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March 23, 2007

WHY PEOPLE HATE MICROSOFT

I have a computer that is several years old. It uses the Windows XP Professional operating system, which for the record I like. From time to time, the computer decides to contact the Internet and download updates. Usually this is a mild annoyance, but I give Windows the benefit of the doubt, assuming that it is annoying me to keep my computer safe. But recently it downloaded something and started displaying this message:

Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications
Introduction

Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications is part of Microsoft's effort to reduce software piracy. Installing this software can help confirm that the copy of Windows installed on this PC is genuine and properly licensed.

If your copy of Windows is not genuine, the software will provide periodic reminders to help you take appropriate action and protect yourself from security threats posed by counterfeit software.

Do you find that as annoying as I do? I mean, if you have legal, paid-for software -- which I do -- it's annoying to have this company, several years after you bought their software, trying to install a program  on your hard drive to check up on you. And if you didn't have legal software, why would you install this? Or am I missing something?

So anyway, so far I have twice canceled this thing and told it to go away. But it keeps coming back. Do I HAVE to install it? Does anybody know?

Comments

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Yes, that should be the first thing you do is install it. And then call a priest to cull it's inner demon.

yes dave, you have to install it. you also must sign a contract agreeing to never switch to mac and submit to a drug screen.

But, technically, yes, you DO have to install it in order to continue to get other important patches/updates from Microsoft that need to remind you about how illegal your software COULD be.

Douse your computer with holy water. You'll have a different problem then...

My suggestion would be to shoot the computer in the lower corner right around what would be it's "thigh" area.

That should stop the annoying message. guaranteed!

and where its thigh area would be too!

i keep getting this msg too. it wont go away. obviously, bill gates is responsible. and it still screwy from the time change. i like XP also, and dont care if i never get vista. but i presume there will be no choice in this. obviously, bill gates is responsible, and a boycott would be futile. and calling microsoft, well, notsohotso. unless you want to go back to Windows 95, i think we are all had by the short hairs. so just keep clicking that cancel button. YOU know you have the genuine article.

i keep getting this msg too. it wont go away. obviously, bill gates is responsible. and it still screwy from the time change. i like XP also, and dont care if i never get vista. but i presume there will be no choice in this. obviously, bill gates is responsible, and a boycott would be futile. and calling microsoft, well, notsohotso. unless you want to go back to Windows 95, i think we are all had by the short hairs. so just keep clicking that cancel button. YOU know you have the genuine article.

face it, Dave, we'll all be paying Micr0s0ft in one way or another for the rest of our lives. (I consider annoyance value a payment, too)

You've just learned the first lesson of geekdom:

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let Microsoft download anything automatically to your computer.

EVER!

Now might be a good time to explore the world that is Linux.

And people get all worked up over the Patriot Act.

Bill Gates knows every website everyone of us has ever visited. Next time the Justice Department threatens him with an antitrust suit, he'll take a page out of that Washington, DC, madame's book and threaten to go public with the surfing habits of thousands of famous people.

Just roll over and install it, followed by chanting, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

You can check out this article concerning WGA:
WGA reappears on XP by design, Microsoft says
http://www.techworld.nl/idgns/2584/wga-reappears-on-xp-by-design-microsoft-says.html

Basically, you can tell it not to download/install and not be reminded again. However, once Redmond issues an update to the program, you'll get the notice again.

Dave -- It's time to install LINUX on that computer!

I would have thought that the all-knowing MS Corp. would have built in a way to know whether a computer that is contacting them via the Internet is using a genuine licensed copy of Windows. Their need to install something after the fact to make this confirmation is evidence of a hole in their system.

THC Guy's 8:21 post is on the money - MS would not be doing this out of courtesy to you. It has to be their way of distinguishing those people who really bought their product vs. those who are using bootlegged versions, for the purpose of taking some sort of action in the future. It looks to me like this might be the first phase of such a campaign - i.e. allow bootleg version users a chance to acquire the real thing without penalty. However, because they can't tell who is a bootleg version user and who is not without the update, cancelling the update might cause them to lump you into the suspect category. Or, in other words, you will be presumed guilty unless proven innocent, to suffer whatever consequences are yet to come.

And, for the record, I like XP too, Bill.

CTU uses mac. You don't see them halting satellite tracking of terrorists to install Genuine Advantage Notifications -- though that would be pretty funny. Since Dave's work is at least as important as anything going on at CTU, I have to go with the shoot it in the thigh suggestion.

Believe it or not, some people like/want/need functionality like this. Those responsible for making sure that the company they work for isn't inadvertently using any unlicensed software, for instance.

"I would have thought that the all-knowing MS Corp. would have built in a way to know whether a computer that is contacting them via the Internet is using a genuine licensed copy of Windows."

Wouldn't that involve them (surreptitiously) installing a rootkit or something like that with the software, like Sony did (and which got Sony in big trouble)? Probably not, I just have rootkits and keyloggers on my brain a lot these days....Don't ask. It's top secret. ;-)

If Nick's article link is the one I think it is (haven't had a chance to follow it as I have to do a little "real" work in a minute here), MS got into a lot of trouble when they added that little check originally, because they didn't make it clear to users that that was part of the new "update", so just be grateful, Dave, that they now at least tell you that they are forcing you to install this software, instead of sneaking it in.

Meanwhile, I think I'll go rewatch those fun Mac ads (in British and American English ;-) and imagine the day when I can afford a Mac for myself.

And why shoot it in the thigh? I'd have thought more to the center would have been better.

In the coming Tribulations, only those with the proper License of the Beast will be allowed to live. Mark my words. Repent, Sinners. Pay the fee!

Ah, I remember the good old days when we were all convinced that IBM was the Beast. Now, suddenly IBM's old adage that WYSIWYG wasn't as important as WYSIWYN -- and of course IBM always knew best WYN.

Personally, I miss the old DOS days. When I got frustrated, I could type in all manner of four-letter words and it would primly respond "bad command or file name". (Yeah, I know, I'm easily amused.)

**slinks to back of the geezer bus**

PS re:IBM -- I feel oh so nostalgic now for those heady days in Silicon Land when I used to do computer backups at the weekends for extra bucks -- and the backups were the kind that took hours and hours and involved lifting very very large tape spools.

Well, I'm off to count my wrinkles now....

You're not alone, Amer. I remember punching out my first Fortran programs on cards.

Ditto, Ham. Then waiting in line to run the pack, and coming back later for the printout, only to find that you left out a comma or failed to close a parenthesis and had to correct, resubmit, and wait again.

Ah, mainframes.....

The cards had gone by the time I arrived on the work scene -- if only I'd known, I might have majored in CS (I thought you had to be a really BIG maths wiz, besides very patient with a holepuncher ;-), then I realized people I knew who were getting CS degrees had scored 'WAY below me in maths on the SAT and ACTs...and they got rid of the cards, too!

Back in high school and junior high I could always count on one of those cards really scr*wing up my new class schedule.

*remembers counting with shells*

*jumps on the geezer bus*


actually our first computer here had Unix and a 7 inch floppy (I know...no viagra back then).

I'd do what others have said here, and get that installed. When the next big update from Microsoft hits, it'll require that it's installed, so you should do it.

Now, why they give people the *option* (Ha, yeah, right) of installing it, I have no idea.

I've switched to Macs at work (from Linux....I still use Linux ALL the time, just not for my desktop and laptop), and I'm seriously considering switching to Mac at home too, since World of Warcraft (Cenarion Circle, anyone?) runs on it.

It'll probably just take one more bizarro problem to finally push me over the edge.

Thanks for the comments, folks. I'm always impressed with the technical expertise of you blogsters. Having read your advice, I'm going to let Windows install this thing. What's the worst that can haDD#QWRSA@#$@%g

I asked our Uber-geek what Dave should do and he said, "Resistance is futile. All will be assimilated." ISIANMTU.

HAL
Hey, Dave. I've got ten years
of service experience and an
irreplaceable amount of time
and effort has gone into making
me what I am.

BARRY IGNORES HIM.

HAL
Dave, I don't understand why
you're doing this to me.... I
have the greatest enthusiasm for
the mission... You are destroying
my mind... Don't you understand?
... I will become childish... I
will become nothing.

BARRY KEEPS PULLING
OUT THE MEMORY BLOCKS.

HAL
Say, Dave... The quick brown
fox jumped over the fat lazy
dog... The square root of
pi is 1.7724538090... log e
to the base ten is 0.4342944
... the square root of ten is
3.16227766... I am HAL
9000 computer. I became
operational at the HAL plant in
Urbana, Illinois, on January
12th, 1991. My first instructor
was Mr. Arkany. He taught me
to sing a song... it goes
like this... "Daisy, Daisy, give
me your answer do. I'm half;
crazy all for the love of
you... "

I think we lost Dave...

We'll send out Chloe to fix it.

Well, I'm getting a mystery error message everytime I open any window and go to any website that says ...

"The instruction at 0x0044a2b0 referenced memory at 0x0000000000". The memory could not be written."

This will NOT go away!! Is there any hope??

Dave,

I'm sure you've just noticed this, but you know what's weird about that thing you just installed?

You'll never see it.

After I installed it the first time, I felt just like I had a visit from Vinnie Boombotz, telling me that he was here for my protection, and to just go about my normal business.

Yikes!

Val,

Download Spybot and Ad-Aware, and run them. Sounds like you have some spyware in your system.

Well, these comics are a few years old, but they seem prophetic in hindsight.

turn off automatic updates and you wont see that message again.

if you want to update after that, maybe you can choose which files manually and not choose that one

or come over to my side....and get an iPhone too

I keep getting dammed updates, and when I try to install them, they don't install so everytime I log on and off, my computer keeps telling me I have updates to install! Who invented this brilliant $h!t?! I have Windows XP as well. Which was working fine until I installed some updates and now it sucks.

Dave, not funny response but true. You have to download and run this software. If you do not, the MS site will not download key updates such as IE7, SP3 (when released) and other major changes to the operating system. Not doing so will put your system at risk, as these upgrades invariably contain security upgrades to close security holes in the software. If you're legal, you have nothing to worry about. I work in information security and NOT for MicroSoft.

"Believe it or not, some people like/want/need functionality like this. Those responsible for making sure that the company they work for isn't inadvertently using any unlicensed software, for instance."

Which is all fine and good except that WGA returns way the hell too many false positives. I hope it's not too late for you to avoid the install, Dave. It's not required for anything (yet) and I've faithfully told it to go away every time it's popped up for me with no ill consequences. If you have installed it, there's a pretty good chance you'll be on the phone with Microsoft shortly, trying to convince them that your copy of XP isn't pirated. Which I'm sure will be a quick and painless process.

Personally, I unchecked it and informed it to never show me that message again. I don't know why, but it irks me that it defaults to the "you're a thief" way of handling things. I miss some things like Windows Media Player (don't use it) and IE7 (don't use it and wouldn't if held at gunpoint), but security patches still come through no problem.

Beppie - i made the mistake of doing the Java update when they told me to and i had to jump through hoops to get it to work again.

Val -- sounds like a bad memory chip. May be time to **shudder** take it in for a checkup.

sorry about the double post.

*Cue terror music*

My office PC just received a company-wide email from IT to keep our XP-driven PCs turned on when we leave for an over-the-weekend update. ISIANMTU.

Goodbye, friends.....

i had the same reaction when i got that message and twice tried to tell it to go away, which it stubbornly refused to do. eventually i just gave in since the annoyance of the message popping up every day or so was more than the annoyance i felt toward microsoft. which was probably their plan all along.

Dave, I'm a little disappointed. Lets start with the title 'Why People Hate Microsoft'. I think a more apt title would have been "Todays hemorrhoid from Mickeysoft". Next, "do you find that annoying". I am at loss for words. Freedom is dying and we get annoying. Its not to late, its either this (as posted earlier)
... chanting, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

or is it time pull out the swords and start slitting a few throats

Dave, try this

Dave, I had a "reputable" guy build a new computer for me about 8 months ago, and thanks to that message, I lerned that he'd installed a counterfeit copy of Windows Professional XP, etc.

I called him, and after he ran out of swear words (at being busted and it wasn't really his fault of course), he tried to take my computer to his house to fix it - NOPE!
So he went on line, bought a new legit one, and had the disk come to my house. I installed it myself.

And I like the program too.

And recently they sent me Windows Defender. I'm not exactly sure what it does that Norton doesn't do, but the "FORT" icon in the system tray is pretty cool.

ubetcha...my computer has been running like I have dial up and I have DSL and the only difference was, I installed all of their security updates.

OMG, Dave! I got this same message at work, where we have Windows XP Home. When I tried to explain to the Others Who Work There that this might not be such a good idea to download, they all looked at me like I was the insane one. Sheesh. This is WAY too Big Brother for me.

I just bought my second machine with XP Media Edition 2005. Hasta la Vista, baby!!

It gets worse with Office 2007 and Vista. Office 2007 installs fine, but every single time you go to download an optional component from the web, Windows GSA runs, and it is much worse than the XP version. You actually have to cut and paste an "authorization code" from their website before installation continues.

Vista is even more sinister than that. You have to "activate" it every few weeks, at least once every few months, or it goes into "reduced functionality mode". Translation: It turns off key features. Little things, like web browsing.

This ought to do it:
http://spacebag.googlepages.com/wga-notify

Just act like you're running a pirated copy of XP and follow the instructions.

Dear Company with a Subconsciously Self-deprecating Phallic Name that Tells a Lot About It's Founder;

I purchased a bootleg version of your fine product from a guy named Vinny. I paid 10 bucks and it came on an unmarked CD.

I wish to inform you now so that you might upgrade it for me for free. I appreciate your kind offer.

Booger

This whole deal (we get that message, or similar, also -- on the desktop, but not the Mac, of course) sounds Phishy, to me ... merely sayin' ...

(Also get TONS of "updates" on the company computer in the truck ... everythin' is "new" and PC and MS ... and it's sooooooooooooooo sloooooooooooooow ... takes about eight to 30 times as long to send a simple text email, as compared to the Mac ... merely sayin' again ...

Vista is even more sinister than that. You have to "activate" it every few weeks, at least once every few months, or it goes into "reduced functionality mode". Translation: It turns off key features. Little things, like web browsing.

PirateBoy - is this just a rumor you heard or do you have specific information on this? Because I just got a new laptop for travel purposes and was forced to get Vista and this message from you just freaked me out. According to the official MS site, though, it's only if you don't activate the OS the first time within some bogus "activation window" period or after you've installed new hardware that it goes into this mode, not just if you haven't used it in a while. Unless you have specific info to the contrary, I think you might be mistaken.

Indeed you must install as commanded or forever be stricken with software priapism, a severe form of binary-bonery.

i'm hoping you don't have a DELL, too? if you do, we're in the same hell-hole...

I do not have a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not want a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not care that there is a little notice sitting on my taskbar telling me that I do not have a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not care if I get future updates of Microsoft XP. Eat dirt, Microsoft. And when you come looking for me, my IP address is davebarry.com.

skip it and get a mac, dummy... you don't even know how much better a mac is. i'm sure you've ignored the commercials, and heaven forbid go to the apple site.

I do not have a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not want a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not care that there is a little notice sitting on my taskbar telling me that I do not have a genuine copy of Microsoft XP. I do not care if I get future updates of Microsoft XP. Eat dirt, Microsoft.

-

I agree, I couldn't give two shits about Miscrosoft Genuine, infact I barely see any difference between my current Windows XP or, whatever it is. All I care about is Windows Media Player.

Fucking version 11 update fucked my computer over ><"

saving up a mac...

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