August 25, 2006
Dear CNET members,
I'm going to be brutally honest with you folks: This week I don't have a concrete winning answer for Art's question. He's trying to help fix some people's computers, as they are being blocked by Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) from receiving any Windows updates--even though they have a valid version of Windows at hand. By no means does this signify that our member submissions this week are not acceptable or unhelpful--it's just that, given the scenario from Art, it's one of those questions that can have many possible fixes. And I honestly do not know which submission is the best method to use to tackle this question. So I'm going to start off this week's topic with the recommendation from Pete to hopefully give Art some direction. And as always, we have many other suggestions from our members, so read them all. Right now, I am counting on our community to pull through this one in this week's discussion and share your knowledge in addition to this week's advice so can work this one out together for Art and others who are encountering this problem. Also, if you have had issues with Microsoft WGA--even with a legitimate version of Windows--please share your experiences on how you fixed your problems. Thank you for your participation, everyone!
(Note to readers: Some of this week's submissions include members' advice on editing the Windows registry. If you are unfamiliar with editing your registry, I would strongly advise against doing so, as a mistake can render you computer inoperable. This is an area for experts, and if need be, seek experts for help.)
Member Question of the Week
With Microsoft starting to check Genuine Advantage, I have had
two occasions where people came to me with computers without
an original installed disk, but with a recently purchased,
valid copy of Windows XP with which they were unable to
update their system. All the research I did at Microsoft.com,
I did not find a method to update their system without wiping
the partition and starting with a clean hard drive. Do you
know of a way to avoid repartitioning the hard drive?
Art, OK...let me see if I have this straight. You've come across two machines recently--both with recently purchased and supposedly legit copies of XP, but WGA has failed on both AND the customers/friends never got the original install CD for either one. And you want to know how to get this fixed so you can get to Windows Update and get all the latest patches for the systems in question.
In this case, my first stop would be at the door of the manufacturer of the computer in order to find out what happened and what they're going to do about the bum product key. If the computer is a recent purchase, it should be under warranty and that does give the owner some rights...
Pete Z. of Los Angeles, California
efforts, we're sending him his choice of any
Help.com Learning CD.
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
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Check out next week's question:
I have a hypothetical question: What if you've accidentally deleted important files, emptied them from the recycling bin, then want to get them back? If you immediately realize what you did, is there anything that can be done to get the files back? Is there any software I can purchase to recover those files? Are there any available recovery services? What other steps should I take in event like this--turning off the computer right away? Is there any hope to recover these files, or are they gone for good? I hope these questions don't sound silly to you, but I want to know just in case I ever do such an unthinkable mistake. Thanks!
Katherine R. of Glendale, California
If you have the answer,
e-mail us at email@example.com.
If we choose your response, you'll get a
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Have a question?
Microsoft has a right to prevent piracy
How do you feel about Windows Genuine Advantage?
(Please click on button to vote)
It's too intrusive (How so?)
I don't use Windows
What's Windows Geniune Advantage?
I don't care
Simple question, simple answer
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