Another wave of WGA failures

Another wave of WGA failures

Summary: 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. This week, Microsoft's support forum is awash in reports from corporate and academic customers that volume license keys (VLKs) are suddenly being reported as blocked.

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TOPICS: Windows
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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.

Reports include:

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"?

Topic: Windows

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156 comments
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  • The problem was the result of an issue on the Microsoft server side

    As Microsoft reported: " The problem was the result of an issue on the Microsoft server side".
    So to offer a "fair and balanced" report, await the findings of the investgation before jumping to speculative conclusions.
    cnfrisch
    • But it is fair

      It is very fair and balanced. MS caused a problem with the end user, period. No excuses with a server side error, it shouldn't happen. That error caused many corporations, schools and other volume license users many headaches, especially lost time and labor in having to support the problem with their end users.

      I personally had to take over 2 hours of my time yesterday to service a legit computer lab and half of our teacher laptops because of Microsofts error. Is MS going to pay my labor in fixing their mess at my site because of their server problem? Of course not. When a company is doing something that is not working and it's affects so many people, and costs end users labor then they need to get rid of it or test it until it works correctly on servers that are not affecting the end user. They should have a redundant server to fall back on when one fails, or don't they believe in good computing practices?
      k12IT
      • So what exactly did you do for those 2 hours?

        nt
        ShadeTree
        • Made it go away

          Well, a computer lab with 90 computers, half the staff would be 50 laptops, so that's 140 systems.

          I used the time to write the script to run the free Remove WGA over the domain. Had to send the email that I knew about the problem since I was bombarded with emails about this error and let them know that they should reboot after 3:30pm when classes were out. Physically had to follow up with each teacher to make sure that they had rebooted. Had to physically go to the labs to reboot each computer since we had classes running through the labs and it causes a distraction to the class with each child saying hey what's this popup.

          Doing that along with the walking time across campus took 2 hours.
          k12IT
      • Self-contradiction, part II

        [i]Is MS going to pay my labor in fixing their mess at my site because of their server problem? Of course not.[/i]

        Quite right -- which leads to the question of how you can possibly believe:

        [i]When a company is doing something that is not working and it's affects so many people, and costs end users labor then they need to get rid of it or test it until it works correctly on servers that are not affecting the end user.[/i]

        As you pointed out, this isn't going to cost Microsoft anything. In which case, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
        Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Microsoft Won't Admit Liability or Fix Its Problems

        When they so clearly stand to gain revenue.

        So either accept the situation or choose to take your business elsewhere.
        Cardhu
      • Microsoft will not fix problem

        Bill Gates has always waited for users to find
        errors and report them instead of having his staff find errors and fix before offering products for sale. I quit long ago participating in beta testing.
        Wes
        jhughes_z
    • I thought problem reports had dropped?

      Dear Maytag repairman,

      It doesn't matter that the problem was on Microsoft's servers. Potentially thousands of customers are being told, inaccurately, that their software is non-genuine and their license is invalid.

      There is no amount of spinning that can make this a good thing.
      Ed Bott
      • Nor will any amount of spinning make it worse.

        " Potentially thousands of customers are being told, inaccurately, that their software is non-genuine and their license is invalid."

        To be accurate it is potentially millions but in reality only four sites were reported. This "the sky is falling routine" is really getting tedious!
        ShadeTree
        • No, I only provided links to four sites

          There were actually 10 or so the last time I looked. And these are people who got to Microsoft's WGA forum. How many people had to open a trouble ticket with Microsoft and spend hours resolving a problem not of their making?
          Ed Bott
      • Of Course Problem Reports Were Dropping

        But you keep actually [u]counting[/u]!
        Cardhu
      • Please Keep Up The Reporting, Ed

        Don't let the Microsoft apologists discourage you.
        Cardhu
    • When will you understand?

      Who cares whether it was a server problem, Aliens having fun at MS's expense, human error, a faulty reporting system, or mice chewing through power supply wires...[b]IT IS AFFECTING PEOPLE AND COSTING THEM TIME AND MONEY[/b].

      Does MS efver consider failure cases when they are testing? I mean, come on, what kind of coding genius does it take to have WGA take a few retries on it's own BEFORE causing the customer grief.

      If WGA fails validation due to a server problem (suspect reasoning, but at all costs, NEVER EVER admit there could be a flaw in WGA), let's say the server is unavailable, so WGA can't phone home and do it's job. How about a background mode. It tries again in 24 hours, and again 24 hours after that. This way, TRANSIENT WGA failures are NOT customer affecting.

      This is just one in a hundred ways WGA could be made less obtrusive and fairer to the customers, but that is not MSs goal. Extra revenue is.

      I just can't believe that there are no atoorneys out there who can't find a way or loophole that allows for false positive WGA failures to get into court. Or that no one has gone to small claims court because they have been flagged guilty until proven innocent.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • See your masters have you

      out doing damage control today! Come on now just admit the whole thing is a waste of time and not really to protect from piracy but to try and extort more $$$ from customers! ]:)
      Linux User 147560
  • Will Microsoft ever get WGA right?

    It [b]is[/b] right.

    After all, it's not causing Microsoft any problems at all.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • And from my perspective....

      ... it is not causing me any problems either!

      :-)
      bportlock
      • Re: And from my perspective....

        No problems reported from any of the accounts I service either.
        cnfrisch
        • Hey, Great!

          You got yours!

          So hang everyone else, right?
          Cardhu
    • Not causing MS any problems?

      That was easy to say when the problems were coming up with powerless home users and small businesses.

      But when corporate sites with thousands of seats start experiencing this, then Microsoft has a problem.
      Ed Bott
      • Every so often

        [i]But when corporate sites with thousands of seats start experiencing this, then Microsoft has a problem.[/i]

        Every now and then it becomes necessary to remind the sheep who has the power. There's a food chain here, and Microsoft is at the top of it.

        Those corporate sites just got a lesson about how much more they need Microsoft than Microsoft needs them. The next round of license negotiations should go much more smoothly.

        Don't get ideas about leaving the pasture.
        Yagotta B. Kidding