You probably know that Microsoft validates your Windows XP, every time you install an update. The German magazine PC Professionell (08/06) has an interesting article (print) about recent changes in this validation process. It seems that WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) is now contacting Microsoft daily.
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Microsoft says that the purpose of this "new feature" is to turn off WGA when problems occur. I find this explanation a bit strange. Since the communication is encrypted, nobody really knows what kind of data is being sent to Redmond.
You can disable WGA by deleting the WgaLogon folder under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\
CurrentVersion\Notify in the Registry. However, you won't be able to update your Windows anymore, although security updates are still possible. Backup the registry before you make any changes.
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It seems that this registry key doesn't appear in those Windows XP versions which are part of the Microsoft Select Program. More information about disabling WGA can be found here.