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Microsoft retires Office Genuine Advantage

by Pete Mason on 20 December 2010, 10:30

Tags: Office 2010, Office 2007, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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The vast majority of people are probably pretty familiar with the Windows and Office Genuine Advantage (WGA and OGA) programmes, which require software to be validated before updates and other packages can be downloaded. Among other things, the anti-piracy measures require an ActiveX plug-in or another similar tool to be run before certain files can be accessed from the Microsoft support sites.

But it looks like this requirement has now been dropped and that the programme has been quietly retired - at least for Office. According to ZDNet - and mentioned in a note at the top of several Knowledge Base articles - OGA has been retired and will no longer be required to download updates.

Image courtesy of ZDNet

Microsoft hasn't issued any sort of announcement covering the decision, so there are no clues as to either the reasoning or the scope. However, it looks like it will apply to all versions of the productivity suite, including Office 2010, which was only released a few months ago. Traces of OGA have also been scrubbed from the Microsoft support sites, and older pages now redirect to either the Windows home page or a new 'Benefits of genuine Office' page.

This doesn't mean that the software-giant has totally given up the fight against piracy, though. You'll still need a valid product key to install the software, which will connect to the company's servers to ensure that it's legitimate. Obviously patches will only be pushed automatically to Windows Update running on valid copies of the OS as well. However, this still means that there's one less layer of anti-piracy measures in place for Office.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Good, WGA always annoyed the **** out of me despite having genuine software. It was just a pain.
Good, WGA always annoyed the **** out of me despite having genuine software. It was just a pain.

A completely useless system which only serves to punish genuine customers. It has been since XP.
The main issue I had with it was if their servers had issues - you were a criminal. It defaulted to being counterfeit :rolleyes:
WGA was a nasty little bug
The link to check the validity of windows has also changed and I can't seem to find a new one so not sure what's going on.