WGA failures: Microsoft responds

WGA failures: Microsoft responds

Summary: As I noted at the end of my earlier post on WGA failures, I contacted Microsoft last week and offered to brief them on my findings so that I could include a response in the original story. Despite repeated follow-ups, they declined that opportunity.

TOPICS: Microsoft

As I noted at the end of my earlier post on WGA failures, I contacted Microsoft last week and offered to brief them on my findings so that I could include a response in the original story. Despite repeated follow-ups, they declined that opportunity.

Last night, after I had left my office, a Microsoft spokesperson who had not read the story or heard any details about it sent me an e-mail message containing this statement for publication:

The Windows XP Validation tools are very accurate at determining if a copy of Windows is genuine or not. We have found that many customers who originally felt their copy of Windows XP had been inaccurately labeled as non-genuine were surprised to learn that they were indeed running non-genuine software, often at no fault of their own. Microsoft works closely with these unknowing victims to remedy the situation. The false positive rate for WGA Validation failure is a fraction of one percent, and in these cases a bug was at fault and repaired shortly after. We are constantly evaluating the criteria for validation and are confident that validation results are accurate.

If I receive any additional responses from Microsoft that directly address the issues in the story as published, I'll post them here.

Update 27-Sep: Still no further comment from Microsoft on the specifics I reported yesterday. Meanwhile, Microsoft customers continue to report real-world problems with WGA falsely accusing them of running illegal software. I've reprinted one report from a hospital where doctors have to click past bogus WGA errors before they can view X-rays and CT scans.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Microsoft's Position -- Public Denial

    Microsof is like the Big Bad Wolf:

    "I'll huff, and I'll puff, amd I'll BLOOOW your facts down!"

    A dramatic clash between public facts and corporate denial is coming. When that happens, many in Microsoft upper management are going to be very embarassed.

    The question then will be -- what measures Microsoft will take to patch up its tattered credibility.
    • they'll do nothing

      Microsoft cost the US economy $600 BILLION dollars with the
      Y2K debacle. That's BILLION with a capital BILLION.

      Microsoft has NEVER done anything to salvage their credibility.
      They just have an army of people who make a living from their
      products who just try to "make it work". And between debacles,
      people forget how bad it was the last time.

      And when the next catastrophic event comes along, people will
      be all upset but WON'T ask with any conviction "what's the
      alternative?" And since MS knows most folks won't look at or
      even consider alternatives, why should it CARE who it upsets?

      So the answer is that they'll do nothing. Absolutely nothing. And
      if you're tied to an MS solution, you'll GET nothing and like it.
      • It Doesn't Matter To Us

        We're no longer Microsoft customers.

        We're buying only Macs now. Just bought a MacBook for my high school stepdaughter several weeks ago.

        We'll migrate our legacy Intel systems will to Linux.
        • GNU/LINUX, PCBSD, OSS will bankrupt M$

          within a decade.
      • I doubt this very much

        I am not sticking up for MS, but most of the money spent on Y2K issues were due to legacy code written in cobal and such. It had very little to do with MS. Some system boards bios's had issues and required updating or replacing, but I did not have to buy anything from Microsoft for any issue with Y2K.
        • But public perception

          these people that are complaining most vocal aren't tech people. they'll see no difference between Microsoft's product causing a problem, and their hardware causing it....

          as well, I see it as they'll get something from MS... a letter saying "We're looking into it"
  • WGA is a joke....

    All it does is make it a pain in the rear for legitimate users. It doesn't stop a pirate or someone with the necessary skills to search for keys on the internet. :P

    WGA is a complete failure and just another money munching machine to appease the corporate execs.

    Kind of like DRM on music.. All it does is prevent the "occasional" copiers or legitimate users from doing what they would of normally done with "non-drm" CD's. It doesn't stop the pirate.
    • Justice Will Out ...

      Sooner or later, karma will catch up to the perpetrators of WGA. And then WGA will assume its proper place in history beside New Coke and the Edsel. And the deniers at M$ ("Less than 1% false positives!") will assume [b]their[/b] place in history beside the Iraqi Information Minister.
      • rofl

        " will assume their place in history beside the Iraqi Information Minister."

        exactly...with one exception, I felt sorry for the Information minister, it was life or lies. I won't fell sorry for WGA drones.
  • Problem, what problem?

    There's nothing to see here.... move along....

    Nevermind the man behind the curtain.
    • Sounds familiar

      Rome is NOT burning, and that is NOT me playing the fiddle.

      Nero, Emperor of Rome
  • Microsoft to world

    "We don't have a drinking problem. Those bottles you found in the washing machine were there because they were dirty and that bottle you found under the sink- we find it makes a great stain remover. No problems here."
  • if WGA fails a lot of Genuine XPs, how many pirate XPs passed the WGA test?

    It stands to reason that if there are so many PCs with paid-for-Genuine-copies-of-Windows-XP failing the WGA test and convicted as "non-genuine", then there has to be a lot of pirate copies of Windows XP that are passing the WGA test as "genuine". Genuine, Not Genuine, Pirate, Not Pirate? According to WGA, there is NO DIFFERENCE. And Microsoft thinks they know which is which?!? Microsoft just wants your MONEY and make you buy another copy of Windows even if you already paid for your genuine copy of Windows that Microsoft's WGA now says is NON-GENUINE.
    • As I see it too

      I search the internet and find them using good stuff to pass activation, therefore what you write is true. All they need to do is know how do it. Just like the Antivirus we use, it only as good as the source of knowledge to compare with, anything unknown it does not detect, and some way something can prevent it from knowing too. There is knowledge and skill in this, to see and detect or get it accepted.
  • Thank you Ed Bott for getting some numbers

    Thank you for doing this research to get some actual numeric data on this problem. This may be what is needed to finally break open the stonewall. All of us individual complainers certainly have had no impact.

    I would appreciate it if you could give some advice now, as to what we as individuals could do, who we should write, etc., using your data, to hammer Microsoft to acknowledge the problems and issue an update to remove the defective WGAN from all systems.
    • Who to write to?

      Top of my list would be Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, and Jim Allchin at Microsoft.

      It might not hurt to send this link to some reporters for local papers and see if they can find a local angle. Maybe some computer repair shops are having to deal with the fallout of this issue, especially if they've been unjustly accused of installing pirated software.
      Ed Bott
      • Microsoft? Heck

        This has got to go public, Ed.

        Fox News. Washington Post.

        Right now this realization is still confided to a small fraction of the population.
      • email links or addresses would be helpful

        Ed, Thanks for suggesting those names to write to. But I do not have their email or postal addresses. If you could provide addresses, I'm sure more of your readers would write to them.

        Better yet, what is really needed in cases like this is something like MoveOn.org -- action alerts that go out to subscribers, where they provide a link that makes it easy for massive numbers of people to quickly write to gov't. reps concerning some urgent matter...

        The local papers suggestion - well, I had to laugh a bit, because ALL of the local shops here, except for my shop, have been installing nothing but pirated Windows for years. So the local paper thing would only give these crooks an alibi. (I've reported them to MS, but MS does nothing - this is a rural area, probably too-small potatoes for them to bother with).

        Cardhu's suggestion about press releases to major news outlets though, seems a good idea. You or ZDNet should do that, though.
        • Microsoft's Homepage

          has links for their corporate mailing address as well as biographies for their executive staff.

          People can also sign up to be added to e-mail lists to get e-mails from Microsoft executives, including Mr. Steven Balmer.

          Likewise, I think the suggestion of MoveOn.org is another good idea.
  • YES we have no defects in our operating systems

    Well none other than the 63,000 KNOWN defects that were independently confirmed. But hey, ONLY 10,000 of those KNOWN defects will cause a loss of data and BSODs. Do you think we really care? Hell NO we're MICROSUCKS.