A few days ago Microsoft released a WGA based update for Windows 7 systems through Windows Update. The update known as “KB971033” was to ensure that all current Windows 7 users had a genuine copy of the OS installed on their machines, but it was also intended to catch out the ever growing number of software pirates using the OS with the famous OEM SLP activation hacks. This update was optional however and unchecked by default making it extremely easily to bypass.
The behaviour of the update is similar to that of Windows Vista once installed on a non-genuine system. After the user has installed the update and restarted Windows, they will then be presented with a message upon logon notifying them that the update is not working and that they may be a victim of software counterfeiting.
Click on the screenshots to enlarge.
Now, all users out there with legit copies of Windows 7 should be fine after installing this update. At least you would think…
Yesterday I happened to receive reports from various people regarding this update. They had installed the update on their genuine copies only to be flagged as non-genuine after the reboot. To make matters worse, all of these people actually acquired their Windows 7 licenses through Microsoft TechNet Subscriptions which obviously offer genuine Microsoft software.
I myself happen to utilize a TechNet Subscription and have yet to see this update even appear on my systems so I can’t say I’ve experienced this yet, although I am very puzzled as to why this has happened to those with perfectly genuine copies of the OS. No doubt there are probably many more genuine users out there suffering from this problem and find themselves completely taken back by it.
So, for all you other genuine users out there that are effected, I have a simple step by step solution that should take care of this.
- Launch Windows Update and view your update history
- Find update KB971033 and uninstall it (a reboot is required)
- Once logged back on launch Command Prompt as Administrator
- From within Command Prompt type “slmgr –rearm” (without quotes) and hit enter
- Reboot once the command has completed
- Once logged back on navigate to System Properties and select the “Change Product Key” option at the Windows Activation section.
- Re-enter your Windows 7 product key and it should successfully activate
Upon logging back on to your system you should see a clean desktop with no WGA messages or watermark. All that’s left to do now is go back into Windows Update, check for updates and hide KB971033 if it decides to show up again. Done!
Hopefully this puts an end to the stress of many genuine users suffering from this rather peculiar issue. I can only think that there is possibly something within this particular update responsible for giving out false positives to many genuine users out there. Either way I hope Microsoft are already aware of this issue and are dealing with it.
Once again, please feel free to leave comments or drop me an e-mail on this issue as I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced it.