Is Windows XP Spying on you?

Propellerhead Top Tip

If you’ve installed any Microsoft updates recently you may recall seeing something called Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) in amongst the bits and pieces you are urged to install. WGA is meant to validate your copy of Windows, but at the same time WGA also installs something called the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification tool.

This is a little utility that looks for pirated copies of Microsoft software, but here’s the worrying bit. Propellerhead has learned that every time you boot up your PC it calls home to Microsoft, (or once a day if your PC is left running). MS are cagey about the data that’s being exchanged during these brief transactions or why a daily check should be necessary if the software on your PC is fully legit, but it has emerged that it will enable MS to remotely deactivate any programs it deems to have been pirated, at the moment…

No one can object to their system being validated but it only needs to happen once and the Notification business sounds a lot like spyware. A decent Firewall should stop this use of your Internet connection without your permission, but only if you spot the warning, which most people will probably agree to as it refers to the WGA validation tool. If you are concerned about this intrusion you might want to take a look at this free WGA Notification removal tool, which leaves the WGA Validation component intact so critical updates should still proceed as normal. You shouldn’t need reminding but just in case you’ve forgotten or you are new here there are lots more security tips, tweaks and utilities to try at PCTopTips

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