Piracy of software is a major business. The world's largest counterfeit software ring was brought down by Chinese intelligence agencies in July 2007 [source: Microsoft]. The illicit organisation had sold counterfeit software worth more than $2 billion, primarily Microsoft programmes such as Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, Windows XP, and Windows Server. Chinese police were able to track down the counterfeiters using information from Microsoft and the FBI. Their items had been distributed to 27 different nations in eight different languages.
Microsoft attributes a large part of the China bust's success to its anti-piracy system, Microsoft Genuine Advantage (MGA). Microsoft customers can download a little programme called Genuine Advantage Notifications (GAN) as part of this system, which verifies if a copy of Windows XP is genuine. Tens of thousands of people utilised GAN to discover that their operating system software was counterfeit, according to Microsoft, and over 1,000 of those piracy victims provided Microsoft actual copies of their software for inspection. Authorities were able to track the counterfeiting ring to China because to clues from these CDs.
Pirated Windows software, according to Microsoft, is not only inferior to the original, but it can also be hazardous to your PC. Spyware, viruses, and other malware can be included with pirated software, exposing your personal information or turning your computer into an unwary spambot. According to Microsoft, verifying your software with Windows Genuine Advantage gives you the assurance that your operating system is supported by Microsoft and that you'll receive any relevant security patches and improvements as they become available.
Beyond your geographical location (city, state, nation), your computer make and model, operating system, and software product key, Microsoft assures that the GAN software does not gather any personal information. Microsoft isn't looking to punish individual customers, many of whom purchased what they thought were legitimate copies of Windows software, but rather to gather data that will help them track down the criminals who produce and sell the counterfeits.
Microsoft has a slew of detractors, all of whom have pounced on Genuine Advantage Notifications. They claim that GAN misidentifies legitimate software as phoney and subsequently bombards users with unstoppable warning messages. GAN is also mislabeled as a major security upgrade, according to them. GAN, on the other hand, is being pushed forward by Microsoft, who sees it as a critical instrument in the fight against software piracy.
So, how do you instal Genuine Advantage Notifications, and, perhaps more significantly, how do you uninstall them? What else are the naysayers saying? Continue reading to find out.