Windows Genuine Advantage Validation tool
May 7, 2006 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I was prompted to download the "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation tool". Any reason why I shouldn't do this?
posted by schoenbc to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
 
It's Microsoft's way of figuring out if your copy of Windows has been paid for, or pirated, and it works too.

If you pirated your copy of Windows, and run the tool, the police won't turn up at your door, but neither will Windows Update work anymore. You can still get critical updates via Automatic Updates, but that's it.

There might be a way around the check, but I couldn't possibly imagine how it might work.
posted by Mwongozi at 9:12 AM on May 7, 2006


If you are running a legal version of Windows, then there is no particular reason you shouldn't do this. You may want to consider using an operating system that doesn't treat you like a criminal, such as Ubuntu or Mac OS X.

----
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love
----

I'm so so sorry, Windows.
posted by jhscott at 9:28 AM on May 7, 2006


They also just started this for Office last week but it was done by offering some speech recognition or language add-ons. I believe it has started outside the U.S though.

Very under-handed but then again, it is lost profits, not sure I'd do any different.

Of course, if all your M$ stuff is legit, you have nothing to worry about, I've been using it for months. Worse case, illegit M$ apps just won't work anymore otherwise lol, but then you can go get Open Office (pick the non-Java install for less resource use). Enjoy.
posted by BillyG at 9:38 AM on May 7, 2006


There might be a way around the check, but I couldn't possibly imagine how it might work

Sigh.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2006


Grumble. It's weird how I've found myself in the pro-Microsoft camp of late. It's a complete non-sequitur to say "use this other OS" because your current OS validates itself. I don't like phone home protection schemes at all, but it's not helpful to just slam the platform in question.

That said, Windows just wants it's phone home piece for non-critical updates. It's not any different than activating Adobe apps or for that matter nearly anything else. You can go the free software route, of course, but that's not where you are.

That said, assuming you've got legit licenses there is no problem at all installing the validation tool.
posted by shagoth at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2006


Supposedly this is opt-in during the 'pilot' phase, but will be a mandatory install down the road. For now a system restore can take it off your computer if you've installed it by accident.

As Civil_Disobedient has shown us, though, there are already solutions for those who don't want this on their system.
posted by chimmyc at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2006


Apple's no better. Consider all the applications on OSx that phone around the network to see if a duplicate serial number is running. And that's been around for years and years.
posted by disclaimer at 10:45 AM on May 7, 2006


@disclaimer

The difference is that of /OS/ versus /Application/. The OS is farther down the stack, so harder to replace. Also in issues like DRM, it would be much better to have app-level DRM than OS level or hardware level, imho,
posted by jhscott at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2006


I'm glad this came up, because I thought it was spy-ware or a trojan.
posted by gg at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2006


For those who would prefer to disable the check manually (i.e. without downloading a crack), this slashdot post is rather helpful.
posted by corranhorn at 12:15 PM on May 7, 2006


[a few comments removed, please take further OS WARZ!!1! comments to email or metatalk]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:22 PM on May 7, 2006


The argument against is simply that if you aren't running a pirated version of Windows it provides you with absolutely no benefits and the potential risk of running pre-release software which is hard to uninstall (According to Ed Foster), reduced performance if it's poorly written and the risk of having it become a nuisance if it malfunctions and claims that your copy of Windows is bootlegged when it's legit (this isn't hugely common but it does happen).

Summary: no benefit, modest risk
posted by adamsc at 1:35 PM on May 7, 2006


f you are running a legal version of Windows, then there is no particular reason you shouldn't do this.

It is unsupported beta software. I wouldn't install it if I were you.
posted by mathowie at 1:54 PM on May 7, 2006


Doh! I didn't look far enough into the issue. I withdraw my suggestions and hew to mathowie's line. Sorry about that.

Not suspicious enough. Another reason to switch OSes... you really shouldn't have your vendor giving you high-priority patches that are pre-release.

Gah, I guess this is what AskMe is all about. I'm glad I'm not running Windows these days.
posted by jhscott at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2006


IIRC installation of Windows GAV is a requirement for certain MSDN downloads - I remember having to install it in order to give Visual Studio Express 2005 w/ Platform SDK a test drive.
posted by Ryvar at 11:10 PM on May 7, 2006


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