March 28, 2007

Pulling the drapes

Yesterday I got a Windows alert about an system update. As usual, I checked to see whether it was something actually necessary, or something lame like an Internet Explorer update that's going to eat up memory and not improve my life in any way. It turned out the update was for a "Windows Genuine Advantage Notification tool", which was described thusly:

The Windows Genuine Advantage Notification tool notifies you if your copy of Windows is not genuine. If your system is found to be a non-genuine, the tool will help you obtain a licensed copy of Windows.

So...basically, if one has a licensed version of Windows (as I do), this update is useless -- unless it turns out to have a bug and decide that my licensed copy of Windows is actually pirated and lock me out of my own system, which admittedly seems unlikely, but why risk it for a useless program? This update isn't to help me, the user, it's there to be a security guard for Microsoft, released as an automatic update in hopes that some unsuspecting pirate will install it. Pushy! And Vista's only going to be worse. This is why Windows XP will be the last version of Windows I use. After this computer dies (however far down the road that may be), it's Mac or Linux all the way.

Posted by Francis at 09:40 AM

Wow. I mean, just the name. Doesn't anyone at Microsoft see the parodies out there? Don't they hit home just a little teeny bit?

Posted by: Rubrick at March 28, 2007 09:53 PM

I got this one about a week ago--it's insane. If I were a lot more paranoid, I'd worry about Microsoft's ability to note that I haven't run the update.

And it's the dumbest thing in the world, but I still love "a non-genuine", with the expected noun mysteriously missing. Cyberspace for genuines! Go back to Warezystan!

Posted by: Robert Hutchinson at March 28, 2007 11:14 PM

I've been seeing the WGANT offered as a critical update for several months, and I've repeatedly marked it "don't install, don't ask me again". It keeps coming back. Fortunately, it hasn't gone the extra step and installed itself on the machines that are set to automatically install critical updates, but I'm sure it will do so eventually.

Besides the chance that the "Notification Tool" (N.T.M.R.I.A.) may have a bug, there's also the reportedly nontrivial waste of CPU that this tool sucks up. Just about the biggest abuse of "critical" that MS has come out with.

You say Vista is going to be worse--the only thing I've heard was that it has this integrated DRM model that has been described as technological seppuku. One can only hope.


Posted by: Dan Hoey at March 29, 2007 12:55 PM

It's just not safe for piracy these days. Sigh. Guess I'll have to hang up the eye patch and pegleg.

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