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Microsoft sheds a little more light on its WGA iniative

A recent blog by Ed Bott over at ZDNET has brought even more attention to Microsoft's Windows Genuine Authentication (WGA) which has been coming under increasing scrutiny and has even been the subject of a lawsuit. Computerworld and Ed Bott have been trying to get to the bottom of the whole WGA mystery and some of the issues being brought to the forefront are quite interesting.

Microsoft’s WGA utility, which is used on the Windows XP operating system to combat piracy, has been used in the past to validate OS installs so that users could download certain system updates as well as downloads like Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta and Windows Media Player 11. But while Microsoft sees WGA as a major ally in the fight against pirates, the utility has been pegging some innocent customers as having pirated copies of Windows XP. "80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys," said a Microsoft spokeswoman to Computerworld.

Ed Bott, not satisfied with this response from Microsoft, fired off his own inquiry into the reason for a 20% false positive rating for WGA and received this response from Cori Hartje, Director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, "While we will don't have specifics to share on other forms counterfeit installations, they mostly result from activities such as various forms of tampering and unauthorized OEM installations."

It'd be nice if Microsoft would go into more detail on that other 20%, but that likely won't happen anytime soon. Microsoft is no longer accepting interviews on the WGA matter -- possibly due to the pending lawsuit.



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RE: ok
By Sunday Ironfoot on 7/5/2006 11:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
A new motherboard counts as a major hardware component in a PC and thus causes Windows validation to complain that the key is in use by another machine when you go to reinstall.

The solution is simple, just phone them up when you go to activate (number provided in the activation dialog) and explain the program. Just say you had a faulty motherboard and had to replace it with a different one, but that you're basically reinstalling it on the same PC. They'll read out a code over the phone that you type in a volla, Windows is activated.

Worked for me!


RE: ok
By Frank M on 7/5/2006 11:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
Wait, it it illegal to install your copy of windows into a new machine, if you remove it from the first?


RE: ok
By Motley on 7/5/2006 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, if it's an OEM copy. No if it's a retail copy. That's the difference between the $25 OEM version and the $100 retail version.


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