One of the worst things Microsoft has ever created is the “Windows Genuine Advantage” program. This is where you have to prove to Microsoft that your copy of Windows XP is genuine in order to get some Windows Updates or other software (such as Windows Media Player).
Of course, there is nothing wrong with Microsoft wanting to make sure you are not using a pirated version of Windows XP. The problem arises when their verification software messes up, and determines that your legitimate installation of Windows XP is a copy. They then tell you that you will need to pay up in order to be seen as “genuine”. What a pain.
Note: This procedure is not meant to be used for the purpose of pirating Windows XP. If your version of Windows XP is actually a copy, then buy a real one or switch to a free operating system such as Linux. However, I have talked to enough clients that have had a problem with the Windows Genuine Advantage process (even though their Windows XP was genuine) that I have no hesitancy to provide this solution.
Also – this procedure works for Windows XP (I know from personal experience). I do not know if it works for Windows Vista. If you try it for Vista, please let me know the results.
Here are the steps:
1. Minimize all open windows so that you can see your desktop. In a blank area, right-click and choose New – Text Document.
2. Open the new text document you just created, and copy + paste the following code into it:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]"CurrentBuild"="1.511.1 () (Obsolete data - do not use)""ProductId"="55274-640-1011873-23081""DigitalProductId"=hex:a4,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,35,35,32,37,34,2d,36,34,30,2d,\31,30,31,31,38,37,33,2d,32,33,30,38,31,00,2e,00,00,00,41,32,32,2d,30,30,30,\30,31,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,86,56,4e,4c,21,1b,2b,6a,a3,78,8e,8f,98,5c,00,00,\00,00,00,00,dd,da,47,41,cc,6b,06,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,38,31,30,32,36,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,b5,16,\00,00,83,83,1f,38,f8,01,00,00,f5,1c,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,66,e5,70,f3"LicenseInfo"=hex:33,b7,21,c1,e5,e7,cd,4b,fd,7c,c6,35,51,fd,52,57,17,86,3e,18,\d3,f4,8c,8e,35,32,7b,d1,43,8d,61,38,60,a4,ca,55,c9,9a,35,17,46,7a,4f,91,fc,\4a,d9,db,64,5c,c4,e2,0f,34,f3,ea [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents]"OOBETimer"=hex:ff,d5,71,d6,8b,6a,8d,6f,d5,33,93,fd
3. Now click File – Save As
4. For File Type, select “All files”
5. For the file name, type this exactly: computer.reg
6. Click Save
7. Double-click the new file that is on your desktop (the one you just created, with the .reg extension). When it asks are you sure, say Yes.
You’re done! Want to check it? Go to this Microsoft page:
and click on the “Validate Windows” button on the right side. Congratulations!
UPDATE: Just this past week, Microsoft announced that it is rolling out a new version of Windows Genuine Advantage. This new one is supposed to be more accurate at identifying pirated copies of Windows XP Professional (the most copied version of Windows). The method I used above has been tested by me personally but I don’t know if it will work with the new version of WGA. Please report any results in the comments section.
This week’s video shows some unsuspecting people experiencing the unexpected.