One in five Windows installs not genuine

Written by Tim Smalley

January 24, 2007 | 08:28

Tags: #advantage #counterfeit #genuine #installs #pirate #pirated #windows

Companies: #microsoft

Software giant Microsoft has disclosed that over one fifth of all Windows installations have been deemed non-genuine via the company's Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy programme.

WGA has been in the press for the wrong reasons ever since its launch in July 2005, but Microsoft claims that over 512 million users have attempted to validate their copy of Windows.

Of that number, over 22% of the validations have been non-genuine, while 56,000 people have reported counterfeit software. Reporting pirated versions of the operating system grants the customer a free genuine version of the operating system in return for providing information about where the bootlegged software was obtained.

Although the software giant claims that over 22% of validations have failed, WGA has come under attack after a large number of false positives were reported. In addition, it's safe to say that not every pirate uses Microsoft's Windows Update service because of WGA's introduction.

This obviously brings the actual numbers revealed by Microsoft into question, but it should still shed some light on a best-case scenario for the number of counterfeit Windows installs. To put this into perspective, the Business Software Alliance has reported that 35% of the world's software is pirated - Windows piracy may be as high as this, but it's not easy for the company to extract accurate data if a pirate opts out of Automatic Updates.

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