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Reading through the abuse being righteously heaped on the Evil Empire's head for its nasty malware, aka Windows Genuine Advantage, a chink of truth and light is dimly visible. It takes the form of a WGA eradicator called, er, RemoveWGA. You can download it at www.tinyurl. com/epmqq

Its deviser, Frenchman Guillaume Kaddouch, is no hacker. Some downloaders complained that RemoveWGA didn't work, so he devised a special patch for them. Then he discovered that theirs were pirated copies of Windows. So he killed the patch. The version you will fi nd above seems to work.

That is, until Windows Update does its unbidden business and downloads a later version of the malware. The consensus is that you should try to turn off Automatic Update (the site shows how) and manually check for new updates - editing out any with WGA in the title.

Mac users will be amused to hear that Windows is now so bug-ridden that Microsoft has to issue a slew of patches - seemingly weekly. And Big Brother's very recent confused and apparently forced response to the above abuse is at www. support. microsoft.com/kb/921914

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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