Things to check before switching to Vista Part 3

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 9, 2006
Updated • May 22, 2013
Windows, Windows Vista

Welcome to the third part in my "Things to check before switching to Vista" series. The last two articles dealt with possible hardware and software incompatibilities and ways to check whether your hard- and software would run under Windows Vista.

It is important to check this before you make the switch. Just imagine that you make the switch and a program that you run on a daily basis will not install or run properly.

Today we are going to take a look at a feature of Vista that most users could probably live without: WGA. You do know that XP introduced WGA which stands for Windows Genuine Advantage. It is a program that verifies regularly if the operating system is genuine and registered.

You can still run XP without problems even if the WGA check fails. A nagscreen is the only thing that appears afterwards and it is no problem to disable it. Vista will introduce a new level. If the WGA check fails Vista will reduce the functionality it makes available to you.

Vista will only run in Reduced Function Mode and many features will not be available anymore:

By choosing Access your computer with reduced functionality, the default Web browser will be started and the user will be presented with an option to purchase a new product key. There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in. Note: This is different from the Windows XP RFM experience, which limits screen resolution, colors, sounds and other features.

So, Vista users will be left with a crippled system if their copy of the operating system fails the WGA check. We all know that WGA checks are not the most accurate and that legit users will be hit by false positives.It is very likely that at least some legit copies of Vista will be affected as well.

The new WGA could indeed do something good for the growth of free operating systems like Linux. The question that you have to ask yourself if you face such a situation: Do I want to buy Vista for hundreds of dollars or do I want to try a free operating system instead and save the money? Some will buy Vista because they want to play the latest games but all the others, who are not that interested in games but working with their pc - will they buy Vista? I doubt so. A great opportunity for Linux.


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  1. Nuts said on December 11, 2006 at 7:15 am

    Go for uBuntu.Free linux OS…

  2. thug said on December 10, 2006 at 2:59 am

    great articles,it seems that windows vista isn’t compitable yet with other software. then what’s the purpose of fully launching it if it is still not compitable…

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