Misperceptions about WGA

With all of the recent interest in WGA over the past month, I wanted to take a moment to clarify a few of the misperceptions out there and hopefully bring some clarity about what the program is intended to do.

First, I’d like to revisit the announcement that was made earlier this week about the updates to the WGA Notifications program. Starting on Tuesday a new version of WGA Notifications was released. There were two significant changes made based on customer feedback.

1) A daily configuration check, or “phone home” feature as it was reported in some places, existed in the pilot phase in order to determine if the notifications should run or not and how often. This configuration check was removed.
2) We also replaced the End User License Agreement (EULA) with a standard General Availability EULA that more clearly explains the purpose of the software and provides details about WGA Notifications. In addition, for customers who choose not to install the updated package, and wish to remove an installed pre-release version a Knowledge Base article has been made available.

Second, there is a rumor floating around that Microsoft is planning to use WGA to implement a “kill switch” for PCs that fail validation. Microsoft anti-piracy technologies cannot and will not turn off your computer. In our ongoing fight against piracy, we are constantly finding and closing loopholes pirates use to circumvent established policies.  The game is changing for counterfeiters. In Windows Vista we are making it notably harder and less appealing to use counterfeit software, and we will work to make that a consistent experience with older versions of Windows as well. In alignment with our anti-piracy policies we have been continually improving the experience for our genuine customers, while restricting more and more access to ongoing Windows capabilities for those who choose not to pay for their software. Our genuine customers deserve the best experience, and so over time we have made the following services and benefits available only to them:  Windows Update service, Download Center, Internet Explorer 7, Windows Defender, and Windows Media Player 11, as well as access to a full range of updates including non-security related benefits.   We expect this list to expand considerably as we continue to add value for our genuine customers and deny value to pirates.  Microsoft is fully committed to helping any genuine customers who have been victims of counterfeit software, and offer free replacement copies of Windows to those who’ve been duped by high quality counterfeiters. As always people can find more information about what Microsoft is doing at the genuine site as well as our ‘How to Tell’ and ‘Piracy’ sites.

Comments (16)

  1. Earlier today there was chatter about the impact of WGA.. Windows Genuine Advantage… and how we didn’t…

  2. Microsoft wrote:

    Misperceptions about WGA With all of the recent interest in WGA over the past month,…

  3. TimAnderson says:

    WGA: funny, sad, careless. See http://www.itwriting.com/blog/?postid=474


  4. Microsoft shared updated information on it’s latest versio of WGA. Most notably they do not plan to turn…

  5. Microsoft shared updated information on it’s latest versio of WGA. Most notably they do not plan to turn…

  6. Just saw this news earlier today reporting that a recently released Apple software update, specifically to…

  7. microalps says:

    I think your explanation is really lacking for the following reasons:

    1) Customers who have been decieved by their vendor should only we notified once, after which the program should auto-uninstall itself and tell Microsoft Update not to reinstall.

    2) Customers who willingly installed a counterfeit version may still be entitled to updates, etc. For example, if their computer did not come with a recovery CD or the recover CD was faulty, they are forced to buy a new copy from the vendor. This is costly and sometimes simply not available. They opt to get a copy from a friend, but it doesn’t except their license key as their license key is an OEM specific, while the CD they obtained is not or from another manufacturer. This may be the cause to a computer having a cd-key not obtained legally; however the Windows OS is still legal. Another scenario is where the users lose their COA, and cannot obtain their license key. They will not pay for another copy because they lost their COA.

    3) Customers who are informed of workarounds would tell you that there is a workaround for every protection MS has placed on their software. This includes IE7 Beta 3, MP11, Windows XP Themes, the Download Center, Microsoft Updat, etc. The ‘paying’ customer has no advantages over the ‘paying-but-fail-WGA’ nor the ‘non-paying’ customers. And I highly doubt that any future fix by MS will stop the crackers. The longest any protection has lasted was merely a few months.

    Good luck robbing the MS customer from his legal rights and access to services he rightfully owns.

  8. Why is it, that with "final" version of KB905474 (WGA Notifcation Tool) there’s still a "wganotify.settings" sitting in the %windir%Temp folder with the line "Refresh Frequency on every 14 days" which indicates, that the final version does check every 14 days the MS server?

    Doesn’t that conflict with your statement in 1) "This configuration check was removed"?

    Why can’t I find *any* information on any MS site I’m aware of about the congrete intervall in which KB905474 checks for a new update and/or connects to a MS server?



  9. Renzi says:

    I am really annoyed about the hostile take-over of my desk-top background. Is this the latest tactic by Microsoft to discourage my continued use of Windows XP?

    I was informed that an update for Service Pack 3 was available (and recommended) for my PC. As normal, I accepted the invitation, but instead of installing the update — something called WGA hijacked my computer to run a diagnostic "check" of my Windows XP Pro system.

    It ran its test and reported that my system is a counterfeit!!!!!

    This is really strange, seeing that I’ve owned and operated this computer for nearly five years, without a single crash and the only changes have come from Microsoft Windows Automatic Updates!!!!!!

    Now, all of a sudden, my factory installed Windows XP Pro Edition is a counterfeit?

    I could care less about all the hoopla over piracy & such – – – in my opinion Microsoft is the real pirate. They want to charge me $149 for a "Genuine Copy" of Windows XP!!! What happened to their pledges to support "my" XP untill 2014?????

    What erks me most (and why I’m writing this) is that they have the nerve to hold hostage my desk-top until I pay the $149 ransom!!!!!!!

    That’s right — they have removed my beutiful scenic background graphics and replaced them with a disturbing BLACK sceen (only my task bar along the bottom remains visible)!!!!!!!!!!!

    Anyone care to enlighten me about these new WGA tactics???

    Just what is WGA? — Windows Gestapo Agency ??????????

  10. Renzi says:

    Oh my —– I just read the date on the most recent post prior to my last one. It was two years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That just reinforces my shock at Microsofts recent hijack of my desk-top!!!!!

    How is it that I’ve not been detained before, seeing that this WGA has been in exisitence for three years or more?

    Who are these idiots!!!???!!!!