Black Screens For Unauthorized Copies of Windows XP

Anyone without and original copy will see a black screen

by Michael Smith

For all those Windows-XP users that do not pass the so-called Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) test Microsoft has a new trick in store. Instead of the again and again repeating pop-up users of a supposed pirated copy of the Operating System will now see a black desktop background and a watermark at the bottom of the screen. Microsoft apparently hopes with this new approach to persuade users of illegal and pirated copies – but we all know that not all copies that fail the "Genuine Windows Validation" are in fact illegal and pirated – to buy an original version.

It would appear that that previous methods are no longer thought sufficient by the developers in Redmond. Hence they have decided to come up with the newer, tougher, approach to deal with those that failed the "Genuine Windows Validation" test. Primarily this is being aimed at users of pirated versions of the operating system and to encourage, or better, force, them to buy an original copy.

Should the user not heed the messages about the failed "Genuine Windows Validation" then his or her desktop background will be switched to an all black one on an hourly rhythm. The “watermark” at the bottom of the screen, the “Persistent Desktop Notification”, furthermore will remain as a permanent one.

Users, so the WGA Blog states, can change the background back according to how he or she wishes it to appear but after an hour the black background will return.

Well, so much for Windows and privacy and all that. When Microsoft recently accused Google of privacy violations of users, so to speak, it surely was a case of the pot calling the kettle.

We do all, I am sure, know, however, of incidents and this was the case not so long agao with Vista, that the "Genuine Windows Validation" frequently gets it wrong.

In addition to that a “cracker tool” has been around for a while which is able to fool the "Genuine Windows Validation" into believing, to some extent, that a copy whose license has expired, for instance, is valid, as it is a genuine one anyway. OK, I know that this is, theoretically, illegal but...

This new scheme out of Redmond shall primarily be used with regards to illegally copied windows XP Professional. The reason given for this is, according to the WGA Blog, the fact that XP Professional is one of the most frequently copied version of Windows.

The fact here, in my opinion, is not so much a case of illegally copied versions but that many secondhand PCs are in use that have been bought with XP Pro installed on them from when they came and the license of the companies and organizations who have been the previous owners has expired. Hence the WGA validator sees it as an illegal copy.

The only way out of this failed "Genuine Windows Validation" issue that is know at present is to actually purchase a genuine certified original copy of XP Pro in the box. And whoever wants to really act according to Microsoft's wishes then goes and rather buys a copy of Vista.

Here now comes an interesting thought, methinks: Could this all be an attempt by the people there in Redmond to “force” users to migrate to Vista, so that they, Microsoft, can, as they wanted to, remove all support from XP?

I shall leave you with this little food for thought...

© M Smith, August 2008