What is Wgatray.exe

Windows Genuine Advantage Notification - Windows Genuine Advantage - Microsoft Corporation

File description

Wgatray.exe with description Windows Genuine Advantage Notification is a process file from company Microsoft Corporation belonging to product Windows Genuine Advantage.
The file is digitally signed from Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Timestamping Service
We do not recommend removing digitally signed files from Microsoft Corporation

What is wgatray.exe?
Wgatray.exe is a part of Windows Genuine Advantage found in Windows XP and later. Its purpose is to check to ensure that your copy of Windows is genuine and to notify you via a system tray icon if it is not.

This process is critical to the operation of the system and must not be killed or disabled. Disabling it may cause Windows to think that your copy of Windows is not genuine and therefore may prevent you from using your computer.

Dangers of wgatray
As this is an executable that runs on most up-to-date Windows systems, it is common for virus writers and spyware vendors to disguise their malware as the genuine one.

Some malicious files may have the same name but be stored somewhere other than in %SystemRoot%\System32. Other malware may use a name that appears similar to it but with slight differences in spelling or with appended digits. The following malware is known to disguise itself as wgatray.exe:
  • W32/Cuebot-K (%SystemRoot%\System32\wgavn.exe)
    • This is a Trojan horse that allows a remote attacker to gain full control over an infected system. It is known to spread via instant messaging protocols. Note that the name of this executable is not wgatray.exe but rather wgavn.exe. This executable is installed by the Trojan as a service called "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Notification." If you see this service, your system is infected.
There is typically no more than one instance of this process running at a given time. The presence of more than one instance in the Task Manager may be an indicator of a malware infection.

Common problems
  • I am told that my copy of Windows is not genuine even though it is
    • This is known problem. It seems that the only recourse is to call Microsoft to get an activation code.
  • This process uses 100% CPU time
    • This is known to occur in isolated cases. Ensure you have the latest version of the Windows Genuine Advantage validation tool.
    • If you have the latest version of the Windows Genuine Advantage validation tool and the problem persists, try disabling automatic updates.

Automatic startup locations

001 Running Processes

Digital signatures found for this file

    Certificate 
75 Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Timestamping Service
11 Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Time-Stamp Service
4 Microsoft Corporation - VeriSign Time Stamping Services Signer

MD5 security rating in our database

12 files (Not yet rated and not signed)
2 files (Not yet rated and digitally signed)
121 files (Safe and digitally signed)
Some versions of this filename have not yet been checked for safety.
Warning: Some malware might rename itself to wgatray.exe. Always make sure that your file is from a verified publisher.

User ratings for this file

File rating: Average rating of wgatray.exe: by 135 files and users.

Application errors

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