WGA’s ‘Emergency Switch’


An article on ZDNet talks about WGA explains that the recently released WGA Notifications feature does check for an updated configuration information at launch. Lauren Weinstein blogged on this and raised the issue of whether because of this WGA was like spyware. Both the article and a linked blog posting by Lauren Weinstein, were slashdotted earlier this evening which as usual includes a wide range of comments attached to the post.


Lauren’s post from today is actually the second of two and was posted after he was able to talk to a couple of members of the team. We were able to clarify for him that the communication performed at start up does not send any information up to Microsoft about a users system but instead offers a way to disable the feature if necessary. Lauren also points out that a system that has been validated once may in the future turn out not to be properly licensed in the future. One reason this might occur would be if for example the product key used with that system had in fact been misused or was stolen at the time of installation or a hack of product activation or some other part of Windows enabled the unlicensed use is discovered. I think this explanation answers the numerous comments in the Slashdot thread questioning why a system would need to be validated multiple times. Another important reason for the feature to exist is the ability to turn off the feature if some problem or other issue is discovered. As was pointed out to Lauren, the feature amounts to an ‘emergency switch’ to be used in the event that serious problems arise.


Comments (1)

  1. enriquecarvajal says:

    Will somebody please guide me in the right direction? My email is jijisman@hotmail.com. Alex, I know this is not technical support, but no one seems to be able to gelp me with this. You said in one of your articles, that you could guide people to the right place for support. Anyone else with useful advice is welcome to send me an email or post a comment, please. I depend for my work on my computer and I am having problems with wgatray. My software has been validated. That is not the issue. When I first boot, the wgatray.exe file takes over 90% of my CPU and when it goes away from processes it leave my computer with 80 to 100% utilization in sytem idle. Upon further digging with Process Explorer, this results from hardware interrupts at 75% CPU. So I reboot and go to system setup and change my IRQ assignments then the computer boots up without wgatray in the processes and all is well.(1% CPU utilization). I am forced to run my computer and never reboot and then I am OK. When I reboot, I go back to the same problem. WGATRAY does this to my computer whether I am online or not. Whether my antivirus is enable or not. And whether all my devices are removed from my computer. It seems it is trying to connect somewhere and leaves my computer messed up. I have formatted the the drive no less than 5 times because after a while, I think wgatray is actually letting some virus in, whereupon the 5th or 6th boot up I get some sort of bad file in my processes. I am about to try and disable wgatray with the help of some friends but I wish I could get an answer from someone on this issue. Thanks.

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