Microsoft blamed human error for a Windows Genuine Advantage problem that identified legitimate Windows users as pirates last week. According to Alex Kochis, Microsoft senior product manager for WGA, new software was accidentally loaded onto the live servers running the system. Between Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, some users incorrectly failed the validation process, leaving them unable to use certain features. Affected users also saw a message in the corner of their screen that said "This copy of Windows is not genuine." While Microsoft quickly noticed the problem and rolled back the changes within a half hour, the problem continued to affect the validation service although the activation process was fixed in that time frame, said Kochis.
The company is implementing some changes to make sure a similar incident doesn't happen again. It is improving monitoring in order to find out sooner if there is a problem, he said. Microsoft is also adding checkpoints that should prevent accidental changes to the servers. It's troubling that someone can accidentally load wrong code into a live environment. Kochis clarified that an existing policy will automatically validate all users if the WGA servers are down but that in this case, the servers weren't down, so that policy didn't kick in. Maybe Microsoft should have taken the servers down while working on the problem?
News source: InfoWorld