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Remove Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications

Recently I was going on a trip and wanted to pack up my iPhone.  iTunes, the bane of my existence, wouldn't back up my phone unless I updated it to the newest version.  Fine.... I upgraded iTunes (because I had no choice).   When I rebooted, my PC was dead... apparently the power supply decided it was a good time to die.

I ordered a new power supply, and after I installed it, I was getting this "You might be a victim of software counterfeiting" error, with an annoying error displayed in the lower right about Windows Genuine Advantage, saying my "Volume License was blocked."

I called Microsoft, as I have a purchased (with the new PC) license, and started my 2-hour long run around.   First they said it wasn't Windows, but some other software, and directed me to a number (that was conveniently closed).  I called back.  I told them it was Windows, no other software, and gave them the product key.  They had me check (Start->Run->type "oobe/mssoobe a"  and it said my product key was activated.  The Microsoft agent then proceeded to tell me that I had a valid product key, which was activated, but not validated.  I asked him to validate it.  He said he would transfer me, but somehow I got hung up on.  I called back and tried to get MS to "Validate" my Windows copy.   After a couple of calls and transfers where nobody seemed to know what they were doing, I finally got an agent who said that Microsoft only provides technical support for 60 days after purchase, and she'd be happy to help me validate my copy of windows.... for $99/hour.   

I told her that I didn't need technical support, I needed them to validate my copy of Windows, and asking me to pay to remove an error that they generated, which amounts to extortion, was out of the question.   She said that all she could do then was to email me instructions on how to validate it myself.  

Even before I got the email, which was basically just this unhelpful url: (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/help/genuine/product-key#T1=tab03), 
I was fed up with Microsoft, so I Googled how to disable Windows Genuine Advantage.    Here is what worked for me, and actually seemed to speed up my Windows XP box:


I'll re-post the instructions here, in case the site goes down.  Happy MS Hacking!  

  1. 1
    Run as an administrator with no other user accounts running.
  2. 2
    Launch Windows Task Manager (Processes). Leave it open.
  3. 3
    Navigate to to C:\Windows\System32, and find WgaTray.exe.
  4. 4
    Right-click on WgaTray.exe, and select Delete. Leave the deletion confirmation box open.
  5. 5
    Go back to Windows Task Manager and click Wgatray.exe.
  6. 6
    Click End Process. When you are prompted for a confirmation to terminate the process, align the “End Process” confirmation box with the previous “Delete File” confirmation box, or at least have them close together. Do this because you'll need to do both actions quickly — at least within 2 or 3 seconds.
  7. 7
    Click Yes in both boxes, quickly. Click on Yes on the Task Manager prompt (to “end the process”) and then quickly press Yes on the deletion confirmation (to delete the actual file). You’ll need to repeat this if you miss it.
  8. 8
    Launch the Registry Editor. Click Start, then Run, and enter regedit.
  9. 9
    Browse to the following location:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify
  10. 10
    Delete the folder WgaLogon and all its contents.
  11. 11
    Reboot Windows XP.
  12. 12
    Check your work. As a precaution, after you have followed the above instructions:
    • Go to Control Panel > Security Center > Automatic Update Settings.
    • Select the third option, “Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them."
    • Click OK.
    • The next time the “Windows Updates” icon appears in the system tray, click on the icon and it will display a list of available updates. Windows won’t automatically download and install them anymore.
    • If “Windows Genuine Advantage Notification Tool” is there, uncheck it and press enter to download everything else (if you want to). You can right-click to “hide updates” that you don’t want.
    • Select “Don’t notify me about these updates again”, so that they will be ignored every time updates are downloaded.
    • Just remember, from now on, make sure to check the list of downloads so that you don’t install any new versions of this “tool”.

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