This whole WGA thing is a mess that’s putting computer users at risk!

June 29th, 2006

OK, rant time!

This whole [tag]WGA[/tag] ([tag]Windows Genuine Advantage[/tag]) thing is a mess.  A big mess.  It's not just an inconvenience but something that is making computing unsafe for everybody.

Let me explain.  I just reinstalled a Windows XP Home I had installed as a VMware in order to, ironically, test out the removal instructions for the Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications utility.  The install went smoothly and the installation activated without a hitch.  The next thing that I needed to do was install updates.  No problem, Windows Update makes this easy, doesn't it?

Oh, no it doesn't!

Here's what I got when I tried to download updates:

WGA mess

[[tag]0x80080299[/tag]] Unknown error.

I tried this several times and got the same result. 

Nice.  What's the average user going to do at this point I wonder?  Give up, perhaps?  That not only leaves that PC vulnerable, but it makes everyone else less secure by making a machine available to join one of the variety of zombie networks.  This move is putting hardware and software into the hands of criminals.

Microsoft has a web page to help diagnose WGA problems, but guess what, that said there wasn't a problem:

WGA mess

But it doesn't end there.  After running the diagnostic tool, I tried to validate Windows again.  Oddly enough, it worked this time.  What happened?  No idea.  I didn't do a thing. 

WGA mess

This is just pathetic.  Windows security updates should be available to all machines running Windows.  If a few people running a pirated version get a copy, so what, they're just updates.  Putting in a system in place that puts extra hurdles between the average user (running a legitimate copy of Windows) and updates that they are entitled to is so totally backward and counter-productive that Microsoft should be ashamed of putting it in place.  In fact, I'll go as far as to say that it's close to criminal given the risks that users are put under when running unpatched systems. 

I'm happy for [tag]Microsoft[/tag] to continue with WGA for Windows extras by all means, but security updates shouldn't be subject to this flawed system.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2006 at 12:55 and is filed under PC Doctor's Thoughts, Stay Secure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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