Kill WGA with the BigFix

Dennis Faas's picture

I've been hearing a lot of hype about this Windows Genuine Advantage program. I especially liked Brandon Dimmels articles about it here at Infopackets (see "Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Under Fire"). I don't like programs that needlessly contact their home websites to report on me. Many people call that "Spyware" and I also agree that WGA fits the description.

It's taken a little while for me to figure out what to do about WGA. The funny thing to me is that I've had the "Fix" on my PC for a long time. Here's what I've done ...

  1. Install BigFix
  2. Turn off automatic downloading of Windows Updates
  3. Uninstall WGA

What is BigFix?

I can't improve much on the description provided at, so here's what they say:

BigFix is a program that can intelligently detect and correct all kinds of problems on your computer, usually before they get a chance to mess up your computer. With BigFix, you are protected from known bugs, security holes, and problems caused by outdated software, letting you do more and crash less every day.

BigFix usually runs in the background, monitoring your computer for problems and conflicts. You can be sure that BigFix is running if you see the blue icon near the bottom-right corner of your screen (called the system tray).

Every day, BigFix automatically gathers information about the latest bugs, security alerts, and updates from BigFix Sites around the Internet. This way, BigFix is always up to speed on the latest problems. Whenever BigFix detects a problem, it alerts you by flashing the blue system tray. To fix the problem, click on that flashing icon to open BigFix.

BigFix has been designed to fully protect your privacy. No information about you or your computer will ever be sent off your computer by BigFix without your express permission.

Oh, they don't mention it here, but BigFix Consumer Edition is FREE!

Why BigFix?

I've had a number of problems in the past when I had Windows Updates installing automatically. Sometimes a Windows Update causes as many problems as it creates. WGA is just one more problem I don't want. I turned off my automatic updates in Windows XP and now I just get notified when new updates are available for download. I'm using BigFix whenever I get a notification that Windows needs to be updated. This means that I don't have to go to Microsoft Windows Update page to get them and I also don't need to have WGA checking my PC to see if my copy of Windows is "Genuine".

Setting up BigFix

I love the program, but once it is installed, it's always in the system tray sitting there eating up my valuable system resources. It's not a resource hog, but I'm picky and I turn off most of my auto-run programs whenever I can. After BigFix installed, I turned off it's auto-run entry using MSConfig. To learn more about MSConfig, try this article at Infopackets.

How do I turn off automatic downloading of updates?

I found my settings for Windows XP, in the Start Menu under "Control Panel" and then in "Security Center". At the bottom of the Security Center page, I clicked on the little globe with the words "Automatic Updates". Then in the applet window for Automatic Updates, I clicked the radio button beside "Notify me but don't automatically download or install them." Once you've clicked ok and saved the settings, Windows will notify you with a little yellow icon in your system tray, and you can click on it to see what updates are available. When I see updates I want, I fire up BigFix and send it out to get them for me.

Uninstall WGA?

At the risk of making Microsoft mad, I'll tell you that you don't need Windows Genuine Advantage program. After getting lots of complaints, Microsoft posted a "how-to" page for uninstalling WGA.

Brandon Dimmel mentioned that there's also a non-Microsoft uninstaller program that does this for you, but I haven't tried it, so I'd only recommend trying it if the Microsoft instructions aren't working for you. That utility is from Guillaume Kaddouch (gkweb), a person I've chatted with before, and I do trust him, so I'll include a link to his website.

Why should you listen to me?

I'm not a security expert. I just love computers and freeware, and I hate being spied on. I can't guarantee this will work for you or that it's completely safe. If you follow my advice, you are on your own.

Sometimes taking a chance on something new gives you a great opportunity to learn, and sometimes to learn from your mistakes.

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