Yesterday we released the latest WGA Notifications Tool for Windows XP. This update includes a number of new features and I thought everyone might like to know about it.

In addition to updated anti-piracy capabilities, this update incorporates and improved user installation and validation experience. First there is a new installation wizard (below) that provides more context and information on how the program works. Second the installation wizard offers the configuration of an autoupdate feature so as we release new versions of WGA Notifications that can detect the most current forms of counterfeiting that information can be updated automatically. The wizard also includes immediate results, and improved information for people who's systems don't pass genuine validation.

WGA Installation Wizard Introduction

 This update will initially be available for download on www.microsoft.com/genuine, www.microsoft.com/downloads, and through Automatic Updates but will be distributed initially only to systems running four known compromised product keys. The opt-in update will be rolled out worldwide through Automatic Updates over the next several weeks and months. We plan to update the Windows XP WGA Notifications tool every 90-120 days as part of our commitment to continually evaluating and adapting to changes in software piracy.

 Also, in the case that there is difficulty determining the state of the system a new result category is now possible that (in addition to genuine and non-genuine) lets users know if the validation result was indeterminate and provides them with resources to troubleshoot the problem and learn more about the results. Previously the validation process gave the benefit of the doubt in many cases. Which is good in the sense that if we weren't sure the software wasn't genuine or properly licensed we didn't provide any message, unfortunately this meant that some users who did have counterfeit software, including the possibility that it could have been compromised as we saw in the Risks of Counterfeit Software study by IDC (PDF). We're glad that with this new result category we can provide more actionable information to our users that can help them protect themselves.

You can download and install this newest version of WGA Notifications here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=b308d840-b1ee-4d55-ad5e-68b21aed1b6f&displaylang=en