Three months after a major failure of Microsoft's anticounterfeit system fingered legitimate Windows XP and Vista users as pirates, a senior project manager has spelled out the steps his team has taken to prevent a repeat. Alex Kochis, the senior project manager for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), used a company blog to outline new processes that have been put in place, including drills that test the WGA group's response to an outage like the one in late August.
"We've revamped the monitoring that is used to track what's happening within our server infrastructure so that we can identify potential problems faster, ideally before customer gets impacted," Kochis said. "[And] since August, we have conducted more than a dozen 'fire-drills' designed to improve our ability to respond to issues affecting customers or that could impact the quality of the service." Those drills, Kochis said, have ranged from pre-announced simulations to surprise alerts that test a specific scenario. "The team is now better prepared overall to take the right action and take it quickly," he promised.
In late August, servers operating the WGA validation system went dark for about 19 hours. Customers who tried to validate their copy of Windows -- a Microsoft requirement for both XP and Vista -- during the blackout were pegged as pirates; Vista owners found parts of the operating system had been disabled, including its Aero graphical interface.