Print 19 comment(s) - last by Wwhat.. on Jun 30 at 6:34 PM

No more daily calls to Microsft for the Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy utility

DailyTech reported earlier this month that Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy tool was phoning home daily in order to determine whether a machine was running a valid install of Windows or not. It was also shown that the tool takes note of a user's system configuration along with their language and location settings.

Microsoft, looking to douse some of the fires that enraged over the announcement of the daily checks, yesterday released an updated version of the WGA anti-piracy tool via its Windows Update system. The new version of the WGA utility no longer makes daily calls back to Microsoft. The company did, however, state that the tool can still check on occasion whether the Windows installation is genuine or not. eWeek reports:

The WGA tool, which is a mandatory part of the Redmond, Wash., software giant's battle to curb Windows piracy, includes two separate components: WGA validation and WGA notifications. Validation determines whether the copy of Windows installed is pirated or not, and Notifications is set up to nag users whom Microsoft believes are not running "genuine Windows" and "suggest" where they can "learn more about the benefits of using genuine Windows software."

For users that would like to completely disable or remove previous version of the WGA utility, Microsoft has issued a new knowledge base article which takes you through the motions steps by step. Installing the latest version of the WGA tool will override the offending version; however, those who want to get rid of the tool altogether will have to do some registry editing. If you’re squeamish about digging through your registry – or just aren’t too concerned with the WGA checks -- you may want to sit this one out.

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For now..
By nowayout99 on 6/28/2006 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Presumably in the fall, WGA will be a requirement and may shut out access to the OS altogether if the copy is not "genuine."

RE: For now..
By TomZ on 6/28/06, Rating: 0
RE: For now..
By stmok on 6/28/2006 2:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
To me the only concern is whether WGA is 100% accurate so that it doesn't create any usability issues for properly-licensed installations.

Its not. There have been innocent people being nagged to fustration. (some are folks who got their laptops repaired, and WGA keeps telling them they don't have a legit copy, even though it is).

They've clearly changed the phone home rate...I think its every 30 or 90 days. (maybe somewhere in between).

RE: For now..
By TomZ on 6/28/2006 4:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Its not. There have been innocent people being nagged to fustration.

If it were me, I'd phone Microsoft and have them fix the problem. The frustration might then be their problem if they get zillions of such phone calls.

RE: For now..
By bim27142 on 6/28/2006 6:41:12 PM , Rating: 3
count me one of them... i have a pre-installed windows on my laptop and hell it's telling me that my copy is not genuine, WTF?! and i just HATE it when i call up MS and then they tell me to call up my laptop manufacturer because it was pre-installed... WTF?! this is NOT my laptop manufacturer's OS, what the hell are they suppose to do about it when in fact this WGA crap is MS's move... hope this "news" resolves my concern then................. and oh, this also bugged other OEM version users i believe...

so for those "pre-installed" windows users, don't even bother calling your laptop/desktop manufacturers as they just can't give you good answers then... this is MS's crappy move in the first place...

RE: For now..
By mindless1 on 6/28/2006 10:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Fine, so long as they pay everyone for their time. Remember, we are considering people who have ALREADY PAID for windows. I for one certainly do not volunteer to jump through hoops to keep using the product they've already collected payment for. How about I dictate that they now jump through hoops in order to KEEP that payment?

Doesn't work one way and it can't then work the other. A paid-for license is a contract and can't be altered later even if one party tries to pull a "we can alter it later" clause, within limits. Having a component automatically install and then accuse of stealing software and shuttign down the OS certianly exceeds any reasonable interpretation of that, and would clearly be cause for a class-action lawsuit.

Besides that lawsuit, as already mentioned I'd expect to be paid for the time to fix their mistake. Downtime can cost money and nobody in a free society should be forced to call in to retain their property- the working licensed software, that is, the license itself is their property.

internet connection
By othercents on 6/28/2006 2:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
This is crazy because not everyone has internet access. I know people who still just use the computer as a big typewritter or even just a gaming center. Microsoft is pushing the envelope and will soon require "high speed" access to use their products.


RE: internet connection
By Pandamonium on 6/28/2006 2:22:21 PM , Rating: 3
If you lack an internet connection, you'd be hard pressed to download the update to begin with.

RE: internet connection
By allometry on 6/28/2006 2:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
Also, if you lack an internet connection, who the hell cares if it trys to phone home anyway?

RE: internet connection
By stmok on 6/28/2006 2:43:57 PM , Rating: 1
This is crazy because not everyone has internet access.

You stick with Microsoft solutions, you have to deal with what they dish out. Not satisfied? Leave them. Up to you.

RE: internet connection
By TomZ on 6/28/2006 4:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
Another choice is to call Microsoft and tell them your opinion, if the software is giving you usability problems.

Just like when my car's headlight stopped working, I didn't trash it out and buy a new car because of that.

By mjgraf on 6/28/2006 1:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
just set to occasionally talkback every day. hehe

RE: sure...
By Master Kenobi on 6/28/2006 1:55:09 PM , Rating: 3
Prolly phones home once a week now. Not that I really care, so what if it tells microsoft what my system specs are? All my games do that when I patch them, only they tell a dozen different companies. This way software makers can target the mainstream, so in general its not a bad idea, maybe they can focus on what kind of hardware most people have, and plan around that.

let me call it like babe ruth...
By L1NUXownz1fUR1337 on 6/28/2006 6:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
In the future, microsoft will create a new product, microsoft Meter.

It will be a physical box that connects to your computer and has no display so you don't know how much money you owe bill.

WGA in hardware baby.

But soon china will surpass the tech-less US and it wont matter because we'll all have hats with a red star and using Communist approved linux and speak chinese - i think we'll probably have a better living than dealing with miCro$oft.

RE: let me call it like babe ruth...
By Wwhat on 6/30/2006 6:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
China is rapidly exceeding the capitalism of the US.
Already the population are the slaves of the big US companies.
If there's a real communist left in china he's prabably in hiding.

all the same to me
By mforce on 6/28/2006 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 1
Who cares ? It's often been said that pirates have a much easier life than legit users . I got a cracked WGA notifications and Windows legit and replaced the ones MS supplied with that ( using Linux ) . And you know what it works like a charm . So does the serial number I used to bypass registration .
I really feel software companies will never learn , they just keep making life hard for legit users while also failing to stop pirates like me .
Just my 2 cents .

RE: all the same to me
By fic2 on 6/28/2006 4:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
What I don't get - if a legit copy of windows is installed why does WGA need to call more than once? Is the legit copy going to somehow become illegal?

If it is not a legit copy of windows it probably isn't running WGA anyway.

Another example of "The Man" making it more of a hassle for the people that paid for the product.

The problems
By GG on 6/28/2006 2:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with WGA Notifications is that it phones home at inopportune times (like during the middle of a game). I don't mind validating my copy of Windows when I DL updates, but they've gone too far with WGA Notifications.

The problem with their removal instructions are that they tell you to delete files that have been renamed and registry keys that do not exist.

What's the difference?
By MonkeyPaw on 6/28/2006 3:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not really against WPA/WGA, but what's the difference between it calling home everyday and it calling home every once in a while? That's like me saying I'm not that bad of an employee because I'm not late to work everyday, just 2-3 times a week. It's still checking in, the frequency doesn't really matter. I can understand the point of WPA, and it hasn't interfered that much with my PC experience.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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