Microsoft tweaks and renames its anti-piracy technology in Windows 7. Formerly known as Windows Genuine Advantage, the technology is now called Windows Activation Technologies.
has introduced changes to its anti-piracy features for its operating system in
Windows 7, starting with a new name.
known as Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the
has been rebranded Windows Activation Technologies
in Windows 7. But in addition to the name change, the company has tweaked the technology
to improve the user experience.
"While we have seen success with our implementation in Windows Vista, as
evident from the lower
levels of piracy
, we also knew we could do better in Windows 7," stated Joe
Williams, general manager for Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft, in a Q&A
on the company's Website.
He explained that in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, if a PC was not
activated during the log-in process, customers would get a dialog box periodically
reminding them to activate their copy of Windows. Within this prompt,
they could choose to activate immediately or later. But the option to "activate
later" was grayed out for 15 seconds.
"Customers told us that while the prompt grabbed their attention, they
didn't understand why they needed to activate immediately and that the delay
was annoying," he continued. "In Windows 7 we modified this process:
When customers choose to activate later, they will see a dialog box
highlighting how activation helps them identify if their copy of Windows is
genuine and be allowed to proceed immediately without a 15-second delay. In
Windows 7 we've made changes so that users will see more informative
notifications messages and be able to more easily complete the tasks they need
WGA was no
stranger to controversy
. In fact, in January 2007, Microsoft admitted WGA
had incorrectly labeled more than half a million Windows users as software
Williams noted that Microsoft has found up to a third of its customers
worldwide may be running counterfeit copies of Windows, sometimes without their
"The malicious code and malware that counterfeit software can expose our customers
to is a serious threat-ask anyone who has ever been a victim of identity
theft," he said. "So ensuring that customers know they have genuine software or
when they might be victims of software piracy is just as much a priority now as
ever. With Windows Vista, we made significant strides in reducing the threat
pirated copies posed to customers, our partners and Microsoft software, and we
anticipate we'll do even better with Windows 7."
Williams added that the technology used in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is
fundamentally different from that used with Windows XP, explaining the
code used to protect Windows 7 and Vista can
only be achieved with the components built into those versions of the OS.
"For that reason the anti-piracy features in Windows 7-and future
versions of updates of the technology for Windows Vista-will be referred to
more accurately as Windows Activation Technologies," he said. "We
will continue releasing Window Genuine Advantage updates for Windows XP-based