[guispeak] Windows Genuine Advantage: The Reality

  • From: "Will Pearson" <will-pearson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindtlk@xxxxxxxxxx>, <nfbcs@xxxxxxxxxx>, <bcab@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, <jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <jaws-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <Programming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <Windows@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <program-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 13:22:05 -0000

Hi All;

Apologies for the cross-post, but I wanted to get information about Windows 
Genuine Advantage (WGA) to as many people as possible given the recent claims 
about it's accessibility.

As some of you may have heard, Microsoft are planning to roll out the Windows 
Genuine Advantage program in the second half of this year.  The aim of the 
program is to detect whether you have a genuine copy of Windows installed, 
which is something beneficial to the consumer, as it affords consumer 
protection seeing as it's often hard to tell whether software a person has 
brought is genuine or not.

Windows Genuine Advantage has been running as a pilot for some time now, with 
those visiting the Microsoft Download section, who download certain software 
packages, and whose language is set to English, simplified Chinese, traditional 
Chinese, Norwegian or Czech, being invited to participate.  As someone who has 
participated in the Windows Genuine Advantage pilot, I can say that I, as a 
daily user of JAWS, have encountered no problems.

The program works by downloading an active-x control to your computer that 
checks the authenticity of the installed copy of Windows.  It is an automated 
process, with the only reason it will prompt you for a product key being that 
you are yet to activate the copy of Windows that you are running.  It then 
stores a key on your PC for future use, meaning that you only have to undergo 
the process once, unless you delete the key off the PC.

Those who do not validate as genuine will still be able to receive security 
updates through automatic updates.  If a copy of Windows fails to validate as 
genuine, information and help on how to deal with the situation will also be 
offered to the user.

So, we as blind people have nothing to fear from Windows Genuine Advantage.  It 
requires us to enter the product key no more times than we currently do, and 
there is not anything to be afraid of.  Be assured, Microsoft are working hard 
to make their software accessible, something that is demonstrated by the 
improvements in accessibility between Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 
2005, and if you ever have any feedback regarding accessibility, you can pass 
it to Microsoft in the following ways:
1. Through the Microsoft.Public.Enable.Issues news group, which is run from the 
msnews.Microsoft.com nmtp news server, or your ISP's nmtp server.
2. By emailing mswish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx or feedback@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

For more information on genuine Microsoft software, including tips on 
determining whether a piece of software is genuine or not, go to:

Thanks for reading

Will Pearson
Microsoft MVP (Visual Developer/VC++)
For information on the Microsoft MVP Program, go to:

Other related posts:

  • » [guispeak] Windows Genuine Advantage: The Reality