We like to read this but only so many times. If you want help, then don't rant but dive into the subject.
Since there are other WGA posts I've locked this thread since your points are already under discussion.
If you need help with installing XP or how to turn off WGA notifications, post without the rant part since that's already been done (too many times.)
Windows XP SP1 was factory-installed on my computer by Dell Computer Corporation. My copy of Windows is genuine and has been successfully validated. I agree that Microsoft has a right to fight software piracy, but I think that with the WGA auto-update Microsoft has gone too far.
When I chose to install the WGA update, I was under the impression that validation would occur once upon successful installation, and perhaps whenever I clicked the "Validate" button on Microsoft download pages. However, the murky EULA seems to leave the door open for the "supplement" to send information to Microsoft at any time, as often as Microsoft sees fit, without ever notifying me or asking my permission.
Item #5: "Microsoft provides Internet-based services with this supplement. It may change or cancel them at any time. This supplement connects to Microsoft or service provider computer systems over the Internet as described below. In some cases, you will not receive a separate notice when it connects."
Item #8: "BY USING THIS FEATURE, YOU CONSENT TO THE TRANSMISSION AND USE OF THE ABOVE COMPUTER INFORMATION."
Did I consent to a one-time transmission of my computer information, or did I give Microsoft permanent spying rights? The license agreement isn't exactly clear on this.
From Microsoft's WGA FAQ: "The pilot version of this software periodically contacts Microsoft after validation. This feature has been removed from the final version of WGA Notifications. WGA validation process does communicate with Microsoft periodically."
From a press release: "In the pilot phase, a PC that had installed WGA Notifications checked a server-side configuration setting upon each login, to determine if WGA Notifications should run or not. This configuration file check has been removed in the updated WGA Notifications package released today. It is important to note that WGA Validation still periodically checks to determine whether the version of Windows is genuine."
And later in the same press release:
"As soon as a customer installs the updated package of WGA Notifications, the computer will no longer perform the server-side configuration check upon each login. It is important to note that WGA Validation still collects information that is used to determine whether the version of Windows is genuine.... From time to time Microsoft will make available a new version of the WGA Validation tool. When this occurs, a PC will run the validation check again."
KB905474 says, "If you are running a validated, genuine copy of Windows XP, you will not receive notification messages." This isn't exactly true. I received messages informing me that I needed to upgrade to SP2. If the software doesn't periodically communicate with Microsoft's servers after the initial validation, how is it supposed to notify me when I need to upgrade to SP3?
I gather from a blog post that people who purchase their computers from Dell, with Windows pre-installed, have "ordinary consumer licenses," not volume licenses, and therefore receive "permanent validations." If I have a "permanent validation," then why shouldn't I be allowed to uninstall this software? Why is Microsoft so insistent that this software become a permanent part of my operating system?
I think I'll wait to see what happens with the lawsuits before attempting a manual uninstall, but I'm still curious, do the instructions provided by KB921914 for removing the pilot release also work for the general release? I know that it's not supported, but I am curious as to whether or not it actually works.
I originally tried posting this on Microsoft's forum, but they kept deleting it. (Apparently you're not allowed to post negative feedback in the "Feedback and Comments" forum.)