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Fabrice Roux

WGA notification disabler

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Fabrice Roux

Firewall Leak Test released a 10kb program that turns off the WGA notifications (Windows Genuine Advantage) that calls Microsoft everyday.

RemoveWGA

RemoveWGA enables you to remove the Microsoft "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications" tool, which is calling home and connect to Microsoft servers every time you boot. Futures updates of this notification tool will (officialy) setup the connection rate to once every two weeks.

Once the WGA Notification tool has checked your OS and has confirmed you had a legit copy, there is no decent point or reason to check it again and again every boot. Moreover, connecting to Microsoft brings security issue for corporate networks, and privacy issues for everyone. It is also unclear which information are transmitted (Microsoft published an official answer, but an individual study brought some questions). All of that, along the fact that Microsoft used deceptive ways to make you install this tool (it was told you it was an urgent security update, whereas it is a new installation giving you no extra security) makes me calling this tool a spyware.

Also, Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications is different than Windows Genuine Advantage Validation. RemoveWGA only remove the notification part, phoning home, and does not touch the Validation part. As the time I'm writting this, the Validation part is mandatory for some not critical downloads from Microsoft, but the Notification part is not mandatory at all, and you are able to install all of the security updates without installing this one. This may change in the future thought, I don't know what are the Microsoft plans.

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marftarf

what is interesting is that all the attention is on the notifier at present.

nobody remarks on the validation tool, a separate install, that actually does collect all the information about you (they say it is not about you it is about your computer, IP adress, geographic location etc., but come on!) and no matter what you do with the pop notifier programme, the validation tool will continue to collect information and send stuff to microsoft, and check in to see what it should do about you, on a periodic basis. microsoft itself admitted that while it was changing the way notifier worked, the validation tool would continue to do this. and you need to install the validation tool to get security updates. (as far as I can tell)

as i understand it, by agreeing to the eula for the validation tool, you agree to a variety of uses of that information. and you agree that the validation tool cannot be uninstalled.

further, it is possible that this tool can download other software on your computer or transmit other information about you without you knowing.

if you don't believe that a big company like microsoft would do that without telling you, look at all of what these big US companies agreed ot in secret with the government in terms of information sharing. and let's not forget that the real controversy with the notifier is not so much what little information it sends, but that microsoft slipped it onto people's systems with misleading eula / prompts. so why wouldn't they feel free to slip other stuff on there.

i have the original legitimate copy that came with my toshiba of windows xp, there is no piracy here. but i never dreamed in 2003 when i signed up to the xp generation that they would 3 years later seek to build a direct backdoor into my system by holding me hostage to the security updates needed for their holey system.

I've got nothing to hide, but on the other hand even if you don't have anything do hide, do you really feel okay about strangers coming in your house to look at your stuff????!!!! I don't....

Edited by marftarf

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®®®

I totally agree with you Martarf, probably millions do the same. It seems to be part of a good timed master plan to force people switch to VISTA.

Yesterday MS released a new KB: How to disable or uninstall the pilot version of Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921914/en-us

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Fabrice Roux

The funny thing about WGA is that it doesn't install at all on PC where the Updates are set to Automatically install. My dad's PC is still using a 1.3 LegitCheck.dll.

On the other hand my PC are set to warn before installing... WGA tried to install itself as a critical update earlier this week. SHAME SHAME SHAME.

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mobilenvidia

We'd better get used to it, as it's part of Vista from the start (I can make it 'Genuine' with my CD-Key) but if I didn't have this there would be no updates that could be downloaded from MS.

I wonder if MS will include a WGA checker in the updates or you could just DL these and run them and avoid the Vista autoupdater.

Yes this is meant to get folk onto Vista, Marketing at it's best, just break XP or not allow any updates so one is forced onto Vista.

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Guest Guest

Funny thing about this WGA notifier is that since i set my computer to NOT download it automatically, but notify me what updates are available for download, i just clicked disable~ and well, NEVER EVER REMIND ME AGAIN OF THIS UPDATE XD

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marftarf

Yes in the end this was my solution too.

- remove the thing using microsoft's instructions

- give up on ever using windows update or microsoft update website, or getting the new media player or internet explorer (all of this pushed me to use firefox anyway, and now I prefer it).

- use automatic updates, but make it ask me whether i want to download/install individual updates

-watch carefully for when it offers me the WGA tools (both parts)

- reject those and tell it not to offer them again

- watch for the next time ms tries to sneak something like on my system again - so keep the automatic updates on "choose what to install" forever

- not buy Vista in the future.

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Fabrice Roux

Until recently "Full automatic install of updates" only installed critical stuff. My parents and brother PC are set this way so I know they are "safe".

Last week I stopped at my folks and loged on my admin account there... the WGA was about to be installed in the middle of legitimate updates. So I guess Microsoft noticed that the default Windows XP auto install dodged WGA... and they pushed it as critical update.

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marftarf
So I guess Microsoft noticed that the default Windows XP auto install dodged WGA... and they pushed it as critical update.

yes that is why i will never trust microsoft ever again to be honest about what is a critical update (from the user's perspective). if they were willing to do this, why wouldn't they decide a national security agency backdoor is similarly "critical" (from the government's point of view), or that user knowledge/consent was irrelevant to such a thing. So once again the usability of windows is compromised by other company concerns, from my point of view, and it is back to the time-wasting examination of every security update again...

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