Proving that your copy of the Windows operating software is legitimate (and not pirated) in order to get updates became mandatory today with the launch of Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) 1.0. Previous to now participation in WGA had been voluntary. But from now on, all updates, other than security patches, will require proof that your system is legit.
Proof of legitimacy is provided by your computer system having the right authentication data (including in some cases having the correct VLK – Volume Licensing Key) when it connects to the Microsoft mothership. If it doesn’t, you will be offered an opportunity to turn in your computer contraband, and to either purchase legitimate Windows software at half-price (if you fill out a “piracy report” and turn in your old pirated version of Windows), or for free (if you fill out a “piracy report”, turn in your old pirated version of Windows, and provide an authentic proof of puchase for the pirated stuff).
Explained Will Poole, a Senior VP of Windows Client Business at Microsoft, “During the 10-month pilot of WGA, we have been very encouraged by the large number of customers â€” more than 40 million in all â€” who chose to participate in WGA because they were concerned about piracy and wanted a way to determine whether their Windows software was genuine. It also became clear that customers want to take advantage of special offers reserved for genuine users, with the peace of mind that their software will deliver the features, options and performance they need.”
According to today’s press release from Microsoft, the Windows Genuine Advantage process is “designed to be quick and simple. On their first visit to the Microsoft Download Center, Windows Update or Microsoft Update, customers will be asked to participate in WGA. They will be prompted to download an ActiveXÂ® control that checks the authenticity of their Windows software and, if Windows is validated, stores a special download key on the PC for future verification. The validation process does not collect any information that can be used by Microsoft to identify or contact the user.”
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