Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Details for Windows 7
Article by George Norman
On 02 Mar 2009
Microsoft has allowed us, the regular users, to download and use the Beta version of Windows 7, Build 7000, for free, but the Redmond software developer only did that because it needed user feedback, it needed to be told in which areas Windows 7 needs improving. Microsoft received that user feedback and has already announced what changes it will make with Windows 7 Release Candidate. But as the development process of the operating system comes to an end, we should get ready to pay if we want to use any of the six different versions of Windows 7 that Microsoft will market.

When money is tight, people often resort to cheaper alternatives: some turn to open source software like Ubuntu , others purchase systems from OEMs with Vista preinstalled in hopes that Microsoft will offer a free upgrade, while others turn to pirated software – and this is where WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) comes in. Director Product Marketing and Product Management Genuine Windows, Alex Kochis, has published a detailed post on what we are to expect from WGA in Windows 7.


“As with Windows Vista and Windows XP the Windows 7 Beta includes a 30 day grace period for activation (generally copies that are pre-installed by major OEMs and copies distributed through Volume Licensing do not require activation to be performed by the end user). During the setup process an option is provided that enables Windows to attempt to activate itself automatically after three days of use. If automatic activation is not selected, after the third day, you will begin to see a message from the system tray that reminds you to "Activate Windows Now" and the time remaining in the grace period. Clicking on the "Activate Windows Online Now" option will begin the standard activation process,” explains Alex Kochis.

Here is the abbreviated, to the point explanation on how WGA in Windows 7 will work:
- For the first 3 days you will not receive any warning message. When this period expires you will be informed that you need to activate your Windows 7 OS. The message sits in the System Tray permanently, until you decide to activate your OS.
- After 27 days the notification will appear on your screen every 4 hours. You will be informed of the dangers and consequences attached to not activating your copy of Windows 7.
- After 30 days you will get a notification every hour. And if that wasn’t annoying enough, you will also get a notification every time you access the Control Panel. Still not enough? You will also get a WGA notification, your desktop color will be set to black every 60 minutes, and you will not be able to update your system.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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