Will Microsoft ever get WGA right? Last week, I reported on a mysterious outbreak of failures that were causing legitimate Windows XP users to fail validation and be tagged as pirates. In all, 42% of the problem reports I looked at were from customers running confirmed genuine copies of Windows XP.
This week, the WGA Validation Problems forum is awash in reports from customers in corporations and at universities that volume license keys (VLKs) are suddenly being reported as blocked.
- a campus computer lab whose machines are failing validation
- another university campus
- a corporation whose old VLK was deactivated and replaced with a new VLK that appears to have been blocked without notice
- four supposedly valid corporate VLKs being blocked at one company with more than 1000 users.
Microsoft says the problem is under investigation:
On Monday and Tuesday of this week (Oct 2-3), some VLK customers may have experienced problems with WGA validation. If a Windows XP system with a VLK recently began failing validation or reporting as non-genuine, then they may experiencing this problem. The problem was the result of an issue on the Microsoft server side, and we are still investigating the cause. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you, and I am personally working to get the information you need to resolve this issue.
It's particularly embarrassing timing, given this morning's rollout of a renamed and much tougher activation and validation platform for Windows Vista that will increase the burden on corporate customers using VLKs.
I've asked Microsoft to comment, and I'll pass along any response I receive.
Update 4-Oct 3:00PM Pacific: Microsoft provides the following statement:
Earlier this week one of Microsoft's servers experienced a bug that resulted in an outage of the validation service. As a result, some Windows XP systems incorrectly failed validation and were reported as being non-genuine. The situation was identified and fixed within 24 hours.
Steps are now available on our support forum for customers to correct any problems they are experiencing with this issue. We recognize the inconvenience for our customers and are working to address their specific concerns.
"We recognize the inconvenience..." Is it really that hard to say "We apologize"?