Microsoft: WGA Will No Longer Cripple Vista

Microsoft announced plans on Tuesday to alter its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program with Vista SP1 based on customer complaints. WGA will no longer cripple the OS if it suspects piracy. Instead, like XP, the system will continuously alert the user of the problem.

"Although our overall strategy remains the same, with SP1 we?re adjusting the customer experience that differentiates genuine from non-genuine systems in Windows Vista and later in Windows Server. Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine. They won?t lose access to functionality or features, but it will be very clear to them that their copy of Window Vista is not genuine and they need to take action," said Michael Sievert, Microsoftis VP for Windows Product Marketing.

This is a change for Vista, and itis based on feedback from partners and customers. Mr. Sievert continued: "With the original release-to-manufacturers version of Windows Vista we released in November 2006, counterfeit systems can go into a state called reduced functionality mode, which essentially suspends a number of features of the system until the user takes action to get genuine."

An inadvertent suspension could cripple systems for legitimate customers raising issues of user control, or it could happen when an unwary customer bought a pirated copy and needed to be notified.

Some observers expect Windows Vista SP1 to be out in early 2008, and a beta is now in testing.