Microsoft gives controversial antipiracy tools new name

The company rebrands Windows Genuine Advantage "Windows Activation Technology" in Windows 7

Microsoft has rebranded its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation system in Windows 7, likely an attempt to shed the controversial image of the antipiracy program.

The company said Thursday it is renaming WGA "Windows Activation Technology" because the name more accurately reflects the way the technology works, according to comments on the company's Web site.

WGA, which Microsoft introduced as an add-on to Windows XP in 2006 but built directly into Vista, checks to see, through a variety of ways including product activation, if someone is running a genuine copy of Windows.

Microsoft launched WGA as part of a widespread crackdown effort against software counterfeiting and piracy that it has undertaken in earnest for several years.

Many users griped about WGA when it was first introduced, especially because of early bugs that would deem genuine software counterfeit, forcing one user to write a work-around for the glitch and irking many others.

They also complained about a feature of the tool that shut down many functions of a version of Windows if it is discovered to be counterfeit or pirated.

To its credit, Microsoft responded to the outcry, fixing bugs and tweaking features. Now, the software uses a series of pop-up alerts to remind people their software is found to be counterfeit.

Microsoft unveiled the name change for WGA on its press Web site Thursday in comments made interview-style by Joe Williams, Microsoft's general manager of Worldwide Genuine Windows.

In his comments, he said the reason for the name change is that WGA as developed in Vista and now Windows 7 is "fundamentally different" from the original program that was an add-on to XP, although the goals of the programs are the same.

"The guiding principle is to enable the customer to know when the software they are using is genuine and licensed and help them to do something about it if it's not," he said.

"However the technology used in Windows Vista and Windows 7... consists of new code and the latest methods for protecting Windows in ways that can only really be achieved with the components that are built in to both Windows Vista and now Windows 7."

Williams added that Microsoft has improved the activation tool in Windows 7 with support for virtualized images and volume-activation for multiple OSes to take into consideration new business scenarios that it did not think of or were not prevalent when Microsoft first introduced the technology.

Microsoft released one of the last milestones for Windows 7, Release Candidate 1, last week, and many expect a final release of the software in October.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7anti-piracypiracyWindows Activation Technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?