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Questions about WGA Data RRS feed

  • Question

  • Quoting from the Privacy Policy at http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/downloads/PrivacyInfo.aspx

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    To help you validate your software, the MGA tools must collect a certain amount of configuration information from your computer. The tools do not collect your name, address, e-mail address, or any other information that Microsoft will use to identify you or contact you.


    The tools collect such information as:

    • Computer make and model
    • Version information for the operating system and software using Genuine Advantage
    • Region and language setting
    • A unique number assigned to your computer by the tools (Globally Unique Identifier or GUID)
    • Product Key (hashed) and Product ID
    • BIOS name, revision number, and revision date
    • Hard drive volume serial number (hashed)

    In addition to the configuration information above, status information such as the following is also transferred:

    • Whether the installation was successful if one was performed
    • The result of the validation check

    If your system is identified as non-genuine, additional information may be sent to Microsoft to better understand why your system failed validation. This information can include error codes and the names and paths of files that compromise the integrity of your system.

    As standard procedure, your Internet Protocol (IP) address is temporarily logged when your computer connects to an MGA website or server. These logs are routinely deleted.

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    I am a "power user" but I also know more than one language. I have doubts about the "Region and Language" setting data being collected. I am based in the UK with everything set to UK in Regional Settings of Control Panel, with the exception of the "Language for non-Unicode programs" on the Advanced tab. This is set to another language so that my system is compatible with another language should I need to use such programs. Many programs think my computer is in another country outside the UK!

    As a result of changing these settings as described above, I have found many annoying problems such as many unicode errors like missing dollar, pound signs and first digits, etc. If I change the settings back would give the impression to Microsoft that I have carried my entire computer all the way to another country and I believe that software importation is not always 100% legal.

    I shall hope that the data related to Regional and Language settings being changed constantly will not make WGA think my Windows and Office are pirated.

    I also have doubts about the Computer Make and Model data being collected because I am a system builder. I have built my own computer so obviously it will have my own manufacturer and model name according to my own OEMINFO.INI. Is that the data that would be sent to Microsoft or would it be the make and model of my Intel D875PBZ motherboard.

    I am due to reinstall my entire system and will make a few upgrades which includes a new firmware for my DVD-RW (this counts as a hardware change), a faster CPU and a new, bigger hard drive. I will low-level format the old hard drive to delete everything from it from A-Z. I have activated both Windows and Office nearly 120 days ago so I am not sure if I would need to telephone activate.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007 6:11 PM

Answers

  • hi uk3160,
    With the exception of the motherboard, my experience with WGA and product activation is that it's based off a "delta" of the various hashes... and that delta has a very large tolerance/margin.

    No singular mass change (again, excluding motherboard) will flag a license change.  Microsoft expects users to have a degree of changes occur during the life of their PC so WGA checks have a set "tolerance" before the system is rendered different enough to flag a possible license violation.

    In other words, you might have to change regional settings, the hard drive, processor and BIOS all in tandem for the hash key to fall outside it's acceptable tolerance.   Your first question on the motherboard- it's the actual motherboard itself (make/model ID's).   If you plan on replacing the motherboard (Intel D875PBZ), this will most definately flag the need for re-activation, which if you have the RETAIL version of Windows is fully allowable, but will need telephone re-activation to transfer the retail license to the "new" motherboard ("PC" by Microsoft's definition).  OEM windows, this is not allowed (i.e. cannot be transfered to a "new" PC/motherboard).

    I've performed similar upgrades to your given list (cpu, hd, cd -> dvd drive) and none of this flagged a change big enough to hose activation.   On the rare event this normal maintenance did flag a change, the telephone activation usually takes under 5 minutes.  If the motherboard hasn't changed (or if it has, you have RETAIL XP) this will be no problem at all and hassle-free.

    • Marked as answer by JeniferA Thursday, August 28, 2008 6:22 PM
    Thursday, January 18, 2007 8:31 PM