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Author Topic: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...  (Read 4350 times)

Carol Haynes

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Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« on: June 12, 2006, 03:57:31 PM »
Quote
Microsoft to ease up on piracy check-ins
By Joris Evers, CNET News.com

Microsoft is cutting the cord on its antipiracy tool.

The software maker this month plans to update the Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications program so that it only checks in with Microsoft once every two weeks, instead of after each boot-up, a company representative said Friday. By year's end, the tool will stop pinging Microsoft altogether, the representative said.

The changes come after a critic likened the antipiracy tool to spyware. He found that the program, designed to validate whether a copy of Windows has been legitimately acquired, checks in with Microsoft on a daily basis. Microsoft did not disclose in any of its documentation that the application would phone home.

Microsoft earlier this week had vowed to better disclose the actions of WGA Notifications. Now the company says it will gradually let go of the program once it is installed on Windows PCs.

For the full article see: http://news.zdnet.co...334.html?tag=nl.e550

Josh

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2006, 04:47:41 PM »
I dont really consider this "backtracking" but more updating the check to a more reasonable time. However, i still see the privacy advocates crying afoul of microsoft for this still being unneeded and a privacy violation.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2006, 05:42:24 PM »
Quote
By year's end, the tool will stop pinging Microsoft altogether, the representative said.

I think that is back tracking! Though why they have to wait until the end of the year ...

Josh

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2006, 05:44:56 PM »
Statement withdrawn! That is very much backtracking although in the past article they said they would make this check permanent at the end of its testing period. Guess microsoft gave in.

mouser

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2006, 02:11:37 AM »
i think this is a good example of why we should be thankful for all the people who raise hell at these drm/privacy/datacollection/phonehome things.

even though you might think they sometimes get carried away and scream bloody murder about issues that you might think "hmm.. that's not so bad, i can live with that", i think it's these little fights that keep us from being overrun with this stuff.  without these small fights i can only imagine how far the line would have shifted by now in the other direction.

JavaJones

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2006, 02:16:34 AM »
Amen!

- Oshyan

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2006, 04:45:05 AM »
Amen to that, mouser!

Don't give into big brother's whims, even if they seem harmless.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2006, 04:51:44 AM »
It is getting a bit ridiculous - I have just been upgraded to 4Mb broadband (unexpectedly - I thought I would be stuck with 1Mb because of my location - my neighbouring village still can't get 512Kb consistently). Trouble is you get the impression that more and more of the bandwith gets used up by companies demanding their software can phone home ... its a bit like computers - you chuck in more and more hardware and faster and faster gear only to stand still with what you can actually do on the stupid thing! I love the standard spec for people to use Vista with all the bells and whistles - MS have pretty much guaranteed minimum takeup of Vista in the bsuiness world - how many business machines have a graphics card with 128Mb of video RAM ?

f0dder

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2006, 04:54:51 AM »
Quote
how many business machines have a graphics card with 128Mb of video RAM ?
More than you'd think - since many business machines use low-end on-board graphics with unified memory architecture :)
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2006, 05:37:10 AM »
But I thought onboard graphics didn't allocate that much RAM? If business machines are really set up like this they are unlikely to have large amounts of memory either - I'm sure system admins won't want 50% of available RAM allocated to Vista (which seems to require 512Mb as a minumum standard).

I am running Vista Beta in VMWare ... compared to Windows XP running in the same environment it is

S....O    S.....L.....O....W and that's without access to Aero (since VMWare only has an emulated 16Mb graphic card)

and talk about making you click windows to confirm absolutely everything ...

"Are you sure you want a toilet break?"

"Click here to confirm that you just confirmed you need a toilet break"

"Toilet breaks have not be tested in Windows Vista - please confirm you understand the implications of going for a toilet break"

... Damn now I need to change my pants!

"Are you sure you want to change your pants" etc.....

nudone

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2006, 06:16:42 AM »
But I thought onboard graphics didn't allocate that much RAM? If business machines are really set up like this they are unlikely to have large amounts of memory either - I'm sure system admins won't want 50% of available RAM allocated to Vista (which seems to require 512Mb as a minumum standard).

I am running Vista Beta in VMWare ... compared to Windows XP running in the same environment it is

S....O    S.....L.....O....W and that's without access to Aero (since VMWare only has an emulated 16Mb graphic card)

and talk about making you click windows to confirm absolutely everything ...

"Are you sure you want a toilet break?"

"Click here to confirm that you just confirmed you need a toilet break"

"Toilet breaks have not be tested in Windows Vista - please confirm you understand the implications of going for a toilet break"

... Damn now I need to change my pants!

"Are you sure you want to change your pants" etc.....

hehe, that's kind of kinky. never thought vista was going to be that much fun.

Josh

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2006, 06:49:51 AM »
How many business admins are going to deploy vista with AERO enabled? I a lower spec machine can run vista with the old fashioned windows interface. Vista runs great for me in VMware with classic mode enabled.

Also, microsoft is re-working UAC, check this article http://www.betanews....g_Refined/1150139864

Microsoft has heard your cry on UAC and will be reworking it. We shall see with RC1

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2006, 02:28:01 AM »
Interesting article with a few ideas on WGA from Brian Livingstone's WindowSecrets article:

Read it here http://windowssecret.../comp/060615/#story1

It is aquite a long series of articles but it told me some things I didn't know and showed up some of the bugs and problems people are encountering even with legitimate copies bought direct from MS.

Quote
Genuine Advantage is Microsoft spyware

By Brian Livingston

Windows Genuine Advantage — the controversial program Microsoft auto-installed as a "critical security update" on many PCs starting on Apr. 25 — not only causes problems for many users but has now been proven to send personally identifiable information back to Redmond every 24 hours.

This behavior clearly fits any plausible definition of "spyware." Some tech writers have said categorizing WGA as spyware is arguable. But I have no hesitation in calling the program a security nightmare that Microsoft should never have distributed in its present form.

In my May 25 newsletter, I called Microsoft's WGA download a "severe blunder." It causes serious problems for some legitimate Windows users and was sprung on customers with no notice other than a press release the day before.

No PC-using company that values security and reliability can allow a program like WGA to send data to a distant server, download additional software, morph its behavior, or remotely change the functionality of Windows (as I describe below). I don't believe individuals should put up with this, either.

Today, I'll explain the problems and let you know what you can do to fix them.

If the spyware label fits, wear it
read on on the website ...

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Backtracks on phone home WGA ...
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2006, 04:43:40 PM »
And now they have backtracked even further ...

How to uninstall WGA ...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921914