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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: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By Visual on 7/5/2006 11:49:01 AM , Rating: 2
indeed, there should be plenty of failed validations that don't even come from a windows pc. just yesterday i tried to download the new beta of IE7 on my linux and it "failed validation". but my gentoo is genuine, i swear.
using opera or firefox on a legal windows probably fails too, then there are users with IE but security settings that have disabled javascript or activex, and so fail again.

By glennpratt on 7/5/2006 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, this is about the WGA update for windows, not a browser plugin (which, btw, works in other browsers).

By Randalllind on 7/5/2006 12:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
What bugs me is I have to download a program to get a # si I center a # in order to download crap from

By Randalllind on 7/5/2006 12:41:31 PM , Rating: 2

What suck is I have to download a program to get a # to enter so I can download whatever at microsoft website. Microsoft so auto hit my pc and know I am legit when I go to download stuff from their site.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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