Microsoft To Release New Version Of Windows Genuine Advantage…..Oh No….

While reading some of the blogs on the Microsoft website, I came across this blog posting which talks about a new version of Windows Genuine Advantage. In this new version, computers that are found to be running pirated copies of XP Pro will see their desktop backgrounds change to a “plain black background”. Also, a static message will also hang around on the desktop telling the user that their copy of XP Pro appears to be pirated. A user can change their screen settings as desired, but it will be reset to black every 60 minutes. These changes make the XP version of Windows Genuine Advantage more like the Vista SP1 version of Windows Genuine Advantage.

Why is Microsoft doing this? They claim that XP Pro is the most pirated version of Windows:

“Another thing we’re doing with this release is focusing on the product edition that is most often stolen. This will reduce the number of customers that will be offered the package. This release will be offered to the most pirated edition of Windows XP and therefore to users with the highest likelihood of having a non-genuine copy, those using Windows XP Pro.  We’re also offering it to those using editions based on Pro code such as Tablet and Windows Media Center, but plan to narrow the offering to Pro in future releases.”

Here’s why I hate Windows Genuine Advantage. Every time Microsoft comes up with a new version of Windows Genuine Advantage, I get a ton of phone calls. Why? It’s becase each update to Windows Genuine Advantage incorrectly flags computers that have a legal copy of XP installed as being pirated copies. Most of those were pre-installed by vendors such as HP, Dell, and IBM, so there’s no way they’re running pirated software. Not to mention that Microsoft’s validation servers haven’t been all that reliable in the past. So Windows Genuine Advantage as far as I am concerned doesn’t have a great track record.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand Microsoft’s need to protect itself from pirates. But it has to be done in a way that doesn’t nail the honest consumer. Currently, that isn’t the case.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get ready for the flood of calls that I know is headed my way.

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