This is a guide to fixing the erroneous message that sometimes appears on installations of Windows XP where the display background is forced to black and a pop-up message states that “This copy of Windows XP did not pass genuine validation.”

The Microsoft page referring to the display is at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/905474 but this does not provide a simple fix where the message is displayed in error. These instructions attempt to address that problem.

Microsoft also provides more information on genuine Microsoft software but I do find it odd that they even care about Windows XP, three months after the final end-of-life date for the product. Do Microsoft really believe that, by telling me my copy of their out-of-date product is not genuine, I am likely to go out and buy a copy of Vista? I am much more likely to remove Windows and to install a free copy of Ubuntu Linux.

To get rid of the messages:

  1. Reboot into “Safe Mode” (repeatedly tap F8 at startup)
  2. Open a Command window: Start ⇒ Run and enter cmd
  3. cd \Windows\System32 [Location is now C:\Windows\System32]
  4. ren wgatray.exe wgatrayold.exe
  5. cd dllcache [Location is now C:\Windows\System32\dllcache]
  6. ren wgatray.exe wgatrayold.exe
  7. Close the Command window
  8. Run Regedit: Start ⇒ Run and enter regedit
  9. Navigate to HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\WGALOGON
  10. (Optional) Right Click ⇒ Export on the WGALOGON Folder (as a backup)
  11. Delete the WGALOGON Folder
  12. Close Regedit
  13. Reboot