Sunday, June 11, 2006

Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage Phones Home Every day

Users wonder what else isn't Microsoft telling them

Microsoft has recently unveiled that its Windows Genuine Advantage makes calls to Microsoft every day. Most users were aware that the piracy tool would ping Microsoft servers periodically, but every day has been a bit surprising to some users. Microsoft claims the daily check is a safety measure that allows the tool to shut down if it malfunctions. Although users have reported that WGA falsely labeled their software as pirated copies of Microsoft operating systems. The program takes note of the computer's manufacturer, language being used and location where the operating is set for.

The Register states "First of all this is a pilot - customers have the choice to subscribe or not. WGA is very careful about which license keys are checked - some numbers have been leaked and therefore have been culled by Microsoft. If customers bought a genuine copy of Windows but as a result of a poor installation or a repair a different license key was used then WGA would flag it as not genuine."

The software is being offered to people that signed up to receive Windows security updates. If a user is using a pirated copy of Windows, they will start receiving reminders from Microsoft that the software isn't authentic. People using pirated versions of Windows are not eligible to receive some Windows updates. David Lazar, director of the Windows Genuine Advantage Program, has said that the company is thinking about modifying WGA so it only checks in with Microsoft every two weeks.

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