Updating windows without genuine advantage
Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is an anti-infringement system created by Microsoft that enforces online validation of the licensing of several Microsoft Windows operating systems when accessing several services, such as Windows Update, and downloading Windows components from the Microsoft Download Center.
In Windows 7, WGA is renamed Windows Activation Technologies.
The Active X control checks Windows 2000 Professional licenses as well.
WGA also advertises the latest service pack, Service Pack 3, for Windows XP, which requires manual intervention to disable.
The WGA validation process validates the present installation of Windows and its license key against the detected computer hardware and determines if the software was licensed from Microsoft.
It is accessible by either a stand-alone program, a Netscape-compatible web browser plug-in, or as an Active X control within Internet Explorer, the latter of which is relevant to any attempt to access Microsoft updates via its browser.
On Windows XP, if WGA determines that a user's copy of Windows is unauthorized but was installed from seemingly legitimate media (i.e., the CD/DVD and holographic emblem present on real copies of Windows seems genuine), then Microsoft will supply the user with a new CD/DVD.
However, newer versions of Windows will still require the user to purchase a new copy.
On Windows Vista without service packs, WGA validation failure has a greater impact.It also informs users that may have a non-genuine version of Windows why their Windows version isn't being reported as genuine.However, unlike previous releases, it started being only automatically delivered to Windows machines using four widely distributed product keys.Microsoft also offers discounts to people who want to purchase a legitimate copy of Windows but do not have a valid CD.Microsoft has indicated that they will continue to deliver critical security updates through their Automatic Updates service as well as via the Microsoft Download Center, so that all systems, including those that fail to pass validation, will still continue to receive critical security updates.
WGA consists of two components: an installable component called WGA Notifications that hooks into Winlogon and validates the Windows license upon each logon and an Active X control that checks the validity of the Windows license when downloading certain updates from the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update.