Microsoft gives controversial antipiracy tools new name

Microsoft has rebranded its Windows Genuine Advantage validation system in Windows 7.

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Microsoft has rebranded its Windows Genuine Advantage validation system in Windows 7, in what observers said could be an attempt to shed the controversial image of the antipiracy program.

The company said it is renaming WGA "Windows Activation Technology" because the name more accurately reflects the way the technology works, according to comments on the company's website.

WGA, which Microsoft introduced as an add-on to Windows XP in 2006 but built directly into Vista, checks to see, through a variety of ways including product activation, if someone is running a genuine copy of Windows.

Microsoft launched WGA as part of a widespread crackdown effort against software counterfeiting and piracy that it has undertaken in earnest for several years.

Many users griped about WGA when it was first introduced, especially because of early bugs that would deem genuine software counterfeit, forcing one user to write a work-around for the glitch and irking many others.

They also complained about a feature of the tool that shut down many functions of a version of Windows if it is discovered to be counterfeit or pirated. To its credit, Microsoft responded to the outcry, fixing bugs and tweaking features.

Now, the software uses a series of pop-up alerts to remind people their software is found to be counterfeit.

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