22% of Windows Installs Pirated, 2.6Million of that Genuine?

Microsoft's anti-piracy tool, aka Windows Genuine Advantage, launched in 30 months ago in 2005. Since then, 512 million have tried to validate their copy of Windows and 114 million users, or 22.3%, were labeled by Microsoft as pirates. Up to 2.6 million users may have been, however, mistakenly labelled as software thieves. Research done by the Business Software Alliance, an industry group dedicated to combating piracy, puts the global piracy rate at 35%. The reason for the difference is undoubtedly the fact that most pirates avoid using WGA.

Of the 114 million told they were running phony Windows, only 56,000 filed a counterfeit report, a requirement before Microsoft will issue a free or reduced-price copy of the operating system. "That [56,000] is a very good number, and gives us a huge amount of data," said David Lazar, the director of Microsoft's Genuine Windows. Microsoft uses these reports to spot dodgy system builders or patterns in piracy.

Lazar also acknowledged that the "false positive" rate has been a burden to users and Microsoft. He emphasized that this rate was "less than half a percent" and a November enhancement should cut that number down even more. Brand systems used to generate validation errors as counterfeit but are now categorized as "unable to complete validation." Users of those PCs do not see the nag notices.

News source: Forum Discussion (Thanks Markjensen & Adversedeviant)
News source: InformationWeek

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The solution?

Easy - spend £850 (ish) on an MSDN subscription. For that amount of money, you get Windows 98,ME, 2000, 2003, Vista (including ULTIMATE edition) etc,etc.

Plus you're licensed for 10 installations per license key for errr...'testing'. He he.

Vista works nicely for me - and its faster than XP Pro even on a 3 year old laptop!

I have run into this error on a number of occasions - Both False Positives and Negatives - even on my own system - which comes with an OEM license from Samsung.

I also work in networks where internet connectivity is restricted and requires proxy authentication - let me tell you I nearly had a nightmare on my hands with the first gen Windows Genuine Notification. Picture a lab of computers - validating every log in - and popping up a proxy authentication box, and not being able to validate after that. Now replicate that across 4 or 5 labs - then picture 4 or 5 schools - simply because it was installed as a critical update.

After that I have run into legit systems imaged using VLK's - which also have legit OEM licenses available on the bottom of the laptop failing - and to have this happen in those same networks.

I eventually downloaded the off line Genuine Advantage Tool and was able to diagnose that at some stage it had been reloaded by someone other then our techs - an was in fact - non genuine - but then M$ solution to that - allowing me to change to the legit key - would fail because it couldn't contact the internet at all - not even proxy authentication was requested. Jellybean came in handy here - and surprise - after putting in this key - the off line tool validated it.

But if you try and run the offline tool against a computer that hasn't had WGA installed on it - it fails - regardless of whether its a legitimate system or not - you need to run the computer through M$ Update or get hold of the offline installer for that.

This the way things are going and frankly I am really ****ed off about it - DRM, Trusted Computing - every single one of these is taking away our rights. Here in Australia - we are getting all the drawbacks of US copyright law - but none of the benefits - and we are restricted to format shifting content we already own - we cant copy, or have fair use. Its illegal to circumvent the DRM to enable that format shifting though.

Everything they are doing is ****ing more and more people off - I paid for windows - I am onto my fourth OEM license personally why the hell should I have to put up with this ****

I read an article a short while ago (it was on zdnet I think) which gave quite different figures, having the false positives as high as 40%! :confused:
This included the author who wrote it and created quite some hubbub, so MS found it necessary to answer back and tell people that they're working on it. I seriously doubt though that they brought down the number to a ludicrously low "less that half percent" :suspicious:

I have a genuine copy of XP pro and because I find it a pain to go through the whole WGA process and risk not validading after whatever number of installs. I format my PC on a bimonthly basis and activation is not an option! I instead use a nice little crack to bypass WGA... as for the updates... autoupdate still works....

I am from pakistan where piracy rate is about 82 %. I am using xp pro in my office that has a key that bypasses the WGA. I have used it on about 6 systems for 3 months now. No sign of blocking yet. Lets see how long it goes...

Just buy the ops.

You should get 10 years out of it, about £20 per year.

There is always a cheaper way to be legal, o.e.m. parents, teachers & students editions etc.

They cost upto 75% less.

In some stores here in south africa we pay twice as much for XP pro than in the states...and in the states it's already so extremely expensive. What did they expect?

this is by no means a real good study...I'm guessing most of those 22 are from the reinstall of pirated copies. Silly ol' grandma and your neighbor fred don't have to reinstall windows as much as tech nerds do and that is where a lot of the pirating comes from...tech nerds.

So I would guess that the majority of those being called pirates are from piracy rampant countries and people who don't know how to use a pirated version of windows.

Its far more than 22% because there are keygens that will make CD-Keys that will pass validation, and there are also cracked versions of the validation updates that fool Microsoft into thinking that you have a valid copy.

I have a legit copy of Home Ed sp2 and validation isn't the problem, even though its a pain. The problem is WPA. I only have to install virtual hardware, like a virtual CD-ROM, and it'll pop up telling me to reactivate, and since I seem to have used up all of my activations I have to now call India {the automated activation service is c rap) to get permission to continue using my system. It is nothing more than punishing their customers for being honest. I now use a method to by-pass WPA altogether. Next month I'm getting a legal copy of VISTA Home Basic and the first thing I'm going to do is shut off most of the so-called security features as well.

I have a pirated copy of XP that's genuine-enabled. either it's an actual software hack or it's the key I use. I think it's the latter. apparently it's a key from a version of windows that was distributed to post-secondary students so no matter who uses it, it will be genuine thanks micro$hit!

Slayer said,
...thanks micro****!
Bypassing the swear filter is against the rules.

And judging from your apparent maturity level, please stay with Windows. I would not want you to start using a bit of Linux, then say stuff like that as a "Linux" user.

Slayer said,
I have a pirated copy of XP that's genuine-enabled. either it's an actual software hack or it's the key I use. I think it's the latter. apparently it's a key from a version of windows that was distributed to post-secondary students so no matter who uses it, it will be genuine thanks micro$hit!

You do realize that at some point Microsoft will notice a large, sudden usage of a certain key and block it right? Especially since that student key has hit the internet. Eventually it will be blocked.

You won't be laughing one day when you turn your computer on to see a Genuine Notification nag screen or go to download a genuine only thing and you're seen as using a pirated copy.

mrbester said,

That's why we have MBSA, windizupdate.com (for Firefox ) and AutoPatcher...

Not to mention the fact that WGA's been cracked repeatedly and quickly every time it's been updated, since day one.
In short, WGA and license keys are not a problem if you know what you're doing.

markjensen said,
Bypassing the swear filter is against the rules.

And judging from your apparent maturity level, please stay with Windows. I would not want you to start using a bit of Linux, then say stuff like that as a "Linux" user.

I've been using linux for quite some time now. it has nothing to do with my hatred of micro$cum. I simply hate capitalism and companies that forcefully attempt to create market monopolies. that doesn't mean I hate windows users or something like that. I simply recommend to everyone I come into contact with not to pay for micro$oft software. besides, it's better that I recommend windows but not pay for it than recommending macs! ew!

in short, shut up.

NightmarE D said,

You do realize that at some point Microsoft will notice a large, sudden usage of a certain key and block it right? Especially since that student key has hit the internet. Eventually it will be blocked.

You won't be laughing one day when you turn your computer on to see a Genuine Notification nag screen or go to download a genuine only thing and you're seen as using a pirated copy.

except I use linux now so I laugh 24/7/52.

Slayer said,

I've been using linux for quite some time now. it has nothing to do with my hatred of micro$cum. I simply hate capitalism and companies that forcefully attempt to create market monopolies. that doesn't mean I hate windows users or something like that. I simply recommend to everyone I come into contact with not to pay for micro$oft software. besides, it's better that I recommend windows but not pay for it than recommending macs! ew!

in short, shut up.

WOW. Slayer, you have issues. Try to calm down, and not be a (butt) pirate.

any smart pirate will not go anywhere near anything that will use WGA. Besides, they can get it all through other channels anyway, even security updates.

I would say that way more that 0.5% are false positives. I go in and work at computer store in town for fun that does pc repairs, virus removal, and more, and I would have to say, about 20% of the machines we work on give false positives w/ wga, even though they are dells or HPs that have the legit sticker right on the side. I realise that the viruses can mess with windows and cause it to think its not legit if its really messed up, but WGA certaintly is not near as good at determining "real pirates" as Microsoft claims.

I agree, I just recently (at most a week ago) heard again from a guy in our game guild who had struggled with WGA on a clearly legit copy.

Research done by the Business Software Alliance, an industry group dedicated to combating piracy, puts the global piracy rate at 35%.

When 35% of users are using an illegal copy of your program, you know something is wrong. That there should be a hint to lower prices. When you lower prices, more people buy it, means you don't have to waste money and resources working on wga, and you end up with prolly the same amount of money. And the people that are working hard on wga can work on other programs that will help make more money for your company.
Yes I know windows is complex, and lots of work went into it, but when your not getting paid for 35% of it, you might as well lower prices and try to get that number lower.

Umm, I'm not so sure about that. Take WinZip, what does it cost? 25 bucks? It's still all over the net with hacks and KeyGens. No matter the cost, people will get it for free if they can. Like....music?

RAID 0 said,
Umm, I'm not so sure about that. Take WinZip, what does it cost? 25 bucks? It's still all over the net with hacks and KeyGens. No matter the cost, people will get it for free if they can. Like....music?

You can use WinRAR forever - just push close ont he registration and it will keep on working.


$25 is still to expensive - especially when there are freeware alternatives which do the same thing. Also it doesn't do much - just unzips an archive - something that is built into XP, so its not really worth $25

Brandon said,

You can use WinRAR forever - just push close ont he registration and it will keep on working.


$25 is still to expensive - especially when there are freeware alternatives which do the same thing. Also it doesn't do much - just unzips an archive - something that is built into XP, so its not really worth $25


Using Winrar forever is still illegal. Freeware alternatives may exist for Winzip, but they do for Windows too. It doesn't just unzip an archive.

Hee Hee ... I'm one of those that filed a counterfit report on a computer store, that ripped off my mother when she brought her computer in to get repaired, because it wouldn't boot. They installed the "Devils Own" copy of Windows XP Pro, when they unessecarilly replaced her hard drive & motherboard on her pc that had a legal and activated XP pro on it.

The hard drive had 1 error on it and they replaced it, then installed a pirated VL copy of XP Pro with the FCKW key
on the new hard drive, this was early last year.

I was hoping MS would've had the store shutdown and sue the a-hole owner, but the store still operates today, never heard back from MS in regards to this either.

The Store Name : Mother Computers in Victoria, B.C., Canada !

Now I know why they are called Mother Computer cause they're crooked Mother F**ker's !

What makes me mad is how microsoft suddenly changed the rule of the game. If windows XP was sold with wga build in you can be sure i would never have bought a copy. I regret it now, activation is a pain. wga more so. I should have pirated.

... well atleast i dont have that problem... with xp pro corp no crappy activation stuff in it although it does validate it for windows updates but i do have a legit cdkey although the actual CD aint so legit. lol

I seriously doubt the "false positives" are less than half a percent. My original copy of XP Home Edition that I legally bought gave me nothing but issues with validation. I haven't had issues with the recent copy I bought.

WGA should never have been created. I hate how they assume that anyone running XP who nevers uses it is a pirate. A lot of the legit users out there hate using it.

There's always some failure rate with anything, but I too believe it to be far more than that also. It's not like they're going to come out and say the numbers were high. That'd be stupid on their part.

I think WGA/OGA is a damned slap in the face to those that buy the software. I shouldn't have to pay the money they want for their software and then ask for permission to use it. I got burned twice with retail copies of Windows. At least when I did have a pirated copy I never had problems with it. It passed WGA and my legit copies couldn't.