Microsoft responds to WGA issues

Microsoft responds to WGA issues

Summary: Last week I had the opportunity to ask Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager on the Genuine Windows team, a couple of questions relating to Windows Genuine Advantage.  The replies are interesting and I thought I'd share them with readers here.

TOPICS: Windows

Last week I had the opportunity to ask Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager on the Genuine Windows team, a couple of questions relating to Windows Genuine Advantage.  The replies are interesting and I thought I'd share them with readers here.

Question:  Why are applications such as nProtect GameGuard, Trend Micro Internet Security, PC-Cillin Anti-Virus and PC Tools Spyware Doctor causing Windows to enter a non-genuine state?

Kochis: The first issue is that some ISVs unfortunately have written their applications to write to protected memory spaces or modify code that should not be modified. So far, the ISVs that we have seen that have made this mistake are well-intentioned, but it is not always possible to tell the difference between a well-intentioned piece of software that is not behaving well and a malicious one. When this happens, even the well-intentioned software may trigger tamper detection or, in this case, can cause product activation to reset.

Separately, there is a known app compat [application compatibility] issue in which a piece of software (in this case, QuickBooks) deletes a file as part of its normal operation. Unfortunately, while deleting this file, the software also deletes the folder created by Windows Vista to store files such as the one QuickBooks creates. If this folder is deleted when our code looks for it, it will think the system has been tampered with.

Question: How exactly is WGA protecting customers?

Kochis: Windows Vista is more proactive in protecting itself than Windows XP was. In fact, some of the behavior we’re referring to here also occurred on Windows XP but could not be reacted to as effectively as Windows Vista is able to react. The tamper detection technology built into Windows Vista works to both protect Microsoft’s intellectual property but also serves to protect key system files from being tampered with in a malicious way. Many of the ways that Windows XP was pirated involved modifying binaries and changing fundamental ways in which the OS functioned to facilitate the piracy. These kinds of modifications (notably to the Windows setup process) can destabilize the system in dangerous ways. In fact, one of the recent attempts to hack some of the licensing components of Windows Vista was so destabilizing that we began to see relatively large numbers of system crashes through our Online Crash Analysis tools. Considering how these kinds of hacked versions are sold on street corners, for download online or even preinstalled on PCs, it would seem that the kind of protection our tamper detection technology offers is of significant value to our customers.


Topic: Windows

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  • It will be interesting to see

    how well Vista holds up. I wish them luck. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • Typical response...

    This seems to be typical of the monopolistic company. "So what that you paid for Vista, you ran a non approved software so Vista is now reduced capability until you beg us properly or buy a new license."

    Granted this was not directly what was said but effectively, they treat all legal customers with similar attitude and disdain.

    While I own a legal copy of both Vista and Office 2007 (straight from MS), it is clear from the on-going attitude displayed by Microsoft that I will probably never install either and stay with XP and Office 2003 and simply keep the "auto updates" turned off and depend on the layered security built into my hardware firewalls, NAT routers and software security suites (non-Microsoft) to keep my systems secure and operational for the foreseeable future.

    While I've worked with and for Microsoft for many years, I won't be able to support their current draconian restrictions. An operating system that has to be babied and cajoled to give me basic functionality and is limited to only running what Microsoft approves is simply intolerable.

    I've considered the Linux alternatives but I'll have to wait to make that change until the technologies meet my desires. At this point the learning curves and technological hoops I have to jump through to get my systems to the level of functionality that I currently have in XP and the various programs running in it is just too great to make the switch.
    • RE: Considering Linux

      Everyone who might be interested, has to start somewhere.

      Little if any cost, one just needs the interest to Look.

      There are many great LiveCD's. One can look at many to explore & get started.

      One of the comments I hear quite often, from new people..... "I wish I got started sooner"
      • LazLong

        Have you been to a strange land lately?
      • Well, Long, I don't know how many times you've heard that.

        One thing I do know, however, is that you can add me to the list. The learning curve, especially with some of the newbie-oriented distros (I use Ubuntu) is measured in minutes depending on what you want to do. All in all, the transition has been far less of an ordeal than I expected.
  • My thoughts.... It's really ashame

    MS has the resources to do anything it wants.
    (and default inertia in many markets & remains the market leader probably for a long time)(It's ashame they can not just produce & compete on merit & not try to control the universe)

    Vista has some good qualities.
    Unfortunately still as not completely fixed some bad ones. And has added Even more useless & worst qualities.

    How do you translate that marketspeak. Is there not a site or program for that?

    Tamper technology? (Driver & App people not on board?, Yet?) guess they no longer need... developers, developers, developers?

    This will be interesting....
  • I can't see that any of this ...

    I can't see that any of this WGA benefits me whatsoever Micrososft. Your saying so does not "make it so" Captain.
  • Windows? Genuine? Advantage?

    Windows?: No question.
    Genuine?: I am afraid so.
    Advantage?: Microsoft's entirely.

    [i]"Where do you want to go today?"[/i]
    D T Schmitz
  • MS Anything V.1.0 = No Go

    Vista looks good and for the most part works, but for critical applications Ver. 1.0 from MS is always a bad bet. I won't consider an upgrade (or new PC purchase) until I see what's fixed in SP1. And I am advising my clients to do the same.

    As a side note, I understand that MS (and everyone else) are entitled to protect their property, intellectual and otherwise. However, it seems silly to inconvenience so many legit users to prevent a handful of pirated copies from running. MS has the computer industry by the short hairs and despite what Bill G. says MS is not likely to go the way CPM. No amount of WGA will stop wholesale copiers in China or Russia. That requires law enforcement. Also, in the big picture, does it really matter if Bill has $100 billion or $99.9 billion?
  • Can use or tolerate WGA

    I built my systems. I have changed parts when I wanted, and decided an upgrade was what I wanted, or a downgrade for one machine and upgrade for another.

    Why must *I* re-authorize my pc simply for an action I decided I wanted to make with my pc? Why doesn't microsoft understand that anyone upgrading their pc is going to be in the same boat and while microsoft says its a "non issue" because they will easily grant renewal/re-authenticate, its the time I have to waste doing so, and the number of times doing so for "non-issues". And at what point does microsoft decide that "i've been doing something fishy" and deny re-authentication?? and how do I prove that its just the types of things I've explained?

    protection of their intellectual property is one thing.. this is just heavy handed BS to force people into what *microsoft* wants. You want to blow away one hard drive and put in another? reauthenticate. you want a newer video card because yours wont play Doom 5150? reauthenticate.. you added more memory? you've decided to try linux on a free bit of drive space and resized your partitions? re-authenticate ....
  • The art of the thick

    Until Microsoft lowers their sticker prices, nothing will change except continued and heightened grief. It's not like Bill and his boys are facing a shortfall of revenues or profits. They spent years allowing these lazy developments to pan out. It allowed them to effectively corner the operating platform market. Now they've decided No More Mr. Nice Guy. All the gearheads and deadbeats and poor shmucks who helped them achieve monopoly status can clean up their acts, play along like good puppies, or go take a hike. That was then, this is now fools. It's all spelled out in those all-encompassing EULA's. How can one not appreciate such a noble and majestic attitude from those newfangled princes of Redmond?

    Small fries need to remember, Billy and Ballmy DEFINITELY know what's best for you. Stop questioning their motives and realize they're looking out for your better interests! And stop being thick.

    It's not so much that everyday 'honest Joes' relate to or empathize with the pirates; it's more they see them as no worse than the aristocratic pied pipers they make life difficult for. I suspect in the back of the minds of the majority of even straight-and-narrow types is a little voice quietly bleating "Go pirates, go!" Or maybe more accurately, "*uck you Microsoft! Climb down from your money pit and examine your own damn behavior. You're the last folks on earth to talk about "propriety" with a straight face!"

    "Nahhh" as Prince Billy would say: "Not a chance! Little shmucks everywhere love us. We know this, since they give us all their money! Stop being so thick!"
  • LINUX 1, MS/WGA pfft!

    WGA= MS $$$ nothing more and shame on you Microsoft for continually "messing" with the people who DID OVERpay for your OS.

    I wonder why Linux is FREE....why Vista costs 400$..and why every new Windows (ne version) or Windows app...seems to try to constantly call home to MS..when does this supposed "help us help you" BS, start getting called spyware???

    WMP11 spends every millisecond of ON-time trying "desperatly" to call home to MS....why?

    Have you nboticed the NEW service MS installed "silently"??

    Windows Driver Foundation - User-mode Driver Framework

    I went to MS and read all about this NEW service....seems along with doing what it CLEARLY states...there is buried 3 pages deep one line or particular interest:

    The driver model should be separate from core operating system components

    The driver model should be a separate, external framework that shields driver developers from the details of the operating system. [b]The model should enable Microsoft to change the operating system without introducing driver incompatibilities and should isolate driver developers and hardware vendors from incremental changes in each new version or update of the operating system.

    this is an excerpt from the WDF introduction, on this page:

    JUST what I desire...more ways for MS to get inside MY comp and change w/e they want w/o my permission and most probably knowledge.

    I read the descriptions on every MS update I install and NOWHERE on ANY description did MS mention they were adding a service.
    The ONLY way I even noticed it was from a screenshot of MY services settings (I save one for comparisons sake)....1-2 months ago WDF was NOT a service on Win XP it is.....I DON'T LIKE THAT MS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As for VISTA...pfft it already cracked and thx MS I'll stick with XP till either YOU destroy it or stop supporting it...then I'll switch to LINUX!

    BILL we made you rich....please STOP trying to "bend us over" your' workbench...that's NOT nice!
    • Here's another little MS sneakiness

      The current MS Tuesday Windows XP Pro updates include this little gem for WMP11.....

      Update for Windows Media Format 11 SDK for Windows XP (KB929399)
      Download size: 622 KB , less than 1 minute
      Install this update to address the DRM subscriptions service?s inability to extract metering data from certain portable devices while attempting to synchronize metering data on a client computer running the Microsoft Windows Media Format 11 SDK. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. Details...

      Uh yeah, ok MS, sure I'm gonna install this update :/
      • Ah come on, be a good little boy and take your medicine

        DRM must be good since Reverend Bill tells us it is, and chose to lace it all throughout his latest offerings. Don't resist the tidal wave, just roll over and be a good little puppy so Billy and Baldy don't spank your tush with one of their rolled up EULAs.

        Can I get you a anti-piracy popsicle while I'm at it? What flavor do you prefer? WGA? SPP? DRM? We have a whole boatload of H1B interns working on new flavors here at the Redmond Roost, so new ones will be available soon for your enjoyment. They're all made from Kool-Aid, and I assure you there are NO unattended consequences, even with obscene indulgence. Just sweet sweet dreams. Please, take all you like. :)
  • WGA vs Commodore 64 Copy protection?

    How short a memory everyone seems to have.

    Over twenty years ago, Commodore produced the most successful personal computer in the world: The C-64. This little machine had some of the computer industry's most popular software written for it.

    Along with some of the first nasty examples of copy protection.

    Early forms of Electronic Arts' games had copy protection that hammered the poor C-1541 disk drive's alignment mechanism to bits, damaging several disk drives in the process. No one blamed Commodore for faulty 1541s, because vendors used them in an unsupported fashion. While the newer 1541-IIs used a different alignment mechanism in response, no one cried foul at Commodore for the design of their products.

    Now everyone blames Microsoft because some third-party vendor released a copy ptotection mechanism that breaks WGA on Vista.

    What's wrong with this picture?