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Uninstall Genuine Advantage

comments from ClifNotes, Jun 2006, permalink


I often read a newsletter called Windows Secrets, authored by Brian Livingston. He recently published a letter all about the new Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)program from Microsoft.


The WGA is loaded onto Microsoft Windows systems whenever a user gets Windows Updates. It is designed to more or less spy on your PC and notify Microsoft if your Windows system or it's components aren't properly licensed. I noticed it a few weeks ago when I suddenly started getting prompted to let it connect to the internet when my PC booted up.


What does Brian think about it?


No security-minded company or individual can allow a program to stealthily contact a distant server and morph its behavior at will. This principle holds just as true for people who think Microsoft is the world's greatest corporation as it does for those who deeply distrust the company's motives.


What does he suggest we do about WGA?

  1. Turn off Automatic Updates in the Control Panel.
  2. Get a patch management system for updating you Windows system.
  3. Uninstall Windows Genuine Advantage.

I agree with Brian's analysis and suggestions, but I don't agree with his recommendations for patch management. He suggested people use a program called NetChkPro which requires a one time license fee of $25 per computer.


I'd like to suggest that you try out the free version of BigFix. I did mention that it's free didn't I? It also works quite well.


Uninstalling WGA could be quite a chore. He mentions that there are 11 steps to doing it and gives you a web link to Microsoft's procedure for removing WGA. In case you are interested, here is the link to that procedure.




My wife, Respect2Glory, doesn't quite agree with Brian...


Note from Respect2Glory about the WGA update

No software is perfect. This is why we're using several security programs to protect our systems. I do not feel comfortable turning off Automatic Windows Updates. Mine is setup to notify, but not to download or install until I initiate it. I simply ignore WGA when it is the only item on the update list. Tedious? Yes, but at least I install other MS updates when they become available.


Take a look at Brian's newsletter, it's good reading and easy to follow.