May 24, 2006
Microsoft has finally activated the most aggressive part of their Windows Genuine Advantage program -- active notifications.
After downloading the latest Windows updates, if your Windows cd-key doesn't validate against Microsoft's online database of cd-keys, you may be greeted with this unpleasant five-second mandatory delay dialog at the login page:
On top of that, you get a repeating balloon notification that nags you periodically while you use the operating system:
The warnings also get more dire as time progresses:
This copy of Windows is not genuine and you have not resolved the issue. This computer is no longer eligible to receive select security upgrades from Microsoft. To protect your computer, you must click Get Genuine now.
The language here is a little misleading. Microsoft is socially obligated to provide critical security updates to pirated machines. Otherwise those vulnerable machines will eventually be compromised and potentially used in denial of service attacks and other nefarious schemes. Microsoft does provide so-called "critical" updates to all Windows machines, regardless of whether or not they're genuine.
This is all courtesy of the mandatory "Windows Genuine Advantage Notification" service that is being delivered now through Windows Update. This isn't just a service you can disable, or a process you can kill in task manager, either. You'll have to install some kind of questionable third-party hack to get around it.
I suppose it's only malware if you're a pirate. What's a poor, beleaguered user to do? Microsoft offers five options:
- Purchase a valid Windows XP cd-key online from Microsoft.
- If you can produce high-quality counterfeit media, along with a proof of purchase, you can get a free replacement key from Microsoft.
- Contact your reseller for redress.
- Purchase Windows XP from a local OEM reseller.
- Purchase Windows XP at a retail location.
Notice the word "Purchase" appears in three of those five options. There's almost no way to finagle a free cd-key out of this.
I found a Microsoft presentation on Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) which goes into a lot more detail. It also provides this graph of WGA validation failure rates across the United States:
All I can say is, get used to increased forms of online discrimination between genuine and pirated versions of software. Windows Vista will have an even more advanced form of WGA; pirated versions of Vista, for example, will not be able to enable the fancy Aero "glass" interface.
Microsoft is certainly entitled to protect their IP by annoying pirates into buying cd keys. But I wonder if they're veering too far into the enforcement side of the optimal piracy rate.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Also, southern california is full of pirates. But you knew that already. ;)
Towards the end you say, "Microsoft is certainly entitled to protect their IP by annoying pirates into buying cd keys", but the tone of the rest of the piece sounds like you don't really believe it.
Can you name any cases (sofware or otherwise) where merchandise or IP that's known to be stolen (or counterfeited) from the manufacturer is provided with full support?
As you noted, Microsoft does still provide critical security updates to non-genuine installations. The language used in the dialog box does not imply otherwise and doesn't seem misleading to me in the least.
You say, "Notice the word "Purchase" appears in three of those five options. There's almost no way to finagle a free cd-key out of this." These options sound perfectly reasonable to me (though they may not to someone who has to choose one). Your copy isn't legal. You can buy one that is, take it up with the b*st*rd that told you it was, or prove to us that the counterfeit was so good that you shouldn't be held accountable for falling for it. No, a Memorex CD with "M$ Windoze" written on it with a Sharpie doesn't count.
I don't see anything wrong with this. I don't disparage anyone for finding fault with this scheme, though. For those that do, there are alternative operating systems available.
Well if the follow what other companies like SAS and SPSS have doing for years, when they find you have a bad cd key, the software shuts down.
I personally know 8 to 10 people running pirated versions of Windows, and I would be VERY happy to see them be forced to pay up. Currently they just say "it's too easy to find keys online" why should I buy it. What a sad state of affairs.
In my opinion, if you pirate software you are a criminal and should be treated as such.
You can buy one that is, take it up with the b*st*rd that told you it was
This entire post was motivated by someone who posted a comment to my thread on update reboot nagging. He bought a computer from eBay that evidently didn't have genuine windows, and he mistook the WGA nag balloon for the update reboot nag balloon.* What are the odds of him getting redress from J. Random eBay User? I'd say pretty slim.
All I'm saying is, sometimes being a nice guy when you don't technically *have* to be a nice guy can generate a lot of user goodwill. And user goodwill is not something Microsoft had a lot of the last time I checked.
The language used in the dialog box does not imply otherwise and doesn't seem misleading to me in the least.
Regardless, using threats and fear to motivate people isn't a viable long term "strategery".
the tone of the rest of the piece sounds like you don't really believe it
There's a fine line between the popularity graphs of open source software and pirated software. It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge. The long tail guy has a much better article on this than anything I could possibly write:
I am ambivalent about this because I think the marketing model is wrong. It should be more like Visual Studio-- the basic core versions of Windows should be free (eg, "express edition"), and the fancier, more feature rich versions cost more (eg, "pro", "standard", "team system editions"). This also mirrors the business model of, say, Basecamp and Movable Type. Basic stuff is free to drive adoption, because without adoption, it really doesn't matter how much you're charging. This may be difficult to see now because Windows is already so pervasive.
* as an aside, at the point where users are getting their naggy balloon popups mixed up, it's time to reconsider the entire strategy of naggy balloon popups in general. Why is this acceptable, yet every web browser now has pop-up blockers built in?
will not be able to enable the fancy Aero "glass" interface
Great! Nobody outside of MS cares about "Aero" anyway and the first thing I do with XP is disable the eye candy. Installing a pirate version of Vista will probably be the quickest and easiest way of avoiding all the ridiculous cruft.
How long until we see a phishing version of this dialog?
My girlfriend got (I think) this dialog at work. She said a window popped up and said she had pirate software. It provided a way to buy a license online. She provided her credit card details etc.
When I asked her what software produced the message, what she had actually purchased by providing her details etc. she didn't actually know.
This is just teaching people to enter credit card details when some program asks, in fear of the software police.
Funny how those caught with their hands in the cookie jar make endless evasions and denials, and paint those who catch them as the villians?
Software piracy has a lot in common with speeding tickets this way.
Already been burned by this one and posted a detailed blog article about it on my website (http://paulcoddington.info).
Plenty of room for exploit here - I wonder how long it will be before we see malware that sets the critical data file to read only (potentially unlimited fun with false piracy notifications and subsequent help desk calls) or better yet one that starts harvesting, swapping, and re-registering product keys at random between machines to screw up Microsoft's database.
The thing that is most astonishing, is that all you have to do to trigger a false alarm on someone's PC is to set a single file to read only which everyone must have write access to.
This message appeared on my sister's laptop after she applied all the recent updates.
The version of XP installed is genuine - but the new update insisted it wasn't - I did a bit of digging and found out that the "Windows Genuine Advantage Notification" service was actually failing to authenticate my sister's copy of XP because the date time settings on the client PC did not match the date time settings on the authentication server. This caused an error - which manifested itself by showing the notification that the client machines version of windows wasn't a "genuine copy". Once I adjusted the laptop's clock it validated ok.
Not a good end user experience.
I have to be, for one, pretty thankful to the fact that Microsoft products are easily crackable and avaliable everywhere. Because, in my case, I work on what I love AS A DIRECT RESULT of computer piracy.
I'm a self-taught computer programmer. I never went to the University, never made more than a couple of courses and seminars. At the beginning it was just me, my computer, a book on VB4 programming... and my pirated copy of the IDE. Back then I couldn't afford a licensed copy, no way. Without that I couldn't have learned anything. Without that today I wouldn't be a programmer. A friend of mine started at around the same time, using the same methods as mine, delving into Photoshop and 3DStudio, both programs which were even more expensive than VB4. Today he's a successful designer.
And yes, today one has alternatives: you can use the Express editions to learn the language, you can use the excellent SharpDevelop, and so on. But even today I have a pirated copy of Visual Studio 2003 running on my desktop. Because on my day to day, on the firm I work for, I have to use VS2003, not SharpDevelop. And I've thought about purchasing one, but I simply can't afford it: at almost 700€ the Professional Edition, that's almost the price of one of my monthly mortgage pays.
And I'm not trying to defend myself: I know I'm commiting a crime, a theft. But although I'm not paying Microsoft for using its software, I'm also not receiving direct cash for using it. I've never sell one of my house programs. Sure, I use it at my everyday work and I'm earning wages for it, but in my everyday work I use my employer's copy which, by the way, is ALSO pirate.
So ask yourselves this: should Microsoft pursue me or my employer?
The problem I have with all of this b.s. activation stuff is it just doesn't work. I have an XP Pro CD, bought at my local software shop, which I used to upgrade an older machine. Installed everything, and it worked - for about a month. Now, anytime I try to run Office apps, I get prompts indicating MS doesn't think my copy of windows is legal. Oh, they don't say it in so many words, but it thinks I don't have a "genuine copy".
I'm very selective about which updates I do. I haven't updated with the Genuine patch yet, and haven't had any issues so far. I don't know what the consequences are for not patching that particular update though.
And for the record, I got my copy of XP from an MSDN subscription I used to have for work. I remember trying to validate a few months ago, and it didn't, so that's why I'm not updating with the Genuine patch. If that makes me a pirate, ah well.
That map is the funniest thing I've seen posted in a while.
This isn't just a service you can disable, or a process you can kill in task manager, either. You'll have to install some kind of questionable third-party hack to get around it.
Or just not install that update :)
What I think is the most interesting part about this is the timing. Think about it for a minute. If they did this AFTER Vista shipped it would be taken as a move to force users to upgrade to Vista. This pretty much has to happen now or it can't happen at all.
But I think that this move is fine as long as it coincides with an appropriate price reduction (as I've heard Vista intends to provide in the form of Express versions). The idea is that if Microsoft can significantly cut piracy then it should benefit the rest of us in the shape of a lower retail boxed price.
I'd rather be able to pick up a copy of a standard Windows product for $99 that includes a strong/dependable activation scheme than to have to pay $199 just because no one else in the world is capable of being honest. Why should I be penalized?
Have you checked eBay? I don't think you're trying very hard..
Everything on ebay is pirated. Even though it's easy and fun to laugh at obvious fakes, I still get burned one in three times buying software, music, or dvds off ebay and amazon market. ("Everything" may be an exaggeration, but with the well so poisoned it amounts to the same thing, since you can't verify in person.) Even when they're not you have to deal with companies' unwillingness to transfer license and support.
On the other hand, rampant piracy has led to ebay giving companies carte blanch to shut down any auction regardless of its legitimacy, if they don't want used versions circulating. (Because First Sale is just a pleasant fantasy entertained by the judiciary or something.)
It used to only be games that you had to find a no-cd crack to make it work reliably as soon as you bought it. Now it's easier to buy a lot of software for the printed manuals (if any) and download the cracked torrent or activation keygen for the actual install. I refuse to waste my time with product support because I have an unusual hardware configuration, reinstall windows, or reinstall the app. Problem is, the ease and cheapness breeds laziness about buying it even for someone with a strong conscience.
Howard and Paul highlight some interesting failure conditions:
- the date and time on the client PC must be close to correct
- the user must be logged in as an administrator
And I've thought about purchasing one, but I simply can't afford it
Have you checked eBay? I don't think you're trying very hard..
"This entire post was motivated by someone who posted a comment to my thread on update reboot nagging. He bought a computer from eBay that evidently didn't have genuine windows, and he mistook the WGA nag balloon for the update reboot nag balloon.* What are the odds of him getting redress from J. Random eBay User? I'd say pretty slim."
Pretty slim indeed. However, the basic creed of eBay is "Buyer (and sometime seller) beware." It sucks that the commenter was ripped off, but he was screwed by the seller, not Microsoft. It's a shame that there is no assurance that an eBay seller isn't selling things illegally, but that's the world we live in and I think most people shopping on eBay are acutely aware of that fact.
I think most computer users (hopefully) understand that there is a difference between being in possession of the pysical machine and legally owning a license to use the software installed on that machine. "It's ok that Microsoft didn't get paid for my copy of Windows becuase I bought it on eBay" is a nonsense claim. Pay for it or live with the annoyance of this silly dialog.
This certainly isn't the ideal situation for either party. Microsoft does not want to punish people who got duped into buying an illegal copy and I'm willing to bet this dialog was implemented only after a lot of internal debate. (Most Microsoft employees are normal folks, not the evil software overlords many assume them to be.) If things like this annoying popup will get people to consider or verfiy the legality of a software installation before buying from unreliable sources, they won't have to resort to things like this.
I wouldnt be surprised if scammers would soon start placing image ads so that malware is downloaded to PCs. I wouldnt be surprised if M$ is slapped with a suit to prevent scammers from appropriating credit card information via such misplaced trust.
As pointed out earlier, our average Joe can be conned into clicking anything that scares him.
Fear, is something that can be sold, and sold very well.
I can only shudder to think about the kind of Wall Street clowns who influenced this not-so-well-thought-out feature.
There is at least one good alternative to using Microsoft's Windows Update service and it's this Firefox plugin called Windiz Update. http://windowsupdate.62nds.com/
I have successfuly used this to update several Windows systems and everything I can find about it indicates that it is safe to use and does not install any malware. But make your one judgement and use at your own risk.
It sucks that the commenter was ripped off, but he was screwed by the seller, not Microsoft
I mostly agree.
However, I think it's little disingenuous the way Microsoft is changing the validation methods for Windows XP so radically, nearly FIVE (!) years after its release.
If Microsoft is going to inflict these kind of changes on users at this late date, Microsoft should also be generous in the way it handles the resulting problems.
It's easy to be generous when you're the king, but for some reason, generosity doesn't happen nearly enough.
Everything on ebay is pirated
I think this is a gross exaggeration. I've purchased software a few times on eBay and never gotten a pirated version.
What you do see, however, is lots of "grey market" software-- stuff marked "not for resale", "promotional use only", or "academic edition". Personally, I don't have a problem with this-- it's a valid license and genuine software.
I agree that it is a little disingenuous to wait 5 years for this.
So don't you think that the sudden change of heart is because of the upcoming Vista release? Do you think that there will be a price drop for XP or do you think that Microsoft is expecting to offer lower cost/free "Express Editions" of Vista and this is the way to force users to upgrade to them?
"You'll have to install some kind of questionable third-party hack to get around it."
"pirated versions of Vista, for example, will not be able to enable the fancy Aero "glass" interface."
Erm, no. Usually when one gets a pirated version of something the protection is usually removed before distribution. WinXP is unusual in this regard because MS only had a key as copy protection, so there was no need to remove the copy protection, and thus the pirated copies were very similar to non-pirated copies.
How about China, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries?
"What you do see, however, is lots of "grey market" software-- stuff marked "not for resale", "promotional use only", or "academic edition". Personally, I don't have a problem with this-- it's a valid license and genuine software."
Ummmm... but the software vendor has a problem with it and they can easily refuse to validate your licesnse. I've been there before. The morons at the company I work for always try to save money by buying software on eBay (we are a ten person software shop). 100% of the time what we have received has been "promotional use" software. And out of about 8 attempts, 2 of them have been rejected by the software vendor when trying to activate them.
And it burns my butt to know that some guy is sitting out there hocking promotional software and people are paying large sums of money for it. One of the products that got rejected cost us $700! I'm sure the guy who sold it to us was very happy to have made so much money on something that he got free just for attending some sort of conference or demo.
But what really got me was when a friend of mine decided that he wanted to buy the Standard Edition of Visual Studio 2003. We are talking about software that I could go down to the store and pick up for about $100. He bought a copy on eBay for $75 after shipping only to find that it didn't come with the MSDN Library cd's. So then he has the nerve to ask me to make him a copy of the cd's so he can have the integrated help feature. You know what I had to say about that foolishness! ;)
One thing that annoys me mightily is MS attitude towards users of Microsoft Virtual PC - specifically, that the point of Virtual PC is to sell more Windows licenses. The only assurance we've been able to get from MS is that any copy, backup, archive or clone operation requires us to purchase another OS license. They explicitly include backup!
As far as activation goes, I'm surprised at how many programs don't work at all without an internet connection. For most stuff I've bought a copy of VMware Workstation and an extra XP license, and consolidated all my home machines onto one. One activation of each product and I'm fine. This also gets me out of a lot of the other product activations - I either use the trial version or activate and snapshot, then when I get prompted to reactivate I revert to the snapshot.
The point I've seen a few places is that people who are the heaviest users of pirated software and media are often also heavy purchasers of same. I know I am - my tax return normally has $1000-ish of software purchases every year, and there are piles of CDs and DVDs lying about the house that were bought legally (then ripped illegally and I rarely-to-never listen to the plastic version).
(ripping is illegal in Australia, unless you have permission from the copyright holder... I have that from one artist out of about 20 requests)
I believe the 'scarlet-letter A' was for
It's a shame there seems to be a lot of false-negatives popping up. All my versions of windows are genuine, but I'm still avoiding installing that update. It's just not useful for me, so why would I.
I am now such a victim, as one of my home PCs has now been 'branded' as not genuine. [It makes one feel like the witches or whatever, who were branded with the 'scarlet-letter A' on their forehead. Or,
maybe I'm mixing my metaphors?!]
At any rate, I purchased the machine about 3 years ago from a [seemingly] otherwise reputable local shop, who has since closed its doors [itself maybe a 'victim' of offshoring the building of PCs to
I'm now too stubborn to just rollover and pay the
richest man on the planet, who the European Union
and many of the states in these United States still consider to be a monopolist.
So, I guess I'll just continue to wear my 'scarlet letter' with pride.
Meanwhile, I think Microsoft and Mr. Gates should ALSO start marking up a map of the US/World, with
little dots, one for each desktop/laptop that
was DELIVERED with an ALREADY-PAID-FOR copy of
Windows on it, but which was TOTALLY ERASED and
never used, and had Linux installed on it INSTEAD.
I'm betting that THAT LINUX-only-PC map's dot-count would be easily COUNTER-BALANCED by the dot count of their present map.
In otherwords, Microsoft should consider it
a balanced-off trade, instead of yet-again
flexing their DOMINENT-nay-near-MONOPOLISTIC
weight around again. They either just don't
'get it' or else just consider their WEALTH
to be the attribute that they most want to
maximize, at the cost of further offending more
'customers' (who they clearly do not 'respect').
[Oh, and if they WERE to make such a Linux-only
map, I'd suggest they use the very nice 'Google-Maps' APIs, rather than their stupid
and EXPENSIVE 'MapPoint' approach. Check out
my 'website' that I built using 'Google-Maps'.]
Just my 2-cents worth...
My daughter bought a PC from a "computer fair". It had XP Home installed on it. She was not given an XP disk with it.
I bought a brand new HP computer from a shop, and didn't get an XP disc either. I did get the HP Recovery disk containing all running apps. Mine is genuine. Hers apparently is not. She can't afford to buy an XP disc. As she has no disc to send to Micros**t she can't get a replacement disk from Bill Gates. She paid cash as a lot of the stallholders did not have CC facilities. The adress on the receipt is bogus.
I bought my first PC in 2002. A father and son were building PC's to specification. I paid 300 and it came with XP Pro installed. I tried to register it and couldn't. A nag screen informed me that in 30 days I would not be able to use XP......in 29 days etc.... then 28 days. I took the PC back. They refused a refund as it was custom built. They reprogrammed in XP Pro, and told me not to register with Micros**t. I went to the Small Claims Court, but by the time the case came up the birds had flown. There are an awful lot of sharks in the water. I couldn't afford to buy a genuine disk. A friend gave me a promotional copy of XP pro he had been given. I registered it with a code from the Internet. It worked including updates until I bought the HP PC. Bill Gates could afford to sell XP for 10 a copy. China and 3rd world countries are getting a cut down version of XP. Why can't we have the same? There are lots of XP applications I never use and will never use.
I have a genuine XP licence at work. The problem is that I didn't had the bleeding licence key at hand when I installed XP on my laptop at home. So can someone please tell me how I can enter the genuine licence key to get rid of the most annoying error message of all time before I install linux in mere frustration?
Found the soulution. Just download the script ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs from Microsoft and run the command 'ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs ABCD-DFGH-IJKL-MNOPQ' with a valid licence key and the really, really annoying error box disapears instantly.
Ok wait wait wait..... would someone tell me exactly what this 'threat' means to me. (cause my Pops was fooled into buying a pirated version of XP with our computer) I want to know what's the worst that can happen if I just ignore those stupid MS Pop-Ups not buy a Key. Will My Computer Shut Down? Will I lose my data? .... how much does this product key co$t anyway, should I buy it?
you too cool. thank for the info
When I purchased my PC I bought a valid copy of XP, (from a very reputable and well known electronics store) complete with registry key, and had no troubles validating it. This extremely annoying problem started about two weeks ago. I have tried contacting Micro***t since it began, and have so far had no answer. This infuriates me. I got rid of the problem by removing the wgatray.exe and wgaLogon.dll files. This is after making sure all my settings were in order. Im still outraged that this happened in the first place. I'm convinced that this problem is not just happening to pirated copies. More money for Mr.Gates.
Just another incentive for us all to up sticks and go Linux , its free and they arnt like spoilt children wanting to turn off updates we niether need nor want
The solution of running ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs is lame. The real solution for this annoyance is rather simple, and proven.
1. Locate wgatray.exe and wgatray.dll on your PC. It is defaulted at c:\windows\system32\
2. Boot your PC in Safe Mode and with DOS Prompt. Press F8 during boot will get you there.
3. At DOS prompt, change directory to the location of the files. (e.g. cd c:\windows\system32\ )
4. Delete the two files wgatray.exe and wgatray.dll. (rename is fine, but why keep it around?)
5. Reboot your PC and voila. Remember to turn off Automatic Updates feature, and tell it not to remind you of it any more.
Life is supposed to be normal and good.
Correction: The two files are wgatray.exe and wgaLogon.dll.
had a similar experience with a pool computer at work, i found i couldnt uninstall the 'update'~
to be expedient, i rolled the system back, and disabled the update facility
seems ok now
This is absolutely ridiculous. I, and my roomate both have XP on our PC's. They are both very valid copies and were sold to us when we got the computers. WHY OH WHY do I get this notification? Like I said, this copy of widows is very legitimate,and the cd key was purchased with the computer, as well as my roomates. This is very unfair and very very annoying. Why the hell do I contact about this?
Got the same problem since yesterday.
I've got four (!!!) Legitimate Windows copies. I think that's enough to let me install some illegal ones for private use. I'll try and contact microsoft about that.
Anyway, Linux Mandriva 2006 is great and freely distributable.
Maybe it's an idea to forget about windows at all.
Stijn (The Netherlands)
omg i reaslly need help im a victim of this and i av no muney to buy a new key or da genuine
I noticed the comments from a few of you, suggesting
moving to Linux. Longer term, I agree. But, don't
just plan to immediately JUMP to Linux, or you are
apt to be 'overwhelmed' (technically).
That said, I too, am now evaluating Linux. I have
it running (i.e. am able to 'dual boot' between
Windows and Linux), and I hope I'll be ready to
thumb my nose at Windows 'Vista' by the time that
it hits the streets.
If you DO want to 'test drive' Linux, and if
you are comfortable downloading what's called
an 'ISO' image and burning yourself a combo
CDROM, that will both serve as an eval/demo
copy, and then later, as the installation CD,
then I'll recommend that you try MEPIS (which
is based on the 'Debian' Linux distribution).
Info is available at:
[Alternatives to 'Mepis' would be 'Ubuntu' or
'Knoppix'...all of which also have the same
concept of 'demo/install' on a single CDROM.]
But, be cautious (astute) before you do the
'Install Me' now step. i.e. Make sure you understand how your gonna make room on your
present hard-drive, etc. [In other words, it
would be much more straight-forward if you
had either 2 SEPARATE DISKS or else had the
luxury of wiping a fresh disk clean and then
'partitioning' into 3 separate partitions
and then [re]installing Windows-XP on one
partition (of about 40 MBs), and Linux into
two partitions of about 20 MBs each...one
for the 'root' partition and one for the
'home' (user-account area). (That way, when
you re-install/upgrade Linux [which you WILL],
you can OVERWRITE the 'root' partition, but
can 'keep' the existing 'home' (user) data.)
Hope this helps...
Oops...on my previous (partitioning) comment,
of course I MEANT to say...3 partitions
of 40 GB and 20 GB and 20 GB (i.e. GIGA-bytes)
each. In other words, an 80 GB disk-drive, which
are now common, should be more than adequate.
I have an original version of xp pro. I bought it two years ago I have never updated it past the two service packs that microsoft offers.I run norton and zone alarm together and have never had a broblem with viruses. I think that from past experiances that if your pc is running good then why try an update that will probably screw you up.I used to try the updates a long time ago but found them to be more hurtfull than helpfull.
man idaho aint nuttin but a bunch of straight up thieves according to that map
I found the best way to get rid of the messages is to complete the following steps and disable it. Jeff Attwood posted a link on the 30th of May and it has worked a treat!..(thanks Jeff!)...
Another alternative suggest that three files are installed Windows XP System Folder:
The wgatray.exe process makes the check for genuine windows software. You can disable WGA by removing the execute bit on WgaLogon.dll. That way, winlogon can't call it as a notification package at boot, and since WgaLogon is responsible for running and maintaining WgaTray.exe, no more tray popups either.
1-To change the execute bit of WgaLogon.dll, first turn off Simple File Sharing.
2-Now right click the file in Windows Explorer and open the Security Tab.
3-Hit the Advanced button,
4-uncheck the Inherit box at the bottom,
5-hit the Copy button, then hit OK.
6-Go through each listed user/group and remove the "Read Execute" permission for that file, leaving the "Read" permission as-is.
Hit OK to apply the permission changes and close the file properties dialog. Restart the machine. You can now turn "Use simple file sharing" back on, if you want....
I had no problems what so ever since following the above steps.
Once the massive piratting problem is brought under control the price of the soft ware SHOULD fall as a result Since MS have always said that it was one of the main reasons why the price was set where it is. Piracy IS a crime but so is ilegally setting your prices too high.
SO lets stop the pirates and see if the prices go down at all shall we?
I've been THINKING MORE about this 'non-genuine Windows' issue. Here's what Microsoft should do next:
o Meet some of us half-way: Instead of M$ merely ASSUMING
(erroneously) that we are all GUILTY of PIRACY, they should
create a couple of 'variations' of their 'notification' logic.
o So (for me, for example), I'd like a variant that still brands
my login-screen with a msg that says '...Microsoft asserts that
this is an 'incorrectly' registered copy of Win-XP, and is thus
'not a genuine' copy of Windows'.
o It should/could then 'auto-matically' set me into the state of
NOT allowing me anymore automatic updates (security and otherwise)
and LOCK me into that state, so that I could NOT undo that state.
o AND, finally, then SHUTDOWN (i.e. STOP) their incessant 'NAGGING'
me to send them money (for a 'legitmate' license key). Because,
many of us "DO NOT WANT TO RECTIFY THEIR ALLEGATION" by
FIXING the problem THAT WAY.
My idea is that this would be a totally VOLUNTARY update...i.e. one
would read the terms of it and agree or disagree. (I would AGREE!)
[But, I'm not 'holding-my-breath' waiting for them to offer me this deal.
They're clearly 'all about the MONEY'. And, they'd rather we NOT MENTION
all the PC's that came with a PRE-PAID-FOR copy of Windows that was
DELETED and replaced with Linux. M$ got THAT MONEY under FALSE PRETENSES,
using their DOMINANT (near-MONOPOLISTIC) market position. It's always
been M$'s BUSINESS-PRACTICES that I've objected to...the QUALITY of
their Window-XP OS is excellent (in my view).]
Ny 2-cents worth...
To be honest,,With that big long story above. Microsoft have full right to ask pepole to pay for the softwear they are using. Two things stand here - (1) Is that some of us have paid for our Computers and we have windows - NO matter what no one says we will try I hardest to not pay for it again. Even though. I hate windows I still use it why because its on every computer you look at, (2) If microsoft are really so hard up for cash why dont they send out another sorce update for every one thats online and if your version of windows is Fake then shut the PC down , Stop it from working - But no they wont do that,, ''Why ?'' because Meadia costs and they dont want a couple million pepole screaming there heads off, So they put the most stupid little sign ''You may be a victim of software counterfeiting'' Why YOU MAY ? why not just say you a F***ing Criminal, Hence that might be more clear to every one
I have about 9 computers in my basement in various working conditions that I tool around with, but I don't think I could possibly afford to give M$ a quarter of my weekly paycheck for each license. But I still love Bill Gates - see my MySpace, it's true. If I only have one computer on at a time am I still a criminal?
I also have 19 bikes in various working conditions that I tool around with - all trashpicked Frankensteins. I'd really love to give M$ and Shimano more money but I don't have it right now. Arrrh, a pirate's life for me.
Honestlly i'm waiting for the day when Microsoft start burning in the hell with Bill Gates...
Other then that just find your way arround just like i did LOL....
Doesn't Fedora Core have the Same WINE Emulation system as the other Red Hat Linux Versions. I havent tried Fedora Core yet but if VISTA is half as shitty as XP while all these losers are upgrading to that, ill be updating to Fedora. Screw it im just gonna make the damned emulator myself if necessary. Microsoft in its infinite bullshit has finally enraged the beast. They will be brought down, its only a matter of time... tick tock Mr. Gates... tick tock...
LINUX heheeh if microsoft starts with this fakes linux will grow up in the world!!
Well, Im blogging this for those who recieve the “You might be a victim of software counterfeiting” or “Your computer might be at risk” error which pops-up a bubble error on a beautiful but annoying star at the task panel.
Here is how we solve the problem. It’s pretty simple actually. With some click here and click there, within 5 minutes, this problem will be solved. First, launch the “Task Manager”. To do this, press Ctrl + Alt + Del. Now, you can see your task manager open. Click on the “Processes” tab and look out for “WgaTary.exe”. Now, select it and click the “End Process” button.
Second step..Go to your Windows’ System32 Directory. To do this, go to your MyComputer, and on the address bar, type %WinDir%\system32 and then, in this directory, you will see the wgatray.exe and wgalogon.dll files. Just rename them so Windows gets confused in future locating the files for validation. Bingo! Simple isn’t it? Now don’t just think of updating Windows now! Go to Control Panel - Windows Updates and turn off Windows Updates!Else you are likely to get the annoying pop-up again.
Now, why did I blog about this? Well, honestly, ever since this error came in my computer, I have been experiencing lots of browsing problems. I felt like my bandwidth was sucked up by this stupid error. So, I have disabled it. No, I dont support piracy actually..But the whole fact is, at least Windows should have waited till Vista’s release. They keep delaying Vista and make XP miserable..I will by my original Vista CD which is why I didnt buy the original XP CD. I mean, what’s the point? I wont waste another RM380 for a CD which Im not even going to use later on!
Microsoft should be careful what it wishes for.
The reason I recommend MS solutions to my customers is that I've been troubleshooting/using windows forever. Had I not been able to get access to a copy of windows (there aren't many teens who will fork 150$ over for something like an 'operating system'), then I would, more than likely, have grown up using *nix.
I don't mean this as some lame 'I'll just go to Linux!' threat; I mean it to say that this crackdown will force all of us to do something that I don't believe microsoft wants us to do: consider whether Windows (and all MS solutions for that matter) is really worth the $.
hey!!i got my dell laptop 6 months back.
it had a pre-installed windows genuine version.
there are no chance of it being non-genuine as there is a coa at the back side of the laptop,,tht has a valid product key.
bt i forgot to register it on microsoft.
i was recieving all updates since last 6 months.bt suddenly i get the same alert"tht my software is not genuine" and the other one is..you may b a victim of software counterfieting.what should i do whenmy software is genuine.
Just have your computer clean install on the Windows OS, and this time turn off the Windows Update. You will have a brand new PC and more fresh than the previous one.
I had my PC install with Windows XP SP2 about 3 weeks ago, I do it clean install. About 2 weeks after the Windows installation I got this piracy baloon notification (I got this because I turn on the Windows Update things). I suppose I just neglegted it at first, but when I tried to Install Visual Basic 6 (another Microsoft product) it shows error message, I have 3 different source (cd) of Visual Basic for the installation, but all of them giving me the same error just when I tried to click the first 'Next', I know for sure that my VB installation sources are fine. I assumpt that this error is generated automaticaly because of the OS that I use is a Pirate one, and they've knows about it.
I had tried to remove the annoying icon on the taskbar (remove the wgatray.exe, wgalogon.dll and legitcheckcontrol.dll on Windows\System32\) and turn off windows update, I thought by removing it will solve my problems on installing Visual Basic, but still I can't install Visual Basic. Removing those files only remove the icon, but they still marked the registry as pirate one. I guess this problems will happens everytime installing microsoft product.
I guess another clean install for my PC will solve all the problems about this thing, and this time turn off the windows update.
REmoving this is actually very simple and has been explained on the site support.microsoft.com. I think its more of a warning and show of mastery by Microsoft and not an outcome of a bad intent.
You just have to rename couple of files in the system32 folder and it disappears.
removing WGA is simple
remove any files call WGA from regedit in software list.
remove WGA regedit
restart the PC
2-open Task Maneger /processes-and remove wga from there.
3-go to my computer/c:/windows/system32/look for wga.dell two of them are there/rename them and after that remove them.
and in the end turn off automatic update.
ur all full of it, all of u r nerds that try the hard way whe all u have to do is rename the 'wgalogon.dll' which is found in 'C:\WINDOWS\system32' and that gets rid of all of it man. i tried all the other ways on the net and none of them worked so u nerds r a step behind the real master. (im not a nerd)
Ben, you may not be a nerd, you are an idiot with a simplistic solution and a habit of failing to write even nerdlike english.
pls help.. i couldn't even find the wgalogon.dll in the system32.. i'm seriously stuck with the bloody mircosoft piracy shit.. i hate microsoft!!!! They are big bullies!!!
No-one has mentioned the easiest way to disable the notifications yet. Right-click on the blue star in the system tray and select "Change Notifications Settings". Then click the + sign next to "Windows Genuine Notifications Options" o the window that opens up. OK, the blue star remains, but all the nags disappear.
Thanks Ben, Your method is worked. I ONLY renamed wgalogon.dll under C:\WINNT\system32 on my PC and restarted. All appeared as normal. I also downloaded “keyfinder.exe” from www.magicaljellybean. and changed the key with other genuine key. Thank again
Dont download keyfinder.exe it contains malware Win32:PSW-RAS-B [Tool]
I got rid of it, i also removed it from the reg. but i want to install wmp 11 but it says im not genuine.. and i may not b.. wat do i do?
Ok, all i have to do is rename Wgalogin, then restart, and everything is gone?
I got the "critical updates available" notification 2 days ago. Like an idiot I believed the "keep your computer safe" crap and downloadedinstalled. After rebooting, I found out I'm a pirate. I'm so ashamed. System Restored back 3 days (thanks M$), auto-updates off and uncheck auto-updates in "change the way Security Center Alerts You". All gone ;)
thank you for your posts - it took less time to take off this nagging baloons than some adwares and viruses. It seems that m$ft didn't apply same technology of hiding files and restarting them in 100's of different ways.
"This copy of Windows is not genuine. You may be the victim of software
counterfeiting" every time boots computer
1. Boot The computer in safe mode
2. Delete a file called wgatray.exe from c:\windows\system32
3. Delete wgatray.exe from c:\windows\system32\dllcache (dllcache is a hidden
4. Delete the key "WGALOGON" from HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows
5. Restart the computer in the normal mode. You should not get the error message
WGA Notification tool continually prompts users with the following message after
installing - "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting"
If you log in as a local admin, the problem may not occur.
The Users group needs Write permissions to the following folder - Documents and
Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows Genuine Advantage\Data By default the
Users group has Read permissions set as a special permission to this folder.
Step 1 Disable Simple File Sharing and Shown hidden files
1. Open Windows Explorer.
2. Click Tools. Click Folder Options.
3. Click the View tab. Drag the scroll bar to find the item "User simple file
sharing (recommended)". Clear the checkbox before this item.
4. Under Hidden files and folders, click "Show hidden files and folders".
5. Clear the "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" check box and
6. Click Apply and click OK.
Step 2 Set Proper setting
1. Browse to the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows
Genuine Advantage folder, 2. Right click the data folder and left click on
3. Click on the Security tab.
4. Select your wife's account under in the "Group or user names" box. If it is not
listed, click Add and type the account to add it.
5. Select Allow behind Full Control.
6. Click Apply, click OK.
people i keep getting a message on my desktop say ''You may be a victom of counterfeiting'' do you have any ideas of removing it so that it doesnt keep popping up?,
please suggest me to remove this and please provide me free solution
Why not just lower the prices on the map where people dont pirate?
I want to make as much money as possible off this product before it becomes last gen upon the release of vista. Cant you see, why dident i release this "nag" before?! Because now I can capitolize on a soon-to-be obselete product! Muhahahaha! $4000+ a minute isnt enough for me!
I make more $$$$$ while taking a dump then most of you will make in a year! Muhahaha!
Is there any legal action taken if this error is prompting at the local home pc where pirated window is installed?
is there anything wrong if auto updates are off?
Sandhya automatic updates must be turned on it updates your p.c if you turn them off theres more chances of getting virus's be on the safe side turn them on!
@sandhya ..or, just could just use norton antivirus. I use it since 92.. and there was no internet or windows back then..
as for the other ppl:
ANYONE who EVER had the pertinence to ask money for information should just go to sleep and never wake up!
AND everyone who has ever payed money for information should do the same!
The universe is full of energy and there is so little information.. and because money is energy money would not exist if we dedicated ourselves more in outer space energy exploitation..
but dedication means aquiring lots of information and exchanging it freely.. but this is not about to happen so one could say this is a doomed race!
What a load of carp. Ever killed an insect sinply because it was annoying you? Then you've done something more wrong than stealing from Microsoft. I'm switching to Red Hat.
Hey ppl, I guess I hate Microsoft now. I dont deny it's role in software advancement. But now they're goin dirty. What? We use their softwares ( let's forget my own story that I've bought a laptop from the fukin vignet company and they've preinstalled a counterfeit copy of win ) and so these softwares are world's common tools and so they earn more and more and finally call us victims? and maybe thieves?
but anyways I really like to switch to LINUX. It's goin to be and must go to be a world of free, fast growin, reliable softwares, not this all-hidden stuff in which one can in no way know what the hell is goin on.
I got this damn prompt 4-5 days ago. I called my laptop supplier and they have their own excuses. I can win if i struggle (it's clear from the way the cust service + tech officer speaks!), but i even dont want to. now that i have read all this comments here I made my mind to take a long term decision to get rid of this game. I guess the world is also tendin to get rid of it.
So please somebody suggest me a good version of linux. so i can have it and learn it and take my own step in the road of Microsoft-independent-future.
wat do u ppl say i should get besides microsoft..is linsux good or anything else..and about the message i got it on my computer if i install a haker protecter...than will the problem be fixed?
if my computer opens and restarts does that mean anything..that has to do with this whole thing?
thank you a lot Defender for posting the site! It helped me deal with this problem very very nice. Thanks a lot! I was afraid I had to install windows again on my pc. You spared me from a lot of work!!
Thank's a lot to Defender. For posting the site. It solved the problem very nice and fast. In one click and gone. Well Done
I wanted to build a pc (my first) and bought an oem version of xp home. After completing the task and installing the many updates the "not genuine" window pops up immediately after the required restart. Then the balloon floats. Microsoft tells me its a pirate copy and i should pay them more money and everything will be ok. It is NOT a pirate copy! and after waiting on hold for hours and listening to someone at MS read generic script material over a peoiod of a couple weeks, finally i told them i will not hang up until they can correct the problem. at this point, i am transfered to a supervisor who gives me a different key. I still see the balloon occassionally. just like others, i have learned to live with it. Being a bit more experienced and wiser, I am sorry I wasted money on Microsoft. For my next project, i used SUSE LINUX!
I've just built a new PC for the family from components and purchased a legitimate copy of MCE 2005 along with them. Have I installed it? No, I've tested the system by installing Kubuntu Dapper Drake. Everything works, including the digital TV card. The only reason I bought the copy of MCE was for compatibility with my kids games. The more I read about WGA, the less inclined I am to install MCE, and the more I'm inclined to study up on VMWare. I tried WINE, but many of these kids' games require specific versions of Quicktime and DirectX, and my initial impressions of WINE are that it's not too easy to get these to install.
I think Microsoft are in serious trouble now. Linux has evolved to the point where it really is usable, and guilt-free. Treating every user like a potential abuser is an object lesson in how to alienate your customers. Will I buy a system with Vista? Never. I'd rather build another system for Linux, or buy a Mac now.
I got this aggrivating message after windoze crashed and it only reverted one part of the registry to old to restore. Xp crashing and Doc Watsons malpractice caused mine to suddenly appear non genuine. Running the regular system restore fixed it for now and I was able to search and install updates. I was forced to SP2 becase of a HW driver problem and Microsloths threats of discontinuing SP1 support later this year. My problem solved for the time being, my copy is legit and only activly being used on one compuker, the other compuker running it died. They reactivated this exact install 4 months ago when it locked up after upgrading the processor.
I have a genuine winxp pro bought from MS that also has these little additions. I work with licenced copies within my company who have over 500+ users with a bulk licence. My companies response is to migrate to new OS because it is fed up with the MS hassle. We have found the alternative is download the updates seperately and send out via our management platform updating each machine at the same time we update the virus DB. Any one can find the updates it is not just MS which distributes them. The only way is to have a base OS and then pay for advanced adons. It is well known that over 60% of Americans have illegal OS and other software in UK and Europe it is about 45% the restof the world accounts for between 60 - 80% illegal copies. So who are the fools. The WinXP we use has every patch update released and does not have a KEY. Turn of your MS update learn about PC's use reasonably priced 3rd party software... Use a 3rd party patcher and ignore WGA That is what every else is doing including my employer HM Goverment UK
my computer has this problem and i can't resolve it my mail is:email@example.com
i got rid of the stupid bubble!
its a matter of simply closing explorer.exe down in task manager, opening up cmd and deleting the file from wherever it came from.
good fun stuff.
Okay, so..That stupid thing popped up about me not having a genuine copy of Microsoft, then I clicked the stupidass bubble thing and now all my computer does when I try to log on is bring up my background. Someone help, please.
my aim is itswh1tyo
i'd really appreciate it.
Why did i had auto update on?
I don't know that much about computers but I called my computer guru and he said that if you clear all the data and reinstall it (with the disk you received upon purchase) thn it should work fine. But my problem is that I have about 2000 songs and the system won't allow me to open itunes or move them into a external hard drive directly from "My Computer" so I need help with moving the songs any ideas?
What is going on?I can't get online and have this software counterfeiting message popping up?HELP!