Friday, September 5, 2008

Microsoft finally earns a passing grade (barely) for WGA

Certain amount of error is inevitable in any activation and registration system, but those numbers were clearly too high when WGA first rolled out. In an interview last week, Microsoft WGA director Alex Kochis tacitly acknowledged that fact, pointing out that “we’ve made major strides in the accuracy of the program” in the past two years.
How bad was it? Users began suffering unpleasant consequences almost immediately, including system failures and false positives that flagged perfectly legitimate Windows copies as “non-genuine.” I wrote about WGA and its problems extensively throughout 2006 and 2007, documenting the extent of the problems. (The complete index of WGA-tagged posts is here.) In August 2006, I performed an exhaustive survey of problem reports from Microsoft’s own WGA support forum and discovered that “42% of the people who experienced problems with WGA and reported those problems to Microsoft’s public forums during that period were actually running Genuine Microsoft Windows.”

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