Microsoft's WGA Cracked With Two-Year Old KeysIt will always be inevitable that people will run pirated versions of Windows. Microsoft had set their sights high when they started to enforce Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) but cracks started to come out left and right.

It started out that Microsoft just prevented people from downloading optional Windows Updates but they soon installed a WGA Notification Tool that would notify people when they were running an illegal copy of Windows. That pissed so many people off that they ended up providing very lengthy instructions on how you can manually remove the update. The much easier way to remove WGA notifications is to download the cleverly named RemoveWGA program that someone has put together.

If you are one of the people running a pirated copy of Windows then I am sure you know how annoying the WGA is. Ed Bott from ZDNet wanted to test out what people go through when they have a pirated copy of Windows. So, funny enough, he contacted Microsoft and asked for a copy of Windows XP with a pirated CD key and they sent it to him. Except the CD key they provided came up as invalid when he tried installing Windows. After trying to contact them for 3-days he decided to search the Web for a key because that is what real pirates probably do anyways. He finally found a list of 5 keys that were about 2-years old but they got Windows installed just fine. Now the WGA nightmares will begin…or will they?

After Windows restarted he installed a bunch of the Windows updates which included the WGA Validation tool and the WGA Notifications utility. Once he restarted the computer again he noticed that he was not notified by the WGA tool that his Windows was illegal…oops! He then tested it to make sure the computer was really validated:

My bootleg key worked perfectly. I went back to Windows Update and downloaded a series of Optional Updates and drivers that are only available to Genuine Windows users. I went over to the Internet Explorer homepage and downloaded the latest beta of IE7, passing a validation test twice – once on the download and again on the installation. And five minutes ago I went over to the Windows Defender page – this is another free utility that’s only available to Genuine Windows users – and the validation check waved me right through.

It looks like Microsoft has some work to do on their WGA tools but I couldn’t help but laugh when I found out Microsoft can’t even recognize pirated keys that are 2-years old.