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.

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.

  1. chuck 16 years ago

    I recently had a similar thought about the Windows Genuine Advantage and the ‘spying’ it does on your machine.  This type of activity only helps initiate a black market, if you will, of windows updates.  So imagine you going out to torrent sites for your updates rather than ms’s site.   Then you only need to worry about the legitimacy of the updates you are downloading – rather than ms spying on you. Hmmm.. which has greater risk?  🙂
    I have yet to look for those types of sites, but I don’t doubt they exist.Cheers,

  2. John Joe 16 years ago

    Why does your webpage disable the back button?!! That is just the most annoying thing you can do. I’ll never visit your site again.

  3. Jerry Park 16 years ago

    All WGA does is stop legitimate users from updating windows. I have a legal, licensed copy of XP professional. But I won’t put spyware on my system — so WGA doesn’t get on my system. That means I also cannot get updates, etc.I wonder at the legality of selling a product then attempting to cripple it with spyware.Of course, if you have tons of money, legal issues are simple to deal with ….

  4. Michael Pietroforte 16 years ago

    I wouldn’t install any software on my computer from an unknown source , regardless of whether it is an update, or any other kind of program. Torrents are great for videos and music, but in my view, this technology can’t be recommended for downloading software.

    @John Joe
    I guess this reply doesn’t make much sense since you don’t intent to come back. As to the back button, it works perfectly fine for me. Maybe you have a problem with your browser.

    @Jerry Park
    I fully agree,  plus WGA doesn’t probably reduce the number of illegitimate Windows copies anyway.

  5. someone 16 years ago

    You don’t even need to install this "update". If and when you see it, all you need do is unselect the box next to it and it won’t install… ever. You will still receive new updates and all will be fine.

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