DRM is built into the heart of Windows and many other Microsoft services

Windows Media

Windows Media DRM, for the Windows Media Platform, has four components, which manage DRM packaging, building applications to support DRM, tools for DRM offline playback on portable devices, and DRM for streaming with network devices. Since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in 2016, users have been seeing this warning message:

We recommend you do not proceed with this update as your device may have some music or video content that is protected by an older rights management technology, which is not supported. If you install this update, you may no longer be able to play these music or video files. Close this dialog box to cancel, or you can choose to confirm to install the update.


Microsoft and many other game developers use DRM in their Xbox games. Having gone back and forth about the requirement of DRM and always-on internet check-in requirements and restrictions for games since 2012, Microsoft is currently focused on restricting your rights. Currently, DRM is used on Xbox 360 content providers, including Xbox Live. While it is possible to transfer licenses for individual games from one console to another, this is limited to once every four months.


Microsoft first introduced Zune, a portable music player in 2006, and discontinued support six years later. However, before 2012, users were able to stream and download content through Zune Music Pass. In March of 2017, Microsoft will be removing this service completely, and any DRM restricted content purchased through it will disappear from music collections all over the world.

Take Action

Switch to a free operating system. In some cases, Microsoft has added these restrictions at the behest of TV companies, Hollywood, and the music industry. In other cases, Microsoft DRM goes way beyond these companies' demands, such as their heavy use of DRM in the Xbox, which suggests that Microsoft is using DRM simply to create lock-in. Whether Microsoft is merely a co-conspirator with big media companies or an advocate for DRM in their own right, the result for software users is the same. By using Windows, you give control of your computer to the media industry.

You have the choice to move away from Windows and proprietary operating systems:

By taking actions like these, you are supporting user freedom rather than Microsoft and media industry control.