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Microsoft Makes Anti-Piracy Tool Less Intrusive

Microsoft Corp., stung by criticism over the daily phone-home feature within its Windows Genuine Advantage tool, released on Tuesday an upgrade of the anti-piracy software that communicates less with the company's server.

In addition, Microsoft replaced the end user license agreement with one that the company said more clearly explains the purpose of the software and how it operates.

The Redmond, Wash., company came under fire this month following media reports that WGA communicated with Microsoft each time a PC connected to the Internet. In addition, critics complained that the company mislabeled the software as a "critical update" when it was distributed through the Windows Update feature in XP, and then gave no way to remove it.

Microsoft at the time acknowledged that it made mistakes in trying to get WGA in as many PCs as possible and promised to make changes. In general, WGA checks that the version of Windows XP running on a PC is a legal copy.

To correct previous mistakes, the WGA upgrade no longer calls to Microsoft servers each time a computer launches on the Web. Instead, the software will validate the copy of Windows when first installed, and only run the check again when a new version of the tool is deployed.

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