Windows Vista: You May Be Prompted to Activate Again

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week Microsoft released their newest version of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool. WGA is designed to make sure the Microsoft software on your computer is properly licensed (legitimate, not counterfeit) and supported by Microsoft or one of their trusted partners.

Certainly, Microsoft would like to believe that their WGA software is reliable and doesn't make mistakes. When they released the original WGA software, however, it mistakenly identified potentially pirated software on several legitimate users machines.

In a case of deja vu, the the newest version of WGA is also causing a lot of problems for legitimate users causing them have to re-activate their Vista software, seemingly for no apparent reason. Microsoft Knowledge Base article #931573 states that "you may be prompted to activate Windows Vista on a computer on which Windows Vista activation was not previously required."

Originally 3 programs were identified as thought to be causing non-genuine status or preventing activation: PC Tools Spyware Doctor, Trend Micro Internet Security (including PC-Cillin Anti-Virus), and nProtect GameGuard.

Updating to the most recent version of PC Tools Spyware Doctor resolves the conflict. Versions of Trend Micro Internet Security and PC-Cillin Anti-Virus above 14.56 resolves those conflicts.

NProtect GameGuard is an anti-cheating package used in a variety of online games that has previously been noted to use behavior that resembles a rootkit. The program's action apparently triggers the anti-tampering features in Windows Vista.

The update for Windows Vista can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.

It's unknown how many people have been affected yet. In some cases, the only way to reactivate is over the phone which involves convincing a support technician that your installation of Vista is legitimate, reading a 50-character product ID over the phone, and typing in a matching 50-character ID.

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