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Microsoft expands Windows Genuine Advantage program
Posted on 6-May-2005 09:19. | Tags Filed under: News.

Microsoft is expanding the Windows Genuine Advantage program in the United States to help customers who unknowingly purchased counterfeit versions of Windows XP Professional. The company recommends that these customers first seek remedy from whomever sold them the product. If that fails, Microsoft will offer those who qualify a complimentary genuine copy of Windows XP Professional, or a US$149 electronic key for a genuine copy of Windows XP Professional.

Under the new program rules, Microsoft may issue a license key online after electronically scanning and certifying that a user's counterfeit version of Windows is complete and has not been tampered with. Microsoft will also provide the user with a CD of Windows XP Pro and strongly recommends that this copy is used to re-install the operating system in order to achieve an even higher level of protection against threats associated with counterfeit software.

To qualify for the complimentary Windows XP Professional customers will be required to submit a proof of purchase, the counterfeit CD, and complete a counterfeit report with details of their purchase. Only high-quality counterfeit Windows will qualify for the complimentary offer.

The alternative for customers who find out via the WGA validation process that they are not running genuine Windows, but do not qualify for, or choose not to take the complimentary offer is to download a kit to scan their Windows system files, and if their files match the originals, convert their copy of Windows XP Professional to genuine. The customer must also submit a counterfeit report. Microsoft will then make a genuine version available for US$149 (versus US$299 estimated retail price).

Customers who pay for the electronic license will receive an email confirmation with a new 25-character Product Key, and instructions on where to download the Windows Product Key Update Tool, which will perform a complete scan of the user's Windows system files. The Tool will perform a scan of the approximately 6,000 files which make up the Windows XP distribution. If the files are unchanged from the original, then the scan will pass, and the genuine Windows conversion will continue.

Any differences from the original would indicate a potential vulnerability, and will cause the scan to fail. If the scan fails, users will not be able to complete the online conversion to genuine Windows. They will be instructed to store your genuine Windows Product Key in a safe place and wait until the genuine Windows XP backup disc arrives via postal mail. It should then be used along with your Product Key, to perform a clean installation of Windows XP Professional.

The offer is limited to one order per machine. For the complimentary offer, small business customers can order up to five copies per shipping address. The Windows Genuine Advantage Kit for Windows XP Professional CD contains Service Pack 2.

Microsoft is still collecting feedback about the program's infrastructure, delivering genuine software, and combating counterfeit software before deciding to make the program available in other countries.

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