Analyst: Microsoft's Revamped WGA Puts Burden On Users

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it would use Automatic Updates to roll out changes to the component of its anti-piracy scheme that nags users when their copy of Windows is tagged as counterfeit. An analyst criticizes the changes as more work for customers.

Among the modifications to what Microsoft calls the WGA Notifications Tool for Windows XP are a revamped installation wizard that's designed to provide users with more information on validation results and a new category, called "indeterminate," that sits between the black-or-white of "genuine" and "nongenuine." In addition, Microsoft said that it would give Windows XP customers new tools to "troubleshoot the problem and learn more about the results" when the anti-counterfeit software can't make up its mind whether the copy of Windows is legitimate or not.

The developer's Windows Genuine Advantage program has been regularly knocked by users and analysts since Microsoft debuted the notifications component in April. Notifications Tool, an addition to the already-in-use component that decides if Windows is valid or bogus, nags users of pirated copies with on-screen messages, balloons, and banners. In June, Microsoft took considerable heat when it was revealed that WGA "phoned home" to Microsoft's servers on a daily basis. Similar technologies and practices unveiled for Windows Vista also have been blasted as onerous.

View: Neowin forum discussion
News source: CRN

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I think there talking about the generated keys for corp files. Even thought they didn't come out and say it. Theres one keygen out there that still works 100% for xp and 2003 server. It even works on server 2003 R2 Disk 1 but not on Disk2. I think its because how they do there manufacturing. MS uses a seed to gen the reg code. I think the false postive are coming from people that don't have registered seeds. And Cause when you make the encyption you can reverse it and see that kind of info.

One of the reason Vista will be more secure from a key standpoint not saying dll hack. Is all codes that get printed on the Vista Genuine Label are going to be registered on the database. If your key hasen't been printed yet you don't get windows updates. Windows 2000, XP, 2003 at first did the reverse. When a key was reported as stolen or generated with wide spread use it was flaged. Here out all keys will be accounted for at time of production.

3rd Party Audits will be higher with these new versions as well. Sometimes you don't even know when you have a company and a audits being done to you. I've gone into places offering services and free cleanings of PCs. Something as simple as to prove we want your biz we will clean out your computers. Basicly just doing this with Canned Air. But it gets us in to do a quick inventory of the systems. I don't blame MS for this. But when you have a site lic for office as example and say you let your employees take it home. If you say that person can install it once and they install it on all there PCs you are breaking the agreements, but so is the employee. Even when you let that person go, or they quit. You need to take responseabilty for what those people might have on there PCs. If it means you take action vs said employee.

Granted MS wants money in the end but don't think MS really cares if 50 extra people use office. Stock holders might on the other hand more. Remember MS of today isn't exactly the small biz it was 10 years ago. MS really wasn't even that big until NT 3.51. Look at there history and number of people that worked at MS and how many stocks they have had out in the open. Stocks play a huge role in a company. If your stock holders want more money this political stuff happens. But on the other hand they still have to pay the bills so if they keep getting sued they need to maintain and grow there profits will still being sued so we have OS price increses of Vista. NT prices haven't changed in a long time. XP to me was still NT cause of the platform its based on. I can understand people complaining that came from Windows 95. But NT has always been in the 200-300 mark per client.

that is lame. If there should be no in-between ground on if a install is legal or not. Unless WGA is 100% sure it is illegal, it should be flagged as legal.

The fact that Microsoft is even making "uncertainty" an option shows that WGA is faulty and should be abandoned.

of course all this copy protection effects the legitimate users, it just causing them more work before they can use the software. Like the pure awesomeness of trying to Install HL2 on the day of release... Of course sofware devs should protect their software but the more and more stuff you stick in the more its going to irritate legit users.

I don't see how protecting their 'child' is any different than you or I protecting our actual human children. I see nothing wrong with Microsoft wanted to be proactive against piracy.

Windows XP is not expensive and it's nice to have a legit version installed knowing none of this affects me.

Get over it.

Bad advice.

Just don't use Automatic Updates. Use the Custom Install option and only install the items you want. And since each patch or update has a link that explains in (excruciating) detail what the patch or update does, there's no problem with installing something you don't want.

Or don't install the WGA component. (it is optional, right? I'm not sure)

And here is an amazing solution: Don't warez your OS! If you get a false trip, call Microsoft and they will fix it for you (and if it is a bug, they will fix it for others, too)

It's not always optional, some applications have it such as IE7, and that is one of the installs that gives me the false-positive.

So I have to go out of my way to call Microsoft every time there is a false-positive with their WGA? Plus the thing is "phoning home."

The likelihood of me switching to Linux gets greater every day. I'm too old for video games anyway and as I see it, that is the only advantage of using Windows right now for a home user.