Dump Windows Update, use alternatives

By Brian Livingston

The Internet interprets Microsoft as damage and routes around it.

My apologies to John Gilmore for tweaking his famous 1993 quote about censorship. But the above statement just happens to sum up the alternatives Windows users are adopting ever since Microsoft’s “Windows Genuine Advantage” (WGA) debacle.

It was only a few weeks ago when the Redmond software giant started quietly auto-installing WGA to Windows machines in the U.S., U.K., and a few other countries. The code, which qualifies as spyware under any objective definition, was programmed to contact Microsoft’s servers every 24 hours. Now, after hearing from plenty of outraged customers, the company back-pedaled on June 27, saying it would release a version that calls home less often.

That’s not really a solution, as I’ll explain below. Since that’s the case, the entire affair has given enormous momentum to third-party products that render Microsoft’s Windows Update routine completely unnecessary.

I’ll explain in today’s article exactly how you can best deal with WGA. For those in a hurry, here’s a 4-point elevator summary:

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2006-06-29: