WGA Causes (More) Problems Worldwide

Dennis Faas's picture

Once again Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) has gone awry, penalizing legitimate Windows XP and Vista users.

The problem occurred when unspecified server problems caused by an unknown automatic update from Microsoft created a Windows Validation meltdown making Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage servers incorrectly flag legitimate copies of Windows XP and Vista as pirated copies.

The damage created quite a stir in the Microsoft Support Forums, with disruptions lasting for about 19 hours over this past weekend. Windows Vista users who rebooted their computers were blasted with WGA pop-ups, while having to run in reduced functionality mode.

One disgruntled victim who had been running a developer's copy of Vista wrote, "my legitimate MSDN-acquired Vista Ultimate, which has been running, activated and validated for several months now fails WGA." He's not alone. Others noted their disgust and threatened switching to Linux or a Mac.

Some support techs were telling readers in the forum that a fix will be in place by Tuesday, August 28. Others were telling readers they should try again later.

Phil Liu, Microsoft WGA Program Manager wrote, "I guarantee that I will personally resolve this issue before I go to sleep -- whether or not it is Tuesday I sleep." Later, he wrote that everyone needed to go back to the Windows Genuine page and to click 'Validate Windows' to resolve the issue. He promised he would have a technical explanation for it ASAP.

WGA has been facing criticism since Microsoft implemented it in mid-2005. It's required if you want to run non-security updates or download some files from Microsoft. Many have asked Microsoft to stop using WGA.

"Once again the legitimate person gets screwed while the people who pirate software probably aren't even affected. This whole validation process should be dropped. This is just another nail in the Microsoft coffin," wrote Mark, another 'satisfied' Microsoft customer. Apparently, users who just bought shiny new computers were affected by the outage, too.

It'll be interesting to see what caused the server malfunctions, but it's definitely more unwanted bad publicity for Microsoft. Some users were still reporting problems when they tried to re-validate the software as recommended. If for some reason re-validating Windows Vista doesn't work correctly, visit the Microsoft WGA Support Forum.

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