Microsoft has come up with a strategy it thinks will encourage users to help it in the fight against piracy: the Windows XP Counterfeit Project.

The company is inviting anyone unsure as to the legitimacy of their Windows XP software to submit their product to Microsoft for analysis.

Software that is found to be counterfeit will be replaced for free subject to the Terms and Conditions of the offer.

The project will allow Microsoft to collate intelligence quickly and work with the authorities to act decisively against illegal traders and other abusers.

"Illegal software is a risk to users as it is less dependable, less secure and unsupported. I'd urge anyone who has suspicions to submit their Windows XP software for testing today," said Alex Hilton, Licence Compliance Manager at Microsoft.

The Windows XP Counterfeit Project is the latest initiative from Microsoft to target the illegal software market. Further details on how to use the service can be found online at: www.microsoft.com/uk/piracy/xpreplacementoffer.