Explain WGA to a non techy

On August 27, 2007, in Vista, by

I dare ya.

Explain to a non techy the concepts of WGA, Validation, KMS, MAK keys. 

I’ll wait while you think about it…….

Read David Scrag’s Office 2007 licensing post while you think about how you’d explain to someone the concept of Validation and WGA.

Okay now that you think about how you’d explain the concept of validation, WGA, having certain patches only behind behind WGA gated downloads….throw in a dash of this weekend and what do you get?

Windows Genuine Advantage : Update on Validation Issues:

This isn’t FUD anymore about WGA causing issues to folks when merely going to a web page to download an optional patch that asked for validation would throw a machine into a state where it would indicate the system was non genuine.   And the discussion is great for the “alternative OS to Microsoft” folks, because it plays right into the arguments against WGA.  That it can someday brand you as non genuine and take away a working system.  The desktop message wasn’t just that the validation failed.  The desktop message said that I was not genuine and suggested ways I could get genuine.

To quote someone else… ‘Bah, to paraphrase some dead geezer: a server failure on your part should not constitute an emergency on my part.’

I understand the issues on piracy. I understand that as a business Microsoft needs to protect their intellectual property.  But when it’s easier for the pirates to get software, and you have innocent people just trying to use a computer that get caught in your server problem, there’s a problem.

Adding a stick of ram shouldn’t kick a problem, but apparently it does.

Read this thread….David said it best….

I realize Microsoft wants to protects it assets, and it should have the freedom to do it, but WGA goes way over the edge. There is a valid reason why Mac OS, Unix, Linux, and other OS’s dont have something like WGA.

I like Vista.  I like it’s security.  I like the additional group policy features it brings to the table.  UAC doesn’t annoy me.  But customers aren’t buying “Software as a service” when they buy Vista.  Things should just work without impact from a Microsoft server problem.  Most of the time in computing there’s a FUD element to the arguments.  Someone spins something out of context.  Someone overreacts.  WGA is hurting Vista’s reputation here.  Now one could argue that if someone is that concerned about activation that maybe they might be bending the rules and borrowing software from someone else.  But this isn’t about activation, but the continued checking that the person is legal.  And is that really needed?  Isn’t once enough?

One can’t say that WGA in Vista can’t screw up.  It did.  One can’t say that it won’t happen again.  I’m not in charge of the servers, are you?  All I know is right now it seems to me a bit draconian is all and needs to loosen back up to more of an XP status.


4 Responses to Explain WGA to a non techy

  1. Dantv says:

    Isn’t once enough?

    I see no reason why more than one check is necessary.

    I also see no reason why any version of windows should cost more that Mac OS/X Tiger at $129. Heck if Microsoft sold Windows for $50 they could drop all this WGA nonsense and sell many more legitimate copies of Windows. I would’ve upgraded my clients by now. As it stands, the majority are sticking with XP or looking at other OS’s.

  2. Bucky says:

    Explain WGA to a non techy

    WGA is an Orwellian protection scheme designed by Microsoft in its escalating battle to combat those who would illegally use their software. The current strategy has lead to an increasing amount of friendly fire. As collateral damage mounts among Microsoft’s customers a growing number seek safe haven elsewhere from a conflict they want no part of.

    The same explanation could be used for DRM (substitute WGA/software for DRM/music )

  3. Nathan Williams says:

    To explain WGA first you’ve got to explain licensing to the average end user. Most don’t understand why they can’t install Office on every computer in the building. Most understand that they can’t legally give the next door neighbor a copy but they don’t grasp why that is so on hardware that they own.

  4. Why are you trying to explain the technical aspects of WGA to a non-techie? I explain it like this:
    1) Lots of people try to steal Windows – they love it more than the other operating systems they could steal, so people work hard to enable them to not have to buy a legal copy or enter their license key.
    2) Since there is no finite solution, Microsoft has a set of technology that enables people to try Vista, but when the trial has ended, they have to buy a key.
    3) Pirates try to stop that trial period from ending, so Microsoft regularly updates the software that detects stolen copies of Windows and runs it on peoples PC. Unfortunately, each time this happens, millions of PCs show as being stolen and tampered with. Obviously the pirates try to work out new ways round, so updates continue to come to PCs.
    4) If you buy a legitimate copy of Windows you should never suffer any trouble with your legally bought software. We all know that the system has failed once, which is bad, but if you consider that WGA has been around in some form for several years and this is the 1st major glitch, that means that hopefully it will never happen again.

    Now I know there is no way to sugar coat the recent failure, but steps have been taken to stop it happening again. WGA does not have a high failure rate and when I consider it against almost every other copy protection scheme I have used, it is the least intrusive and most reliable by far.