Windows Genuine Advantage?
Windows Genuine Advantage is Microsoft's not so
subtle crackdown on illegal piracy of Windows XP and Microsoft Office
products. Microsoft started with an ActiveX component to force owners
of Windows XP to validate their version before downloading security
updates. Unfortunately this particular scheme was rather easily foiled
by groups on the net and workarounds
Now Microsoft is becoming more advanced in their
attack on pirated versions of Windows XP or Microsoft Office. They are
including a Windows Genuine Advantage security patch in the updates of
Windows XP. The newest patch, released the first week of June 2006,
actually produces popups on the login screen and on the desktop
explaining that this version of Windows XP is not genuine and the owner
may be the victim of software counterfeiting.
If your version of Windows XP is not genuine and
does not pass the validation schemes, you will not be able to download
security patches from Windows
Update, or install the latest version of Internet Explorer 7
and other software. For those users that do have a valid version of
Windows XP, Microsoft offers some special
Genuine Advantage FAQ
Genuine Advantage – Diagnostic Site
Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool
What Can I
Do If My Version of Windows XP Does Not Validate?
Microsoft is offering a variety of options to
customers who unknowingly purchased a counterfeit copy of Windows XP.
Customers can submit a proof of purchase, the original counterfeit CD,
and fill out a report with the details of the purchase and Microsoft
will give the customer a complimentary copy of Windows XP. However only
high-quality counterfeit Windows versions will qualify for this copy.
For customers who received a computer from a
friend, off the Internet or another way and an illegal version was
installed, the only option is to buy a fully licensed version.
Microsoft is offering the Windows XP Home Edition license kit for
$99.00 to customers, while the XP Pro Edition is $149.00. The Windows
Genuine Advantage Kit for Windows XP will include a new 25-character
Product Key and a Windows Product Key Update tool that will allow
customers to convert their counterfeit copy to genuine Windows XP
The other option is of course to buy a legal
version of Windows XP off the Internet or in a retail store. Generally
the prices for these versions will be more than the price Microsoft is
offering for their Windows Genuine Advantage Kit. Although there are
some internet sites like Newegg.com, greatsoftwaredeals.com or
edirectsoftware.com that have great prices.
Remember though, if you purchase an OEM or full
edition of Windows XP, you'll have to format and reinstall your
operating system. You can however purchase an Upgrade edition and
change a pirated version to a fully licensed version. Just be sure you
have a previous version of Windows (95,98,ME) in case you need to
completely reinstall Windows XP someday. Also one other note, if you
currently have XP Pro (pirated), you'll need to purchase the XP Pro
Upgrade to upgrade your system. XP Home can only upgrade the Home
Edition, where XP Pro can upgrade both the Home and Pro versions.
Hopefully, that's clear enough to understand.
The other option of course is to go through
Microsoft's site and purchase a software key. They will send you a
program to upgrade the counterfeit version to a legit version.
I Have A
Legal Copy of Windows XP,
but My Computer Still Fails Validation, What Now?
First of all, your computer may not be properly
configured to allow the validation process to complete. For this
reason, one of the first things you'll want to do is click on the link
below to check your computer's configuration and fix any problems that
may exist. After checking for problems, you can click on a link to
Genuine Advantage – Diagnostic Site
If your computer checks out ok, you may be
experiencing one of the following issues.
The Security Update for Windows
Genuine Advantage (KB905474) fails to install.
There are two possible solutions here. One is
caused by a permissions problem in the registry. To fix this issue,
follow the steps below:
1. Click Start, and then click Run
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click
3. Expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
4. Locate the subkey
5. Right-click the subkey and select
6. Ensure that Administrators allowed Full
7. Repeat steps 3-6 for the subkey
If this does not fix the issue with KB905474
update not installing, download the update to your desktop and manually
1. Click on the link below to download the
KB905474 update manually
2. On the File Download Window, click Save and
choose to save the file to your desktop.
3. After the file downloads, go to your Windows
desktop and double-click on the file named
4. Follow the instructions on the screen to
5. Reboot your computer and go to Windows Update
to check if the update as installed successfully.
Another reason why the validation may fail occurs
when the ActiveX control for the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation
Tool has been disabled. Follow the steps below to make sure the ActiveX
1. Open Internet Explorer
2. Click on Tools, Internet Options
3. Click on the Programs tab
4. Click on the Manage Add-ons button
5. Find the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation
Tool and click on it
6. Verify the Add-on is enabled, if it is not.
Click Enable and Ok twice to exit back to Internet Explorer.
7. Close Internet Explorer and reopen it. Now try
to validate Windows again.
A third error deals with Cryptographic Errors.
If you are receiving the following information when running the WGA
diagnostic tool, the problem is generally with corruption in the
digital signatures of some files and they will have to be
Validation Status: Cryptographic Errors Detected
Follow the steps below to resolve these cryptographic errors.
1) Click on Start, click on Run
2) In the Open box, type CMD and then click OK.
3) At the command prompt type the following command and Press Enter
4) You should receive a message that DllRegisterServer in Softpub.dll succeeded, click OK
5) Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to re-register the following files
6) After all the above files have been re-registered, type Exit at the command prompt to close it and return to Windows.
7) Restart Windows and try to authenticate Windows again.
A fourth error message you may receive when trying
to validate Windows XP is
Key Inaccessible" and "0x80080212" error
error message occurs when you do not have appropriate permissions for
the DATA folder for Windows Genuine Advantage. Follow the steps below
to fix this issue or click on the link above for the Microsoft article
concerning this problem.
XP Professional or Windows XP Home
1. Click Start, click Run, type the following in the Run dialog box,
and then click OK:
%systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows
Right-click the Data folder, and then click Properties.
the Security tab, click Users (username\Users) in the Group or user
names section. If the Security tab is absent, you'll need to follow these steps as well.
- Open My Computer
- Click on Tools
- Click on Folder Options
- Click on the View tab
- Uncheck the option for "Use Simple File Sharing"
- Click Ok and go back to Step 2 above and try again.
the Permissions for Users section, make sure that each check box in the
Allow column is selected for the following permissions:
Read & Execute
• List Folder Contents
Click OK, and then restart the validation check process.
If the previous steps fail, start the computer in Safe Mode
and try the procedure again.
If you experience other error messages or problems
with the Windows Genuine Advantage, please email me so I can
add these to the list.
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