Microsoft’s WGA fails marking some legit users as criminals
By Steve Ragan Aug 27, 2007, 16:06 GMT
Over the weekend, the hardware that runs the Windows Genuine Advantage system crashed. The result was several posted complaints and a “hands off” approach to customer complaints by Microsoft. Most of the complaints posted to the Microsoft user forums are negative and express some interesting points of view. Most of the posts are too colorful to reprint here. This morning and over the weekend Microsoft blamed the issues on faulty hardware, offering no other reasoning or any sort of answer to their customers concerns that WGA is flawed, and is treating legit users as criminals.
The problem over the weekend was that thousands, of legit Windows Vista users suddenly found themselves facing errors and “reduced functionality” mode on their systems because validation failed. The problem started sometime on Friday and lasted about nineteen hours, until 3PM PST on Saturday afternoon.
“I think Microsoft has the right to protect its intellectual property ... but Windows copy protection ... has always had major problems ... There's no such thing as Apple Genuine Advantage or Linux Genuine Advantage. I'd like to think that this weekend will be prove to be a come-to-Jesus moment for Microsoft--one that causes the company to step back and ask itself whether the headaches WGA causes for its paying customers are worth whatever preventive effect it has against piracy,” said Harry McCracken, a PC World writer.
“I think Microsoft owes its customers more than an explanation. I think it owes them a copy-protection scheme that doesn't unnecessarily inconvenience them, never accuses them of having pirated software when they don't, cannot disable functionality on a legitimate copy of the operating system, and isn't marketed with a patronizing campaign that tells us it exists for our benefit, not Microsoft's,” he added
He was not alone with those comments over the weekend as several notable IT writers and reporters mirrored his opinions. “If these programs were properly designed they would all self-validate if the validation server went down. The cheaters would have a free day or two and be caught later. How hard can that be? But no. Now everyone is assumed to be a crook,” wrote John C. Dvorak.
Will Microsoft revamp WGA? Likely, not, at least not any time soon. Since WGA was launched, some people have called it the worst advancement that Microsoft has made. (WindowsME aside) However, it does help crack down on illegal copies of Windows; the problem is that it cracks down on legal copies sometimes as well. While this recent outage points that out, it will not be what causes WGA to fall, it would take something different, it is just that no one knows what that is.
If your computer is still reporting an invalid license, Microsoft suggests you go to the WGA website and revalidate. http://microsoft.com/genuine