back to article Windows Genuine Advantage cries wolf (again)

Over the weekend, thousands of Microsoft customers who tried to download patches or updates for Windows were falsely accused of running a pirated version of Windows. Microsoft blamed the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) glitch on server problems, since fixed. WGA is an anti-piracy program which determines the validity of Windows …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh wow...

    Even when microshaft's own trojan horse's fail!


    Funny how their anti piracy is doing more harm than good.

    People already have ways of bypassing the entire system... waste of time... all they do is cause frustrations to compound further with legitimate users.

    Of all the OS's... they are the most stupid when it comes to anti-piracy.

    and I don't even have to be a pirate to know that! (And I'm not... I detest windows as it is)

  2. Neil

    who's fault?

    WGA, Securom, DRM, they are all attempts to stop theft. Whether you like Microsoft or not they are a business making money from a product, and that product is stolen by the second. I don't blame them for trying to prodect their business.

    Of course, telling the customer that WGA is for their advantage is a crock of the proverbial, and I'm sure that's what winds up the majority.

    Software theft is wrong, mmmkay.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's ripped off?

    "The idea is that if you've unknowingly bought a pirated copy from a crooked merchant, you have been ripped-off."

    Isn't it the case that if you pay many times over its value for something that doesn't work mean you've been ripped off, like anyone who bought a 'genuine' copy of Vista?

    I'm sure all the pirates are loving the fact that you can buy cracked software from them that works properly compared with the DRM filled junk from Microsoft. As soon as someone tells their friends their pirated version hasn't been affected by this 'victimisation' the pirates will have have made a few more sales.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Ahh, WGA . . .

    Funny that, I disabled the service once way back when, and I never had any problem. Neither last week, nor before.

    Oh, Windows Update won't work very well, obviously, but first of all, there are ways around that, and second, I have a good AV and a hardware firewall, so Windows Automated Virus Distributor is not really a mandatory link in my bookmarks.

    And I know what services to disable to keep from having glaring holes gaping in my PC.

    A bit of know-how (and it ain't much, I promise) goes a LOOOOONNG way when it comes to Windows security. Essentially, you just have to know how to protect your OS from itself and you do fine.


  5. Goldie

    @Cameron Colley

    "Since there are things which I cannot currently do under Linux"

    You can do what I did (of course if you find it useful). I installed Linux and VMware Server, and am now running Windoze in a VM. Yes, I do agree VMware is another closed source but their attitude towards the customer is much better. So now my vulnerable thin-glassware called Windows lives in its own DMZ, and the mighty penguin is protecting it from the Big Bad Internet.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WGA really works.

    WGA flagged up a copy of Windows Vista here that was Genuine which required a phone call to reactivate, while at the same time not disabling a friends system with the same version of Windows Vista and the same update schedual which has a pirated version on.

    Which user would you rather be? The one with a reciept for £120 for an OEM version of Vista Ultimate and a computer that doesn't do what you paid for. Or one who has £120 of free cash to spend and an operating system that works even when WGA blocks legit users.

    P.S it's also faster to use the activation crack than the phone call...I heard...from a friend...who I only met once, and don't remember their name...incase you're the police.

  7. A. Merkin

    History Eraser Button (do not push)

    What a juicy information warfare target.

    DNS attack distributes malware through Windows Update, malware forces WGA to fail, OS automatically downgrades Windows Defender protection and end user access to the system? Nice...

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    RE: Who's Fault

    "WGA, Securom, DRM, they are all attempts to stop theft."

    No, they are not. They are all attempts to extract more money for less value, which, in my opinion, is theft in its own right. It also kills innovation - why would anyone need to develop a good product when he can use DRMs to sell a bad one to the same person over and over again?

    If the IP owners were concerned about theft (although copyright infringement is not theft) they would have never touched DRMs as it is the single most powerful incentive for "piracy". Without DRMs piracy is mostly for third wrold countries and geeks, with DRMs piracy is attractive to everybody.

  9. Jonas Taylor

    Nothing at all...

    "Could you please enlighten me what exactly is wrong with the bloke being Indian here?"

    Nothing at all, it was merely a description - if it was a Scottish bloke, a French woman or an American I would have pointed that out as well. At 3am I think it is logical that I would be connected to someone working normal hours rather than someone local working at night.

    It's funny because the main reason I bought Vista was to be legitimate, to support Microsoft and not have to worry about any anti-piracy features down the road - any software I use regularly or for profit I take pride to make sure I support and pay for the developer's effort. The irony is that the many people I know with pirated versions have had less trouble than myself with a legitimate copy... though that's more a testament to how easy it is to pirate Windows as having to phone up a freephone number is hardly the end of the world (even though it is completely unnecessary). It's a shame because other than that I have had a very good experience with activation.

  10. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Linux is getting easier

    "Linux is such a cool idea, but again, only technical people can install and use it. If it was pre-installed on all new machines, MS would never have added that DRM crap in the first place"

    Dell sell laptops with it pre-installed as do a few others. It's becoming easier to use. Windows can be a pain to get working if the hard disk gets partly trashed. So long as the re-install and configuration process is easy then it's not so bad.

  11. Michael

    The Funny Thing...

    "WGA's goal is not to punish the people who purchase these programs; they, of all people are the most victimized,"

    "What? How am I, a paid-for Windows user, victimized when someone else pirates Windows? In what bizarro world does that make sense? "

    "The idea is that if you've unknowingly bought a pirated copy from a crooked merchant, you have been ripped-off."

    The funny thing is that if you buy a pirated copy, it's actually MS getting ripped off. WGA is MS's way of shifting that rip-off to the consumer.

  12. J

    Class action, class action!

    Loved it, I hope it keeps happening. It doesn't affect my computers anyway... :-)

    But I would think that a class action suit for slander or something like that might be a fun option, no? I mean, 12,000 innocent people being accused of stealing... oh sorry, they were being protected. My bad.

    Now we Linux folks are catching up to the great XPerience of pigopolistic closed-source crapware too! I can't wait. If you're running a Penguin, don't fail to check this baby out:

    Oh, guys, one other thing. I think that James bloke was joking/sarcastic with the "nothing to hide" comment... Or maybe it was just my impression, bloody smiley there and all.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I A Pirate?

    A year or so ago my bought and paid for copy of XP pro (Came with my HP notebook) failed WGA. a friend of mine gave me a hack to bypass WGA authentication. Now whenever I buy a new PC, or buy a legit version of XP I run the hack, I've never had any problems since.

    As a result of this victimisation of me as a genuine customer (how does this policy affect the pirates?). I am moving away from MS, as I find that most of my work can be done on Kubuntu, Open Office, the Gimp, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. I'm only tied to XP for games and Video editing. When Stem produce a Linux client then I will ditch MS forever!

  14. John

    What's wrong with being Indian?

    depends on how well the customer can understand the accent. I had to ask for an Australian when I called MS, because I couldn't understand the Yankee accent the first person used.

    I love it when the Indians are here and we have Howsha (sp?) to talk about the cricket, but I don't think I'd want to have him read me a critically-important Microsoft code.

    How would you go with a solid Japanese accent?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LinuxGenuineAdvantage is a joke


    Not sure if you are serious or not but LinuxGenuineAdvantage is a joke. It was written to take the piss out of Microsoft and you should definitely not install it because it can disable your machine.


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