Windows XP: Genuine Disadvantage

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), Microsoft’s modern-day antipiracy measure, is causing headaches for Windows XP users who’ve been excellent about loading the trendy protection patches for Windows and Internet Explorer (IE). Why? Two motives:

(1) Initial attempts to download and use WGA may also provide you with an inaccurate error message pointing out that legitimate product keys in your proper model of Windows XP are invalid. It’s not surprising that an earlier version of WGA became hacked within 24 hours. Computer technicians everywhere were faced with some other alternatives to Windows software programs requiring they either troubleshoot the hassle or find a way to pass it. Thus, every other hack was born. Why does WGA initially record that legitimate product keys are invalid? Basically, because it’s encountering a problem, it does not recognize how to interpret it differently. The hassle is:

(2) You need to re-enable ActiveX for WGA to run. ActiveX is the only Microsoft generation that integrates interactive content material on net pages, like Java applets. WGA cannot run without ActiveX. Unfortunately, ActiveX has been exploited by way of hackers who determined vulnerabilities in the generation and use them to run their very own malicious software program for your laptop.

As a result, one of the Windows updates you ran within the not so remote turned off ActiveX to block this vulnerability. There’s the size: You can’t run Windows Update until you validate your license with WGA, which might not run till you re-permit ActiveX and lower your browser’s protection so you can load new protection patches! Good wondering!

Windows XP

Microsoft’s help web page (in common “Microspeak”) does warn you which you are potentially exposing your machine and that you will need to re-permit your browser’s safety once you help Microsoft make certain you aren’t stealing Windows:

Important These steps may also boom your safety chance. These steps may additionally make your laptop or your community extra liable to assault via malicious customers or via malicious software along with viruses. We advise the system that this text describes permitting applications to function as they may be designed to enforce unique software skills. Before you’re making those modifications, we endorse that you evaluate the risks associated with implementing this method for your specific environment. If you pick out to enforce this system, take any suitable extra steps to assist shield your system. We recommend which you use this technique best in case you clearly require this method.


CYA We designed WGA to run off of ActiveX era software program additives we realize will make your computer liable to attacks because we wrote ActiveX (that’s proper, we created it) and left numerous holes in it that could be exploited. Basically, you may want to re-permit ActiveX and make your gadget vulnerable so that WGA will paintings the manner we designed it to work. Then and simplest, can you get the modern-day Windows updates to make your machine run, um, “safer?” But first, we advise that you decide for your self that you really want to run WGA, so you cannot come again and sue us if you’re computer is attacked through an endemic at the same time as you are jogging WGA to validate your license, which we also made you validate while you bought your computer, which of the path came with Windows because we personal 99% of the market (tee hee).

But besides, we like to look you leap via hoops and make you, again and again, show you very own it because Microsoft is “antitrust.” Oh, and whilst you’re carried out, don’t forget to make your system, um, “safe” once more using turning on whatever you operate to dam ActiveX or load our cool WGA ActiveX manage, which is essentially just a toggle that turns ActiveX on and rancid whenever we feel like exposing your device to more security dangers so you can load more security patches that will paintings till someone figures out they don’t. The earlier WGA model becomes compromised, and I anticipate that the present-day version might be too if it hasn’t already.

As traditional, tech-savvy people get around measures designed to defend copyright, and much less tech-savvy human beings are left pulling out their hair trying to parent out ways to undo what Windows does for applications to “perform as they are designed to.” Microsoft continues to prove it needs better designers. They can not seem to get away from ActiveX even though other applications do just pleasant without it. (Mozilla Firefox does not use ActiveX to permit net page interactivity. That does not imply it is a hundred% safe. However, I’ve in no way needed to decrease security to patch Firefox.)

Microsoft needs to dispose of WGA. It’s completely ridiculous to have to decrease security to run patches designed to intensify protection. In this case, Microsoft desires you to try this totally for his or her gain, now not yours. Microsoft argues software program piracy is high-priced for absolutely everyone, and so antipiracy measures assist you. That may also or may not be actual. However, it is now not the point. WGA is truly a horrific antipiracy measure. It’s a backdoor technique that won’t stop or even sluggish down piracy. Both proper and counterfeit versions of Windows will nonetheless run without the updates, which means:

Users who recognize they have a counterfeit version may not validate, won’t run the updates, and could still experience using Windows; Users with a counterfeit model they unknowingly bought through a disreputable OEM seller, online public sale or software program pirate will certainly think Windows is broken, will also forego updates, for all time curse Microsoft, and in all likelihood purchase a Mac.

At any rate, very few will ever comprehend they have a counterfeit model and are not going to feature in Microsoft’s bloated profit margin. Licensed users with the genuine product and valid product keys will retain to ought to prove possession if they need to run wanted updates and will have to deplete extra time and money troubleshooting what Microsoft does to shield its own pursuits, will for all time curse Microsoft, and in the end purchase a Mac.

Antipiracy measures need to be carried out at the source, no longer at the user quit. Microsoft may additionally reap higher outcomes via extra-managed production of its software merchandise on the assembly line. However, the corporation has been greedy. When you rush to a marketplace with a product you want to make as broadly to be had as viable, you take shortcuts. Now Microsoft is backpedaling in an attempt to recoup its perceived losses. It’s being shortsighted and egocentric and might nicely lose cash in the system. By imposing WGA and other user-cease antipiracy measures, Microsoft does little to affect software program piracy and increasingly antagonizes its paying clients.

Imagine using down the road to your automobile and being pulled over each other block so that you can show your vehicle identity. “Yes, I own it. Yes, I personally it. Yes, I own it.” Microsoft rolls out updates on the second one Tuesday of each month as wanted. So, quite an awful lot each 2nd Tuesday of every month, you have to decrease your Internet security just so that you can say, “sure, I very own it.”

N. Saco

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