Microsoft Security Essentials & Non-Genuine Errors

I have never seen this myself, but a colleague has told me about it, and then I read about it on the MyDigitalLife space, so it must be happening more than just a few times.

While I see that it would cause problems for people, and some trepidation for some of the less than familiar, it is nothing to see the non-genuine message with all the checks that Microsoft has installed in their products. As a matter of fact, it would be nice to see a figure on the number of false positives given, as I know about a few of these. I was somehow unlucky enough to be a part of the many given the scare message when the XP validation servers were down a couple of years ago, and then, last year when i was installing the Official Steve Ballmer Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Edition on a new computer, and being told that my copy was possibly not genuine, I knew it could not be happening to only me.

It looks as though the users of XP are getting unfairly singled out with this one, and there really appears to be no good explanation (unless it is another little nudge to upgrade from Microsoft?).

When installing Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), a validation will be performed on genuineness and legitimacy of Windows operating system. If the Windows system is not validated and deemed to be pirated, not genuine or illegal, then the Microsoft Security Essentials free anti-virus program will quit installation and cannot be installed.
However, the validation by Microsoft Security Essentials can be erroneous, and inaccurate. For example, a genuine system can be incorrectly marked as non-genuine due to validation error by the MSE, yet on other Microsoft’s validation channels, such as web validation, the system is determined to be genuine.

This issue may occur if the WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) engine does not have permission to access the data.dat file. Follow the steps below in order (for Windows XP as problem so far been limited to Windows XP system) to verify and confirm that it’s invalid data.dat permission that cause the problem, and resolve and fix the error.

  1. Log on to the computer using an Administrator user account.
  2. Click “Start”, and click “My Computer”.
  3. On the “Tools” menu, click “Folder Options”.
  4. Click the “View” tab.
  5. Under “Hidden files and folders”, check (tick) on “Show hidden files and folders”.
  6. Uncheck (untick) the “Hide extensions for known file types” check box.
  7. Click “OK”.
  8. Open Windows Explorer, and navigate to the following folder:

    %ALLUSERSPROFILE%Application DataWindows Genuine Advantagedata

    i.e.,

    C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataWindows Genuine Advantagedata

  9. Right-click the “data.dat” file, and click “Properties”.
  10. Click the “Security” tab.

    Tip: The hack to recover missing or not found Security tab in Windows XP Professional. For Windows XP Home edition, Security tab is only available in Safe Mode. So, in order to access the Security tab in XP Home Edition, restart the computer into Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, log onto Windows with accounts with Computer Administrator privileges (where only these accounts are listed on the logon screen anyway).

  11. Click on “Advanced”.
  12. In the “Name” tab, check if “Everyone” is listed.

    If “Everyone” is listed, click the “Exit” button, and check (tick) the “Full Control”.
    If “Everyone” is not listed, click the “Add” button, enter the name “Everyone” (without the quotation marks), and hit Enter. Choose “Full Control” in the pop-up window, and click “OK”.

  13. Click “OK” to accept the changes.

The error is part of the invalid non-genuine validation for Windows XP-based computers when incorrect or corrupted data.dat file is present, so that solution for the problem can be used too.

While I will acknowledge the efficacy of the MSE and the fact that I use it on a couple of machines, I have enough nits to pick to fill a medium sized article, and will most likely be reverting to Avira, though moving forward to the newest revision 10.

Speaking of MSE…does anyone remember the reason Microsoft gave for bringing out MSE? It was detailed in several places as being for the company’s own benefit, both allowing them to have fewer support calls due to virus problems undetected by users, and allowing the company to enjoy a better reputation, with fewer things blamed on their bad code.

As before the release, I ask, if that is the case, then why give the users grief with validation, for, as the stories also stated, each computer that is not infected is a win for those other computers that are in operation. In fact, it was (ostensibly) debated as to whether validation would indeed be required. Since the benefits of allowing everyone to use the product have been acknowledged, why hassle the genuine users with this grief?

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