Windows Genuine Advantage

The Windows authentication Windows Genuine Advantage ( WGA), dt about " authenticity advantage ", is a program and part of Microsoft's measures for the protection of software licenses under Windows XP. In the Windows 7 operating system, the tool in Windows Activation Technologies ( WAT) has been renamed.

The economically justified and legitimized by the copyright objective of the company is output as an effort to protect customers and partners from counterfeiters software. In fact, the use of unlicensed Windows operating systems is hampered by a product must be made within 30 days of activation or deactivation of essential functions is enforced. After the 30 -day period, the validity of software licenses is verified, in unspecified situations and the user no closer recognizable features. In addition to the technical realization ( implementation) of the software includes the concept Windows Genuine Advantage training, development and enforcement of policies created by Microsoft.


Windows Genuine Advantage was introduced mandatory for Windows XP in July 2005 to confirm the authenticity of one's own copy of the original release version of Microsoft Windows, according to the manufacturer to "Optimize ", and to support Microsoft when used against software piracy. In Windows Vista it is already integrated from the beginning. Currently (February 2008) reported that the WGA method for all subsequent products to be improved continuously.

Main components

The WGA program is composed of two main components: the WGA validation and Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications. With the so-called validation determines whether it is original, licensed software for the installed Windows XP copy. The WGA Notifications alert users where the validation failed, pointed out that no original software in Windows is used. The user is then directed to information on the benefits of a genuine copy of Windows XP. In Windows Vista WGA changed its behavior during validation, activation, and in the event of tampering or hacking attempt:

Neither are known by publication of Microsoft files outside the Windows registry database containing the results of the software activation nor those whose function is linked to the activation took place.

WGA validation

Through the validation data are first collected about the hardware and software environment of the computer and sent in encrypted form via the Internet to Microsoft. There will be checked against a database whether each license number is used worldwide on a system. Invalid or multiple license numbers used are considered to be black copies and eventually lead to error messages or the exclusion of support and updates ( updates) for the corresponding Microsoft programs. Security updates, namely critical patches, but will continue to be made available and can be readily through Microsoft Update, install the Web-based software update Windows Update service, or integrated into the operating system auto-update feature.

The wizard for Windows check performs the same validation as WGA, but is a standalone utility ( tool ) that it works regardless of whether you download files or Microsoft wants to bring its system up to date.

Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications

The WGA Notifications program component has been installed in the past as a " critical update " KB905474 almost unnoticed on Windows PCs. In retrospect, Microsoft has this procedure in Windows XP but revised - also due to significant protests from the user community - and the installation process so far changed, as the installation is now explicitly agree. Meanwhile, there was also a little tool called RemoveWGA that informs whether appropriate files are installed, and in addition the system-wide distance possible. Microsoft had resisted a publication - but meanwhile are even instructions on how to uninstall - so that the developer will no longer offer the software in October 2006 for download.

Microsoft Genuine Advantage

As an umbrella term established itself - in analogy to the product updates from Windows and Office segment - "Microsoft Genuine Advantage " ( MGA).

In addition to WGA thus exists for Microsoft Office products - initially for the 2007 version - the Special Office Genuine Advantage program ( OGA). It juxtaposes the known from Office 2000 concatenation of files in the profile directory " Documents and Settings " to reduce the difficulty for the legal use of a license is: Cleaning up the profile directory no longer causes disruptions in access to programs of Microsoft Office.

Collected Data

If WGA the authenticity of the installation is checked, the following data are collected:

  • BIOS checksum
  • MAC addresses
  • IP address
  • GUID
  • Serial number of the hard disk is installed on the Windows
  • Language version of the operating system
  • OS version
  • PC BIOS information (make, version, date)
  • PC makers
  • Local user settings
  • Validation and installation results
  • Windows and / or Office Product Key
  • Windows Product ID

Spyware accusation

The contact of the installed Windows (or parts thereof) with Microsoft's central computers is sometimes referred to as " phoning home " and could be considered more critical, it would be a first line between invasion of privacy and techn. to take necessary or sensible acquisitions.

Major points are:

  • WGA sends data to Microsoft server
  • The data are held centrally at Microsoft
  • Via WGA can be features of Windows remotely turn on and off
  • According to Microsoft, the WGA data are currently being used for authentication
  • There is no official and complete declaration of all returned data
  • No impartial monitoring of data collection at Microsoft by a third party

The Original-Windows/Office-Angebot

If a legitimate end user is the victim of an impostor and learns after the fact that his Lizenz-/Produktschlüssel invalid and the purchased product is a black copy, and is thus illegal - it will be appropriate software offerings and capabilities denied - under certain circumstances there the possibility to get from Microsoft by special kits free replacement.

Authorized Customers receive either an electronic license, that is, they receive an e -mail confirmation with a new 25-character Product Key and instructions to ...

Or ... - such as in the case of Office Genuine Advantage kit - a CD with a new key, which the office software needs to be reinstalled and reactivated.