Proof of Windows Legitimacy Becomes Mandatory with Release of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) 1.0

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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 — more than 40 million in all — 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 ActiveX® 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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3 thoughts on “Proof of Windows Legitimacy Becomes Mandatory with Release of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) 1.0

  1. I understand the impetus behind WGA in that it’s designed to thwart piracy. BUT, once it is determined by WGA that the operating system is perfectly legitimate, why isn’t that enough for Microsoft?

    Tell me why that bloated software (WGA) has to connect to the Microsoft servers on every start-up in order to constantly validate the operating system, especially after it has already been validated/passed inspection?

    This slows my system down to a crawl as well…making me one very unhappy customer. Grr.

  2. Alternative to Windows Update? I’ve discovered a freeware program that bypasses the need to go to Windows Update for anything. The program is BigFix Consumer Edition and is free for home users. The url is [http://help.bigfix.com/]. The service runs in your system tray and checks for Windows Security updates and other problems. Sometimes it gives you the cure before Microsoft decides it’s a problems. Download url: [http://download.bigfix.com/update/bf1760.exe]. I’m not affiliated with BigFix and I’ve been using it for two years now with no problems. Here’s their privacy statement: “No information about you or your computer will ever be sent off your computer by BigFix without your express permission.” See ya later – Clif at

  3. so…..MS is spying on folks for piracy, huh? what anout privacy? and where does this information end up? the goobermint? how much of this information could be potetially used against someone? these days, it really makes me wonder..i hear they look not only for valid windows software, but also report the make and type of cpu, all hardware in your environment, and all software…better watch those grey area programs, folks!!!!

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