Disable, uninstall neuter & understand WGA


Have your friends been calling you every few days to check if you found a way around WGA or if you got something other than Devilsown ISO key? If you’re getting your product key out of FILE_ID.DIZ or devilsown.nfo then activating new systems has been a pain in the ass lately. Though not quite as painful as the one thats coming after the feds raid your office and you’re stuck clinching to the cell bars while Bubba works his magic from behind you . But I digress…

There aren’t many happy WGA stories out there. Some consultants are excited because they can make a $50 margin on selling OEM software on after-market PC’s (you’re a national treasure boys) but it seems like everyone I’ve talked to has legitimate Windows XP copies throwing warnings, crashing and really showing many signs of a coder that had to ship the code by the deadline but spent too much time on YouTube downloading behind the scenes of These Boots Are Made For Walking. Sorry folks, it shows.

First of all, there is the Microsoft way to get rid of WGA. It’s not pretty. There is an easier way, too. But if you really want to know how WGA works (down to the TCP dump) here is a site for you:


Awe, but Vlad that page is all words! Don’t despair, these guys also publish a tool to remove WGA in three different ways. Original name too, RemoveWGA. Git’r’gone.

25 Responses to Disable, uninstall neuter & understand WGA

  1. WouldYouLikeKYWithThat.com Strikes Back says:

    I love these posts. So graphic!

    If this is the first piracy post of Vlad’s you’ve read you owe it to yourself to check out http://www.vladville.com/2006/02/nfr-software-would-you-like-ky-with-that.html


  2. Susan says:

    Given that the WGA gang talks about the WGA “roadmap” and they don’t beleive there are that many false positives, you’d be wise to direct folks to not shut it off but get to the bottom of it.

    If there’s a failure of WGA.. it will be back to bite you in the future.

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  4. Amy Sorensen says:

    That totally worked! Awesome

    WGA has been such a nightmare for us lately so thanks for posting this.

  5. Brian says:

    I’ll give this a shot on my PC at home. The interesting thing about it and Susan’s comment is that WGA software is just so unreliable. My home PC (Dell OEM, never even opened) downloaded WGA and immediately threw an error. I rebooted and got no warnings or anything. The other day we had a brownout and when the system came back to life it threw the warning again. Reboot, all good.

    This may be intentionally poorly written (I doubt Vlad’s comments about Jessica Simpson) to just give a soft warning and prompt people to go legitimate. Tin foil hat time.

  6. Mmf23 says:

    < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> < !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Untitled document Comment deleted.

  7. CharlesM says:

    I will add my comment to echo what the other person said regarding trust and partnership. Microsoft intentionally and maliciously pushed down a beta “pilot” product down my throat without my permission and is now asking me to help them.

    No way.

    Until they admit that they made a mistake, apologize and offer some sort of concession for all of my problems I will not provide assistance to any of their technologies.

    They won’t and I won’t. Microsoft is not listening to us. It does not matter how many feel good Microsofties you send to my region your antipiracy efforts if they can even be called that are a crying shame. 30 lawsuits? I’ve personally forwarded you more than a hundred over the past two years alone and you have closed down exactly $0 of them.

    So yes, the person above deserves to be upset. You are making your legitimate partners feel like criminals while doing nothing about the ones that actually are. You are giving me a black eye!

    Vlad, thanks for the outlet. I know they read your blog but I also have learned to be very patient and expect little from Microsoft on this front.

  8. Ian says:

    Worked on my PC. I wasn’t having any WGA issues but after reading the article and all the phonebacks… yeah, not on my computer.

  9. Carlos Taria says:

    The phoneback features irk me the most so you can bet I’m disabling this spyware. Thanks for the instructions but I would like to see a video blog episode or maybe an article covering WGA stuff in depth.

  10. Amea says:

    Yeah, I’m sure Vlad has nothing better to do than walk your dumb ass through circumventing piracy protection.

  11. Stefan Eliott says:


    pain in the ass lately. Though not quite as painful as the one thats coming after the feds raid your office and you’re stuck clinching to the cell bars while Bubba works his magic from behind you . But I digress…

    I don’t see why you need a video blog if you’re going to write with such vivid imagery. Bonus points for creative writing 🙂

  12. indy says:

    It’s fairly simple:
    1. Legit customers are being targeted, I don’t mind an impact every year or 6 months, but every startup? Sorry, that is malware. Loss of trust.

    2. Because of a loss of trust, I can no longer guarantee MS won’t roll out something else to their whims or shareholder whims. Automatic updates are pushed back and recommended pushed back on all clients to review before download and install.

    I have no objection to MS enforcing piracy laws, but I do have onjection to them using nefarious means to do so. Put your WGA checks in every single new product you make, but don’t run it through your patching mechanism. The potential for damage is too great. I’ve already had customers ask for how to get this crap off, and they are passing the WGA/N checks!

  13. Ramon says:


    The comments you received on this post in particular from Susan have really upset me. I will compose myself before I post the full response later.

    Thank you friend for bringing this to my eyes. You have no idea how much WGA has hurt my business. I will update later.

  14. Ellis says:

    So little time, so many Microsoft fans:

    At least you’re not stabby:

    So just think it could be a lot worse with WGA.

  15. Ramon says:

    First of all let me state that I am not a Linux zealot, Mac evangelist or a criminal as defined in Vlad’s post. I have been a long time Microsoft partner at a high level and have been among their biggest supporters through the recent trials and tribulations on security, patching, Software Assurance and more. Microsoft abused my trust, cost my company a $150,000 account (annually) and cost me an employee over the last month. If you are interested please read on.

    Regardless of what Microsoft says WGA is a beta product at best. We have never sold or underlicensed a customer in the entire history of my company and we never will. We exclusively provide workstation hardware and licensing through HP and are their partner as well. We manage all patching through WSUS. So far so good.

    One of my biggest accounts recently wanted to come aboard as a fully managed account. We have been in negotiations and planning for well over four months as we consolidate all of their sites under management. Then something interesting happened – Microsoft delivered WGA through WSUS. Alerts started popping up on desktops and laptops randomly. Perhaps in an unfortunate random way they happened at the very senior management levels. Long story short, over the few days the bug caught up with everyone that was rebooting. 100% genuine HP systems running Windows XP Pro SP2 from the factory started randomly warning users and ceasing to work. Four of my techs spent night and day with the client to bring them to order.

    By the time this was all said and done one of the senior principals accused and berated one of my techs. He quit later that day. They at that point accused us of providing them pirated software and were considering a lawsuit against both my company and HP. The only thing that saved us were the horror stories of others on the Internet and reports of WGA’s beta status.

    During this entire ordeal I got no assistance from Microsoft. PRD said everything was OK, directed me to the Piracy hotline and told me to check with PSS. PSS was of no help whatsoever. My PAM was out of town at a conference and never returned my call. I had nobody that I could turn to at Microsoft as a partner to bail me out. I lost my employee, I lost a huge contract and I lost face with the client because of my faith in Microsoft as a company. Microsoft abused my trust and left me standing by myself reponsible for their mistakes.

    So you will pardon me Vlad if I don’t stand in line with your MVP pal that only seems to rant about patching and security while us in the real world have to put up with clients, personalities and busineses that do not care about how computers “work” I am really upset that she would have the nerve to say that we need to report and test and give feedback. Microsoft didn’t give XP away nor did we ask to be placed on a beta program where we would provide feedback. Microsoft did not allow us to choose whether or not this customer would be willing to test a beta program. They just rolled out what according to many reports is nothing more than spyware. And you want my time, my effort and my feedback on how to make that process better? There is no profanity suitable enough to express how deeply I disagree with Microsoft and Susan.

    If Microsoft is a company that believes it has a future selling software then it needs to learn to be responsible for the quality of their product and test things better before publishing it through the mainstream patching process. We have been a Microsoft partner for over eight years and never had a reason to look elsewhere. Microsoft betrayed our trust and made us look like criminals in front of one of our largest clients. They will not earn that trust back and we will actively seek and promote alternative solutions.

    Thank you.

  16. vlad says:

    Guys please keep it clean. I know we all disagree on things from time to time but if you have to use curse words please do not direct them at anyone personally.

    Ramon, you have my condolences. I had a similar epiphany with Microsoft a few years ago (I was put into far too many situations where I had to compete with the Action Pack) and since that day my company has not sold a single license of Microsoft software. We now either obtain software through the SPLA or it comes on the system directly from Dell. Once your trust and faith seem misplaced it is impossible to get back. I have far more friends at Microsoft today than I ever had before but that has not shifted my perception of just how concerned Microsoft sales side is about my business. Sales is sales I suppose but I did not get that “partner” feeling from Microsoft. I am really sad that it was the actual technology that disappointed you, I cannot say that has happened to me yet.

    Regardless, you have my sympathy.


  17. Erick says:

    Wow Ramon now thats a story for sure. For most our clients WGA has been an annoyance and a privacy question mark but you seem to have gotten the worst of that storm.

    For what its worth Susan is a good woman I am sorry she sunk your battleship.

  18. Aaron Smith says:

    Chalk me in the “not affected” list. I was prompted about WGA but after the initial process it has not come back to bug me.

    I will say this much – I do not like the phoneback feature. That is spyware, plain and simple. I will be removing WGA and would concurr with the request above to demonstrate how to block Microsoft servers from communicating with my computer. If my copy is legitimate that better be the end of my computers “talk” with Microsoft.

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  20. Graeme Smith says:

    If you only read one biut of this post – read the last paragraph.

    Hmm – and the licensing guys at the WPC2006 in Boston wonderd why I laughed at them when they tried to get us to sell software. Like Vlad – we have ours OEM’d in on Dell boxes.

    So far I have seen ONE instance of a box caught by WGA (in a field of about 1200 boxes in our managlement or with our customers) and it was deserved. Clearly an overused Volume Disk. The client who brought me the “broken” box – kind of suspected he had a problem with his “cheap” box. I even know who sold him the box – and I think it is par for the course with that guy.

    Now what really sucked was the obtaining of the WGA Pack with a legit Product Key to fix the client who was prepared to pay to get fixed there and then. In a world where eCommenrce sites can validate a card and deliver a serial number in about the time it takes to validate the card – it took MS 48 hours and no amount of phone calls to the WGA Pack team would get a number any faster. So the person who was prepared to get legal couldn’t – for two days.

    Now let me share soemthing with you from Kevin Turner’s Keynote at WPC2006. I paraphrase:

    “We know we have not always listened to partners – we know we need to do better. If you have an idea or problem and it is not getting listened to through your normal channels – tell me about it”.

    Cue slide:


    On another licensing issue about which I wrote him – I DID get a reply. I’m still waiting to hear about our WGA screw up.

  21. Graeme Smith says:

    I just saw my typo – we don’t “managlement” computers. We try and “Manage” them! 🙂

  22. Samir Ahad says:

    Installed, removed, rebooted and we’re all good. I don’t see what the big deal is, just download and get rid of that junk just like any other spyware. If you were a pirate your box would not allow a login anyhow so whats the complaint?

  23. Ben says:

    Licensing is a hot issue to discuss. I know a lot of programers who have never bought licensed versions of anything in their entire lives (only sold:)).

  24. Matt says:

    I am yet another microsoft partner that has been censored on the WGA forum at microsoft and cannot get any anwsers on WGA… for shame MS

  25. Ziggy says:

    All I have to say is that I’m proudly running DevilsOwn WinXP Pro Corp. Final (more securely then a newly sold system)and have been since about a month before XP’s offial release. Never had any trouble.
    I’ve used every version of windows going back to Windows3 with good old DOS. Shortly after Win98 came out I was thinking of buying the 98se upgrade.. then I realised, why would I pay to fix broken software?
    Look at the xBox.. sold defective, just like Windows. And yet poeple still pay for Billy’s wonder toys.
    Major linux distros need to market themseves somehow… where is that video of 98 crashing on CNN when you need it?!?!

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