Kill Switch RRS feed

  • Question

  • There is information going around that a Kill Switch is built in to Windows XP or a recent update or an update to shortly be released. This Kill Switch, supposedly, will make Windows inoperable after 30 days of the Kill Switch's beginning date if a computer does not have the WGA Notification update installed and validated. This is a REAL PROBLEM because so many people have trouble with this WGA Notification update. I have seen 12 OEM installations of XP on Dell, Compaq, and Toshiba computers state they are not activated. First, OEM installs do NOT need and can NOT be activated. Second, how can you activate an OEM installation if it can't be activated? WGA Notification seems to think you can when you can't!  And it whines at you until you activate successfully (which you can't).  Third, if WGA Notification fails on these computers because Windows can't be activated, how can you really install WGA Notification on these computers? You can't unless you want bugged to death all the time by the Notification symbol and at the log in screen.  And fourth, if you can't install WGA Notification because it screams at you about activation all the time and Windows locks itself down (with the SUPPOSED Kill Switch) because WGA N isn't installed, then you have a good sized paperweight from your computer (time for Linux or change to Mac?).

    If this Kill Switch is real, I can see legal problems for Microsoft all over again. I can see just about every state filing law suits on behalf of each state's citizens.  I can state without hesitation that all 12 OEM installations of Windows I have seen fail because of supposed non-activation are all genuine installations of Windows XP straight from the manufacturer with no reinstalls, no repair work with another Windows CD, nothing to make you think another XP CD was used on those computers.

    Microsoft should be smart enough to know that they can't stop the people they are trying to stop. Within hours of a new WGA release, hackers have hacked it. The people that are being hurt are the honest ones that have done nothing wrong because this WGA software misidentifies or doesn't work correctly. The hackers are laughing at Microsoft. Some of the honest users who paid for Windows are the ones getting hurt. Microsoft GET A CLUE! You are only hurting the people that feed you your money.  This is so bad that I am seriously thinking of telling people NOT to update Windows.  And, I have been a staunch supporter of Windows Updates for years.  The insanity must stop!
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:19 AM


  • Please provide the output of the diagnostics tool (located here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012 ) so we can take a look at whats going on. Specific OEM type keys do not need Activation (yes), and we have accounted for that appropriately.


    -phil liu

    Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:13 AM

All replies

  • There is no "Kill Switch" embedded in any Windows Updates.  What you may have read is unfounded speculation.
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:27 PM
  • Yet when Ed Bott asked Microsoft to confirm or deny said 'kill switch'  he received a vague reply? Was the Microsoft spokeperson's reply in error or intentionally vague?


    That can’t be true, can it? I’m always suspicious of any report that comes from a front-line tech support drone, so I sent a note to Microsoft asking for an official confirmation or, better yet, a denial. Instead, I got this terse response from a Microsoft spokesperson:

    As we have mentioned previously, as the WGA Notifications program expands in the future, customers may be required to participate. [emphasis added] Microsoft is gathering feedback in select markets to learn how it can best meet its customers' needs and will keep customers informed of any changes to the program.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:40 PM
  • Uh, oh, looks like the Black Helicopter crowd gave up on proving the attacks on the World Trade Center were government-planned implosions, and decided to concentrate on Microsoft instead.
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:13 PM
  • I was less harsh in a comment to Phil Liu that was edited out as a personal attack. I've accepted the rules of this forun that demand extreme civility

    Actually I'm not that thin skinned and don't wish you edited - just making a point. I just wish the moderators would allow a bit more sarcasm especially in their feedback and comments area

    As to the Ed Bott article dismiss it if you wish but Microsoft has only itself to blame.

    All Microsoft has to do is publish a timetable for the rules governing wga and all affected computers. The current practice is leading to quite a bit of unease especially amongst system administators. As a professed Microsoft stock owner, I would suspect that you would recognize how this would affect future purchasing decisions.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:37 PM
  • Gus,

    So, let me get this straight.

    Some guy called Microsoft Tech Support about Windows OneCare and was grilling the techie about WGA, even though OneCare techies are in a different department from WGA techies, and its "recent security issues," probably a referral to the overblown and misreported "phone home" thing.  The OneCare techie starts pontificating the goodness of WGA, which is not his department, and about future WGA plans for a "kill switch," which my guess would be about a hundred echelons above his pay grade, say at Balmer-level.  So the some guy says, Ooh, that's interesting and posts it to a blog, which is read by another guy who happens to be (after this, maybe used to be...) a respected computer journalist, who irresponsibily posts it to his blog, and just to prove that he is a play-by-the-rules journalist, gets the obligatory and expectedly-vague quote from an official MS spokesperson so his editor won't ream him out. 

    So here we have it:  the same Level One Microsoft tech support people that have been called every curse word in every language on Earth, who are universally reviled as clueless, bumbling, incompetent, script reading, mindless automatons by both Grandma on her Dell and by the self-appointed computing cognoscenti, who are suspected of being human mushrooms (you know, kept in the dark and fed.........)-----one of these fine folks seems to have been trusted with a secret that would be the MS equivalent of the Secret of the DaVinci Code, and Oh My God, this techie somehow let his guard down and divulged this momentus information, to some guy who emailed a blog.

    We don't trust them or what they say when they are called for tech support, but we do trust them when they "divulge" an uber-secret diabolical plan to disable every counterfeit copy of Windows in the World.

    Sounds like the pitch meeting for the next Austin Powers sequel.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:00 PM
  • What Microsoft Tech support says is not an issue.

    I do agree that the wga issue is a contentious one.  My point is that the FAQs that Microsoft have provided have been less than clear leading to this open speculation.

    When the news  should be primarily about Vista and the other announced products some of it ( we'll probably differ on how much )  it is lost due to the wga implemantation debacle.

    If you have seen any of the speculation on corporate VLKs and wga you should know that it will get much worse by the day.  The current press releases out of Microsft do nothing to diminish the fire out there

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:51 PM
  • This does not relate to WGA Validation - moving sections.
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:08 PM
  • Actually it does relate to validation.  Did you notice my comment on 12 OEM machines that WGA Notification claims aren't activated?
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 6:39 PM
  • Can you validate at www.microsoft.com/genuine and tell me the output?




    -Phil Liu

    Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:22 AM
  • You seemed to have missed the point. Windows validates just fine on the website. Where the problem lies is with the Notification Update from Windows Update (or Microsoft Update). It tells you that the OEM installs of Windows have not been activated (you aren't suppose to activate them anyway). Of course, if you try to activate, it fails (remember, you aren't suppose to activate them). So now, you have the notification update complaining all the time about activating Windows, which you can't do.

    The Notification Update has serious problems. It should be pulled until it works correctly. I have seen a dozen computers now with this same problem, all with genuine Windows installs directly from the OEM manufacturers (Dell, Compaq, and Toshiba). And believe me, I deal with about 70 computers. A dozen out of about 70 is a serious issue! These computers aren't from little local computer shops that may be installing the same key over and over and not giving you a CD. These are huge computer manufacturers. None of these computers in question have had Windows reinstalled. They are the original installations from the factory.
    Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:11 AM
  • Please provide the output of the diagnostics tool (located here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012 ) so we can take a look at whats going on. Specific OEM type keys do not need Activation (yes), and we have accounted for that appropriately.


    -phil liu

    Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:13 AM