Speculation over WGA's 80% success rate

By Justin Mann on July 5, 2006, 11:39 AM
As an addition to Microsoft's problem with WGA that we have been hearing about lately, there was an interesting bit of information regarding how accurate the program itself is in detecting pirated copies of Windows. Depending on the way it is worded, a statement from Microsoft has some believing that WGA has a false positive rate of up to twenty percent. This was taken from an article at Computerworld:

Through its spokeswoman, Microsoft said that “80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys.”
Unfortunately, no specific clarification has been received from Microsoft. The real answers probably won't come for a while. The article mentions Microsoft talking about product tampering and installations done by resellers incorrectly. In the complex scheme of Windows licensing, there are many things that could happen. Imagine someone who owns a Dell machine preinstalled with an OEM copy of Windows. Later, their installation breaks and they don't have their original restore CDs. They reinstall a retail copy of Windows and use a generated key. Though functionally the same, and while the person does own a license for Windows, WGA will flag them as a pirate. That 20% figure is very interesting, indeed.




User Comments: 10

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canadian said:
Well, if they lowered the price of windows, I might start using it legally. Lol, my key is being used on...6 computers right now.
asphix said:
Nah, all that means is that 80% of the WGA flagged installs are installed using volume lisences. The other 20% are cracked versions of windows. Two very different scenarios. One is a modified OS, the other is 100% retail/legit using a volume key that is not accounted for on the payslip.@ canadianHow you can think $130 (USD) for XP pro is too much money baffles me. XP pro has been around since 2001 and lets assume you purchased it on day 1 for ~ $250 (USD) which is what it was released at I believe.Lets break that down. 2006 - 2001 = 5 years / $250 = $50 (USD)So, in essence you are paying $50 a year for an OS you will likely use on a DAILY BASIS. This is as opposed to:(trying to pick relative subject matter for comparison)A game costing $50 you use for .5 - 3 monthsA movie costing you between $15-$20 you use for 15 hours (being generous)I could go on but I think just those 2 examples prove my point adequately. There is no reason to think purchasing a valid lisense is too expensive, especially at $129.99. The problem is with all piracy, people get used to having it for free and thus what is really a very suitable price point appears to be expensive when in reality, it isnt.And before you 'nix fans come in contradicting my claims, remember that while 'nix based OS's are really great, solid and functional while also free.. compared to windows they are extremely limited and have less of a showing in the retail space which effects 99% of people who would be using a computer of which lack of gaming is just the tip of the iceberg.
canadian said:
I have a legal copy, but I have more than one computer. Technically, im using Windows illegly because my license is only allowed on one computer. (Computers are Mine, my old one, my laptop, my server, my parents, and one of my friends)(Incase your wondering, no, I am not rich, the server and old computer are made from spare parts, and the laptop only JUST is good enough for Windows XP. It was designed for 95)So, for me, this would cost 5*$177 CDN. I am just a student in high school, I dont have money for that! And then there is taxes on that, a nice 14%!
R.Cade said:
[b]Originally posted by canadian:[/b][quote]I dont have money for that! And then there is taxes on that, a nice 14%! [/quote]Just becuase you can't afford 5 cars, doens't mean you can steal the other 4 :) Run linux or something.
nic said:
Microsoft should offer a 'family' licence for slightly higher cost (+50%) that allows users to install XP on multiple PC's (up to 5 maybe) at same home address.
asphix said:
[b]Originally posted by nic:[/b][quote]Microsoft should offer a 'family' licence for slightly higher cost (+50%) that allows users to install XP on multiple PC's (up to 5 maybe) at same home address.[/quote]That would be a nice offering. I agree that the one lisence per computer enforcement can get annoying sometimes especially during transitional period where you're upgrading computers and want to keep your old one around for a bit longer.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]That would be a nice offering. I agree that the one lisence per computer enforcement can get annoying sometimes especially during transitional period where you're upgrading computers and want to keep your old one around for a bit longer.[/quote]SURE! Also, if you have, say, 2 computers : You already have the disk in your house, why would you need to get two copies of it?
Malibu Stacey said:
[quote] Imagine someone who owns a Dell machine preinstalled with an OEM copy of Windows. Later, their installation breaks and they don't have their original restore CDs. They reinstall a retail copy of Windows and use a generated key. Though functionally the same, and while the person does own a license for Windows, WGA will flag them as a pirate.[/quote]Very bad example. Any pre-built system which is shipped with a genuine copy of a Microsoft operating system will have the product key on a sticker physically attached to the case. Therefore the theoretical Dell owner would simply have to type in his or her key when prompted by the Installer by reading it off their case instead of generating one. Therefore WGA would not "flag them as a pirate".
10101 said:
[b]Originally posted by R.Cade:[/b][quote][b]Originally posted by canadian:[/b][quote]I dont have money for that! And then there is taxes on that, a nice 14%![/quote]Just becuase you can't afford 5 cars, doens't mean you can steal the other 4 :) Run linux or something.[/quote]He's not stealing the other 4, he's just driving everybody around using the same 1. :)Ever heard of carpool?And please stop using same old style analogies that have no place here.Cars have nothing to do with computer operating systems.If you have to make a comment, please make a constructive one, such as...refrain from using same OS copy on more than 1 computer, and/or get a cheap copy of Win2000, 98SE or ME from ebay, etc...I'm sure he won't be able to run all apps/games/tools he wants/needs/cares about on Linux, unless all those 5 computers are used strictly for email, internet browsing and/or document/spreadsheet creation/editing. ;)[Edited by 10101 on 2006-07-10 15:10:24]
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