    The dodgy version 7 is being uploaded by Redmond and they are tracking the number of leechers.

    you can't fool me

  9. Chris Williams
    Joke

    Harmless?

    Does "a harmless build of Windows" by definition have to consist of all zeroes?

  10. Ben Ash
    Happy

    Of course it's a fake!

    Windows products are all 1's!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    M$ probably did this.

    M$ could have done this. It would make a good tactic for any software company. Flood torrents with dummy downloads of equal size and it makes hard work for users to get the genuine article. Just add "this is the real version" to the file to muddy it up some more.

    The fact that they release a real seed for testing and this happening about the same time would make sense. After all how often do these seeds end up being leaked. Often.

    If I ran a software company I would do this to help protect for sure.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @But... who? And why?

    >> But who'd be dull enough to download and install an operating system

    >> from a disc they found on the internet?

    Only got a couple of Linux CDs (books/mag covers) from anywhere other than Internet - never had any problem installing the internet ones - so who are you calling dull :-p

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    I am suprised

    that it wasn't a Linux distro instead of 000s

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    I can answer this one!

    "But who'd be dull enough to download and install an operating system from a disc they found on the internet?"

    Ubuntu users.

    My nomex overalls and Ferrari please.

  15. Ian
    Thumb Up

    It's not a fake

    Takes forever to load, file copying never ends, performance is a dog - sounds like a genuine next version of Windows to me!

  16. Martin H Watson

    probably genuine

    If the files are full of zeroes, they are probably genuine Windows bloatware.

    Martin H. Watson

  17. system

    Bandwidth sapping?

    The thing with ISOs is that sometimes they contain some pretty big padding files consisting of nothing but 0s. A good trick to use when downloading none compressed ISOs is to set your client to pre-allocate, start the download, stop the download then force recheck. Any piece consisting entirely of null bytes is now labeled as complete.

    Using that method, you'd have saved 2.17GB of download and known it was fake within seconds.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Nothing wrong with giving alpha builds a whirl

    Oh come on, don't complain about alpha builds. (I'm looking at you "but who and why") I remember trying out Whistler when XP meant "extreme programming" (duuuude), and I can only assume that was an alpha build - purely out of idle curiosity and to see what the future was like.

    A pre-pre-pre-release OS download is not remotely dangerous - let's face it you're not going to shaft your machine as it would be on a rather empty hard disk cos it's the only way it would install, or better yet, a virtual machine.

    Admittedly, it was foolish for anyone to assume it was real, but had I seen it without the warnings that it was fake, I'd likely given it a whirl just to see - the joys of being on an ISP that doesn't charge by the byte.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @griz

    "Whats the bets MS are keeping nice logs of the folks who download this "unlicensed" OS. Provides the legal hawks with a few file sharing scapegoats and a ton of evidence to slap ISP's with take down notices of those customers"

    Just because somebody downloads a file that suggests from it's name that it's copyrighted software when infact the file is a hoax doesn't mean that they've committed a crime. Ok there is intent to commit a crime but they havn't actually committed one.

    Therefore there would be no point in Microshaft logging anything as the log would just list idiots who have been hoaxed. There's nothing for the Legal hawks to do.

    Now if Microshaft was logging downloaders of WindowsXP and Vista then the Legal hawks would be rubbing their hands together.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    All zeros?

    Sounds like they are cutting out the bloat finally!

  21. Chad H.
    Joke

    only 2 gigs?

    There was your first clue it was fake, win 7 will need a Blu ray disc, assuming its not dead..,

  22. Emo
    Joke

    All Zeros?

    All the zeros could be legit, just they omitted including all the 1's that make it interesting..

    /coat

  23. Sean Nevin

    @ griz

    A canary trap is a way of identifying *who* leaked a file by putting some unique identifiers in each copy you release. It is not intended to find out who is re-copying it.

    Go on and re-read the book.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I hope it's harmless

    There's stuff floating around on the P2P systems which is designed to distribute malware. Large, and ultimately useless, .avi files which tell the suckers to download a special codec, which is used to load malware when it is first run.

    Something like this might be a better trojan delivery system, since you don't have to provide a download site for the codec. The instance I heard about was using a porn site as a download source: I ended up explaining the tech to three elderly WI members, including my mother. I should never have offered to put the kettle on.

    Oh, the embarrasment!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Well it might not be fake

    It's possible that his bittorrent app was set to create and zero fill the file on start and the bit he looked at in the hex editor was a part of the file that hadn't been downloaded yet. Durrr! Download the lot to 100% at least!

  26. Stan

    nothing but a string of zeros

    so finally a 'stable and secure windows' that lives up to its claim?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Hey!

    I downloaded & installed this and even as an alpha release, it is an amazing improvement on Vista - much cleaner interface and easier to use.

    Also, dig the name of this new OS - "Windows ME" - Cool, man!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Not even then

    Even if you download a file called windowsxp.iso you still commit no crime. You dont know whats in it? you already own the OS? you live in a country where copyright is formulated differently (lifespan of 5 years , possibly, why not?)

  29. Maksim Rukov
    Coat

    very compressible

    How very inconsiderate of the pranksters not to compress the file. Being all zeroes, I bet it would shrink to a much more managable file-size!

    Mine's the one with the broken zipper.

  30. Chris Reynolds

    Solid as mountain. Not a load of bull?

    Bit of a tangent here...

    XP's codename was Whistler. Win7's codename is Blackcomb. Whistler and Blackcomb are mountains that sit right next to each other (so close in fact that there's a gondola being built between them).

    With a strong link between the codenames, perhaps win 7 will be more closely related to XP than to Vista, which was named after a bull.

    Am I reading too far between the lines here? In my experience, many project managers like to keep a link between their project names so I'd hope that there's something in the naming convention. I like XP and haven't yet seen the need to upgrade.

  31. Tim Bates

    I'm with that anonymous coward....

    If you're going to fake a release of an MS OS, why not dress up a Linux LiveCD and make it appear to be real. You could do all sorts then...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Chris Reynolds

    Hi Chris - it's less sinister than that unfortunately. Whistler-Blackcomb was where the MS engineers went skiing during the early days of XPs planning/development.

    Blackcomb/Vienna/Win7 was meant to be the successor to Whistler/XP but was delayed, resulting in an "interim" release called Longhorn, turning eventually into a major release (Vista). So you could liken Vista to ME in that respect...

  33. tardigrade
    Coat

    Vista Service Pack - Get it here.

    Everyone struggling with Vista problems would do well to download the following service pack.

    http://releases.ubuntu.com/7.10/ubuntu-7.10-desktop-i386.iso

    Installation instructions can be found at http://www.ubuntu.com

  34. Geoff Mackenzie

    Hmm... pondering...

    When I start a download, the file is immediately at its final size, but initially all zeroes. Perhaps if the impatient hex editor wielding user had given it time, the ones would have been along a few hours later.

  35. Alan Lukaszewicz
    Go

    Interesting?

    Two flavours both without "Windows" moniker?

    Vienna

    Vienna Top Class

    One that follows through Windows propensity to open hardware and the other to a strictly limited set of hardware.

  36. Sean
    Joke

    @Ben Ash

    Microsoft products are all 2's. Didn't you know they don't believe in binary?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ Geoff Mackenzie

    That just what I bloody wrote above! (see well it might not be fake)

  38. Tim
    Gates Halo

    Desktop linux - still not there

    Whilst I use Linux for many things and love it. On the desktop, even in the latest funky supposedly "idiot-proof" versions, it is still a million miles away from being actually useable for the mass public and so called "idiots".

    See the problem is you still need a degree in Geekdom to configure the damn thing for your particular hardware, and even then support for many bits of kit is frankly "alpha" quality (WiFi and laptop support in particular).

    I keep trying every now and again, running Linux on my laptop. It's just not there. Still. The basics work out of the box and looks nice, but half the hardware is just not supported and involves a lot of googling very technical geek forums for help. I got hacked off eventually with things like WiFi connections that take an hour to establish and then drop again, flakey touchpad and keyboard input, "updates" that corrupt USB drives, and went back to XP (which when kept pretty much to the basic install which supports everything out of the box, and avoiding the likes of system killers like Norton, then loading up loads of open source software like Firefox, Thunderbird and Open Office, works a charm).

    Sure, when it comes to hardware and Linux you can just buy stuff you know is compatible. Indeed, that's called an Apple Mac ;-)... and of course you pay through the nose for the work that has been done to ensure it works with only that hardware. What people fail to realise with Microsoft is their software has the immense task of having to run with just about every bit of hardware that exists. Linux is always playing catch up and depending on 16 year old Russian geeks in their bedrooms, and Macs are more like games consoles with fixed hardware. All valid for their purposes, but there's a reason why MS has an OS on almost all desktops.

    Then of course there is the development environment. No question there. MS all the way.

  39. Christopher E. Stith
    Linux

    @Tim

    No, Microsoft's OSes hardly support any modern hardware out of the box. Everything from chipsets to video cards to soundcards come with drivers the hardware manufacturers ship. It's actually a pretty good system for something as ubiquitous as Windows, because you don't have to rely on Microsoft to support everything. In effect, instead of the OS supporting the hardware, the hardware is supporting the OS.

    If the hardware manufacturers all supported Linux as well as they do Windows, then less Linux development time could be spent playing catchup with the hardware. That time could be spent on making the kernel even better than it is, or on other portions of the OS.

    Tux sits beside this post to encourage broader hardware vendor support for all major OSes.

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