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27 August 2007, 10:02

WGA test torpedoes Windows Vista

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Problems at Microsoft with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) test in Vista are apparently causing it to disable the Aero interface and refuse to install updates. Indications that properly acquired Vista licenses are failing the Genuine Advantage test when attempting to obtain updates or downloads are piling up in Microsoft's support forum. A contributor to the forum quotes a reply from the support team, which states that the problem may continue until Tuesday.

The Windows Genuine Advantage test, which Microsoft introduced for XP and which in Windows Vista monitors the validity of a license has long been controversial. The current failure is not the first. Attempts to provoke the error with various versions (XP and Vista) and variants (OEM and volume licences) of Windows failed to reveal a pattern to the error. Tests done by heise showed confusing results. After downloading WGA tested software from Microsoft and then rebooting the system, one version of Vista disabled the new Aero interface and refused to download any further updates from the Microsoft servers, another passed the WGA test without coming to any harm. XP appears to have been spared.

In the meantime the developers seem to have resolved the issue. According to other Forum-Posts the problem was on the server-side at Microsoft. The root cause is still being investigated. Users affected by the error should re-run the Windows Genuine Advantage check to resolve the problem.


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