With all of the recent interest in WGA over the past month, I wanted to take a moment to clarify a few of the misperceptions out there and hopefully bring some clarity about what the program is intended to do.

First, I’d like to revisit the announcement that was made earlier this week about the updates to the WGA Notifications program. Starting on Tuesday a new version of WGA Notifications was released. There were two significant changes made based on customer feedback.

1) A daily configuration check, or “phone home” feature as it was reported in some places, existed in the pilot phase in order to determine if the notifications should run or not and how often. This configuration check was removed.
2) We also replaced the End User License Agreement (EULA) with a standard General Availability EULA that more clearly explains the purpose of the software and provides details about WGA Notifications. In addition, for customers who choose not to install the updated package, and wish to remove an installed pre-release version a Knowledge Base article has been made available.

Second, there is a rumor floating around that Microsoft is planning to use WGA to implement a “kill switch” for PCs that fail validation. Microsoft anti-piracy technologies cannot and will not turn off your computer. In our ongoing fight against piracy, we are constantly finding and closing loopholes pirates use to circumvent established policies.  The game is changing for counterfeiters. In Windows Vista we are making it notably harder and less appealing to use counterfeit software, and we will work to make that a consistent experience with older versions of Windows as well. In alignment with our anti-piracy policies we have been continually improving the experience for our genuine customers, while restricting more and more access to ongoing Windows capabilities for those who choose not to pay for their software. Our genuine customers deserve the best experience, and so over time we have made the following services and benefits available only to them:  Windows Update service, Download Center, Internet Explorer 7, Windows Defender, and Windows Media Player 11, as well as access to a full range of updates including non-security related benefits.   We expect this list to expand considerably as we continue to add value for our genuine customers and deny value to pirates.  Microsoft is fully committed to helping any genuine customers who have been victims of counterfeit software, and offer free replacement copies of Windows to those who’ve been duped by high quality counterfeiters. As always people can find more information about what Microsoft is doing at the genuine site as well as our ‘How to Tell’ and ‘Piracy’ sites.