WGA and Activation Failures Don’t Faze Redmond
While Microsoft insists that problems with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program are much overblown — claiming last week that “only a fraction of a percent” of the systems that fail the WGA verification are actually legal — Microsoft’s customers keep saying otherwise. What’s worse, the WGA false negatives are leading to increasing number of situations where customers run afoul of XP’s product activation, leaving them to beg Microsoft and/or their PC vendor to help.
A few days ago Windows XP on my primary work computer decided that it wasn’t a legal copy. Strange since the copy running on there was pre-installed at the time that the machine was built by Alienware. There used to be a Windows serial number on the back of the machine, but the sticker has since fallen off. What’s worse, as soon as I started receiving the dreaded, “You may be a victim of software piracy…” notices, I also started noticing increased system instability. All of this culminated in what I can only assume was some form of malware infection, a hardware crash (related to my soundcard), and a pretty complete system failure.
I was angry for a moment, but then I realized: I don’t much like Windows anyway. So I wiped the offending garbage from my machine and installed Ubuntu Linux. All in all a painless process.
The truth is, Ubuntu “out of the box” is a little lacking (can’t play proprietary video formats, run PC apps, is missing much needed apps, etc), but with the use of an installer script called Automatix, I now have a free, highly functional, and stable OS. And it’s pretty to boot.
This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted a switch to Linux, but it is the first time that I’ve made the switch and am going to stay switched.