Latest WGA deletes wallpaper

August 28, 2008 // 11:55 a.m.

Tags: #wga #windows #windows-genuine-advantage

If you're wondering why your desktop background keeps disappearing, it's because Microsoft believes you're a filthy pirate. Arrr.

The latest version of the Windows Genuine Advantage tool – built by Microsoft to programmatically determine whether a version of Windows is legal or not – has introduced some new, in-your-face functionality for remonstrating with users of less-than-legitimate operating systems. First and foremost amongst these, according to BetaNews, is code to reset your desktop wallpaper to a plain colour every sixty minutes. You can change it back again, but until you shell out on a real copy of Windows you'll be doing so on the hour, every hour.

If you're running Vista rather than XP, the new version goes one further – as well as consigning your pretty wallpaper to the void, the Aero graphics interface will be disabled too – pirates will only get to play with the “Vista Basic” theme.

Finally, a semi-transparent overlay in the lower right corner of the screen will display the message “You may be a victim of software counterfeiting.” This text will appear on the top of any open applications – including, it would seem, full-screen 3D applications such as games.

With this latest revision, Microsoft has gone out of its way to irritate and nag users of illegitimate copies of Windows into shelling out for the real deal – and yet has still to come up with an 'advantage' of Windows Genuine Advantage for the end-user. That is, other than the satisfaction that comes from seeing the little “Your version of Windows is genuine” message.

Do we have any piratical types reading who have been wondering where their wallpaper went, or is the latest WGA version simply another thing for the professional pirates to work around? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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