Microsoft's latest update to its built-in antipiracy checks for Windows XP has spurred someone to post a method for bypassing the system on a popular technology blog.
A posting titled "How To Disable The Annoying Genuine Message Crap" on the Digg blog details a work-around for a new feature in Microsoft's automatic Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) that sends a pop-up to users to notify them if they are working on a pirated or counterfeit copy of Windows. (http://digg.com/technology/How_To_Disable_The_Annoying_Genuine_Message_Crap) Previously, the program only alerted a user during updates to Windows.
According to the posting, the way to dismantle the notification is to run Task Manager in Windows and kill a file called WgaTray.exe. Then, a user should go to the System32 folder and find WgaTray.exe and wgalogon.dll. Once those files are identified, they should be renamed to WgaTray1.exe and wgalogon1.dll and then the user should perform a restart, according to the posting.
Microsoft launched the WGA program in July 2005 as a way to identify if users are running a genuine copy of Windows. After it was launched, a user made public a work-around for disabling the notification feature. Microsoft has since patched the program so that the work-around is no longer valid.
Earlier this week Microsoft also announced it is piloting the Office Genuine Advantage program, which provides similar notifications for its Office productivity suite.
To date, more than 150 million PCs have participated in the WGA program, according to the company.
Many users have suggested that Microsoft lower its software prices rather than use an automatic program to notify every person who is using a pirated or counterfeit copy.
"Software piracy is here to stay," said Mario Chavez, founder and Spanish technical translator for espanish.net, a company that translates technical documents into Spanish. "What Microsoft and other big software corporations should be doing is remove the incentive for hackers to pirate their legitimate software, especially in developing nations."
Microsoft plans to release a stripped-down edition of the next update to Windows, Windows Vista, aimed at developing countries. The company has not yet announced pricing for Vista.
Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment on the WGA work-around Thursday.