Windows Genuine Advantage: A Lousy Microsoft Name No More!

By  |  Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 8:34 am

Back, in March, I wrote an article for PC World on the worst Microsoft product names of all time. One of my nominees was Windows Genuine Advantage, the anti-piracy technology that’s suffered at least a couple of major breakdowns that caused woes for paying customers. I wondered what exactly was advantageous about it for anyone but Microsoft, and groused that it was a patronizing moniker. And I suggested that Microsoft change the name to “Windows Anti-Piracy Technology.”

Over at Cnet, Ina Fried is reporting that Microsoft is dumping “Windows Genuine Advantage” for a name that’s close to my recommendation: Windows Activation Technologies. And it’s making activation slightly less annoying:

In Windows Vista, if a user does not activate their software immediately, they get a warning that they still need to do so. The dialog box offers two options, to activate immediately or to do so later. However, the activate later box cannot be checked for 15 seconds.

Microsoft decided this was a bit too annoying. With Windows 7, users can click activate later immediately, but then get a dialog box touting the benefits of activation.

I suspect I haven’t squawked about Windows’ copy protection for the last time. But to be fair to Microsoft, most of the changes it’s made to activation in the last couple of years have been to make it less annoying, and it’s suffered no recent meltdowns. And at least I won’t feel like my intelligence is being insulted every time I hear its name.


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. sfmitch Says:

    My favorite part of Windows Genuine Advantage was installation process. It came as a Priority update on Windows update.

    The update process would end with a screen explaining that WGA was successfully installed. The kicker was the pre-checked box for ‘Show me the many advantages of WGA’ (or something very similar). Sure, the many advantages, right!

  2. Marc Says:

    In the USA and here in the UK I suspect most piracy is people copying CDs or companies using the same serial on multiple PCs. In that case WGA is annoying because the user knows full well their software isn’t legit.

    However in other counties this is not the case. Piracy is rampant. A friend of mine bought a laptop from Tesco (a well known, trusted, UK based supermarket) over in Thailand. The version of XP was pirate, plus it came with Office and a load of Adobe software, all pirated. In that scenario, when you’ve paid money for what you thought was the real thing, it might be useful to know you’ve been ripped off.

    The friend reported Tesco in Thailand to Microsoft when he got back in the UK, and never heard back.

  3. Aiden Grimshaw Says:

    What, he bought something in Thailand and it turned out to be pirated? get out! Fair enough it was Tesco (didn't know they have Tesco over there but i guess they have boots and m&s)- are you sure your friend actually bought it from Tesco or is he just saying that cause he feels a bit silly now?

  4. Bill Gates Says:

    WGA hasnt stopped me or any other pirates i know, seems to be the equivilent of padlock. It keeps honest people honest, and separates the l33t from the lame…………………… keep coming with the WGA microsoft, when you finally perfect it, i’ll just keep on using Linux

  5. u64 Says:

    The WGA spyware prevent me from running AutomaticWindowsUpdate.
    All computers that i support have Updates OFF.
    I’ve downloaded the KB exe files that is really needed and
    apply them next time i visit.


    WindowsXP-KB938464-v2-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB951376-v2-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB950974-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB951748-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB954459-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB954600-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB956802-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB956803-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB957097-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB958644-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB958687-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB960803-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB961373-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB961501-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB968537-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB969897-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    WindowsXP-KB970238-x86-SVE.exe /n /norestart /passive
    compact /c WindowsXP-KB*.exe
    del %windir%Prefetchcompa*.pf
    del %windir%Prefetchspuni*.pf
    del %windir%PrefetchWindowsXP-KB*.pf
    del %windir%Prefetchupdat*.pf
    del %windir%Prefetchwuau*.pf
    del %windir%Prefetchwupd*.pf
    start rundll32 shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL sysdm.cpl,,5
    %SystemDrive%bincontig *.exe
    del %windir%Prefetchconti*.pf

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  1. مايكروسوفت تتخلى عن WGA | تيدوز Says:

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  2. We’re From Microsoft, and We’re Here to Help You | Technologizer Says:

    […] Really? The primary goal of Microsoft’s copy-protection technologies is to prevent people from unwittingly buying pirated copies of Windows? The impact that piracy has on Microsoft’s wallet is apparently a secondary issue–one that’s not even worth mentioning in this post or on this page about the “Windows Genuine Advantage” program (soon to be renamed Windows Anti-Piracy Technology). […]