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Vista pirated half as much as XP, Microsoft Happy

January 4th, 2008 by Patrick S

While it admits it’s not possible to pin down an exact number, Microsoft has let out word today that it estimates the counterfeit rate of Vista to be about half that of XP, a figure that it seems to be more than pleased with. Of course, one could interpret those numbers in slightly less positive ways, but Microsoft claims the sharp dip in piracy is due to Vista’s amped up authentication system, which it says is a “proven and effective way to combat piracy.” To come up with the numbers, Microsoft apparently relied statistics based on Windows Genuine Advantage validation failures, as well as other unspecified internal data. As TG Daily notes, all this follows Microsoft’s announcement of revised anti-piracy measures in Vista SP1 and, specifically, some big changes to the aforementioned WGA feature.

Microsoft’s statistics are based on Windows Genuine Advantage validation failures, along with other internal data.

Microsoft’s statement on counterfeit data comes as it reveals new piracy prevention plans for Vista’s first service pack. “What is changing with SP1 is the nature of the experience for those systems that are never activated or that fail validation,” said Sievert. The service pack will also help prevent users with legitimate installs from being affected by Vista pirates.

Posted in Anti-Piracy, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 4 Comments »

WGA service outage

October 5th, 2006 by Patrick S

Earlier this week a server on the backend of the WGA service experienced a bug that resulted in a temporary outage. As a result, some systems were incorrectly flagged as being non-genuine, and we want to confirm for those who contacted us about this that it was indeed an error.  The WGA team has apologized for any disruption this may have caused for our customers.
The bug that caused this issue was identified and fixed within twenty four hours of being discovered.

  1. Here are the specific steps that can be taken now to fix this issue on any affected system that isn’t genuine:
    Delete the data.dat file from C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows Genuine Advantage\data (The drive letter will depend on where the OS was installed)
  2. Revisit http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/downloads/validate.aspx to confirm whether the machine is genuine.
  3. Run wgatray.exe /b from the command line to ensure that the latest validation is updated for WGA Notifications.  This command may be absent from the user’s machine and should not be considered an error.  Please ensure that this is run as an Administrator.  A reboot may be required to remove all non-genuine notifications.

The team have also implemented a webpage with special instructions that will receive any traffic from systems that are running on product keys that could have been affected by this issue.

A KB Article has been written to further point the steps to take inorder to fix the problem.

Posted in Anti-Piracy, Bugs, Corporation, MS News, Windows XP | Comments Off on WGA service outage

Ed Bott: Another WGA Failure

August 10th, 2006 by Kristan M. Kenney

Ed Bott, a respected journalist at ZDNet, has posted a very interesting article describing his encounter with Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy system.

On July 18, Microsoft’s WGA team promised to send me a disk with a product key from their blocked list. It was supposed to arrive via overnight service, but it was never sent. After several follow-up messages, I was assured on July 26 I would have something by the end of that week. The package finally arrived the next week, on August 1. It contained a CD-R with a handwritten label that read “Windows XP SP2 – VLK,” and a 25-character product key on a small slip of paper.

Over the weekend, I hoisted the Jolly Roger, cleared a partition on a test machine, slid the CD into the drive, and prepared to join the ranks of Windows pirates. Unfortunately, the product key that Microsoft had sent me didn’t work.

Quite a good read, check it out at ZDNet.

Posted in Anti-Piracy, Windows XP | Comments Off on Ed Bott: Another WGA Failure