Windows Vista SP1 brings with it a new tweaked version of the WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) anti-piracy scheme. How does this look to the end user?
Check out the complete SP1 WGA gallery here.
- Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) - This is a state where the user can only access Internet Explorer for 60 minutes at a time before being logged out. Users can also boot into Safe Mode and access documents. Ultimately though, Microsoft is pushing the user to get the system properly activated. This state can be reached if the product activation period expires.
- Non-Genuine State (NGS) - This state occurs when an activated copy of Vista fails a Web-based validation check (for example, when the user attempts to download software from the Microsoft site). In this case, features such as the Aero UI and ReadyBoost are completely disabled. Other features such as Windows Update offer limited functionality.
As of SP1, both these states are gone and if a system is considered to be non-genuine it will enter what I can call a nag state. In this state users will see:
- A nag screen to activate at logon that cannot be dismissed for 15 seconds.
- Every hour the desktop background is switched to black (it can be changed back, but after an hour it's set to black again).
- Activation dialogs and balloon dialogs appear regularly.
- Optional Windows Updates aren't delivered.
So, instead of losing functionality, the user is nagged to activate.
Personally, as someone who tinkers with the hardware settings on a regular basis, these nag screens offer a welcome relief from being forced to activate when in the middle of something (this happens to me all the time when using virtual machines).
Personally, I'd rather that Microsoft abandon WGA altogether, but this is a step in the right direction.
Earlier Vista SP1-related posts:
- The SP1 upgrades continue - Day 2
- RIP Ultimate Extras
- Vista SP1 - The promised performance gains are there
- Vista SP1 - Day 1