Microsoft Corp. today announced the transition of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) pilot to a version 1.0 launch with worldwide availability.
Windows Genuine Advantage is designed to differentiate the value of genuine Windows-based software from counterfeit software. Genuine Microsoft software is software that is licensed by Microsoft, certified as authentic by Microsoft, and published and supported by Microsoft.
So what has changed?
The validation process is now done automatically by checking the PCs to determine whether they are running genuine Windows software (and no longer be required to enter their 25-digit product key) – I really had a tough time going behind all wires of the computer and note it from the partially rubbed sticker, everytime!! Now I can download the Windows Antispyware easily.
Validation via WGA will be required for all customers using Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows content, and the Download Center, though security updates remain available. Well there are benefits to keep your software updated.
If you unknowingly acquired counterfeit software – Qualifying customers who fill out a piracy report, provide proof of purchase, and send in their counterfeit CDs may receive a genuine copy at no cost. Qualifying customers who submit a piracy report may receive a genuine copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 ($U.S.) or Windows XP Professional for $149 ($U.S.).
How it works?
When you visit such a Windows site for some software, you are prompted to download an ActiveX control that checks the authenticity of their Windows software and, if Windows is validated, stores a special download key on the PC for future verification. (Just incase you dont see the activeX script – I had to disable Norton Internet Security to get the activeX working.)
Read the full press release from Microsoft for full details. Software piracy is an issue of concern and this is part of several global anti-piracy initiatives.