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Microsoft Misrepresenting WGA's Functionality?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the first-time-for-everything dept.

458

Legal Ethics writes "According to an article on Groklaw, Microsoft is misrepresenting what the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool is to pressure people into installing it. It comes with no uninstall, it fails to disclose many pieces of information it provides to Microsoft, and it misrepresents itself as a 'critical update' when it does not address any security vulnerability, although it remains to be seen if it can create one. ZDNet has a series of screenshots so that you can see exactly how badly it misrepresents itself. Oh, and it also checks for updates, so Microsoft can presumably execute arbitrary code on any machine with it installed, merely by making that code part of a WGA update."

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458 comments

Un-American (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514041)

This is a very UnAmerican story. We know that [shelleytherepublican.com]

"P.J.": Runs the pro-Linux hate-site "Groklaw". His true identity is a secret, known only to the inner-circle of Linux hackers. His contributions to the Linux computer program are also a secret.
.

We also know that Linux is a European consipracy to attack our computers [shelleytherepublican.com] .

This story was probably planted by GOOGLE [shelleytherepublican.com] , the America-hating empire.

Bill Gates is a true patriot who has spread the American Way of Freedom and Capitalism around the world, and he is clearly far cleverer than this mysterious "P" "J". Friends, don't let the democ-rat lies stop you from getting the facts ;-)

MOD PARENT IDIOTIC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514061)

what crap...

Re:MOD PARENT IDIOTIC (0, Offtopic)

Nimey (114278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514072)

You have been trolled. You have lost. Have a nice day.

Re:MOD PARENT IDIOTIC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514142)

You have fucked the corpse of a dead joke. You need to get a life. Have a clue, you humourless piece of shit.

Re:MOD PARENT IDIOTIC (-1, Redundant)

+Addict-09+ (239664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514148)

ditto

Re:Un-American (3, Insightful)

caryw (131578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514087)

Unfortunately your sarcastic comments have more truth in them than you suppose. America these days certainly isn't "for the people" but "in protection of big business." Yes, the economy would take a serious hit if Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and other major players were suddenly replaced by free alternatives, but in the long run the economy would be much better off. America needs to INNOVATE and discover brand new ways of doing everything instead of relying on the safe, profitable methods that they're used to.

If ExxonMobil figured out how to run a combustion engine on water (seperating the Hydrogen and Oxygen obviously) do you really think that they would share it with the world? Of course not! It would ruin their current business model.

What these super-companies can't fully comprehend, however, is that any little startup business with an innovative can change everything. Innovation doesn't come from big business anymore, it comes SOLELY from the little guy. And is slowly becoming less and less American.

Every business is futile to innovation. There is no stopping it, only delaying. It must be embraced.

Sorry, /rant
--
From Northern Virginia? Check out Fairfax Underground.com [fairfaxunderground.com] . Includes free database of arrests by the the Fairfax Police

Re:Un-American (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514252)

I built a combustion engine that runs on water. I call it a motor boat.

This needs a funny mod.. (1, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514123)

I know i'll probably be modded down and lose karma, but i find the parent absolutely hilarious!

Re:This needs a funny mod.. (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514212)

Damn that karma! I agree with you, I got a good chuckle out of it!

Shelly The Republican (1, Offtopic)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514149)

It's a really funny site. Do you enjoy trolling the internet?

Microsoft is misrepresenting.. (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514044)

Microsoft misrepresenting something? Preposterous!

*RTFA-ing*

Why punish legit users? (5, Insightful)

pawstar (930281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514051)

And what can us consumers do about it? If we refuse it, we don't get updates. This is punishing us the legit users, while pirates will still be laughing at M$'s latest attempt at stamping them out!

Re:Why punish legit users? (5, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514057)

RE:"And what can us consumers do about it?"

swich to something better, nobody is forceing you to use microsoft's product http://linux.com/ [linux.com]

Why punish monopolies? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514134)

"swich to something better, nobody is forceing you to use microsoft's product http://linux.com/ [linux.com] [linux.com]"

If true, does that mean that the DOJ erred in calling Microsoft a "monopoly"?

Re:Why punish monopolies? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514193)

You dumb shit. Why must it be explained over and over again what a monopoly is? I haven't got the patience, go and look it up on google.

Re:Why punish monopolies? (0, Flamebait)

sorak (246725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514271)

If true, does that mean that the DOJ erred in calling Microsoft a "monopoly"?

Nope. Linux is far from having all the functionality of Windows. Sure, if you use it for work, or for school, then you can find programs that can do most things, but you will not find Quake 4 or World of Warcraft on Linux. Gimp is no paintshop killer, and WINE is nowhere near as robust as a real Windows system

Re:Better... (5, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514261)

I wish people would quit acting as if anything was unqualifiably better. Life consists of trade-offs but to hear some people talk, life would just be a bowl of cherries if one were to just do this or that... Sheesh... Yes, Linux is better in some ways, but there's that trade-off thing at work there.

Re:Why punish legit users? (5, Informative)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514085)

install it
disconnect from the internet
open task manager
kill the process 'wgatray'
rename the file c:\windows\system32\wgatray.exe to something else (wgatray.exe.bastard, for example)

There is also a file called wga.dll, or similar, but i didn't do anything with that, if anybody could shed some light on that, it'd be nice. I did the above on a machine that was wrongly reporting as 'pirated', and it worked fine.

Re:Why punish legit users? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514273)

Isn't there a url we can add to our hosts file to block the phone-home call?

Or an IP address?

This shouldn't be that hard.

Re:Why punish legit users? (4, Informative)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514274)

There's many ways to get rid of WGA. Here are the two easiest;

Option one:
Start in safe mode and find the file /WINDOWS/System32/WgaLogon.dll. Edit the
file properties and remove the execute and write permissions for all users
including System. The daily checkin and the WGA System Tray tool are both
started from this DLL so making it non-executable kills the whole WGA
Notification system. Making it read-only stops windows update from 'repairing
it' and installing future versions.

Option two:
Download and burn Ubuntu Dapper Drake or order a FREE CD from
shipit.ubuntu.com (downloading is quicker). Back up your important documents and
completely replace Windows.

Personally I chose option two many years ago, but I continue to watch Microsoft's antics with a degree of detatched amusement.

Re:Why punish legit users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514145)

Why do you feel punished by this? Just click the fucking button you crybaby.

Re:Why punish legit users? (1)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514156)

Why punish legit users in the "battle" to "stamp out piracy"?

Because they're Microsoft. Because they can. Because they know that the majority of users are complacent and will continue to pay for Windows either way.

If you don't like it, stop giving them your money.

Why punish BT users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514161)

"If you don't like it, stop giving them your money." ...or downloads.

Re:Why punish legit users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514204)

If this system is so bad, then why do you insist on using broken software?

There's plenty of other operating systems out there that don't work against you.

Re:Why punish legit users? (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514208)

I'm writing this message from Ubuntu 6.06. Now, what was the question again?

Re:Why punish legit users? (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514239)

If we refuse it, we don't get updates.
Legitimate question: I wonder if it is still possible to get the updates yourself and manually apply them? I will find out myself when Patch Tuesday arrives, but so far not having WGA installed has not prevented me from installing patches manually; security patches I'm refering to here. I mean there are those that don't use automatic updates and that is how they keep their Windows boxes updated. Or does not using WGA period bar you from applying the updates even manually? Security updates also? I would hope not. Why put up with nonsense like that? Another vote for moving to OS X or even better, a Free Operating System such as Linux and BSD.

Re:Why punish legit users? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514270)

And besides... It's not like Microsoft can't just have arbitrary code run by making it part of any update you get from them...

Somewhat obvious. (4, Informative)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514054)

I gave it some thought before I installed it earlier. I knew all it did was report to MS that I had a legal copy of Windows, but the bad part about it was that it seemed I had to install it before I could download any other critical updates.

It's a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't situation...

Re:Somewhat obvious. (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514071)

And it doesn't work for it's stated intended purpose, either... (Or so a friend of mine told me!)

Re:Somewhat obvious. (2, Informative)

Kasis (918962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514205)

Although I do own various versions of XP it's simply more convenient for me to use pirate copies.

I had no problem with Windows Update, just used a well-publicised trick to gain entry and then told it not to install WGA and not to mention it to me again (there's a check-box for that purpose).

Re:Somewhat obvious. (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514236)

How can you possibly find it more convenient to use pirated versions of XP??

Is it because you don't want a particular XP copy to be traced to you??

Re:Somewhat obvious. (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514207)

MS is a diversified organization. Half of their serfs are experts at twisting digital protocols and the other half specialize in legal protocols.

MS is pure evil. If I had to bet my life on a single statement, it wouldn't be that "god exists", or that "Jennifer Anniston [netscape.com] is prettier than Kath kinney [tvacres.com] . It would be that MS, by gently raping hundreds of millions of innocent people stands out as one of the great scourges in recorded history. By me another beer and I'll elaborate!

Re:Somewhat obvious. (3, Interesting)

WhyCause (179039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514263)

It's not entirely true that you have to install it.

If you choose the 'Expert' installation option, you have the option of not installing the WGA update, Windows Update then asks if you'd like to turn off notification of that particular update.

That is, of course, what I did.

Of course, for all I know, WU goes ahead and installs it anyway.

Just stay away from Microsoft. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514058)

I don't know why this is even an issue these days. People, do yourselves a favor! Stay away from Microsoft!

For most needs, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and BSD are more than suitable. And far cheaper!

If you depend on software that only runs on Windows, petition the developers to create a Linux/Solaris/BSD/Mac OS X edition, or a port to those platforms. Say straight out that you do not want to use Windows, but you do want to use their software. Give them an alternative they can contemplate.

There is no need to become a victim to Microsoft, especially when they put the security of your data at risk. This WGA nonsense is the sort of thing that businesses just shouldn't have to deal with. And thankfully they don't. Between Solaris, Linux, BSD and Mac OS X, there are many alternative, professional operating systems out there for them to use.

That's interesting (3, Interesting)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514062)

I had never thought of that. I just assumed that it's within a company's power to give people updates to ensure they've paid for the software, but come to think of it, the ones who have paid for it shouldn't have to put up with anything they don't want to, and the ones that haven't, well, they're probably not going to.

Sad... (-1, Redundant)

jarg0n (882275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514064)

I know it seems dishonest but unless they insist to install the update on Linux, Microsoft is unfortunately fully within their rights to do this to their own operating system.

Re:Sad... (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514075)

but they are not allowed to misrepresent its nature or what it does to consumers, that is called fraud.

Re:Sad...MOD UP parent {plasmacutter} please! (1)

erbmjw (903229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514120)

I've currently got no Mod points, otherwise I'd do it myself.

Re:Sad... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514106)

You say "their own operating system" as if my computer is their property. Does driving a GM mean that GM would be within their rights to disable my car via OnStar if I failed to prove to them every day that I had not stolen it?

Re:Sad... (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514152)

Hello, Sir. I represent the manufacturer of the car you are driving. I have just replaced the motor in the vehicle with a treadwheel powered by four asthmatic hamsters. I hope you enjoy the improvement to our car.

Have nice day.

Bwwwwwwwwwwwahahahahah!

KFG

Isn't this a violation of spyware laws? (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514066)

well?... last time some software package was reported doing this it was labelled spyware and the company was prosecuted..

Re:Isn't this a violation of spyware laws? (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514141)

last time some software package was reported doing this it was labelled spyware and the company was prosecuted..
 
Sony was prosecuted? Man, how did I miss that!

Re:Isn't this a violation of spyware laws? (5, Insightful)

agent dero (680753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514153)

You're right, a company can be prosecuted for this.

Microsoft is not a company, go to any state building or federal building in the nation, and find out what they're running. You're talking about a corporation that has settled antitrust lawsuits with licenses and lockin [com.com] .

If Sony doesn't get it's ass handed to them for rootkits, why would you think Microsoft would receive any punishment at all?

Re:Isn't this a violation of spyware laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514200)

Isn't this a violation of spyware laws?

Duh, no. There are no spyware laws. Nice try though.

and? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514067)

Microsoft can presumably execute arbitrary code on any machine with it installed, merely by making that code part of a WGA update.

Of course, Microsoft can already execute arbitrary code on any machine, merely by making that code part of... Windows.

#define SLASHDOT_STATUS_WHYISTHISNEWS 1

huh (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514068)

do we really need a play-by-play commentary of some jackass installing an update? 17 pages of ads and shit.

Re:huh (5, Insightful)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514107)

do we really need a play-by-play commentary of some jackass installing an update? 17 pages of ads and shit.
Agreed. I won't even read content from ZDNet at all anymore. 17 pages is insane (thanks for letting me know how many I avoided). Even with blocking the ads and repaginating the article into one page, ZDNet assumes that the format is acceptable to users because the article generates hits. They won't change it when they think "it's still working". I've tried to complain to them as a (now former) print customer of their periodicals for years and a web user. They don't respond, so I assume they don't care. Calling them just leads to the phone-forward-runaround of "I'll connect you to...". They used to be a good company with good content, but now they are just ad whores (like most consumer computing sites - TOM!). /rant

HAHA (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514241)

Haha...
I'm laughing, of course, at this:

17 pages is insane (thanks for letting me know how many I avoided). Even with blocking the ads ...

You must be new to this Interweb thing if you still think 17 pages is impressive [tomshardware.com]

Re:HAHA (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514268)

You must be new to this Interweb thing if you still think 17 pages is impressive (link to tomshardware)
Not impressive, but I'm still quite happy to avoid the click madness. I say again: "They used to be a good company with good content, but now they are just ad whores (like most consumer computing sites - TOM!). /rant"

Re:huh (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514231)

Looking at the article, my innitial reaction was, "So THAT'S what windows looks like nowadays!". Of course, adblock had already taken care of the popups, banner ads, and .js stats collectors. Had the play-by-play not been there, I would have never known what XP looked like. Rather informative

BBH

Re:huh (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514242)

yea,, when they said screen shots of how bad it could be i thought they had shots of it disabeling the computer or something.. that was normal update shit.. hardly news worthy.. now i would like to see what it does when it finds that the computer isn't legt

ok (-1, Troll)

tripler6 (878443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514073)

I fail to see why legit users of xp should care.. pirates.. yea, sucks for you. But hey, you shouldn't have stolen xp in the first place. oh well, it bit you in the ass.

Re:ok (4, Insightful)

nuggetman (242645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514077)

It's not the fact it's there, it's the fact Microsoft is not properly disclosing everything it does. This has nothing to do w/ the anti piracy isuse.

Re:ok (0, Troll)

tripler6 (878443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514088)

well of course they don't, what sort of stupid company discloses how they fight piracy? HAY GUYS LETS TELL THE PEOPLE STEALING OUR SOFTWARE HOW WE PLAN ON CATCHING THEM man thats a fantastic idea has microsoft hired you yet as a security consultant?

Re:ok (0, Troll)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514112)

DID YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE CAN TELL IF YOU ARE THIRTEEN YEARS OLD IF YOU TYPE IN CAPS AND DONT USE ANY PUNCTUATION BUT I CANT THINK OF ANYTHING LONG ENOUGH TO DEMONSTRATE MY POINT SO I WILL JUST WRITE SOME BOLLOCKS OH THERE WE GO THE LAST BIT WAS BOLLOCKS ANYWAY

slashdot's lameness filter is lame. slashdot's lameness filter is lame. slashdot's lameness slashdot's lameness filter is lame. slashdot's lameness filter is lame. filter is lame. slashdot's lameness filter is lame. slashdot's lameneslashdot's lameness filter is lame. ss filter is lame.

Re:ok (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514128)

ONLY legitimate users care. Pirates don't have to deal with the bullshit to begin with so they are unaffected.

Re:ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514245)

Not necessarily true. My boyfriends parents were silly enough to try to update their pirated version of windows, and this tool installed.

I went to their house last night and his dad was talking about how he had finally been nabbed for piracy. So he had gone out and bought a brand new legit copy, and had me install it.

However, here is the funny thing - the behaviour he described had lead me to believe that this tool was a VIRUS instead of a legit microsoft message. Until i googled it.

So it's not just a problem for legit users, it's misleading for everyone. Annoying popups are not a professional practice.

It's Spyware by any definition (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514074)


the question is when are the anti-malware community going to step up to the plate and provide protection from this software

the fact its made by Microsoft should be irellavent, just analyse the behaviour of the application and judge it on that

communicates unique information at any time to an American based advertising company (msn anybody?) with you the user having no idea of what data and what the implications are of giving this company that data

can your business really risk an application like this on your systems ? are you prepared for the consequences of letting this program run unchallenged inside your companies infrastructure ?

Re:It's Spyware by any definition (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514150)

Yeah.. they say it's not spyware, because it's not malicious but real spyware really isn't malicious in the sense that a virus is. It just connects to the internet to let someone know what you're doing, without you knowing about it.
In what way is this less malicious than say, bonzi buddy? I guess MS assumes that you trust them, but I bet claria (right?) considers themselves trustworthy too.

And really.. the only people who pirate windows these days either do so because they build their own machines, or they were screwed by someone who sold them a machine with an illegit install. The first group is probably miniscule in comparison the amount of windows sales, and in the second case screwing the user is not really fair anyway.

theoretically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514078)

Let's just say theoretically I know that my copy of Windows is pirated, why the hell would I download this???

Re:theoretically... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514151)

Let's just say, theoretically, that you thought that your copy of windows was legit but it wasn't. Your retailer passed off a high quality fake. You'll run WGA and it'll let you know that your version of windows is pirated. Microsoft gives you a legit version in exchange for ratting out the retailer who sold you the bogus setup.

LK

Re:theoretically... (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514269)

You have a small spelling mistake in your last sentence there ... Microsoft sells you a legit version in exchange for ratting out the retailer who sold you the bogus setup.

How to Disable the WGA Add-on (5, Informative)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514080)

If you want to be able to disable the Genuine Windows Advantage Add-on for IE (accessible via Tools|Manage Add-ons... in IE), you might be surprised (or not) to see that Microsoft will not let you do so. It gives you some sort of stupid "disabled by Administrator" message, even when you're logged on as Administrator (I guess MS thinks it's the administrator for your computer).

To enable the radio button that allows you to disable this worthless add-on, follow these instructions I found:

  1. Open Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Security Features > Add-on Management.
  2. Double click Add-on List and select enabled.
  3. Click on Show then on Add.
  4. In enter name put {17492023-C23A-453E-A040-C7C580BBF700} .
  5. In enter value put 2.
  6. OK, Apply, OK.
  7. Now you can disable/enable the add-on.

Bypass & Disable Genuine Windows Validation Ch (4, Informative)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514092)

How to bypass and disable the Genuine Windows Validation Check (from http://www.mydigitallife.info/2006/03/07/bypass-an d-disable-genuine-windows-validation-check/ [mydigitallife.info] ):

  1. Open Windows Explorer by clicking Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Windows Explorer.
  2. Browse to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows Genuine Advantage\data folder.
  3. Delete (or backup or move to another folder, if you want) data.dat file.
  4. Create a new empty data.dat: You can create a new text file by (make sure you are at the right folder at above) clicking File -> New -> Text Document or right clicking on Windows Explorer window then click New -> Text Document. Then, either rename the file to data.dat. The original .txt extention of the text file need to be changed too. You can disable the hiding of extension of known file types, or follow the following steps to create a new file out of the text file:
    • Open the text document you just created.
    • Click on File -> Save As.
    • Change the Save as type to "All Files".
    • In the File name, type data.dat
    • Click Save.
    • Go back to the Windows Explorer, at folder C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows Genuine Advantage\data, check that data.dat exists.
    • Delete the text file you created previously.
  5. Set the attributes of data.dat to Hidden and Read-Only. Attributes can be set by right click on the data.dat file, and then click on Properties.
  6. Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation check has been disabled.

Note: The data.dat that are replacing the original data.dat can be blank text file or empty, or you may type whatever you want there.

With this hack (or crack if you want), Windows WGA piracy check will be bypassed and you can now download software from Download Center or apply updates from Microsoft/Windows Updates.

Re:How to Disable the WGA Add-on (2, Insightful)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514124)

Now, I have one purely academic question related to this.

Can it work on reverse?

In other words, suppose we have a piece of spyware that installs itself as an IE extension. Can it mark itself to have same sort of "stickiness" as the WGA add-on?

If so, it might be a bit of a headache for spyware-cleaner types...

And a practical corollary to that academic question, and a follow-up to your instructions: Exactly how long before there will be a tool that allows you to nuke an IE extension from the orbit, no matter if it's WGA or not?

That, OR (5, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514155)

That method sounds good for widescale, corporate deployment, but here's a simpler method:
  • Use Autoruns [sysinternals.com] (everybody should have it already) to disable wgalogon.exe on the winlogon page.

Re:How to Disable the WGA Add-on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514180)

This is untrue. I'm not sure how you broke your Windows box, but on both computers I have access to atm I can enable/disable it with absolutely no problems. It's not blocked in any way.

But nice attempt at spreading FUD.

Re:How to Disable the WGA Add-on (1)

p2sam (139950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514206)

I confirm with OP, go away AC.

Re:How to Disable the WGA Add-on (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514217)

If you want to be able to disable the Genuine Windows Advantage Add-on for IE (accessible via Tools|Manage Add-ons... in IE), you might be surprised (or not) to see that Microsoft will not let you do so.

Don't worry just yet, we're still in the good times. I mean, you can at least SEE it's there, and you can't turn it off.

In Vista, it'll be a part of the core OS and completely invisible. And we all know we're getting Vista sooner or later (if we depend on Windows software).

Damn that stupid icon. (2, Interesting)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514081)

That stupid icon has been bitching at me to install the new WGA Tool for days now. Considering I ALREADY installed it and verified my installation, I figured the reboot wasn't worth it and have not installed it yet. Guess that was a good thing.

Why would I need to re-verify my installation anyway?

Re:Damn that stupid icon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514266)

click the icon in your tray
choose custom install
click next
untick the wga update
click next
a prompt will ask you if you are sure and tick the box "never ask about this update again"
all done

oh noes (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514083)

"Oh, and it also checks for updates, so Microsoft can presumably execute arbitrary code on any machine with it installed"
It's SkyNet!!! It must be destroyed! Death to Microsoft!

A great Tool.... to bad i haven't installed it. (1)

Umuri (897961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514084)

You know, it kinda defeats the purpose. First microsoft says it won't with-hold critical updates from pirated versions due to the security risk and the potential lawsuit, and now they release the windows genuine POS. Even though i have legit, i have refused to install it because it is frivolous and just one more piece of windows in the background that phones home. If that prevents me from getting critical updates, then i figure microsoft is saying that i can't do what i want, i.e. get it to run fast w/o background crap, with a product i bought from them, which last i checked, is illegal, since it isn't in any license. It's fine if it's unbundled... but witholding future updates is criminal.

I don't understand... (3, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514086)

...why they have to install a piece of software to determine whether your copy of Windows is legit or not. Why not just run a check online when you're doing updates? There's GOTTA be more to this...

Re:I don't understand... (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514173)

They tried that first, it was easily disabled by a simple javascript. Guess they figure this'll be harder to casually defeat.

Windows not HIPAA compliant? 1234567890 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514089)

Since Windows is sending information home, and the user has no control over that messaging with regard to timing or content, it seems to me HIPAA-compliant systems (and other systems requiring security) cannot be built on Windows.

What an opportunity for the open source world!

multi page (0)

k-sound (718684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514094)

A lot of people are complaining about his lately and unfortunately it will probably never go away again (or maybe if they find something even more obnoxious). But really 17 pages with screenshots of the fucking info balloon popping up from your tray 'click here to install updates', 'your updates are installing'.
Really is this stuff that belong on slashdot? Is anyone actually surprised that MS would try to push their anti-piracy tool on people's computers every way they can? And they don't disclose what information about your system they are actually sending to their server, now there's a shock.

hmm after rereading my post I'm feeling a 'you must be new here' reply comming up.

So, Does it work yet? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514116)

I remember installing this on one of my Windows computers. I wanted to see what it would do because it was a pirated version. It actually went off without a hitch and I could install the software I wanted that required WGA approval.

Does it actually check to make sure the versions are legit now?

Plus it does not work correctly... (4, Interesting)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514119)

Non-admins may get the euphemistic warning of possessing pilferred software,
http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx? PostID=370244&SiteID=25/ [microsoft.com]
Notice the MS solution, delete this, open up all permissions on that (good idea?), read, write, execute, delete for everyone! Or pay-up to get your copy of MS Winders to shut up.

Nothing like family (non-admins) and employees (non-admins) thinking they have purloined software. Isn't an unfounded accusation called, "Libel" http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Libel/ [reference.com] ?

(My SuSE never accuses me with false accusations.)

Colour me... (1)

lord sibn (649162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514130)

...surprised!

Pre-release software, high-priority update (1)

sfurious (111612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514133)

I thought the Genuine Validation Toolkit being required for future updates started a long time ago, so I'm not sure why the fuss about that is only kicking up now.

On the other hand the new notification tool is an entirely different matter. This is pre-release software, being pushed as a high-priority update. WRONG. The only place I use Windows is at work, and in an attempt to keep that machine safe I have it notify me of necessary updates. That's a "live operating environment" to me, as I've got to do work on it. So, I'm having an update pushed towards me, that I can't use because the EULA forbids me to. And that's ignoring the fact that I only switch update notifications on so that I'll get security updates, which this clearly isn't.

There's also the question of updates requiring you to agree to an additional EULA. Assuming you hold EULAs to be legitimate, I've signed away enough rights on the one I had to agree with to install Windows in the first place. If future security updates (which are only necessary because as shipped the product is faulty) require me to have the notification tool installed, which requires me to agree to an additional EULA... I think that would be ample justification for a lawsuit.

Anti Piracy turned into time eater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514135)

The Genuine Advantage thing is a weak attempt at stopping people from pirating Windows. What MS doesn't realize is that I can get a pirated version of Windows XP Pro, and order a free copy of SP2 for XP off thier website and have all the worthwhile Windows Updates without having to get the "Genuine Advantage" (not that I would do such a thing of course)! Or better yet, get a pirated copy of Windows XP Pro with SP2 included.... And hey for kicks lets just say I have a pirated Firewall and Anti-Virus and a free spyware killer! The Firewall and Anti Virus elimiate the need for XP security updates (because firewalls block the crap that effects Windows -- by default).

So let's see, I dont need to update Windows for security features...what about addons like Windows Media Player and IE? I use Mozilla and VLC Player, so again, I have no need to update Windows (even though I have a legitimate copy).

The only real updates I've really needed were the .net fix stuff and the updated versions of it, but other than that....is there even a reason why we should update Windows anyway? Does the Genuine Advantage do anything except force stupid pirates to purchase thier copies of Windows because they are not smart enough to use a firewall?

Does this make any sense at all?

WGA virus? (2, Interesting)

Sathias (884801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514136)

Oh, and it also checks for updates, so Microsoft can presumably execute arbitrary code on any machine with it installed, merely by making that code part of a WGA update.

If this is true then it is only a matter of time before someone hacks it and uses it to write some malware which only damages people who own a genuine copy of Windows. Surely Microsoft can't be *that* stupid?

Paranoid Fools (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514158)

So what?

index.dat, anyone? (2, Interesting)

Crazyscottie (947072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514169)

Does anyone remember those annoying little "undeletable" index.dat files that Windows keeps for no apparent reason? Ya know, the ones that log each and every website you've ever visited [acesoft.net] ? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but with the NSA's recent actions, I think Microsoft would see this as the perfect opportunity to start sending those directly to Big Brother on a daily basis.

It can update itself! (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514175)

When I read this, I thought, this has GOT to be a joke:

Oh, and it also checks for updates, so Microsoft can presumably execute arbitrary code on any machine with it installed, merely by making that code part of a WGA update.

Where did WGA come from? Auto Updates. What does Auto Updates do? Downloads executable code and makes it a part of your Windows OS.

"Shocking facts" like those really put Slashdot editors low in my eyes.

Re:It can update itself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514259)

that it downloads updates is not what they're driving at. It's that it'll download them and install them without your knowledge, unlike Windows Update that lets you see and choose what it'll download and then choose again what you'll allow it to install.

Get updates without going to Microsoft (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514181)

It's simple. Just use Autopatcher. They make compilations every month with all of the updates and other tools and tweaks, without having to deal with Microsoft's FUD-ridden update process.

http://www.autopatcher.com/ [autopatcher.com]

By the way, Autopatcher will update pirated copies, for better or for worse...

I just hope... (1)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514187)

That the state of New York (and any other jusridiction with similar laws) slaps Microsoft with the same sort of anti-spyware case that they did to Sony.

So?! (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514196)

Microsoft treat all it's customers like they're thieves.
There are countless stories of medium businesses on some sort of SA plan or volume licensing where if the business doesn't pony up on whatever MS has to offer, the sales person gets irate and makes the business owner think they are out of compliance and need to have the BSA investigate how many licenses are in use.

This is taking it to the home level where:
A) People in the know will know how to bypass it
B) Standard consumer doesn't need to worry about it

Microsoft believes (and it has to, like a religion) that it's products are the holy grail and need to be protected by all means necessary.
Microsoft said years ago that this Software Assurance plan is THE THING TO HAVE. We (people in the know) saw through this BS and time has proven us right.

My point of all this is that if you are a willing Microsoft customer, you need to agree to all the EULA's they offer and take it as they feed you because they know what is best for you, not you.

Microsoft will eventually work out a way to get that monthly fee for software services for the home user.

Okay! OKAY! I GET it now... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514199)

... we can't trust Microsoft for any reason for anything they do.

So is there some freely available update system that does the same thing as Microsoft's Windows update? Preferably one that SysAdmins can distribute at time of login? No good sysadmin would trust Microsoft's updates on their business network anyway. All updates and patches and such need to be cleared before deployment to the masses just in case it breaks something critical to the business. (Imagine if by some human mistake, a Microsoft patch breaks a critical application in your business. The most you'd get from Microsoft would be an apology, but you cannot even expect much more than a few giggles from the other end of the phone. Don't forget that their EULA makes them immune to liability, so anything they actually do is purely voluntary.)

Mix a bit of misrepresention with a bit of FUD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514214)

Yes, the WGA tool might be misrepresenting itself. But the comments about it being able to execute whatever code MS decides to send in the next WGA update is a crock. They could send you ANY updates that could do this, not just WGA updates. This one just happens to be an easy target to bitch about.

These comments are nothing but a side effect from the-sky-is-falling syndrome.

My own investigation into the purpose of the WGA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514221)

I had been inquiring into this matter for the last several weeks now for a local newspaper. While Microsoft claims that the functionality of the WGA is strictly to provide legitimate consumers with an advantage over that of software pirates who obtained Windows XP via less-than-legal means, I was skeptical that that was all there was to it. After finding some strange anomalies when packet-sniffing my own system for outgoing data that indicated there's more to the WGA than what they said, I called up Microsoft's chief senior developer from their Windows XP labs, Susan Montberg, and she obliged for ten minutes of interview time to clear up some confusion and questions that arose from my investigation.

Mrs. Montberg wasn't very cooperative with some of my more inquisitive and technical questions, and claimed confidentiality on much of the WGA's purpose, including the content of the encrypted packets that I had found outgoing to Microsoft's central servers in Redmond whenever I booted my system. Frustrated with being stonewalled by her answers and having only a few minutes of time left to speak with her, I begged and pleaded with her the other day. But she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way. She gave me a kissin' and she gave me my ticket. I put my walkman on and said, "I might as well kick it". First class, yo this is bad, drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass. Is this what the people of Bel-Air be livin' like? Hmm, this might be alright! I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said "FRESH" and had a dice in the mirror. If anything, I could say that this cab was rare. But I thought now forget it, yo home to Bel-Air. I pulled up to a house about seven or eight. And I yelled to the cabby "yo, homes, smell you later." Looked at my kingdom I was finally there to settle my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.

Windows 2000 looks better all the time (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514224)

I'm still running Windows 2000 on the Windows machine. I have the latest version of OpenOffice, the latest Firefox, the latest Blender, etc. and they all run fine, which is what matters. And I don't have to put up with whatever new stupid thing Microsoft does on XP, where your machine is a slave to Redmond.

Letting the vendor have a backdoor into your machine is really risky. If you're in a financial institution, is the vendor bonded? If you're a healthcare provider, is the vendor HIPPA compliant? If you're in a law firm, are any of your clients competitors of Microsoft? You have no contractual guarantee that somebody at Microsoft, or elsewhere, isn't using that backdoor in some interesting way.

Nothing new... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514227)

users of pirated copies of windows cannot even upgrade to SP1 or SP2. So they won't get genuine advantage either.

In other words:

Pirated windows will remain pirated AND insecure.
Legit windows will remain legit AND spied on.

The lesson (for those who still have blind faith in Microsoft): Microsoft doesn't give a SH*T about security or the welfare of the internet. They're only greedy bastards.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514257)

Becase people pirating windows will not download an image with sp2 intergrated.

And even if they stat out at XP SP0 which is unlikely, like SP1 and SP2 are not available to download anyway.

Er, please try to make sense in future.

Re:Nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15514262)

Your information is flawed.

I am running a pirated copy of Windows XP with SP2 and all the latest updates installed.

Via Bittorrent you can even download copies of Windows XP with SP2 slipstreamed into it.

Mmmmmm.... I feel a class action lawsuit coming in (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514247)

Imagine people finding their windows 'disabled' at start of the workday because their copy was misidentified as 'ingenuine'. Imagine this happening right prior to an important presentation. Imagine a few hundred thousand dollars in deals lost.

Imagine people in suits. Imagine briefcases, papers, signatures. Imagine a new class action lawsuit ...

Even more fun when it breaks (4, Insightful)

Ada_Rules (260218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15514260)

A few weeks ago, one of my computers started claiming it was a pirated version of windows. Seemed odd since it is more than a year old and has been claiming it was a valid copy all of this time.

I poked around trying to figure out what was wrong.. Didn't see anything. I clicked the "get legal" or whatever it says button at login but nothing ever happened. I eventually remembered that this particular computer had locked up on reboot the week before on a Tuesday and thought perhaps it had something to do with the latest updates from MS. I uninstalled the last few updates I could find. Rebooted, reinstalled them and eventually everything came back to normal and no more complaints about an illegal copy.

I hope this never happens to aunt Tilly. I wonder when XP will really be ready for the desktop.

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