Microsoft never seems to run out of ways to make its antipiracy Windows Genuine Advantage campaign more annoying. WGA is a “service” that checks the validity and activation status of your copy of Windows before letting you download some upgrades. Endless updates to WGA itself seem to account for a significant fraction of Microsoft’s “high-priority” update downloads.
My windows Genuine Advantage experience, which doesn’t provide any discernible advantage to anyone but Microsoft, hit a new low today. I fired up a Vista laptop that hadn’t been turned on for awhile, and of course it immediately downloaded a batch of updates, including a new version of WGA. When the software ran, it opened a browser window (requires Internet Explorer). A bar across the top of the page congratulated me on successful validation, but the bulk of the Window was given to an ad for a $159 upgrade to Vista Home Premium. It’s bad enough that Microsoft is using what is supposed to be a security update process to try to extract more of its customers money. But this particular pitch was completely pointless since the system was running Windows Business, from which an “upgrade” to the Home version makes no sense.