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Users wonder what else isn't Microsoft telling them

Microsoft has recently unveiled that its Windows Genuine Advantage makes calls to Microsoft every day.  Most users were aware that the piracy tool would ping Microsoft servers periodically, but every day has been a bit surprising to some users.  Microsoft claims the daily check is a safety measure that allows the tool to shut down if it malfunctions.  Although users have reported that WGA falsely labeled their software as pirated copies of Microsoft operating systems.  The program takes note of the computer's manufacturer, language being used and location where the operating is set for. 

The Register states "First of all this is a pilot - customers have the choice to subscribe or not. WGA is very careful about which license keys are checked - some numbers have been leaked and therefore have been culled by Microsoft. If customers bought a genuine copy of Windows but as a result of a poor installation or a repair a different license key was used then WGA would flag it as not genuine." 

The software is being offered to people that signed up to receive Windows security updates.  If a user is using a pirated copy of Windows, they will start receiving reminders from Microsoft that the software isn't authentic.  People using pirated versions of Windows are not eligible to receive some Windows updates.  David Lazar, director of the Windows Genuine Advantage Program, has said that the company is thinking about modifying WGA so it only checks in with Microsoft every two weeks.

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Raise your hand
By segagenesis on 6/8/2006 2:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
If this news actually surprised you.

Raise your hand again....
By Cocytus on 6/8/2006 2:34:13 PM , Rating: 3
Raise it again if you're still annoyed anyway....

RE: Raise your hand
By Niv KA on 6/8/2006 2:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
Technologically smart crowd goes quiet not learning anything new.

On the other side of the room the Average Joe user rases his hand and goes"What?!?!?!?!"

The advantages of knowing the industry

---Niv K Aharonovich

RE: Raise your hand
By Niv KA on 6/8/2006 2:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
My original comment was to segagenesis but I type slow when half asleep.

Start placing bets, how long do you think it will be before someone discovers Microsoft are stealing private info while at it?
"We needed to check all your privet stuff to make sure that you didn't get past our system. Therefore we listened in on your MSN/Live messenger conversations and read your word documents. And whilw we were at it, sold your info to advertisers"

---Niv K Aharonovich

PS: I am not fully serios so please don't start with the here it goes, the anti Microsoft guys at it again and all that junk

RE: Raise your hand
By segagenesis on 6/8/2006 2:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
No, my post was in sarcasm so it's not something to take seriously. Just another day at the office, not like other products don't do this (I can name several off the top of my head that have done this before MS validation). Not that it really affects those it should (those running pirate Windows probably have this bypassed anyways) so really its just a couple of people freaking out over nothing important.

Yes, don't give them any ideas. If my computer gets to the point it shuts down if it can't phone home every day evn if its legitimate... then we have some problems. That would be a dicussion for another day...

RE: Raise your hand
By Master Kenobi on 6/8/2006 2:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, uhm.... no surprise here, I mean if you can set your computer to check microsoft for updates every day, is it really that much of a leap to assume Microsoft isn't adding that into their anti-piracy tools? Come on here folks, this should not be a surprise to anyone. But also, its not that big of a deal, who cares if it dials home everyday to tell them your legit? No difference between that and syncing yourself with the time servers to get your clock straightened out.

RE: Raise your hand
By PrinceGaz on 6/8/2006 3:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I was already aware it checks daily to sync the clock so it is to be expected it does a WGA check everytime it checks for updates. That's why I get my updates manually, speaking of which it's a while since I checked for them so I'll do so now. Hopefully they haven't updated the WGA bit again as that means an extra couple of minutes while I find something else to download as well ;)

RE: Raise your hand
By PrinceGaz on 6/8/2006 3:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
That's the updates done. And yes I can confirm that someone I bumped into in a pub a couple of minutes ago told me that the WGA Validation Tool has indeed been updated, to v1.5.532.0 now. Funny the sort of people you bump into in pubs and the sort of things they tell you ;)

RE: Raise your hand
By Trisped on 6/8/2006 3:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
Raise your hand it this doesn't bother you because they aren't sending important info to their servers.

Raise you hand if you still think it is obsessive to check in every day.

RE: Raise your hand
By IMPoor on 6/8/2006 4:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
Important Info? computer's manufacturer, language being used and location. What is so important about that you software pirate?

Oh no Microsoft now knows that I use a Dell in english and I am on the PST time zone. Of crap now all you guys nknow my secret also. This is so very bad.

Give me a break, I bet google knows more about me than microsoft does. Just buy the software or don't. If I was a pirate software user it think it is pretty cool that MS is still allowing my Windows to run instead of taking me to court like the movie and music industry. What do you have to say about that.

RE: Raise your hand
By smitty3268 on 6/8/2006 7:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Next time you start ranting, try reading the post you are replying to first. He said there wasn't any important info being sent.

RE: Raise your hand
By peternelson on 6/9/2006 3:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
they ALSO have your IP address.

I noticed it connecting each day because of my firewall settings. Must try logging it with ethereal sometime to see what is sent.

RE: Raise your hand
By shortylickens on 6/8/2006 7:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Even though I never heard it officially, I pretty much just assumed.
I mean, we all know what Microsoft is like, why should this be suprising?

RE: Raise your hand
By INeedCache on 6/9/2006 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
No, we don't all know what Microsoft is like. Why don't you explain it to some of us?

RE: Raise your hand
By shortylickens on 6/11/2006 3:55:55 PM , Rating: 2 Results 1 - 10 of about 2,170,000,000
If you really dont know then I guess you have some catching up to do.

RE: Raise your hand
By captchaos2 on 6/9/2006 9:07:09 AM , Rating: 2
So if they checked my version of windows yesterday, how could it suddenly turn into a pirated copy today? I've seen people with Obsessive-Compulsive disorder before, but this is truly crazy.

By Sunbird on 6/8/2006 3:44:26 PM , Rating: 5
Windows ET

RE: edition:
By KaPolski on 6/8/2006 4:02:27 PM , Rating: 2

Thank you for putting a smile on my face, exams are a b**ch...

RE: edition:
By redeyedfly on 6/8/2006 4:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
well this is fine and dandy and all but I still think microsoft should be held somewhat reliable for all security comprisies, hacks, virus, and spyware that take advantage of their "security holes" in "their" software. Negligence is on their part for releasing software with flaws. Now they refuse updates to problems that they caused! They are the ones release buggy software they should have to fix it on any ones pc regardless. Just like anyother product, if it break you take it back. If I get a virus, I want microsoft to fix it.

RE: edition:
By freon on 6/8/2006 6:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
MS is held responsible for updating their software, otherwise we wouldn't have ANY security updates at all.
Refuse updates? People with illegal copies don't deserve updates.

RE: edition:
By PrinceGaz on 6/8/2006 6:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
If people with illegal copies are refused updates, then their machines are much more likely to be hijacked by viruses and worms and used to launch new attacks against people with legal copies of Windows. That is why MS allow unofficial copies to still get the security updates without any sort of cracking (though now with the daily nag).

They know they can't stop people from using it, so it is better to remind people with unofficial versions that they should consider buying a copy, rather than forcing those people to resort to learning about cracked files which would likely lead them deeper into piracy.

RE: edition:
By segagenesis on 6/8/2006 6:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
This was discussed looooong ago grasshopper, that you still get security updates on pirated copies. This is a necessity to prevent unpatched machines creating a serious problem if an exploit/virus comes out.

Oh and by the way, you dont even need windows update to get updates. This is good for when making slipstreamed new installs without having to watch windows update churn away. Unfortunately it also defeats the whole purpose of "Genuine Advantage" in the first place. If Microsoft really wanted to do something why can't they just make windows not run at all?

RE: edition:
By sieistganzfett on 6/8/2006 7:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
"If Microsoft really wanted to do something why can't they just make windows not run at all" -well its been done. if you dont activate they force you to use a good key within 30 days for xp. but those that are illegal copies are the corp. version that doesnt activate. I'm sure for Vista they are going to be more strict from day 1 of installation. do you mean not run at all like Windows Me? but WinMe didnt matter if you owned it or not, for some computers it just didnt run at all, oddly my pc never had that problem with WinMe.

RE: edition:
By segagenesis on 6/8/2006 7:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
"If Microsoft really wanted to do something why can't they just make windows not run at all" -well its been done. if you dont activate they force you to use a good key within 30 days for xp. but those that are illegal copies are the corp. version that doesnt activate.

I think you defeated your own argument with that statement. :p
Really though "corporate" copies will likely remain the same in Vista because I sure as hell don't want to jump through more hoops at my job and repeat that 1000 times over, I don't think anyone does. I'm almost led to believe they "allow" pirated copies to exist to retain market share because if they made Windows 100% copy proof... the countries where piracy is a problem don't have the money to buy it anyways, and would move to the competition (Linux). That is just my assumption though. I don't care what they do but stop making it more annoying to legally own Windows than it is to illegally own it.

RE: edition:
By freon on 6/8/2006 7:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
I know pirated copies still get updates, I was simply replying to his argument saying they refuse to do it. They dont have to allow pirated copies to get updates. But it is done for exactly what you and the other posted, to help control problems.

On a related note, I just had to reinstall XP Pro on both my machines and use my legit keys (instead of the non-legit Corp key) to get WMP 11. I hope they expand on that concept, and think it would be even better if they could just start disabling features on pirated copies. Making it not run at all could be the eventual penalty if you dont go legit. lol

RE: edition:
By shortylickens on 6/11/2006 3:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Rumormill says thats the plan with Vista.
We'll have to wait and see.

By Scabies on 6/8/2006 2:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
customers have the choice to subscribe or not.

That choice aligns with whether or not customers want updates.

RE: cute
By Chadder007 on 6/8/2006 2:44:22 PM , Rating: 4
Thats what I was thinking. This is absolute BS. You have to subscribe to get any updates now at all.

RE: cute
By Master Kenobi on 6/8/2006 2:45:33 PM , Rating: 3
We do the same thing with software installs and getting jobs, and getting drivers licenses..... either you agree and get it, or you don't and you lose out, take your pick. Tell your company you refuse to take a drug test, see how long you will keep your job :)

(Granted many small low paying jobs don't care, but all the white collar, and most retailers do require drug tests)

RE: cute
By punko on 6/8/2006 3:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
We do the same thing with software installs and getting jobs, and getting drivers licenses..... either you agree and get it, or you don't and you lose out, take your pick. Tell your company you refuse to take a drug test, see how long you will keep your job :)

Of course, if you lived in a country where such drug tests were illegal . . .or if your conditions of employment didn't include drug testing, you could demand compensation for the additional employer "requirement."

Besides, if you were a valuable employee, there is no concern about termination. So why are you worrying, unless . . .

RE: cute
By mindless1 on 6/10/2006 7:33:22 AM , Rating: 3
No, we don't do anything remotely similar. This is a PRODUCT we PAID for.

If you choose not to get a drivers license, do you still pay the fee for it? If you refuse the job drug test and get fired do you still drive there and back every day?

It's not at all the same thing, because many of us bought windows with the expectation of either A) Finished product that is secure because that was what they advertised OR B) Updates to result in the product they advertised. Forcing us to agree to further terms in order to get the product we paid for is probably illegal!

Do I care though? Not really, if the want Windows to connect somewhere a dozen times a day, that's fine so long as no personal info is transmitted AND so long as there is never a chance of legitimate copys (err, mean licensed copys) end up disabled through overzealousness.

By Samus on 6/9/2006 6:00:06 AM , Rating: 2
who needs security updates.

RE: meh.
By jtesoro on 6/9/2006 11:49:48 AM , Rating: 2
Since you asked, I think you do. :p

RE: meh.
By WarTickler on 6/9/2006 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
If you have to ask, then clearly you should check them out. What's your IP Address again?


RE: meh.
By mindless1 on 6/10/2006 7:35:47 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it's a valid point. Only a fool relies on windows security at all, the same secure computing practices that are warranted for any version of windows will also make a completely unpatched version secure.

By grimdeath on 6/8/2006 2:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
join or die right?

RE: :/
By Cocytus on 6/8/2006 3:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, uhm.... no surprise here, I mean if you can set your computer to check microsoft for updates every day, is it really that much of a leap to assume Microsoft isn't adding that into their anti-piracy tools?

This talking point has no traction. 6 completely different things:

1.When a user specifies how and when their computer accesses the interent for updates
2. When a manufacturer specifes how and when someone else's computer accesses the internet for software validity .

Also throw in that the manufacturuer only tells the user about the validity checking after the fact.

Correct. None of this is new, however, users should not begrudgingly accept it.

RE: :/
By captchaos2 on 6/9/2006 9:44:57 AM , Rating: 3
So if I go on vacation, and M$ doesn't hear from me for over a week, will they think I no longer exist? Will I be erased from the Matrix, and no one will remember me?

Might not be a big deal
By hstewarth on 6/8/2006 5:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
This could be just that it check microsoft site, for updates each day.

I am sure if your machine is not connnected to the internet, then doesn't check

There is a lot other software that does this stuff, Logitech devices and creative labs sound cards are two that come to mind.

RE: Might not be a big deal
By WarTickler on 6/9/2006 11:55:45 AM , Rating: 2
<rant> Well...yes it IS a big deal! Logitech and Creative Labs and a BUNCH of other 'phone-home' software is just that: Spyware laden. The point is that I want to be able to control when my computer goes out and tries to communicate with the WWW. I don't want my M$ Office calling back to Bill when I have a help question. I don't want Logitech tying up my resources and potentially crashing once a month just so my MOUSE CAN BE UP TO DATE?!

And further, the issues raised above about M$ wanting to keep even pirated versions working are seriously valid. What would you do if your pirated Windows stopped working and you couldn't revive it? (A true pirate wouldn't have this problem, as has been said, because they already have the latest workaround for these type of Malicious Software attacks.) If you couldn't get Windows up again because you had a pirated version and didn't know how to get another key or work it out you would end up going to find one that worked. Now, I'm not a big user of Linux but I do know the amount of money my company would save if we didn't have to keep up with licensing fees, maintenance contracts, payed upgrades, and the labor costs involved with the whole of Software Asset Management. We have quite the capable team and we hire smart, skilled people so supporting Linux wouldn't be an issue around here. Open source is exciting for a number of very good, very Important reasons.

M$ sees their grasp slipping slowly. They are now in a continuous, defensive posture against the whole world and they are continuing to inflame the honest people. They ARE going to lose market share to Open-Source communities. They are going to have a serious problem selling stock if the interest and appeal of supporting Open-Source continues to build.

Windows will always be hackable. The best thing Bill Gates could do now is to begin teaching the internal architecture of Windows to the world. Start opening up the source code and people will love them again. Look, Windows is not a bad piece of software. Everyone knows how to use it. It's really a slick program. Yes, it has problems, most of which have to do with backwards compatibility with older versions. (What would happen if my Counterstrike wouldn't run on VISTA? F that!) And the majority of the problems are minimally significant with the right mindset toward internet security. But what could XP have been if it didn't have to backwards support WinME or any of the other flavors of failed M$ OS attempts? What could VISTA be if they spent this much time, not fixing incompatibilities, but refining the software itself?! There are a lot of incredible programmers and software architects working at M$. Certainly it is the business-end of the house that fails us as users most.

My PC still runs fine. I won't permanently switch to Linux until I can play my games. Yes i'm turning 30 this year and it is still my number one requirement to be able to play Battlefield 1942 on whatever operating system I run.</rant>

RE: Might not be a big deal
By rushfan2006 on 6/9/2006 2:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I read the rant post. And yep, like the guy said before the rant post....its not a big deal.

I find those that over-react are usually (but not *always*) in one of the following groups: 1) They don't know what they are talking about (not knowing makes people more upset, paranoid), 2) They have it made with regards to the level of things to worry about in life (why else would folks get so upset over issues that on the global scale are so insignificant with how it affects our lives?) and 3) Just driven by blind hatred against the person, company or organization to which they are ranting about - so its easy to get the flame war going you just need a little spark (ie. a very small, meaningingless issue to be dramatic about).

For the record, I'm pretty much exclusive with logitech keyboards and mouse for years now, I've NEVER come across where I couldn't disable auto updates, AND I've NEVER had significant drop in bandwidth or processing resources during an update. So that part of your claim is flat out BS and extremely exaggerated right off the bat.

And who the hell cares if your pirated version of windows stops working...its illegal, Microsoft (or anyone else) is now expected to cry that your illegal software screws up..Please. And if you bought it and didn't know it was pirated at the time, unfortunately -- that's also not Microsoft's fault (or anyone but your own fault). Ever here of "buyer beware"?

<Slaps myself> Oh crap I'm sorry -- silly mean you are are in my age bracket...the generation that things we have a RIGHT to ever thing and nothing is our responsibility..

In that case...carry on. :)

What's new, Pussycat?
By Griswold on 6/8/2006 2:50:07 PM , Rating: 3
Can always strangle your Windows with the phone cord.

Stupid thing
By Novaoblivion on 6/8/2006 6:02:49 PM , Rating: 3
The WGA thing is pretty stupid I once was accused of running an illegal copy of windows after I reset my CMOS. I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I noticed it said that having the time set wrong would trigger the stupid thing.

Blocked on my PC
By xKelemvor on 6/9/2006 3:38:03 PM , Rating: 3
As soon as ZoneAlarm kept popping up the alarm that the program kept wanting to connect every dya, I just told it to block it permanently.

No big deal to me. Auto Updates still work just fine...

By a1trips on 6/25/2006 12:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
maybe off topic,
but i am not going to touch another microsoft Product if it's the fucking last company on Earth.
Caveat emptor.
After having paid an extortionate amount of money( my monthly wages) to buy an XP licence for my home pc's.. M$ bSOD's all of them through wga notifications as date and time are set to the wrong timezone . spent one nasty weekend.. and im buying pirated , Just you watch, MS
// done.. phew!

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