Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage system down for the count?

Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage system down for the count?

Summary: ArsTechnica and a few other sites are pointing to Microsoft forums where complaints are pouring in regarding problems that Windows XP and Windows Vista users are encountering when trying to validate their software as "genuine" using Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) system. Some are reporting the problem has been resolved, as of 5 p.m. EST on August 25.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

ArsTechnica and a few other sites are pointing to Microsoft forums where complaints are pouring in regarding problems that Windows XP and Windows Vista users are encountering when trying to validate their software as "genuine" using Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) system.

On the Windows Genuine forums, frustrated users are reporting that their non-pirated copies of Windows are being marked as "non-genuine." They are encountering problems when attempting to download patches, fixes and other software that requires a WGA check before the download is permitted.

So far, the only seemingly official response from Microsoft was relayed by "Doug in Singapore," who posted the following note in the Forums:

"I’m sorry to inform you that the Windows Genuine server might be down for few days. I have escalate the issue to our Genuine team, kindly try to validate again on Tuesday 28 Aug 2007.

"Thank you for contacting Microsoft Technical Support."

Update: 5:00 p.m. August 25: It's possible that Microsoft fixed the issue, based on severalnew posts in the forum. Several posters are reporting that users who go to the main WGA page and click on "validate" are no longer encountering problems. There is currently no notice on the WGA page regarding the outage.

Update No. 2: Via There's a post on the WGA blog noting that there's at least a temporary fix in place, but no explanation as to the cause of the outage.:

"Customers who received an incorrect validation response can fix their system by revalidating on our site ( We encourage anyone who received a validation failure since Friday evening to do this now. After successfully revalidating any affected system should be rebooted to ensure the genuine-only features are restored."

Users in the forums have been warning others against performing any tasks that require WGA validation. A number of posters are blaming Vista for the problem and are committing to "downgrade" to XP as a result.

In Vista's case, if WGA deems a user's copy non-Genuine, Microsoft shuts off certain pieces of Vista functionality, such as the Aero user interface.

Forum poster Arl_in said:

"This is very irresponsible. I was scared to death and ended up formatting my computer... TWICE. What the heck?!? But am I safe to assume that the validation process will work once the server or whatever is wrong is fixed? I really don't want to waste my $250.And I restarted my computer and no Aero."

(Note: I am running Windows XP on this system and just tried validating at 5 p.m. EST on August 25 after going to the Microsoft WGA page and clicking "validate." I had no problem validating my system after doing so.)

I've asked Microsoft's Windows team for an official response. No word back yet. Stay tuned.

Update: Microsoft did fix the WGA outage on August 25.  No word on why it happened or what, if anything, Microsoft is doing so it doesn't happen again.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • The WGA Team Resolved This Issue Quickly!

    To the very, very few that eXPerienced an issue with validating Windows XP or Windows Vista, the problem was resolved in short order. Anyone who did eXPerience an issue should visit
    and click on "Validate Windows", then log-off their account and log back on.

    Congratualtions to the WGA Team for troubleshooting and resolving this issue so quickly!

      How do you know there was only very, very few ?

      Hoow do you know it was resolved in short order?

      M.J. didnt got any answer from MS officials; are you an insider?

    • Fooling permanantly WGA is so easy...

      that even people with genuine MS OS should use it. I actually have a lot of software (including Vista and XP) that need activation. But the process to make your system permanantly genuine is easy and widespread so just use and bam, problems solve. MS activation feature is barely legal (as all DRM) and only punish legal users. MS WGA and all other DRM have been proven 100% useless at stopping piracy. Companies spend billions of dollars in illegal DRM scam and ONLY punish legal users. a far better use of this wasted money will be to LOWER the price of illegaly DRMed software/music/movie.
      • So....

        The large software piracy cartel that Microsoft brought down with wga shows that it's useless?? How so? They were doing billions in illegal windows pirating. I would think most people would call that a victory and hardly useless. <br>
        • Please explain

          How the Microsoft police surrounded millions
          of computers scattered throughout the
          country. Truth is, WGA has never stopped a
          single case of Piracy. The incident you
          refer to was simply a publicity stunt to try
          to justify the despised WGA. Toss a few
          scape-goats to the dogs and WOW!... look at
          all that publicity, justifying WGA.

          Microsoft in China: Who Conquered Whom?
          TAKEAWAY: Microsoft had to get rid of its
          American/European business model in order to
          find success in China. The tech giant
          started offering rock-bottom prices for its
          applications, abandoned its staunch stance
          on intellectual property rights, and started
          partnering with the government instead of
          fighting it. But the turning point that
          boosted Microsoft's image in China was when
          Microsoft opened a research center in
          Beijing, which lured back computer

          Ole Man
          • WOW.

            you know just how piracy cartels are setup. You are on the inside...that's a dangerous game, don't you fear for your life? <br>
            Come on, you know nothing about it or the story. Point me to where this was shown to be a publicity stunt. OR are you pulling that out of the air too?
            So what about China? It's business. They are a developing nation. Every company in the U.S. and E.U. of any size is doing business there.....abiding by China's laws I guess???
            What's wrong with a dev. center in china? YOu have something against the people of China?
          • Yep, pulling it right out of the air

            I can tell by the smell when it's rotten.

            Let's see your credentials for your
            postulation? Same as Microsoft's credentials
            for policing the world, eh? Nix (pun

            I have nothing against China. I just don't
            like to see them raped by a monstrous corp,
            any more than the rest of the world. It
            would be different if people knew what was
            being foisted upon them, but most of them
            are poor naive innocent people presenting
            their bones to be picked clean by the
            buzzard robber barons.
            Ole Man
          • Better Red than Dead huh?

          • red dead

            Lack of arguments ? Call the messenger Red and bingo. Simple, huh...
        • Defend the queen , defend the hive ! <NT>

    • No Windows Activation until Tuesday .

      Where did you get you facts from buddy . I read from a reliable source that the server doing the Windows Activation won't be going online until Tuesday . That means no Windows for you until Tuesday . I thought Microsoft's servers were better than Apache servers . ROTFLMAO !!!!!
      • try to keep up.

        When reading 0 minute news stories, you kinda have to keep up. I read from a reliable source that OS X is going to run on Intel chips, oh wait.

        Not only that, you've vastly overstated the issue, no windows for who?

        Best get off the floor and wipe your chin.

          Read this article

          If anything I wouldn't believe anything coming from Redmond .
          • Yes, it appears you believe everything but the facts

            That's all that needs to be said. Thanks for posting links to bogus misinformation which proves you're as gullible as members of the flat earth society.
          • Can you get on the web in reduced function?

            Gee, I'm sorry Windows WGA IS a reduced function.
    • MS missing the point

      The point is: Quickly fixing this problem doesn't matter! This kind of problem, taking legitimate, working systems and partially (or totally) crippling them should NEVER HAPPEN.

      How can Microsoft expect their software to be used in mission-critical systems (some of which people's lives depend upon) when they can't even protect their OS from their own licensing crapware?

      If I was running a 911 center, a hospital's imaging/technology system or anything operating public works/infrastructure I could not in good conscience depend upon an OS which can turn itself off (in any form) just for protecting the vendor's financial interest. Shame on Microsoft - operational stability first, then protect your bottom line.
      • You are missing factual information

        If a Windows operating system is flagged as "non-genuine", the system is not turned-off and neither are any essential Windows functions crippled. In order to become better informed, please read the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article peretaining to this subject:

        The behavior of reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista

        Also read:

        WGA for Windows Vista FAQ

        Also, it appears most of the affected users that received a "false positive" were those that made a deliberate visit to a Microsoft web site to download a MS file requiring validation. I don't think someone using a mission-critical Windows XP/Vista PC would have any reason to do this during a non-maintenance time period.
        • End user to Microsoft

          "F" WGA.
        • You must work for Microsoft

          You must be a Microsoft employee. No one else in their right mind should or would defend Microsoft's bad behavior towards its customers. I was screwed up by this crap. It was not fixed fast enough to disrupt my day. I wasted my time because MS is so greedy.
          BTW, I believe that tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of customers were screwed up this WGA hiccup.
          • Not, not a MS employee

            I'm strictly an independent software troubleshooter and I take marching orders from no one. I'm a stickler for factual information and not conjecture.

            What's interesting about the short-lived WGA issue is that a Windows XP or Vista user had to deliberately visit a Microsoft web site that required a validation check in order to download a specific Microsoft file or update during a specific timeframe the WGA servers were not functioning properly in order to get the erroneous non-genuine message. Hardly anyone received the non-genuine message "out of the clear blue". MS stated that approximately 12,000 Windows PC were affected. More info: