Microsoft revealed that the Windows Genuine Advantage erroneously labeled approximately 12,000 genuine copies of Windows Vista and Windows XP as pirated, following server infrastructure problems. In this context, Microsoft has yet to explain what the source of the problems was, but Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager for Windows Genuine Advantage, did inform that the company is continuing with the investigation. Microsoft took less than 24 hours to resolve the problem, after it initially became aware of reports on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, Windows users could have their operating system pass through the Windows genuine Advantage validation with no problems whatsoever.
"Let me call out here that we take issues like this very seriously and when anything like this happens it receives our full attention. I heard directly from a couple of users yesterday who experienced this issue. They confirmed to me that they were able to re-validate their systems successfully and had no other issues. As I mentioned yesterday the fix for anyone affected by this is to revalidate their system at our site. This can be done by visiting our site and clicking the 'Validate Windows' button in the upper right area of the homepage," Kochis said.
There is no alternative fix for the Windows copies affected by the WGA validation processing issue, and at this time, Microsoft's anti-piracy measures are up and running at normal parameters. Still, this is yet another source of frustration for users of genuine Windows Vista and Windows XP. Pirated copies of the two operating systems, designed to bypass the WGA mechanism were not affected in any manner by the validation problems, while users running licensed versions of Windows have to deal with their platforms being labeled as non-genuine.
"This validation failure did not result in the 30-day grace period starting and no one went into reduced functionality mode as a result. The experience of a system that failed validation in this instance was that some features intended for use only on genuine systems were temporarily unavailable. Those features were Windows Aero, ReadyBoost, Windows Defender (which still scanned and identified all threats, but cleaned only the severe ones), and Windows Update (only optional updates were unavailable; security and other critical updates remained available). Also, the desktop message about failed validation appeared. And as I indicated, these features return to normal and the desktop message disappears when an affected system is revalidated at our site", Kochis added.