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SP1 tones down WGA anti-piracy tool


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Less draconian, more annoying


The
latest Windows Vista SP1 has toned down the Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy functions so that it is less draconian but more annoying.

Microsoft has changed the way that the software handles copies Vista thinks are non-genuine. Currently, there is a reduced functionality mode where the user can only access Internet Explorer for 60 minutes at a time before being logged out; and a non-genuine state, which will see the Aero UI and ReadyBoost, are completely disabled.

But those who upgrade to SP1 and if a system is considered to be non-genuine users will see a nag screen which activates at logon that cannot be dismissed for 15 seconds. Every hour the desktop background is switched to black (it can be changed back, but after an hour it’s set to black again).

There are activation dialogs and balloon dialogs that appear regularly and optional Windows Updates aren’t collected. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not seem to have done more to make sure that Vista does not make a mistake in identifying software as non-genuine.
Last modified on 11 February 2008
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