Beware the Kill Switch in Vista License Enforcement


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Microsoft is enhancing software license enforcement for Windows Vista and Longhorn Server products with an updated version of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). The new program, dubbed the Windows Software Protection Platform (SPP), promises to thwart the advances of software pirates, but will also cause headaches for IT managers. Tougher activation requirements – as well as a built-in "kill switch" to force compliance – mean greater diligence is required when it comes to license management, software migrations, and hardware changes.

Even now, WGA is still causing problems for many users, despite having been rolled back after initial criticism. For examples, refer to the official "Windows XP Genuine Advantage Validation Issues" page, which includes reports of legitimate enterprises and university campuses that have had their Windows XP volume license keys blocked by WGA for a variety of reasons. Given the widely reported false positives with the existing scheme, it is reasonable to expect some legally licensed machines under SPP to endure similar problems.

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Search Code: 571
Published: November 7, 2006
Last Revised: November 7, 2006

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