Well tonight I decided to take a leap and actually upgrade my Windows XP system to Service Pack 2 and install all the Microsoft Updates that are well over due. Why have I waited so long? Well, when SP2 came out, I heard about (and saw first hand) applications that would fail to work with SP2 installed. I'm a strong believer in the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". My Windows XP system runs without problems for long periods of time, so I never bothered updating anything. Why have I suddenly decided to upgrade? I just had a feeling it was about time.
Another reason I have been putting off updating my system is because of the new Genuine Validation tool that Microsoft is including in the system updates. This tool checks to make sure you're running a valid copy of Windows XP and since I'm not, I didn't want anything to happen to my system. A few days ago I came across this post describing many different ways to circumvent this new feature from Microsoft.
With renewed confidence that I could update my system without any catastrophic consequences, I downloaded the WGAFixer1.5.530.0.exe tool and ran it after I let the Genuine Advantage application be installed by Microsoft Update. I was then able to download all the updates from Microsoft Update without it complaining that I wasn't running a valid version of Windows XP.
I have also read that selecting Tools>Internet Options>Programs>Manage Add-Ons and disabling Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool will fix the problem. I already installed the WGAFixer, so I haven't tested that method yet. I'll let you know as soon as I try it out on another PC.
For the most part, the Genuine Validation tool is designed for those people who know very little about computers and might have been sold a used PC by a friend who installed a pirated version of Windows XP on the computer. It's designed to scare them into purchasing a valid license for Windows XP ($189, I believe).
There will always be a way to circumvent protection, but that shouldn't be necessary. Thats why I love, and use, free, open-source software so much.