Microsoft Genuine Advantage phones home daily



Microsoft says they need to do a better job about disclosing this, but the Genuine Advantage tool contacts Microsoft daily. It doesn’t do this to track your browsing or downloading habits, but to check and see if it’s ok that it’s still running. According to this article, they have some concern that it might not work properly and wanted to be able to tell it to shut down if there were widescale problems with the proof of legitimate windows copy. I did glean a few more details from the article that correct an assumption that I made a week ago.


A week ago, I had a story from a paper that was a bit light on details but said that genuine advantage was being rolled out to the automatic update users (in addition to the previous validation required for visiting windows update’s site.) I assumed that meant that critical updates would be blocked from the automatic download. This article indicates otherwise, which I think is a relief and good news. According to this, the validator will nag users if it determines that they have a pirated copy of windows. It won’t block critical updates from an automatic download, but will preven the downloading of non-critical updates.

Of course, it is good news, my main concern was the rise in unprotected, unupdated machines that would lead to more spam/phishing/etc.

It’s also noted in the article that the genuine advantage tool checks the system again every 90 days to see if it’s legit. Because, “the company sometimes discovers that a copy of Windows that it thought was legitimate is actually pirated.”

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