How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

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intro   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PCWindows Genuine Advantage (WGA for short) is a Windows Update component rolled out to XP users long after XP was released. It is intended to validate your Windows licence, allow updates to Microsoft wares and display a number of notifications if your product key isn’t kosher.

There’s nothing wrong with still using XP, a number of staff here at MakeUseOf have yet to budge in fact. If you’ve got an old PC that doesn’t need the bells, whistles and expensive licence that comes with Windows 7 then XP is still a viable alternative.

In this guide I will show you how to remove the WGA notifications should you want to, after which you’ll not be able to download non-critical updates but will still receive the critical fixes that really matter.

Why Remove WGA?

If you bought Windows XP and have been unlucky enough to fail the validation (which isn’t uncommon) then you might just want to remove it altogether. If you’re a raging software pirate then I’m going to have a tougher job convincing you to keep it.

WGA is a non-vital Windows component, which means that without it your copy of Windows XP will continue to work. If you’re using something like VLC for your media needs and swear by Chrome or Firefox then you probably won’t miss updates for Internet Explorer and Media Player all that much.

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notgenuine   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Data is also collected about your system, this includes your BIOS checksum, MAC address, hard drive serial number, and even your PC’s manufacturer and model. If you’re tight on privacy, this might be another reason to ditch WGA.

I’ve provided two methods of removing WGA manually. I’d recommend you try the first set of instructions to begin with, the second set is provided in case you can’t get the first working. There are also a few applications that will attempt to remove WGA for you (more on those later).

It is worth mentioning if you’ve re-installed XP lately and downloaded WGA in a recent update then a simple System Restore to the point before you downloaded the update will remove it. Just remember not to re-download it again afterwards.

sysrestore   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Assuming you’ve had WGA on your machine for a while, the instructions below should remove it.

Removing WGA Via The Command Line

Restart your PC and boot into Safe Mode, usually by pressing F8 whilst your computer boots. Once your PC has booted open a command prompt by clicking Start then Run and typing cmd into the box before clicking OK.

Change directory to your System32 folder with the following command:

cd \windows\system32

Next you’re going to need to copy the following lines to the clipboard, in order to paste them into the command prompt quickly. This is necessary to kill the WgaTray.exe process and delete the file before Windows has a chance to launch it again:

taskkill -IM wgatray.exe
del wgatray.exe
del wgalogon.old

If all the commands executed correctly you should have killed and deleted WgaTray.exe as well as WgaLogon.dll. You might also want to have a look for any WGA-related files (WgaTray.exe, WgaLogon.dll, WgaSetup.exe etc”¦) in \Windows\System32\dllcache and delete them, just in case.

Restart your PC to see if the changes have taken effect, if the WGA notifications are still there then you’ll want to continue reading this next bit, otherwise you’re done.

Removing WGA With Registry Editor & Windows Explorer

If you’re still reading then that probably didn’t work. Boot normally and once Windows is back click Start, Run and type regedit before clicking OK.

Navigate your way to: My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify and delete the folder called WgaLogon and any content associated with it.

regedit   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Restart your PC and if all has gone well, your WGA notifications shouldn’t be visible. These next steps will delete the files for good.

Navigate to your Windows\System32 folder and  at the top of the window click Tools, Folder Options and click on the View tab. Check Show hidden and protected Windows files so that you can see all of the offending items.

folderview   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Next you’re going to need to locate all WGA-related files within your \Windows\System32 and \Windows\System32\dllcache folders. Running a simple search is the best way, so hit Start, Search and choose All files and folders.

Run a search for Wga*.*, and delete any WGA related results you find in these folders including WgaTray.exe, WgaLogon.dll and WgaSetup.exe. Restart your PC once you’ve done, and your copy of Windows should be “genuine” again.

searchwga   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Removing WGA With Software

If you’re still having trouble then there are a number of third-party tools that will attempt to do this for you. I personally prefer tinkering with my System32 folder myself rather than getting an application to do it, though there’s plenty of people claiming these work just fine.

RemoveWGA is a simple run and reboot process, by the time you’ve restarted WGA notifications should be gone. MUBlinder is another solution, just make sure you have the Microsoft .NET Framework before running it or it won’t work.

If one of these methods worked for you then you might want to change your preferences for Automatic Updates in Control Panel so that WGA doesn’t make its way back onto your system. I’d recommend allowing Windows to notify you when updates are available, but then manually selecting them yourself.

autoupdates   How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with your critical updates, this is vital to keep your machine patched up and secure.

Have you removed Windows Genuine Advantage or did your copy of XP validate ok? Any reasons you’re still using XP? Let us know in the comments.

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46 Comments -

Guest

What the hell? this is NOT legal.

Tim Brookes

It’s a very grey area. A quick search online will show you a considerable amount of people experienced non-validating Windows XP installs when they had bought their copy legally and fairly in the first place. Often Microsoft support won’t help out, or are just plain difficult to get hold of.

This is a guide for anyone to use if they feel they have been wrongly accused of pirating Windows XP. Ok, so I can’t stop you if you want to use it to pirate your copy of Windows – thats up to you.

The guide isn’t illegal, it’s how you use it that makes the difference.

Bogdan

OH NO!!! By the way, any Windows 7 tutorial?

Tim Brookes

Already on my to-do list :)

Gouthaman Karunakaran

This isn’t legal in the first place, but, Who would want to use XP in this era?

Tim Brookes

A considerable amount of computers worldwide still use Windows XP as an operating system, especially in developing nations where the western world sends its old hardware for everyone else to make use of.

It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft will be supporting Windows XP until April 2014.

Like I said, nothing wrong with using XP!

Dan

me.

not sure what you mean by “era” – that’s usually a long time frame, and XP was released in the last 25 years, so, were in the same era, still….

Overdrive101

Legal? So what!

Tim Brookes

A considerable amount of computers worldwide still use Windows XP as an operating system, especially in developing nations where the western world sends its old hardware for everyone else to make use of.

It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft will be supporting Windows XP until April 2014.

Like I said, nothing wrong with using XP!

Tim Brookes

It’s a very grey area. A quick search online will show you a considerable amount of people experienced non-validating Windows XP installs when they had bought their copy legally and fairly in the first place. Often Microsoft support won’t help out, or are just plain difficult to get hold of.

This is a guide for anyone to use if they feel they have been wrongly accused of pirating Windows XP. Ok, so I can’t stop you if you want to use it to pirate your copy of Windows – thats up to you.

The guide isn’t illegal, it’s how you use it that makes the difference.

Inkysplat

Just installed XP on my EEE PC 901 which probably won’t handle Vista or 7 so this could be good to bear in mind.

Wouldn’t mind seeing a similar article for Vista tho?

Tim Brookes

Thanks for the comment, Adam :)

I think Vista is a bit more hassle. If you’re going to install Vista you’ll want avoid installing the KB929391 update (though it might be marked as critical now).

Personally I’d recommend XP over Vista anyway. I like to pretend Vista never happened, to be honest.

Inkysplat

Just installed XP on my EEE PC 901 which probably won’t handle Vista or 7 so this could be good to bear in mind.

Wouldn’t mind seeing a similar article for Vista tho?

Tim Brookes

Thanks for the comment, Adam :)

I think Vista is a bit more hassle. If you’re going to install Vista you’ll want avoid installing the KB929391 update (though it might be marked as critical now).

Personally I’d recommend XP over Vista anyway. I like to pretend Vista never happened, to be honest.

Whitecarol60

The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an attention of every one. This is the
concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as possible.
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KevC1973

This is rather absurd. Microsoft do not always categorize security updates as critical, only the ones being currently exploited or patches for potentially explosive holes. Users need ALL security updates, not just the critical ones.

i.e. A non-critical update for Notepad today would not be installed. Later, when malicious users exploit that hole to no-end, MS will not release a full critical patch because their previous non-critical patch covered it and plugged the hole. Non-WGA users will simply have to live with it…

KevC1973

This is rather absurd. Microsoft do not always categorize security updates as critical, only the ones being currently exploited or patches for potentially explosive holes. Users need ALL security updates, not just the critical ones.

i.e. A non-critical update for Notepad today would not be installed. Later, when malicious users exploit that hole to no-end, MS will not release a full critical patch because their previous non-critical patch covered it and plugged the hole. Non-WGA users will simply have to live with it…

Tim Brookes

I’m fairly sure when a security hole is discovered that could lead to malicious exploits it is marked as critical. It’s unlikely that Microsoft would leave it as optional until something happened.

I’m of the opinion that if your PC is well secured (anti-virus, software firewall, something like PeerGuardian installed) removing WGA (which doesn’t help “secure” your PC in anyway) isn’t going to make any difference to security.

Just don’t use any old versions of Microsoft applications that you no longer receive updates for. Just in case!

It’s entirely up to the user over whether they want to do this, but staring at a “Windows is not genuine” notification for hours on end can be bloody annoying, and this will solve it.

At&t Headsets

very nice tutorial love it.

thenonhacker

I really wouldn’t recommend removing WGA, especially now that viruses and trojans are rampant, and removing WGA means no more Windows Updates for you.

And yes, the piracy thing, too.

thenonhacker

I really wouldn’t recommend removing WGA, especially now that viruses and trojans are rampant, and removing WGA means no more Windows Updates for you.

And yes, the piracy thing, too.

s0lipsist

yar matey!

Versatile

Well, you might as well be better off downloading the Windows XP Performance edition. Once installed, you can install updates for life, and never worry about WGA.

For someone who had their legit Windows XP get banned, this is a great solution.

Tim Brookes

It seems the Performance edition is a third-party repack, huh?

Not strictly legal, but then again if you’ve been stripped of your valid install after purchasing XP I can see why you would!

Versatile

Well, you might as well be better off downloading the Windows XP Performance edition. Once installed, you can install updates for life, and never worry about WGA.

For someone who had their legit Windows XP get banned, this is a great solution.

Buffet

Any reasons you’re still using XP? Let us know in the comments. Only an idiot would use any OS other than XP. All the rest is rubbish! It’s easy to spot those who aren’t computer saavy – they all rally to just on the bandwagon for the latest ‘trendy’ fad, to see can crash their machine first. Likely, they’re nearly all in the botnet now. Caveat emptor!

Buffet

Any reasons you’re still using XP? Let us know in the comments. Only an idiot would use any OS other than XP. All the rest is rubbish! It’s easy to spot those who aren’t computer saavy – they all rally to just on the bandwagon for the latest ‘trendy’ fad, to see can crash their machine first. Likely, they’re nearly all in the botnet now. Caveat emptor!

Tim Brookes

It seems the Performance edition is a third-party repack, huh?

Not strictly legal, but then again if you’ve been stripped of your valid install after purchasing XP I can see why you would!

Abdulhamid196461

saya hanya pengguna/pemakai, saya masih belajar, untuk hal-hal yang sulit kami membiarkan saja. yang penting bagi saya adalah belajar sesuai kemampuan,.. (terima kasih atas artikelnya)

abhi

Can you advise for windows 7 ultimate??

Tim Brookes

The only tool I currently know of is one called RemoveWAT, which overrides Windows Activation Technologies (the new name for WGA).

It should work for all versions of Windows 7. You can get it here.

Tim Brookes

The only tool I currently know of is one called RemoveWAT, which overrides Windows Activation Technologies (the new name for WGA).

It should work for all versions of Windows 7. You can get it here.

Arjun Bajaj

You rock Tim… You seriously rock…this is a great tutorial for people out there who dont wanna waste their money on windows xp….

BTW now i’m using original windows xp… my laptops hdd crashed…i didn’t have the recovery disk…so then i found a torrent giving the same windows xp that i had on my laptop before my hdd crashed… before i got that torrent i called up microsoft and told them to give me a recovery disk they told buy it for $60….so i would have installed pirated windows only if i would’nt have got that torrent….microsoft doesn’t even care about their customers…

but good work…thnx…and its legal because you are just writing whats possible to be done…
great article….

Arjun Bajaj

You rock Tim… You seriously rock…this is a great tutorial for people out there who dont wanna waste their money on windows xp….

BTW now i’m using original windows xp… my laptops hdd crashed…i didn’t have the recovery disk…so then i found a torrent giving the same windows xp that i had on my laptop before my hdd crashed… before i got that torrent i called up microsoft and told them to give me a recovery disk they told buy it for $60….so i would have installed pirated windows only if i would’nt have got that torrent….microsoft doesn’t even care about their customers…

but good work…thnx…and its legal because you are just writing whats possible to be done…
great article….

Tim Brookes

Glad to be of service :)

Abhilashr3

Hi
We are Visual Basic 6.0 developers still using Windows XP becos VB6 is not running properly in Windows 7

please let me know the solution

regards
Abhi

Tim Brookes

You might want to post this on MakeUseOf Answers, as you’re likely to get some decent responses!

Here’s the link

Abhilashr3

Hi
We are Visual Basic 6.0 developers still using Windows XP becos VB6 is not running properly in Windows 7

please let me know the solution

regards
Abhi

Tim Brookes

You might want to post this on MakeUseOf Answers, as you’re likely to get some decent responses!

Here’s the link

Dan

I just setup a new office. All XP. Machines were bought w/it, btw, so if they’re not genuine, it’s Dell’s problem, not mine. The only clue I have that it’s not genunine Microsoft software is the lack of blue-screen errors!

Has anyone found any true “advantage” to this? More crap from MS.

Thanks for the notes. Helpful for people who like crap-free computing.

Dan

I just setup a new office. All XP. Machines were bought w/it, btw, so if they’re not genuine, it’s Dell’s problem, not mine. The only clue I have that it’s not genunine Microsoft software is the lack of blue-screen errors!

Has anyone found any true “advantage” to this? More crap from MS.

Thanks for the notes. Helpful for people who like crap-free computing.

Dan

me.

not sure what you mean by “era” – that’s usually a long time frame, and XP was released in the last 25 years, so, were in the same era, still….

Cuteboy Hak

no need to do like this
there is shotcut way
juz downlad “RemoveWGA” from http://www.softpedia.com
juz tapy in search box
u’ll see

gav

Cheers Tim!! I have been looking for a simple guide like this for ages!! I totally agree with you on this one :-) Touch wood I can get rid of that pesky WGA – will let you know how I get one! :D

Thanks again!

gav

Cheers Tim!! I have been looking for a simple guide like this for ages!! I totally agree with you on this one :-) Touch wood I can get rid of that pesky WGA – will let you know how I get one! :D

Thanks again!

Techbaby

Great. It helped me a lot. I’ve been stripped of my valid install after purchasing XP years ago, so this is the best alternative. Thanks!