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WGA Removal tool for XP Home (Retail)

    Question

  • Greetings,
    I have two customers wishing to remove WGA from XP Home Retail as this was installed without proper consent, EULA or other.

    I can verify their concern as with XP Home (original Retail version), there is no warning or details section that details the operation of WGA for the user to accept. 

    Path to reproduce:
    1) Install original XP Home Retail version.
    2) Run Windows Update.
    3) Windows Update will notify that a newer version of Windows Update is required.  It lists several benefits to the upgrade but lists nothing on the screen about unique, identifiable information submitted to Microsoft nor that there will be periodic transmission of this information.  Basically, the same EULA and Agree screens found in SP2 and above are NOT THERE.
    4) Upon first reboot, the system now has WGA installed and falls completely under the definition of Spyware by even the misused and redefined version Microsoft has adopted.

    I can provide screenshots of the Windows Update screen if desired.  Even if the user clicks the "Details" link, under the details there is no EULA concerning WGA's functionality. The same agreement afforded newer versions of XP simply isn't there in XP Home, original Retail Box version.

    Where can I find a WGA removal tool for these users that have wound up with this without their consent?  Thanks in advance.
    Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:59 PM

Answers

  • Hello StevenPO,

      Windows Genuine Advantage is an Opt-In program and does Not install without the user's consent. In fact, unlike other updates, found on the Windows Update site, WGA has it's own Install Screen that specifically requests user consent.  Please see http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/AboutNotifications.aspx?displaylang=en&Page=How for a tour of the WGA install process (with screen shots) Please take special note of step 2 in the process where the License Agreement (here's your EULA) is clearly displayed and the user is given a choice of "I Do Not Agree" and "I Agree".

      On a personal note, I believe it would be enlightening for you to install WGA yourself (say, on a test computer) so you could have firsthand knowledge of the install process and be able to speak intelligently about the software you are referring to as “spyware” and “illegal”.
     
      Broadly speaking, spyware and malware are deceptive software that is installed on a user’s computer without the user’s consent and has some malicious purpose. WGA is installed with the consent of the user and seeks only to notify the user if a proper license is not in place. If the user declines the EULA, WGA Notifications will not be installed on user’s machine. Once installed, WGA Notifications becomes a permanent part of Windows XP software, and therefore cannot be uninstalled. However, users can disable non-genuine reminders by changing WGA Notifications setting in the system tray icon. WGA is not spyware.

    Thank you and have a pleasant day,
    Darin Smith
    WGA Forum Program Manager

    --------------------------------------------------------

    All Users: Please go to http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1255325&SiteID=25 before posting a question.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Friday, March 23, 2007 12:16 AM
    Owner
  • Hi StevePO,

      First lets define what we are talking about, I think there may be some confusion.

    there are two Windows Genuine Advantage components: KB892130 and KB905474

    1) KB892130 - Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool - This is an ActiveX control that is a Required install to be able to use the Windows Update site as well as to download most files from the Microsoft Download Center. More info on KB892130: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892130/en-us

    2) KB905474 - Windows Genuine Advantage Notification - This is an application that is available from Windows Update, Microsoft Download Center as well as thru the Automatic Updates service. More info on KB905474: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/905474/en-us


    I now believe you are referring to the Validation Tool (KB892130) and I was referring to Notification (KB905474).

      Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130): The Validation Tool (KB892130) does not have an install screen (as most ActiveX controls do not). The Validation Tool (KB892130) is a Required install to use the Windows Update site (as is the "WUEebControl Class" (wuweb.dll) ActiveX control, that also installs without a install screen or a EULA). The First time the user goes to the Windows Update site, On the page after the "Checking for Updates (with the green moving bar) the user is presented a screen that displays the below information:


    "To use this latest version of Windows Update, you will need to upgrade some of its components. This version provides you with the following enhancements to our service:


    Express and custom installation:  Choose only the most recent critical updates or pick and choose from all available updates.
    Smarter downloads:  If downloading is interrupted, the process will start up where it left off the next time you download that update.
    Smaller downloads:  Only the files your computer needs are downloaded, saving download time and connection-speed costs.
    One version:  Only the most recent updates are offered to you.
    Less clutter:  You can now hide updates you don't want to see.
    Update news:  A News from Microsoft section on the Windows Update home page displays tips and the latest information.

    Details

    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130)
    The Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool enables you to verify that your copy of Microsoft Windows is genuine. The tool validates your Windows installation by checking Windows Product Identification and Product Activation status."

    At the bottom of that screen, there is a "Download and install Now" button. If the user wishes to continue to the Windows Update site proper, they are required to click the "Download and install Now" button and therefore the user is consenting to installing the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130). The user Can choice not to install the Validation Tool (KB892130), but they will not be able to proceed to the Windows Update Site (Note: the user is able to receive Critical Updates thru the Automatic Updates service without being required to install the Validation Tool (KB892130)).

    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130) can easily be disabled or removed by going to the "Manage Add-ons" area in Internet Explorer, selecting the add-on "Windows Genuine Advantage Tool" and then selecting the "Disable" option. Or the user can remove the Validation Tool (KB892130) by searching the computer for the file "LegitCheckControl.dll" and deleting the resulting file(s). Note: After disabling or deleting the Validation Tool (KB892130), If the user returns to the Windows Update site, they will be required to either enable or re-install Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130) to access the Windows Download site.

     
      Windows Genuine Advantage Notification (KB905474): The WGA Notification (KB905474) application is an available download from the Microsoft Download Center, Windows Update Site and is presented to users thru the Automatic Update service. WGA Notification (KB905474) does have its own install screen which includes a EULA and options for the user to Agree or Not Agree to it. The WGA Notification (KB905474) is under the Opt-in model and will only install if the user give consent (i.e. Agrees to the EULA). Again, see Please see http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/AboutNotifications.aspx?displaylang=en&Page=How for a description and screen shots of the full WGA Notification (KB905474) install process.

    Once installed, WGA Notifications becomes a permanent part of user’s Windows XP system, and cannot be uninstalled. However, participants will have the option to suppress all the notifications for some length of time. Users will not have the option of uninstalling WGA Notifications. Users who fail validation will be taken to a Web page with a prominent option to license genuine Windows.

    So , to summarize:


    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130): required to use the Windows Update site. If the user wishes to use the Windows Update site, they are required to install the Validation Tool (KB892130) If the user does not wish to install the Validation Tool (KB892130), they can refuse to click the "Download and Install Now" button and leave the Windows Update site = Consent


    Windows Genuine Advantage Notification (KB905474): Not a required install. User must agree to the EULA or no install takes place = Consent


    Validation Tool (KB892130) and Notification (KB905474) = Not Spyware and Not Illegal (not Illegal in California nor, to the best of my knowledge, anywhere else in the world).

     

    (The above information is Up To Date as of Friday March 23, 2007)

    Thank you,
    Darin Smith
    WGA Forum Program Manager

     

    --------------------------------------------------------

    All Users: Please go to http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1255325&SiteID=25 before posting a question.
    --------------------------------------------------------

     

    Friday, March 23, 2007 11:12 PM
    Owner

All replies

  • There is no WGA removal tool.  WGA becomes integrated with the Windows operating system when it is installed if you directly visit the Microsoft Windows Update web site.  There is no personal information that is collected or transmitted to Microsoft.
    Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:12 PM
    Answerer
  • And as this is done without the user's consent, then it is illegal for Microsoft to install this piece of software as it fully falls under even their broken, re-defined form of "Spyware".

    I'd prefer if a Microsoft employee would direct me towards an uninstall tool for WGA or further investigation into this issue.  I can provide the screenshots of Windows Update pages and Details contents to show very clearly that the EULA agreement is not there with Windows XP Home Retail (original version, not SP1/SP2 or OEM).  It still installs WGA without the end-user's consent, desire or wish.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:56 PM
  • Hello StevenPO,

      Windows Genuine Advantage is an Opt-In program and does Not install without the user's consent. In fact, unlike other updates, found on the Windows Update site, WGA has it's own Install Screen that specifically requests user consent.  Please see http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/AboutNotifications.aspx?displaylang=en&Page=How for a tour of the WGA install process (with screen shots) Please take special note of step 2 in the process where the License Agreement (here's your EULA) is clearly displayed and the user is given a choice of "I Do Not Agree" and "I Agree".

      On a personal note, I believe it would be enlightening for you to install WGA yourself (say, on a test computer) so you could have firsthand knowledge of the install process and be able to speak intelligently about the software you are referring to as “spyware” and “illegal”.
     
      Broadly speaking, spyware and malware are deceptive software that is installed on a user’s computer without the user’s consent and has some malicious purpose. WGA is installed with the consent of the user and seeks only to notify the user if a proper license is not in place. If the user declines the EULA, WGA Notifications will not be installed on user’s machine. Once installed, WGA Notifications becomes a permanent part of Windows XP software, and therefore cannot be uninstalled. However, users can disable non-genuine reminders by changing WGA Notifications setting in the system tray icon. WGA is not spyware.

    Thank you and have a pleasant day,
    Darin Smith
    WGA Forum Program Manager

    --------------------------------------------------------

    All Users: Please go to http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1255325&SiteID=25 before posting a question.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Friday, March 23, 2007 12:16 AM
    Owner
  •  Darin Smith MS wrote:
    Hello StevenPO,

    Windows Genuine Advantage is an Opt-In program and does Not install without the user's consent. In fact, unlike other updates, found on the Windows Update site, WGA has it's own Install Screen that specifically requests user consent. Please see http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/AboutNotifications.aspx?displaylang=en&Page=How for a tour of the WGA install process (with screen shots) Please take special note of step 2 in the process where the License Agreement (here's your EULA) is clearly displayed and the user is given a choice of "I Do Not Agree" and "I Agree".

    Thank you for your speedy reply, Darin. The above detail is not accurate as in the steps that can be reproduced, no such "I Do Not Agree" and "I Agree" selection nor EULA is presented. If such a choice were presented, then there would be no issue here.

    On a personal note, I believe it would be enlightening for you to install WGA yourself (say, on a test computer) so you could have firsthand knowledge of the install process and be able to speak intelligently about the software you are referring to as “spyware” and “illegal”.

    I have reproduced the steps on a test PC multiple times to ensure the process. It is sound and reproducible.

    I am speaking intelligently about the software as referred to as "Spyware" by our local, California Definition from Senate Bill 1436 enacted into law in 2004.

    Broadly speaking, spyware and malware are deceptive software that is installed on a user’s computer without the user’s consent ...

    And therein lies the problem. User's consent is bypassed with this method of installation. I can verify any oem/vlk or retail version of Windows XP aside from this version indeed presents the proper user consent/EULA agreement prior to installation.. in this case, there is no Agree or I do Not Agree and the tool is installed upon first reboot. The EULA/consent option does NOT appear during the process, yet the WGA software is intact and installed.

    These are very old copies of XP Home (prior to even SP1) and Retail/Retail Upgrade. There is a "Details" link on the old Windows Update page but it does not detail (will provide screenshots of), but the executable downloaded and installed does not pause to display the EULA or the Agree/I Do Not Agree choice for the user. This is the problem.

    I will run through the entire process a third time this weekend on a test PC and provide more screenshots. Previous double attempts to reproduce have obtained the WGA software without the EULA (which indeed is comprehensive in it's ability to allow the user to Opt-In if they so choose) without any special steps.

    Friday, March 23, 2007 1:07 AM
  • Hi StevePO,

      First lets define what we are talking about, I think there may be some confusion.

    there are two Windows Genuine Advantage components: KB892130 and KB905474

    1) KB892130 - Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool - This is an ActiveX control that is a Required install to be able to use the Windows Update site as well as to download most files from the Microsoft Download Center. More info on KB892130: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892130/en-us

    2) KB905474 - Windows Genuine Advantage Notification - This is an application that is available from Windows Update, Microsoft Download Center as well as thru the Automatic Updates service. More info on KB905474: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/905474/en-us


    I now believe you are referring to the Validation Tool (KB892130) and I was referring to Notification (KB905474).

      Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130): The Validation Tool (KB892130) does not have an install screen (as most ActiveX controls do not). The Validation Tool (KB892130) is a Required install to use the Windows Update site (as is the "WUEebControl Class" (wuweb.dll) ActiveX control, that also installs without a install screen or a EULA). The First time the user goes to the Windows Update site, On the page after the "Checking for Updates (with the green moving bar) the user is presented a screen that displays the below information:


    "To use this latest version of Windows Update, you will need to upgrade some of its components. This version provides you with the following enhancements to our service:


    Express and custom installation:  Choose only the most recent critical updates or pick and choose from all available updates.
    Smarter downloads:  If downloading is interrupted, the process will start up where it left off the next time you download that update.
    Smaller downloads:  Only the files your computer needs are downloaded, saving download time and connection-speed costs.
    One version:  Only the most recent updates are offered to you.
    Less clutter:  You can now hide updates you don't want to see.
    Update news:  A News from Microsoft section on the Windows Update home page displays tips and the latest information.

    Details

    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130)
    The Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool enables you to verify that your copy of Microsoft Windows is genuine. The tool validates your Windows installation by checking Windows Product Identification and Product Activation status."

    At the bottom of that screen, there is a "Download and install Now" button. If the user wishes to continue to the Windows Update site proper, they are required to click the "Download and install Now" button and therefore the user is consenting to installing the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130). The user Can choice not to install the Validation Tool (KB892130), but they will not be able to proceed to the Windows Update Site (Note: the user is able to receive Critical Updates thru the Automatic Updates service without being required to install the Validation Tool (KB892130)).

    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130) can easily be disabled or removed by going to the "Manage Add-ons" area in Internet Explorer, selecting the add-on "Windows Genuine Advantage Tool" and then selecting the "Disable" option. Or the user can remove the Validation Tool (KB892130) by searching the computer for the file "LegitCheckControl.dll" and deleting the resulting file(s). Note: After disabling or deleting the Validation Tool (KB892130), If the user returns to the Windows Update site, they will be required to either enable or re-install Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130) to access the Windows Download site.

     
      Windows Genuine Advantage Notification (KB905474): The WGA Notification (KB905474) application is an available download from the Microsoft Download Center, Windows Update Site and is presented to users thru the Automatic Update service. WGA Notification (KB905474) does have its own install screen which includes a EULA and options for the user to Agree or Not Agree to it. The WGA Notification (KB905474) is under the Opt-in model and will only install if the user give consent (i.e. Agrees to the EULA). Again, see Please see http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/AboutNotifications.aspx?displaylang=en&Page=How for a description and screen shots of the full WGA Notification (KB905474) install process.

    Once installed, WGA Notifications becomes a permanent part of user’s Windows XP system, and cannot be uninstalled. However, participants will have the option to suppress all the notifications for some length of time. Users will not have the option of uninstalling WGA Notifications. Users who fail validation will be taken to a Web page with a prominent option to license genuine Windows.

    So , to summarize:


    Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130): required to use the Windows Update site. If the user wishes to use the Windows Update site, they are required to install the Validation Tool (KB892130) If the user does not wish to install the Validation Tool (KB892130), they can refuse to click the "Download and Install Now" button and leave the Windows Update site = Consent


    Windows Genuine Advantage Notification (KB905474): Not a required install. User must agree to the EULA or no install takes place = Consent


    Validation Tool (KB892130) and Notification (KB905474) = Not Spyware and Not Illegal (not Illegal in California nor, to the best of my knowledge, anywhere else in the world).

     

    (The above information is Up To Date as of Friday March 23, 2007)

    Thank you,
    Darin Smith
    WGA Forum Program Manager

     

    --------------------------------------------------------

    All Users: Please go to http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1255325&SiteID=25 before posting a question.
    --------------------------------------------------------

     

    Friday, March 23, 2007 11:12 PM
    Owner
  • Reading this, I realize that I will most likely never get rid of this RAM-stealing Tray icon. Since I completely lack the required computer and law-knowledge to actively engage in this discussion, I'll settle with this simple complaint. Since this is more of an opinion than actual argument, you need not pay any great attention to it unless you consider my opinion completely enigmatic.

    Could we at least have had a clear warning about being stuck with this unbelievably annoying blue tray icon? Even though I have a legitimate Windows XP it seems it has some crucial message to deliver me. Every time I start up my computer I have to shut down all non-necessary processes to be able to do my computer gaming with as little hindrance as possible, since my computer barely can handle Blizzard's Warcraft 3 online. I am sure you did this update with good intent, but in mine and obviously many others opinion,  a bad result. Looking forward to a solution to removing this wonderful tray icon.

    Jonatan R, devastated gamer with an even slower computer.
    Thursday, March 05, 2009 10:00 AM
  • JonatanR,


    We request all users initially run the Genuine Diagnostics tool to try and identify the issue you may be having.

    Download and run the utility at this link http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012 , then click the Windows tab, Copy to Clipboard, then paste the report into your reply to this post.

    Next tell us about the Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) for your Windows. Tell us:
    1. What edition of Windows XP is it for, Home, Pro, or Media Center?
    2. For installations of XP that came with the computer (OEM):
        2a. Does it read "OEM Software" or "OEM Product" in black lettering?
        2b. Or, does it have the computer manufacturer's name in black lettering?
    3. For installations of XP purchased at retail, does the retail package have the CoA on the ouuter boxtop, and the Product Key printed on an orange label inside the folder that came in the box?
    4. DO NOT post the Product Key that may be printed on the CoA.
    5. Please also provide a short description of the issue you are experiencing.

    Please visit this page for detailed information and images of CoAs:  http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/content.aspx?displaylang=en&pg=coa

    NOTE: The data collected with the Genuine Diagnostics Tool does NOT contain any information that can personally identify you and can be fully reviewed, by you, before being posted.


    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Friday, March 06, 2009 8:26 PM
  • Hello Paddle_faster,

    Not sure why you are ranting in a very old thread, but I did notice that you were looking for XP SP2 and XP SP3 and were convinced that you had to get them from Windows Update.  Not so.

    Here is the link for the standalone XP SP2 package:  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=049c9dbe-3b8e-4f30-8245-9e368d3cdb5a

    And here is the link for the standalone XP SP3 package:  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=5b33b5a8-5e76-401f-be08-1e1555d4f3d4

    May I suggest burning each installation file to its own CD for future use?

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 4:09 AM