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A genuine advantage

August 14, 2007

Ever wondered how to get rid of that extremely annoying spyware called Windows Genuine Advantage?

As some of you might know, I used Macs during my five years of studies, I own a Mac myself and this blog is (mostly) written on my PowerBook. When I first started using Macs back in the glorious year of 2000, it was on the horrible OS named OS 9. Then OSX came along, and as a friend of mine once said; once you have tried it, there is no going back. The Macs and their OS are not without quirks and flaws, but compared to Windows, working on a Mac is pure bliss.

However, in my last job, I was stuck with a Windows computer, and darn if it does not look like that is going to happen in my new workplace as well. This is nothing uncommon. As all Mac- and Linux users probably know, unless you are in the graphic design, sound engineering or video editing businesses, you will sooner or later get a job where you have to use a Windows computer.

Genuine disadvantage

One of the most annoying flaws in Windows (at least in XP) is a little piece of spyware called the Windows Genuine Advantage. It is basically a program designed to look through the contents of your hard drive in search of any pirated Micros**t software, and report to Micros**t if it finds any. This program has wasted ours at my last workplace. First, windows update kept nagging all the employees, wanting us to install this useless piece of junk. I did really not want to do that, but one day I pushed the wrong button and accidentally installed it. Once installed, the program makes all kinds of trouble. While it does not really steal all that much CPU power, when it was running simultaneously with the antivirus software, it was enough to give my aging computer a hard time with InDesign. While the program never complained about finding anything illegal on my computer, a blog called Internet Duct Tape reports that the program has a tendency to cry out about “this copy is not genuine” even when there are only legitimate copies installed on a computer.

The actual trouble the program makes is, however, far less annoying than the feeling of having your computer invaded by something very much like a virus or a trojan. I, for one, sincerely dislike the idea of a spyware program looking through my hard drive and reporting the finds to a software company*. That the guys at Micros**t have the balls to call this an advantage really makes me angry.

Luckily, unlike the rest of us, Engtech at Internet Duct Tape has done more than just whining about the problem. In a recent post he has listed several ways to get rid of this annoying spyware once and for all. That is what I would call a genuine advantage!

Bogus Advantage logo: engtech

*Not because I had any pirated software on my computer (which I had not), neither because I dislike Micros**t (which I happen to do), but because it is plain wrong!

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