Microsoft is to tweak WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) Notifications on Windows XP to make it behave more like WGA on Vista.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have written about WGA before, but for those new here, here's a refresher. WGA is a mechanism used by Microsoft to detect non-genuine installations of Windows (those carried out using stolen or fake product keys, or systems relying on some other mechanism for bypassing product activation). The problem with WGA is while it's been good at detecting non-genuine installs of Windows, it can sometimes incorrectly flag a genuine install as non-genuine. From having talked to people who have found themselves in this situation, sorting this out can be tedious and time consuming (the most time-consuming part of getting the problem solved seems to be getting Microsoft tech support drones to acknowledge that WGA can sometimes be wrong).
Anyway, here's what this latest update brings to WGA for Windows XP:
- First off, it improves the detection abilities of WGA and hopes to further reduce the risk of false-positive identifications
- WGA Notifications now looks and behaves more like WGA on Windows Vista in that it's naggier and annoying but still allows you to use the system even if flagged as non-genuine (here's what WGA on Windows Vista SP1 looks like).
- This update will be offered to the most pirated version of Windows XP - the pro version. "Another thing we're doing with this release is focusing on the product edition that is most often stolen. This will reduce the number of customers that will be offered the package. This release will be offered to the most pirated edition of Windows XP and therefore to users with the highest likelihood of having a non-genuine copy, those using Windows XP Pro. We're also offering it to those using editions based on Pro code such as Tablet and Windows Media Center, but plan to narrow the offering to Pro in future releases." [UPDATE: No, this does not mean that WGA will be removed for Windows XP Home. What this means is that this update only applies to Windows XP Pro (and those using editions based on Pro code, such as Tablet and Windows Media Center).]
This update will be delivered via Windows Update.