Microsoft updates XP to make WGA more annoying

By Justin Mann on August 27, 2008, 1:30 PM
Microsoft is expanding the scope of their Windows Genuine Advantage software, which as many of us know tries to reduce the number of pirated copies of Windows in the world. This latest update targets Windows XP, and makes it more similar to the version of WGA found in Windows Vista.

The latest update goes a bit beyond the frequent reminder messages that tell you your OS is pirated. This time, the update will automatically change your desktop background to a plain black, overlaid with a WGA warning similar to the login screen change they added to XP a while back. This time, however, if you change the background, WGA will just change it back.

This is a pretty bold move by Microsoft, who has faced a considerable amount of criticism for introducing WGA in the first place. They also faced numerous teething issues with it, with estimates at one point claiming that up to 42% of the installs identified as being pirated were false positives.

Nagging someone with alerts when they had a legal copy was bad enough, but what if someone is falsely identified and then subject to having their OS toyed with by Microsoft? Hopefully they have fixed those problems by now.

User Comments: 2

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Badfinger said:
I'm figuring the majority of positives are people who had to wipe their systems or hard drives failed, and weren't provided with ANY backup Windows media/info with their pre-installed bought system, whose going to then re-buy windows, for that reason, and should they have to?Microsoft continues to go in the wrong direction and their greed is just ridiculous, IMHO. Most folks would probably say: Give the mega-buggy and bloated, NOT overly improved operating system upgrades, a rest please.(I'm IT person, it's career insurance)In response to this there will just be software made, just to remove the WGA screens and such, if it hasn't already.[Edited by Badfinger on 2008-08-28 02:11:07]
gbhall said:
I think by far the greater threat of WGA is the vulnerability to hackers. As I understand it, the security built into Vista for playing protected video content was cracked wide open in less than a week, and the 'protection from hackers' of WGA is certain to be no better. And that worries me a great deal, because I dont want my perfectly genuine copy of Windows to be drastically crippled by Microsoft because I was unlucky enough to fall victim to a hacker who made it look illegal, and want me to pay to have it 'repaired'.
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