What’s wrong with Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)

I just saw this head line on Ars Technica: Windows Genuine Advantage falsely accuses millions

Windows Genuine Advantage is a controversy wrapped in an enigma buried inside a migraine headache. Or at least that's what it is for the millions of users who have been falsely identified as software pirates as a result of WGA's attempt to root out piracy.

Since July 2005, one in five computers running Windows have failed so-called Windows Genuine Advantage tests according to data from Microsoft. More than 22 percent of over 500 million systems that were subjected to the browser-based validation scheme were identified as invalid copies of Windows.

I'd like to add my own 2 cents, one of the biggest problems with WGA is that if you're building a brand new machine in a post service pack 2 world, you can't update any of your Microsoft packages like Direct X (to name one) with out registering your machine, which means if I later run into some incompatible driver down the road in my install, I'm hosed and I can't wipe the machine and reinstall the OS from scratch and start again, a real bummer. I'm hoping I'm wrong about that, but I've not found anything on the web about how to reinstall a registered copy of windows from scratch. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me, I've run into situations in the past where drivers (ATI and Roxio) conflicted on XP and I was forced to reinstall the OS 3 times to find the magic sequence that worked, fun wow, fortunately this was prior to SP2.

WGA also destroys the 30 day trial for Windows XP, since you can't update any Microsoft software, MS is right on top of that marketing opportunity.

I'd love to be wrong about all of the above, so please let me know.

The WGA FAQ, not very helpful as is to be expected…

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