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View Full Version : RemoveWGA for Windows XP


eclectica
2006-06-24, 16:44
For those of you who trusted Microsoft enought to enable automatic updates, you may have come into a reality check when one of those automatic updates installed a malicious tool called the Windows Genuine Advantage program. That program checks your serial number and then if it determines that it is not approved by Microsoft, gives you annoying popups in your system tray. Just today when I went to use my computer, it popped up four times in a row after I kept closing it. You can see a screenshot of the popup posted here as an attachment.

To fix this problem the first thing you have to do is disable automatic updates. Go to Settings-->Control Panel-->Automatic Updates and select to Turn off Automatic Updates. Then in Settings-->Control Panel-->Security Center-->Change the way Security Center alterts me, uncheck the Automatic Updates box. I myself have all the boxes unchecked there, and have the Windows Firewall turned off. I am behind a router, which serves as a firewall.

Now you can install the RemoveWGA tool. It is a small .exe file which closes the WGA program and deletes the system .dll file associated with it. I myself could not manually close the program, with ctrl-alt-delete, because a new one would open up. And I couldn't delete the .dll file because Windows wouldn't let me.

I used the RemoveWGA tool that was found at Softpedia here (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Uninstallers/RemoveWGA.shtml). The version I used was 1.02, with a build date of 2006-06-19, developed by Guillaume Kaddouch. I have attached that .exe file as an attachment here as well. This is the description of the RemoveWGA tool from that site:

RemoveWGA description

RemoveWGA will enable you to easily remove the Microsoft "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications" tool, which is calling home and connect to MS servers every time you boot. Futures updates of this notification tool will (officialy) setup the connection rate to once every two weeks.

Once the WGA Notification tool has checked your OS and has confirmed you had a legit copy, there is no decent point or reason to check it again and again every boot.

Moreover, connecting to Microsoft brings security issue for corporate networks, and privacy issues for everyone. It is also unclear which information are transmitted (Microsoft published an official answer, but an individual study brought some questions).

All of that, along the fact that Microsoft used deceptive ways to make you install this tool (it was told you it was an urgent security update, whereas it is a new installation giving you no extra security) makes me calling this tool a spyware.

Also, Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications is different than Windows Genuine Advantage Validation. RemoveWGA only remove the notification part, phoning home, and does not touch the Validation part.

As the time I'm writting this, the Validation part is mandatory for some not critical downloads from Microsoft, but the Notification part is not mandatory at all, and you are able to install all of the security updates without installing this one. This may change in the future thought, I don't know what are the Microsoft plans.

Here are some key features of "RemoveWGA":

Tell you if the WGA notification tool is active on your system
Allows you to remove the WGA notification tool from your system
Accept the "-silent" command line parameter to silently check if the WGA notification tool is active on your system, and popup only if it is found (usefull for checking automatically at startup for instance)