Microsoft Modifies WGA Tool Following Spyware Allegations

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has changed a major "feature" found in its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software, after receiving an onslaught of complaints from end users. The criticism is in regard to the program's daily check-ins with the company's servers; now, the tool will dial home in 14-day intervals instead of after every system boot. (Source:

Microsoft opted to change the frequency of the WGA check-ins after receiving allegations that the behavior of their software reached the level of Spyware status.

Lauren Weinstein, cofounder of People for Internet Responsibility, recently made the following comments with respect to the Windows Genuine Advantage program:

"I fail to see where Microsoft has a 'need to know' for this data after a system's validity has already been established ... I'll leave it to the [antiSpyware developers] to make a formal determination as to whether this behavior actually qualifies the [WGA] tool as Spyware [itself]." (Source:

To Recap: What is Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)?

Microsoft launched the WGA pop-up notifications on April 24 as part of its Genuine Software Initiative intended to fight piracy of the company's software.

The program consists of two major components: WGA Validation and WGA Notifications. Once installed, the Windows Genuine Advantage program beams obtrusive popup notifications directly to the desktop. The notifications will continue to popup until your computer is running genuine Microsoft Windows, or unless you choose "Change Notification Settings" (in which case, you can defer the notifications until the next major WGA update).

More info on the WGA tool can be found in a previous article: Microsoft Fights Piracy with PopUp Notifications.

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