Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Windows Phones Home

As if Microsoft didn’t have a reputation that wasn’t already bad enough, now comes the news that their anti-piracy initiative—Windows Genuine Advantage—is “phoning home” to Microsoft every day.

According to this article, Microsoft has acknowledged that the Windows Genuine Advantage tool, installed automatically by Windows Update in order to “verify” the authenticity of the installed copy of Windows, makes contact with servers at Microsoft daily. Supposedly this is to see if it should continue to run, but it also turns out that Microsoft may be updating the list of “invalid” Windows product keys.

Now this would be no big deal if Microsoft had fully disclosed this information. (OK, so it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.) Instead, Microsoft is now having to talk about this after others have learned of the tool’s true behavior.

Will Microsoft ever learn?

UPDATE: A private firewall testing company has released a utility to remove the WGA Notifications portion, which is the portion that is “phoning home” to Microsoft daily. See these links for more information.

eWeek article on the new utility: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1979756,00.asp RemoveWGA: http://www.firewallleaktester.com/removewga.htm

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