This copy of windows is not genuine

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Chris HoffmanEditor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about công nghệ for over a decade & was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The Thủ đô New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations lượt thích Miami"s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have sầu been read nearly one billion times---and that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read more...

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chrisbhoffman
UpdatedJul 12, 2017, 1:25 pm EST| 4 min read
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“You may be a victim of software counterfeiting.” These messages pop up regularly if Windows thinks you’re using a pirated version of Windows. Microsoft wants lớn nag you until you go legitimate và prevent PC sellers from sneaking pirated copies of Windows onkhổng lồ their PCs.

Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 would be a free tăng cấp even for computers without genuine copies of Windows. But, even though they’ll let you install Windows 10, you’ll just over up with a non-genuine copy of Windows 10 that continues khổng lồ nag at you.


How Windows Notices It’s Not Genuine

RELATED: How Does Windows Activation Work?

Windows includes a process known as “Windows Activation.” This process activates your copy of Windows with Microsoft, & they kiểm tra to make sure it’s a properly licensed copy. It ensures your Windows license key is only being used on a single PC at a time và that thousands of PCs aren’t using the same key. Windows also regularly checks to ensure that your key hasn’t been reported as pirated. This occurs when your computer tries to lớn download optional updates from Microsoft — something that normally happens as part of the standard Windows Update process.

If Microsoft’s servers tell Windows that it’s using a pirated or otherwise improperly licensed key, Windows will display a message saying that your copy of Microsoft Windows “is not genuine.”

A typical Windows PC you buy will come with a pre-activated copy of Windows that’s properly licensed. This is only something you have sầu lớn worry about if you build your own PC or nâng cấp khổng lồ a different copy of Windows — if you install Windows yourself, in other words.


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If you purchase a used PC or another pre-built PC from a local computer store & see messages saying Windows isn’t genuine, they stuông chồng you with a pirated copy of Windows khổng lồ save money. That’s a big part of the point of the message — to lớn make pirating more difficult for the pirates and have messages that let users know whether their computer has a pirated copy of Windows or not.

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Exactly How This Affects Your Computer

A non-genuine copy of Windows has features designed khổng lồ regularly alert you lớn this and annoy you inlớn wanting khổng lồ use a properly licensed copy of Windows.

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Windows XP và Vista had harsh limitations here, Windows XP had Windows Genuine Advantage pushed as a Windows Update, & that could potentially loông xã users out of their computers. Windows Vista relaxed things & offered a “reduced-functionality mode,” which only let you log into your comptuer for an hour at a time. Before Service Paông chồng 1, Windows Vista’s reduced-functionality mode only let you use Intenret Explorer for an hour at a time.

Windows 7 softened things even further, and they stayed softened in Windows 8 & 8.1. When you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows, you’ll see a notification once every hour. The notification informs you it’s non-genuine and that you need khổng lồ activate. Your desktop background will become blaông chồng every hour — even if you change it, it’ll change bachồng. There’s a permanent notice that you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows on your screen, too. You can’t get optional updates from Windows Update, và other optional downloads lượt thích Microsoft Security Essentials won’t function. Windows 8 limits some other personalization settings, including preventing you from changing your Start screen background. Microsoft also won’t offer you phone tư vấn và other help for Windows if you haven’t paid them for your copy.

This sounds obnoxious — and it is — but let’s danh sách the things that continue working normally instead. You can continue using your computer, & all the applications will function normally. You’ll never be locked out of your computer. You’ll receive important security updates from Windows Update to lớn keep your computer secure. The messages are obnoxious, but they at least let you continue lớn use your computer. If you have sầu khổng lồ deal with this problem, at least you can continue using your computer in the meantime.

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Going Genuine (and Getting Rid of the Nags)

So, how vị you go genuine? The current messages don’t provide an easy way khổng lồ purchase a legitimate Windows license và get it onto lớn your PC. Instead, you’re encouraged lớn purchase a new PC with a properly licensed copy of Windows or buy a boxed copy of Windows & install it on your PC.


If you bởi actually have a valid Windows key, you can change the product key in Windows. Windows will then activate with Microsoft và remove the limitations.

That’s something MIcrosoft seems lớn be working on with Windows 10, hence why they want to make it easy for all those non-genuine copies of Windows lớn upgrade. Microsoft says there will be an easy process to lớn buy a genuine copy of Windows in the Windows Store tiện ích and have the PC automatically repair itself lớn make sure everything is secure. If getting rid of all those nag screens just requires a few clicks & a credit card number, no wonder Microsoft wants lớn encourage pirates lớn upgrade!

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Yes, there are obviously tricks Windows pirates use lớn bypass the genuine Windows notification. Microsoft is in a constant battle with those tricks, và has been for as long as Windows has existed. We’re not giving any advice on tricking Windows into thinking it’s genuine here.

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Hopefully, Microsoft will reduce the copy of a Windows license to lớn a place where it’s just worth paying for lớn avoid the hassle. At $200 for a professional edition of Windows 8.1, the price is a bit high for many people.

Image Credit: Kiewic on Flickr


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Chris HoffmanChris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about technology for over a decade và was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The Thành Phố New York Times, been interviewed as a công nghệ expert on TV stations like Miami"s NBC 6, và had his work covered by news outlets lượt thích the Đài truyền hình BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times---& that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read Full Bio »

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