back to article Windows 7 'genuine' nagware winging its way to OS

Microsoft has been keeping a surprisingly low profile about its recent nagware win - could that have anything to do with its latest efforts to sink marauding software pirates? The company confirmed yesterday that it would pump out a Windows Activation Technologies patch for Windows 7 before the end of this month. Microsoft …


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  1. Greg J Preece

    Bovine Excrement

    "Microsoft said the update would scan for over “70 known and potentially dangerous activation exploits” in its latest operating system."


    “I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.”

    ...automatically selected, in the "Critical Updates" section, which your system is configured to install from without asking first...

    1. Annihilator Silver badge


      To their bottom line I'd imagine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Exactly like WGA. I remember the hullabullo when MS first started pushing that, with a community reaction identical to this Windows 7 version. WGA was never optional, at least on XP. You can fastidiously decline it whenever prompted, and it will still eventually install itself without consent, entirely contrary to all the MS claims about it at the time.

  2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Apparently no reason for anyone to run it

    ...unless you don't want to go on being nagged to run it, or don't want to manage manually updates to your system. Which you should do.

    Either it does nothing at all, or it decides that you have a bootlegged computer, and cripples it.

    No advantage whatsoever in that.

    My tip if you do run it: take an image of your legitimately installed system partition first. If the "update" kneecaps your PC, restore from the image and get back a healthy Windows, easy peasy. Unless Microsoft separately stores a record saying that you're a fake, you should be all right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      install linux because windows is crap

      1. Unus Radix

        Hmm ...

        Could we have a default first comment extolling the virtues of Linux automatically inserted to the discussion whenever there is a story mentioning Windows ? A fervent pledge to Windows-servitude could be automatically added after that, saving even more time and effort in the long run. These should have a special icon not available to us common riff-raff - like the vulture for the mighty Moderatrix - so that these could be conveniently skipped and ignored. Please ?

        [Either that or come clean as to what happened to Sarah Bee ...]

    2. N2

      Take an image

      Everytime I update

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Having had a perfectly legit XP box fuxx0red by Genuine Disadvantage, I ended up with a fresh install playing permanent cat and maus with fking windows update.

    I couldn't run the webpage stlye windows update without installing it (it called it a vital update), and every time I refused it in the other update interface and told it never to offer that update again, it kept coming back, Jeremy feckin' Clarkson.

    So, I was actually enjoying Win 7, as this huge major annoyance was absent, and it was almost like using a proper computer, like my Linux and MacOS boxes. Sounds like I will have to fiddle endlessly with the Win 7 updater too. It's unfortunate, I had almost got used to using Windows voluntarily on occasions, as the amount of babysitting the damn thing needed was a lot lower than the earlier ones.

    Cheers Microsoft, I suppose it was only a matter of a time before you shat on users, shame on me for being fooled. I wish I had pirated bloody Windows 7. I certainly will be for my next Bootcamp install, now. Fucknuggets.

    Yeah, ok, so I'm being grumpy, but it's Friday, I want to go home, it's noisy and dangerous here today, and I just had to play yet another game of "dodge the heavy smokers carrying large metal cabinets, which makes it noisy, smelly and dangerous. Oh woe is me!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    What's the point?

    I have always been and remain mystified as to the purpose of WGA.

    I wouldn't use Windows myself even if the alternative were a slow and painful death but my three children do. One of the copies they use is legal (bought with the machine) and the other two aren't. Guess which one has had problems with WGA?

    That's right. The only one of the three where I have been nagged was the legal copy.

    As a general rule, I have experienced fewer problems with pirated software than legal software (on Windows at least). I still pay for things I like, but even so, I have used pirated copies of software that I have paid for on many occasions. The anti-piracy technology used by most software companies is both annoying and ineffective.

    It beats me why a software vendor would think that annoying genuine customers while failing to have any material impact on pirates might be a good idea.

  5. James 12

    Beta Version

    Not sure it works,

    Im still on Build 7100 fully updated (yep not even RC1) Which is supposed to shut down every 2 hours. It doesn't and continues to work fine..

    Mines the one with a unopened copy of win7 in its pocket...

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Build 7100 = RC1

      To your good health then. Build 7100 *is* RC1.

      The 2 hourly shutdown doesn't commence until after 1st March 2010. Run "winver" to confirm. It'll stop working completely from June 1st.

  6. DrStrangeLug

    Bye Byte Automatic Update

    I'll avoid this the same way I avoided WGA - shut off windows update completely.

    Let a third party package handle virus and firewall until I can get wine to run newly released DX games.

  7. JP19

    It will become mandatory

    It always starts off as optional. Wasn't WGA the same way? The early adopters will be the testers, who let Microsoft work out the kinks ... then make it mandatory!

    1. Greg J Preece

      It's not mandatory

      You don't *have* to install it, but they make you go to an effort not to. If you've got automatic updates, it's installed with them. If you go to the Windows Update site, it's selected by default.

    2. John Bailey


      Yep. About 3.5-4 years ago..that was when I switched to Linux.

  8. Samuel Walker

    Wait, what?

    “I’d like to stress that the Update is voluntary, which means that you can choose not to install it when you see it appear on Windows Update.”

    I thought you could do that with all updates anyway - disable automatic updates then you will always have the choice to install any update or not.

    .... or is there a super-secret level that forces install no matter what?

  9. WinHatter


    Why am I under the impression that some will end up locked out their legit copy?

    What can possibly go wrong. Security by patch & update always a nice thing ... ask Apple.

  10. Mike Kamermans

    ripped off version?

    Surely the author is aware of the completely different meaning of the phrasing used.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      nag = kill

      A little bird told me, "Hey FUgly Pengwyn De author was indEEd feasic

      However such nonsense is purely conspiracy theory, cause I can't possibly be talking to little birds. Now could I?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    That's why slowly but surely

    I'm getting away from Windows. Technically it is not a bad OS, especially if you are a computer literate person (even a moderate one) but I'm getting fed up with the constant humiliation inflicted on me by Microsoft since Windows XP SP3. Up to that point in time I was still treated right by the giant software maker but things have continuously worsened since then. It's been quite a while since I've moved to FOSS even though I'm still on Windows XP for now. Yes, I admit it has a lot of rough edges but at least I'm being treated with respect instead of paying Microsoft to abuse me. Ever since I've seen the Licensing service running permanently in Vista (with a dire warning saying that you can't disable it) my decision was irrevocably made. Sorry, Microsoft, OEMs and retailers, you can count on me for not being your customer.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      It's shite.

  12. The Other Steve

    Suck it up,

    Pay up or fuck off. If you want free, try linux, if nothing else it will make you wish you had paid for your OS in cash instead of your far more valuable time.

    Flame on, freetards, it only hurts so much because it's true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      which bit didn't you get?

      The problem with it is that it fucks-ups machine of those who DO pay up. Freetards have no issue with WGA 'cos they get around it.

    2. mego
      Paris Hilton

      Retarded Users Still Out There

      >>>>Pay up or fuck off. If you want free, try linux, if nothing else it will make you wish you had paid for your OS in cash instead of your far more valuable time.

      Flame on, freetards, it only hurts so much because it's true.<<<<

      Uh huh. That's why the people with LEGAL copies are the only one's having trouble with this crap. Yeah, you're a retarded lemur ain't ya, Steve?

      Paris. Thank God she's legal.

    3. jake Silver badge

      @The Other Steve

      Why the hostility? Fear of the unknown?

      On this laptop, running Slackware 13.0-stable, a supposedly "hard to use" version of Linux, about all I do is use it. Here is my entire maintenance routine:

      1) crond runs the command 'slackpkg update" 4 times a day.

      2) crond emails me notification of any changes in the ChangeLogs.

      3) I read the changes (in the email), and decide how "hot" they are.

      4) If they are security upgrades for code I'm actually using, I run 'slackpkg upgrade-all' as root and select which of PV's packages I feel comfortable to update without further research[1]

      4a) If they aren't security related (rare in -current), I peruse them at my leisure.

      5) Occasionally, when bored, I'll run 'slackpkg install-new' to remind myself if there is anything that PV has added to the -stable release (rare).

      That's it. Really. Including thru' kernel & major version changes, since Slack10.0-stable (the first OS I installed on this box, right about the time of it's release). Note that I only enter the loop when crond finds changes. If you want to see approximately how much of my valuable time I have "wasted" on this obviously horrendous maintenance schedule, see:

      Now, to be fair, I have other machines running Slackware ... so if everything looks OK, I'll run a shell script that reaches out across the network and updates all of them (it's called, just to make it hard to run accidentally). After waiting a suitable amount of time (given by me as a command-line argument to the script), the same script makes sure that all the boxen seem to be working fine. If they are, then it sends out a batch of email to 2279 people (currently, 'wc' is your friend) who have asked for a reminder from me when Slackware needs updating (friends, family and ex-students, mostly). In return, said people run a script at their leisure that updates their system(s), and then emails a special account on one of my servers when complete. After about a week, it emails me with a list of names & numbers for people who apparently haven't updated their systems, which I deal with as appropriate to the individual. Occasionally I'll get a call from someone running odd-ball hardware that breaks after an update (sound, mostly), but it's rare. Couple or four times a year, maybe.

      Note that the above paragraph is hardly normal, and has nothing to do with a single user running a properly setup Linux box ... but even then, I doubt I've averaged 10 minutes a month over the last 5 years keeping it all together. The Windows networks I used to have to deal with, in comparison, were quite the time sinks ...

      [1] I don't allow kernel updates and other large & important bits & pieces until they have been out for a couple days and I've had a chance to read thru' the mailing lists & Usenet, I'm not that stupid! crond also backs up my system several times a day to several geographically diverse servers, so even in the event that PV makes a mistake and trashes my system, I'm covered. Hasn't happened (yet).

      1. Rick Giles

        Preah on brother!

        I'm running Slackware 12.2 on an old N610c and it boots faster than my XP laptop that is less than a year old. Must be all the extra 'security' features to keep it safe.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Although I have scripts that do similar to your setup, I wouldn't post about how this makes it easy to maintain. It comes across as condescending to "normal" users, and frankly is one of the prime reasons *nix is held back. It's not the OS, it's the community that doesn't recognise what Apple and MS have done in terms of embracing non-IT-literate communities.

        MS patches/updates/WGAs that completely bork an installation are rare. Generally, they just work.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @AC 11:13

          I disagree.

          My post was in a supposed technical forum (RedTop that it is ...). It was intended for technical people, who hopefully have a clue. I would never approach the issue in the same manor to end-users. There is no point. They don't have the background, and their brain would shut off halfway through the first paragraph.

          That doesn't alter the point that Linux CAN be made easier to use than anything that comes out of Redmond or Cupertino ... IF the end-user can be shown how to spend their time/money in the right places.

          Someone who actually understands both Linux and how the end-user plans to use the system can usually setup an OS/distro like Slackware to blissfully fade into the background as said user uses the applications to get on with their lives. It usually takes me about 4-8 hours to observe the user and install a system designed specifically for them. I rarely get more than one or two support calls after the initial install and system walk-through (see the Firefox icon? It does the same thing it did on your Windows desktop. Etc.)

          My Dad jokingly suggested that I re-install XP on my techno-phobic Mom's computer, because they never see me anymore now that she's running Slackware. I took it as a non-joke, and now the Wife and I make sure we alternate visiting my 90+ year old Great Aunt (also running Slackware[1]) and my parents (mid-70s) on a regular basis. The only difference is that I get to visit with them, instead of working on their computers while my wife visits ... A much nicer turn of events :-)

          [1] Funny story about the Great Aunt ... I brought her a Slackware box after spending four weekends in a row cleaning up malware on her XP system. She refused to use it, because it was "too hard to make a change at my age". Several weeks later, I realized that I hadn't had any support calls from her. I called to see what was up. It turned out that her sister in Finland had sent her some pictures right about the time that the XP box crapped out again. Out of desperation, she booted up the Slack box ... and hasn't looked back. Several months later, she asked me to "get rid of that old thing", pointing at the now working again XP box. I couldn't convince her that I could install the same version of Slack on it, with it's more modern CPU, more RAM, larger harddrive, etc. To her, the OS+hardware were a lemon that couldn't be fixed. She's a Linux advocate now, in her "over 90" club ... but unfortunately, she calls it "the version of windows that my nephew gave me" ...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually started using.....

      I actually started using the Penguin not because it's free, but because "It Just Works" (read: Quality) and it comes with loads of pretty damn good software that can be downloaded out of the repositories, meanwhile commercial OS's, namely Apple and MS are stuck back in last centuries paradigm of software distribution. Oh yeah, no viruses, no defragging, no registry corruption, at this point I pay for Linux support although the system's so stable sometimes I wonder if it's just from paranioa. If fact FOSS has set the bar so high that for Windows 7, I'd require Microsoft to PAY ME to run it, it's that bad in comparison to what so-called "freetard" software delivers and delivers without any drama.

    5. Rick Giles

      This is the kind of crap that pisses me off

      Not so long ago, you had to be more than moderately computer literate to get Windows running on a system. And to be honest, you still need to be more than moderately computer literate to fix any problems with Windows. But most of those involve removing viri and spy/ad/scare/mal-ware. The rest of the time is spent getting different crap software to work together to get data passed between them to have productive users.

      -Mines the one with the Linux live boot on USB in the pocket.

    6. Jess


      That's the main reason I give old PCs with Linux mint to friends who can't afford a Mac.

      Windows is far too much work.

      And the activation is a big chunk of time.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    RE: It will become mandatory

    I think it will stay optional..... until SP1 comes out and it will incorporated into this.

    Needlesss to say I won't be installing their service pack or this update :oP

  14. Rabbit80

    Why do they bother?

    I can't believe they pay money to someone to write the code behind this crap... I'm pretty sure it will be cracked in under 48 hours anyway!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Err, no, don't install linux...

    ...just wait for an improved loader from DAZ.

    (Yeah, right. I'm gonna switch to a minority desktop OS just because of a little thing like WAG/WAT.)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      We really don't mind you

      running your Windows with this killswitch in it and with the possibility of having to pay again just because because Microsoft believes you are a thief. If a minority desktop OS scares you that much to endure all this then there is nothing that might help you. Just pray every 90 days that somebody else in this world did not manage to get your activation info.

  16. Nanki Poo

    Well, that removes a decision...

    I keep on flirting with the idea of maybe trying 7, but after all the rubbish with WGA there is no way I'm going back to Wins again now!

    My older Windows copy is all tied up, it is authourised through WGA, but some little connected widget is needed to authourise upgrading of .netty things which does not recognise this, which in turn stops me installing useful FOSS software on there.

    After spending 2 hours with M$ Customer 'Support' and getting nowhere, I installed Ubuntu in a quarter of that time and all has been bliss for 12 months. Incidentally, M$ had no argument with my copy being genuine, they just couldn't find any way to over-rule the software. Of course, there is always the reinstall but I don't have a full day with no productivity to spare.

    Incidentally (II), I have spent less than two hours following up Ubuntu problems in a whole year, being a totally from-scratch beginner. As an experienced 16 years Windows user and one-time-repairer of Winstalls, I never had a year that light!

    Ooo, look... Tux!


  17. Anonymous Coward


    WAT is Malware

    My only advice is use the correct OS + hardware which get's the job done correctly. that takes a certain amount of pre planning design, financial ability to spend on security, hardware backup strategy, network maintenance, app debugging takes time, if you have 3rd party expensive hardware (like Capture Cards, Cameras, Rack Effects, Mixers, or other such heavy duty nonsense, I even hear PRINTERS Lol ) you would be wise to see if it even runs at all, also same thing for OLD 16 bit workaholic applications. xp vm / WOW my hardware turd stink. My third observation is that already people are calling and asking for my help with win7 problems. (and to my further joy a bunch of different versions of 64 bit vs 32 bit and other fun nonsense like classic vs new desktops. My response is to hand them an XP 32/64 disk / manual and an Ubuntu 32/64 disk magazine. Sad but that's where I am. Software is a disaster also wasting MONTHS to debug to a stable system, only to get zapped at update. I remember the good old days of ftp updates.

    now I said WAT is Malware right?

    It's a KILL SWITCH that's why I call it malicious. Going to allow that kind of crap in our aircraft, cars, rockets, voting machines next? a kill switch?

    Interestingly enough, I notice most Vista users have finally shut up about their unsorted problems. e.g. they have more than one box and run the hardware there.

    Win7 users support recent and steady problems . All stubborn problems are ultimately sorted by hardware changes. So that is something to think about. And money .. That's another consideration.

    Who knows you might get lucky and really like it a lot with new hardware. I know some with this and they actually have some problems too right now I might note now that I think of it. heh

    e.g. They like it but they do got some minor (I hope) problems. Moviemaker Live Download or somethin? That rocked. (I don't use it argh yuck)

    In fairness I had the same kind of problems only a couple years ago, with sata and choice of os. Look at OS's now and sata. Smokin Ready to Rock or specifically patched for the initial boost. But what are you doing with the box? Going to the moon or a baby's arm holding an apple?

  18. Guz

    When WAT Fails

    Microsoft Phone Support: Thank you for calling Microsoft, all calls may be monitored for training purposes and to ensure quality of service. Now, what seems to be the problem ...

    Customer: That's right.


    Microsoft Phone Support: ... ? Sir, you have to give me more information.

    Customer: I'll tell you my problem. WAT is my problem.

    Microsoft Phone Support: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question, you haven't told me yet.

    Customer: I didn't ask you a question.

    Microsoft Phone Support: Then why did you call? Why do you need help?

    Customer: WAT's wrong. I can't activate Windows 7 but I just bought it!

    Microsoft Phone Support: Okay, let's try to diagnose this problem. What's wrong?

    Customer: Yes, I already said that, I know WAT is wrong! That is precisely why I called!

    Microsoft Phone Support: Wait, why are you calling?

    Customer: WAT!

    Microsoft Phone Support: I said, why are you calling?!

    Customer: WAT! WAT, GODDAMNIT, WAT!!!

    Customer: What's your name? I need to talk to your supervisor.

    Microsoft Phone Support: Hu.

    Customer: (head explodes)

    (shamelessly stolen from slashdot)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      sounds like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first base"

  19. Roger Garner

    Article missed the 'periodic (initially 90 day) revalidation'...

    Last paragraph of the MS blog post... they intend to have WAT phone home every 90 days to ensure it still is valid.

    Opens the door to having a legal copy, someone abusing the key and you (the legal owner) suddenly finding yourself being downgraded through no fault of your own. Rare but still going to happen to someone, somewhere...

    I'm happy to have the key checked online when installing/activating for the first time, that doesn't bother me in the slightest. Sitting in the background and rechecking every 90 days when I know my copy is legal and the only "benefit" I'd gain is the (albeit extremely rare) possibility of MS deciding I'm now illegal and downgrading me... yeah I'm not installing this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns


      "Last paragraph of the MS blog post... they intend to have WAT phone home every 90 days to ensure it still is valid"

      Yeah, I saw this too. Like, what, did the machine suddenly become illegal? That there is TRWTF..

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch my lips Microsoft....

    Your operating systems aren't widely pirated despite WAT and other paranoid security devices, which start off as voluntary but very quickly become nothing of the kind. They're pirated - among other reasons of course, some less than honest - BECAUSE of the problems you cause. And of course partly because of your obscenely greedy pricing structures.

    I mean - what would you think if the police knocked on your door every month to re-check again and again that your car actually belonged to you? (That's a joke by the way, Mr Plod.)

    I'm no Linux fanboi, but it's coming to something when the very best ally Linux has in this world is ... Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Microsoft Sales?

      (slightly made up for ease of point illustrating)

      Buying Windoze 07 online,

      Australia costs $400.

      USA costs $200.

      Australians try to buy from USA.

      Microsoft blocks the purchase from their USA site/s on IP address and shipping address.

      Stupid Australians choose to pay 2 X as much for their "customer loyalty" as Americans.

      Me thinks Ha Ha Ha Ha.... uses Ubuntu Linux.

      Microsoft are Arseholes.

  21. Paul

    TWAT update

    The Windows Activation Technologies update?

    lets all call it TWATting please.


    windows 7 wga

    if microsoft keep on nagging there customers with there annoying ways of treating them. people will just move to apple cause the way they go on is crazy people its no wonder people move to other oses. people got annoyed when microsoft released the uac program which nagged everytime people opened a program it asked for confirmation i mean how pathetic does microsoft have to go even vista sucked. the problem with microsoft is the only thing they care about is money money money they dont give a shit about there customers simple as that and i have been with windows since me i had a me machine and almost every day i had to take it to this computer store to get it fixed only a day or 2 later a different problem acured. i think its time i moved to applefor a change

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge



  23. Wallyb132

    hmmm interesting, they claim its just being released?

    "The company confirmed yesterday that it would pump out a Windows Activation Technologies patch for Windows 7 before the end of this month."


    "In addition MS will make WAT available for download through its website on 16 February. The Microsoft Download Center will get the update a day later, it said."

    I wonder just how effective this patch is going to be? every 2 to 3 days i get a little message in the bottom right corner of my screen that says "This copy of Windows is not genuine" it rides there for a day or so, then i get this wonderful little popup that tells me i may be a victim of counterfeiting and offers me a link explaining the "benefits" of having legit software and the various ways i can shovel money to M$ in order to make this message disappear?

    Its a very interesting sequence of events, the only steps required to correct the problem is to simply ignore it, it'll go away for a day or so, then come back.

    If i were in fact running pirated software, i would say that this technology is working as intended. but i'm not, I have a technet subscription, which i pay for every year, which grants me a license to use all of the titles available on technet on up to 10 computers. not to mention my laptop included a free windows 7 upgrade, therefore i'm covered by 2 licenses...

    Excellent work once again microsoft...

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not much time

    @The Other Steve, whatever. Something like Ubuntu installs quickly (about 15 minutes, and that's just on a P4), easily, and holds your hand through everything else. First time I go to a page that needs Flash or Java, it's like "Click Next to install Flash" and it does (if I haven't already installed it). I can install any other apps I want by checking boxes and clicking "install", and it'll download and install them all at once. It's truly not the time sink you think it is. Obviously, if your plan is to install like Visual Studio, Quickbooks, and Outlook, and stick it on a domain, installing Linux then forcing it to do that would be a waste of time (well, other than the domain, AD integration in Linux is easy now.)

    The only difficulties I've had with modern Linuxes is stuff that is just considered impossible with Windows (most recently, trying to set up a 10-head computer, with 5 dual-head video cards.)

  25. Martin Usher


    I've fallen foul of WGA on a used machine -- it had the license stamp and everything but WGA decided "no" and that was it. Solved that problem temporarily by putting Win2K on it. Solved the problem permanently by moving to Linux.

    Modern Windows is a resource hog. It gives you very little value for what it takes away. For day to day use Linux does more with less. If you need the additional eyecandy then buy a Mac -- the hardware's not particularly cheap but its high quality and the OS just works.

    Every time I get an upgrade patch for XP the system degrades a little more....

  26. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    It takes a theif

    M$ just thinks that Windows users are a bunch of tWATs for stealing it's software built on the corpses of better software houses and dared them to sue.

    This could also be the thin edge of a wedge to annoy users into getting used to renting their Windows sic Azure.

    Hey Reg, we need a dancing Ballmer of something like that to go along with evil Bill.

  27. Doug Glass

    Seven Valid Licenses

    Although I have seven genuine XP licenses installed and running on seven different machines, I've hidden (on the MS update site) and refused to install any update whose name contains the word "notification". I've done that ever since the first one came out.

    Yeah, each new iteration of WGAN means I have to re-hide it but so what? I wash my crank every day and that's never been much of a bother. I fail to see why a little of consistent discipline with regards to this is a problem for anybody. Just do it. If for no other reason do it to buck Microsoft and be done with it.

    1. nematoad Silver badge


      @Doug Glass.

      You know that it doesn't have to be like this? I realise that Windows may be vital to you in that there are applications that are not available elsewhere or that you have invested time and money in your Windows systems and would find moving difficult. This may be true in the the short term but do you really want to spend the rest of your life on the MS treadmill? Take it easy and move over to Gnu/Linux a step at a time. The amount of time currently spent dodging MS's schemes to control you could be much more productivly spent freeing yourself from their grasp. An added benefit of course is that you would cease giving your money to MS and that would hurt them much more than you getting a bit of satisfaction from defying "the Man"

      Think about it, there *IS* a better way.

  28. JB

    One way to stop all this rubbish...

    ...make the damn software cheaper...$200 for this is a bloody rip-off. XP is beginning to look creaky, I'd update to Win 7 tomorrow if it was half the price. If it weren't for the risks of getting a warez version of Win 7 I'd get it. Oh well, it's going to be XP until I can save up for 7!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      A better way... to install something like Linux(Ubuntu in my case, 2 days ago).

      Having been told it was difficult to install, it took 10 minutes after the initial OS download and now dual-boots with XP. The only thing I'm wondering is why I didn't do it earlier.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    Ok, first up, why all the talk of "WAT", without a childish leading "t"? What's wrong with you people? Seriously, fish, barrel, are you sure you're not coming down with something?

    Secondly, I not resent having bought a legit Win7. Gave Microsoft the benefit of the doubt for the first time in years, spent my own money on 7 and it sounds like surprise buttsecks is to be the reward. Tell you what, I'll be replacing it with a ratted version of Ultimate for the odd game, and for the odd bit of crappy software which demands it. I regret having discouraged other people from ratting 7, also.

    The shine just went off 7, big style.

  30. Inachu

    At first I did not mind WGA but.....

    After several wga updates and various hardware issues and motherboard replacements I can

    say that after I have been tried and true legal consumer of Microsoft products that I am sick and tired of being tested on and on and on and on and having WGA slow down my gaming performance when I ultimately neeed the best CPU clock speed and best network speed and

    When WGA kicks in then I get severe lag in all respects and I am really sick of it.

    As of yesterday I called the Microsoft WGA line for the second and very last time.

    Microsoft is not going to touch my pc remotely ever again.

    The services are disabled and I have a backup image of the OS.

    Had it up to here with patch teusday. LEAVE US PC GAMERS ALONE!!!!!!! XBOX SUCKS and SO DOES THE PS3. consoles suck.

  31. Inachu

    I should add one more thing about my WGA experince.

    WHen I did call to get my Windows 7 reactivated the WGA Microsoft representative techie always had the tone in his voice as if he did not trust me.

    My copy of Windows 7 Pro 64bit was OEM and did not like his tone of voice.

    Microsoft please fire him thanks.

  32. Cyfaill

    I am sooo... sorry

    After ten years of Linux use and all issues were settled years ago... Yes it took a while to really educate myself and those in our company about Linux... but we got there.... Microsoft is just noise on some distant planet we hear about.

    Take a deep breath, say I can do this... and learn how to make your company actually use Linux.

    And if a company can do it... so can the individual. See Microsoft setting in the sunset, the waves of change lapping at its torn sails. The battered customers moving off of that sinking ship of despair, standing up in the light of day... seeing a new dawn of self reliance beaming on their faces with their own sense of self assurance of non dependency.

    Watch them take that needle of Windows dependency out of their arm and throw it on the ground.

    Well you get the idea... work yes. Good for you... yes.

    Freedom not free beer.

  33. Donn Bly

    Those who complain

    The biggest complainers about license authentication, whether it is WG, the new WAT, or any of other methods used by third party applications - are from people who are using stolen software because it makes it harder for them to “uSe tH3iR WaReZ”. Microsoft could care less, they aren’t paying customers. If it causes one of them to pay up it is money in the bank. If a causes computer store to stop loading pirated copies on the machines that they sell it’s even better.

    The second biggest block are people who haven’t had a personal experience with it causing problems, but have read online the horror stories and are afraid of it. That includes EVERYONE here who complains about WAT.

    The third biggest block is people who have valid licenses, but have installed something dodgy on their system which breaks the updates. Is it Microsoft’s fault that you had to click on that popup and download that software to your computer which installed itself in such a way that it breaks the Microsoft Installer? Is it Microsoft’s fault that your company decided to load up one machine and clone the hard drive hundreds of times without properly resetting the SIDs?

    If you have installed something on the computer that doesn’t conform to the published installation methodology, then it is YOUR fault, not theirs when an OS upgrade or enhancement breaks the system.

    Nobody is forcing you to use Windows. You use Windows because you want to, or because the application that you want to use requires it. If you use Windows, nobody forces you to run the updates. Sure, if you don’t your system will be pwned by some script kiddie - but it is your choice and your fault for going to those kids of sites….

    Have I seen WGA cause problems on computers? Sure, just about everyone in the industry has. Have I ever seen it cause a problem on with a legitimate licensed copy? Yes – but every one of those systems had been otherwise compromised before WGA ever got to it and needed to be disinfected and reloaded anyway.

    As for those who say that they won’t go to Windows 7 because of it – you are delusional. People don’t run operating systems, they run applications. Your operating system is chosen by your choice of applications. Either you have applications that require it and you will run it, or you don’t.

    1. Raymond Cranfill

      I know that's you, Ballmer

      If you're going to spew Vole propaganda, Steve, please do so using your real name.

      I am a (reluctant) kegit user of Windows XP, Vista and now 7. I can assure you that the biggest "block" of users having problems with WGA are the legitimate users. I got so annoyed with the thing wrtongly deactivating my legir copies, I now use only OEM copies from the net 'cause these never get tagged and allow me to change my hardware configuration as much as I want. It's truly sad when you pay for a product you can't use thereby forcing you to procure so called dodgy copies in order to get work done. As for legit users who supposed "compromise" their installations, what kind of crack are you using? Oh yeah, the same kind of crack that led you to say the iPod and iPhone would never take off, or that the TCO bfor Linux is 10X more than Windows or perhaps that Windows Vista was the easiest use most secure Windows ever. Give it up Uncle Fester, no one believes anything you sayu anymore.

    2. Dana W

      We don't HAVE to. Thats the point.

      @Donn Bly

      Get on the clue bus. That's why most people here don't use Windows! Its the reason that in my house we have three Macs and two Ubuntu boxes. The only reason I put up with XP as long as I did is that on the Dell laptops I had activation wasn't an issue.

      I've replaced licensed, legit installs of XP with Dereki Windows, simply to get around issues for people who have PAID and still can't get their machines to work! When the pirate stuff actually works better that the licensed product something is seriously wrong!

      We didn't go to Windows Seven, we went to something that worked. And we are taking everyone we know as fast as we can. Microsoft is running scared from a world they don't own anymore, and with good reason.

    3. N2

      what a load o shite

      Like it was the end users fault the WGA server fucked up everyone's authenticity?

      You are on the wrong planet popeye, by several galaxys.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      What really pisses people off is WGA treating us like criminals when we have done NOTHING wrong. The whole stance of WGA is that you are a criminal but they've just not caught you yet.

      But if you like being treated as a suspected criminal then that's your personal choice.

  34. Anonymous Coward


    The best thing MS ever did was to make such shit software, such crap service and the line wore thin "Oh no we can't put you through to the person that programmed in all the interupts, so you can unprogram the interupts" - that I got utterly fucking fed up with them, their bullshit and the corporate moron speak, that I moved onto linux (ubuntu).

    Sure there is a learning curve., but it goes up, instead of into the basement.

  35. Adey


    OS x86 works well on a Dell mini 10v with NetbookInstaller and NetbookBootLoader. Macbooks are excellent with Snow Leopard. No WAT or serial numbers - just installs and runs.

    I can not see a reason to use Windows - except maybe poverty, stupidity and gaming.

  36. Knacker_Ned
    Thumb Up

    Microsoft shoots itself in foot - again

    Those bods at Microsnot certainly know how to alienate their customers. I kicked Windows into touch after having to reactivate my genuine copy of Windows XP for what must have been the umpteenth time. I felt as though they were calling me a thief, not just once but almost every time I installed a new piece of hardware on my PC. Product Activation... grr! It was bad enough when you got 30 days to comply - now you get only three.

    So about a year ago I moved to Ubuntu. Best move I ever made.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    As usual, the copy protection will only hurt those of us with legit software...

    I'm getting really fed up of the software companies continually treating those of us with legitimate software as the enemy.

    As ever this sort of thing won't affect the mainstream pirates in any way; they'll be running cracked versions anyway, and you can rest assured that those cracked copies will be updated in a matter of days/minutes to work around things like this. Those cracked versions will (no doubt) be the ones doing the rounds at school, or at car boot sales.

    The only people you can really hurt or annoy are those of us who *are* running legitimate versions of the products, who may (or may not) be impacted by false positives.

    It's this sort of thing that tempts me over to Linux, despite having a legit copy of Win7.

    Note to Microsoft: If you want me to buy Windows 8, pull this NOW.

  38. Old Fart
    Black Helicopters

    Not just the pirates!!!

    Sorry Donn Bly, but I sell name brand computers and have seen the ones on display, right out of the HP, Compaq, Gateway, Lenovo, Toshiba desktops and laptops box promptly display the WGA

    notification that they don't posses a "legal copy" of Windows.after the first time they "update".

    So, having seen the problem with this little piece of crapware from Microsoft, I always recommend to every customer to set their automatic updates to "Let me choose" and not download anything with WGA in it.

    1. Donn Bly

      @Dana W, Old Fart

      @Dana W

      Thank you for proving one of my points - that you don't HAVE to run windows - however you are delusional if you think that most of the readers here don't run Windows. We are mostly professionals, so while we may have and prefer other platforms that also means that we have to know and use the same software and platforms as the users that we support - and that means that most of us have to run Windows in order to run at least some of those applications.

      @Old Fart

      You are mistaking the poorly-constructed OEM system loads with a real windows installation. I too sold "name brand" systems - but unlike the box stores we had to SUPPORT the equipment. Until a few years ago I owned a warranty service center for HP, Compaq, IBM, Lenovo, and a few other brands - so in addition to the stuff we sold we also had to service and support a lot of the stuff that the box stores sold. For the most part, those initial loads were crap filled with lots of poorly-written and non-Microsoft products. HP was exceptionally bad, sending out AMD-based machines with Intel power-management drivers, which of course caused failures when SP3 tried to update the installed driver base. Was this a Microsoft failure? No, it was a failure of the OEM who built the unit.

      If WGA failed on those system when the hit the sales floor, then chances are those systems were hosed before you ever got them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better yet

      Better yet is is to wipe all the "craplets" INCLUDING Windows with the wipedisk and then put on a Linux distro, a BSD variant, or other FOSS OS. Over the past 3 years have replaced all the machines from XP to Linux, glad to have made that move.

  39. The Grump
    Paris Hilton


    If you can do your own OS tweaking on Linex or any other OS's, good for you. Most of us are like me - we buy the computer, we push the ON button, we wait for the thing to boot up, and then we double-click on whatever program or game we want to use. I have Vista (came with the computer), and I have to endure hours while copying large amounts of files. I'm told Win 7 isn't much better. But I can't just go to Linex - all my programs require windows. Sure, I could use Linex for text, and maybe Linex has a checkers or a pong game program (I would assume), but my entire library of software would be useless, and I have no skills to make them work. So it's Windows or nothing for me - and a lot of non-programmers out there.

    Paris, because she can program a computer about as well as I can. "Why won't this silly thing WORK? Take it away and buy me a new one."

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Your arguments are so out of date.

      I'm running Ubuntu 9.10 with Codeweavers Office and Games. I am running Office 2007 (in fact it runs faster than under Windows 'cos there is less crap in the way). I can also run WoW, CounterStrike, Call of Duty, Photoshop CS2 etc. If I really really need to run a specific Windows only app I just fire up Virtualbox.

      In addition I can surf the net with a choice of browsers, send emails, make skype calls and organise my life without going anywhere near Microsoft products. Top bonus being that my machine NEVER crashes or hangs. I don't have to reboot after installing things, I don't get nagged about updates. Stress levels way down.

      The days of Linux being a console based geek OS ended about 5 years ago.

      1. william henderson 1

        lucky you

        having tried Linux, i gave up after three days of pointless farting about.

        ubuntu 9.04 installation went like a breeze, but the security required to install a modem driver i had to down load using an xp machine was apparently only given to the more senior gods, not just any old system builder.

        free-spire ("the freedom of choice" it says on the cd), would not let me run my monitor in native resolution and would not detect my modem for which, again, i had to use that xp machine to obtain.

        i think i understand why windows remains so popular, it is comparatively easy to install and use.

        there will always be unsatisfied users regardless of the OS, so lets just get on with it and use what works for each of us, ok?

      2. BobChip


        Precisely. Me too.

        In my experience, the majority of desktops are used mostly to run email and office applications, and Evolution plus Open Office does that perfectly well, in addition to talking to a huge range of similar apps on other OSs - including MS Office. I do use still use VirtualBox + XP to run Corel X3, but as soon as Codeweavers get it running in Crossover, I will go totally MS-free.

        The only things I really miss are the pleasure of downloading all the antivirus / anti malware updates, 'cos I no longer have time to go and have a coffee while it is all happening. And paying for them. And getting MS Genuine Disadvantage nags. And wondering when the system was going to crash again. etc. etc..

  40. Watashi

    Better than Apple

    If it was Apple, the 'update' would be mandatory.

  41. Tony Paulazzo
    Jobs Horns


    The biggest complainers about license authentication, ... are from people who are using stolen software<

    I rather doubt that.

    The third biggest block is people who have valid licenses, but have installed something dodgy on their system which breaks the updates.<

    Like a new motherboard after the old one fried? and surely if the anti piracy detection isn't 100% perfect and incorruptible it shouldn't be used.

    1. Philip J.F. Quinlan

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

      surely if the anti piracy detection isn't 100% perfect and incorruptible it shouldn't be used.

      this is MSFT softwqre we're talking about!

  42. Anonymous Coward

    My copy is legit and paid for.

    I won't be installing their crappy spyware. Ever.

    I feel no need to prove anything. I bought your fucking OS, now piss off (unless you want to buy back the two of three copies that I won't install because the damned thing doesn't support existing KVM switches).

    Oh, and by the way MS, I just installed Ubuntu on my secondary test machine (no lessons, didn't know what to expect) and it works like a charm. If only games would play on it. Either manufacturers will make their games Linux compatible or the games industry will push PCs out of the market. Either way, Windows is fucked.


  43. Furbian

    What a total *WAT

    Let me guess, no one at MS pointed out that adding a T to the acronym for their new technology, i.e. Windows Actuvation Technology....

  44. P. Lee

    Well it made me laugh...

    After running a W7 RC for a while I suddenly started getting messages that I wasn't using a genuine operating system.

    I already knew that, but I was rather surprised to see MS come out and admit it!

  45. Neill Mitchell

    Opt out

    Okay, so you can opt out for a while if you haven't got automatic updates on, but they will just do what they did with XP and Vista. Eventually it will stop you checking for any updates until you install the WAT update. Thus leaving you wide open for other attacks and bugs.

  46. david 63

    Just a thought...

    Shouldn't nagware whinge it's way to you?

    The anorak with "Every boys book of puns" in the pocket would be mine I beleive.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    more corporate greed and myopia

    ''This will only hurt the pirates who may have to pay up.... its money in the bank''---nope, these people will wait a few hours or days for a work-around. These people will never pay- therefore no money in the bank from them.

    This WILL hurt the peope who have paid, and find one day that their OS is shafted. Eventually no more money in the bank from them either.

    This makes sense how? Seriously, the guy that thought this up is probably on a 6 figure salary and you can find better business acumen on el reg for free or from a high schooler.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I can only speak for myself...

    But I run 2 Win7 Pro's, 1 Ultimate and 1 Home, and 1 home server. I like to fiddlewith my PC, uprade the odd CPU, GPU and bios. All are fully licenced

    Last week i got 'illegalized' because I upgraded the bios on my box 4a to 4.

    I'm on the phone with M$ a few times a year to get a new activation code. Since the local free support system does NOT work with a cell phone, I always end up paying a Euro a minute to go through this charade. First the 'press 1 for this, press 2 for that', then the system code, then the activation code....for Home Server I had to do the whole dance only to find out the system doesn't support it, and being transferred to some call center in India (the lady, by the way, was very friendly and polite...good service, that).

    I'll be inserting another mobo, cpu and ram in the box in a few weeks, so once again I'll have to part with 10 Euro's or so to reactivate.

    I don't think I like their system very much...

  49. Fred Mbogo


    I understand your point about OEMs streamlining the OS install process to move a greater volume but have you thought who purchases the greatest majority of Windows licenses? That's right, OEMs.

    I worked desktop support for a major OEM. There were thousands of systems that were deactivated and productivity lost because of Microsoft's boneheaded WGA. Do you think Microsoft would tell their customer support reps to expect volume and to try to assist? Nein, their idiotic script jockeys told them to call Dell/HP/Acer/Gateway...they'll issue you a new product keys...AS IF.

    1) OEMs DO NOT PRINT OR CREATE product keys. We buy them from Microsoft, stick them on the side of the machine and thats about it. To issue a new key, we would have to use one from an unsold system, which means one less machine sold.

    2) We can't bypass WGA. Those calls went like this: Cust: WGA crap says I have illegit software. Me: call MS. Cust: they told me to call you, you sold the OS. Me: we don't create product keys, we don't control the WGA servers, we can't do shit except a nuke and pave, want me to do that? Cust: screw you and your company!

    To make matters worse, they kept releasing updates which kept breaking peoples computers. I ended up telling people, don't download Windows Updates. Also every tech down here, laid the blame entirely on MS feet. Partner? Nah, MS doesn't have partners, they have cash cows.

    1. Donn Bly

      @Fred Mbogo

      Of course I realize that OEM’s buy the majority of the licenses – but do you realize that when the OEM buys the OEM license they also agree to provide all end-user support for the operating system? THAT is why Microsoft's “idiotic script jockeys” told the users to call you – because your employer had contractually accepted that responsibility when they bought the license at the discounted rate, as a condition of getting that discounted rate.

      If your employer had followed the System Builder deployment instructions, instead of trying to take shortcuts, then there wouldn’t have been problems. Instead, your employer took shortcuts, sold machines with poor or broken windows installs, and when the machines broke the customers were hurt.

      Of course, Microsoft shouldn’t have told people that you would issue new keys, and It doesn’t surprise me that you and the rest of the techs over there laid the blame at the feet of Microsoft -- after all, your employer isn’t going to give you the full story and let you admit to customers that they are at fault.

      Microsoft certainly has their faults, but having looked at the bigger picture for so many years and been involved in so many root-cause investigations I have found that most of the time when people blame Microsoft they do it not because Microsoft is truly at fault, it is just that they don’t know who else to blame and Microsoft is a convenient scapegoat.

      A good analogy here is paint. Let’s say you take your car to a body shop for a paint job. When the paint starts to flake off of your car prematurely and it starts to rust, who is at fault? Most (customers and body shops) would blame the company that made the paint. But if the body shop who sprayed it onto the car decided to take shortcuts and didn’t use the recommended primer, didn’t mix the paint properly, or didn’t leave the parts in the dryer long enough, then it doesn’t matter how good the paint was when it left the manufacturer – the application is going to fail. If the same batch of paint went to multiple body shops, and it only fails at some of them, you have to realize that it might not be the paint.

      In this case, the same OS went to multiple vendors, and not all vendors had problems. Just something to consider...

  50. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    According to

    Which I cannot load from here but which is cited in

    what you're going to see is "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB971033)" .

    And no doubt 971034, 971035, 971036, and so on.

    But you already check the small print of every critical update, don't you!

    Yeah, like that's gonna save you...

  51. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    I'm fed up.

    blah blah WGA blah blah WAT blah blah install *nix blah blah.

    There is a much simpler solution peeps.

    WGA or tWAT knackered you PC? Bring it back to the seller and tell then that the software installed is damaged and is preventing you from using the computer and that the computer "is not fit for the purpose for which it is intended" and could you have a replacement PC or your money back, don't accept any re-installs as I would think that constitutes a repair.

    Use a credit card to purchase your PC so you can also hassle the Credit card Company about being sold defective goods.

    Most sale of goods laws usually cover this but check your local legislation first (amateur lawyers, please feel free to respond).

    MickySoft don't give a fuck about the average user, but if the OEMs start taking flack and it hits them in the pocket, it’s a different story.

    FAIL icon for MickySoft and some of the posters here.

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Lloyd
    Thumb Down


    I seem to have been illegalised after installed Zone Alarm, bizarre as my Win 7 Pro is from an MSDN subscription.

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