Today we’re going to go over how to make your copy of Windows legal (assuming it isn’t). Perhaps you bought a computer from Ebay or Craigslist or a friend or family member ‘worked’ on your computer and installed a bootleg copy of Windows from a shady site.
The latter happened to a client of mine and she called saying she was getting pop-ups (from Microsoft), letting her know her copy of Windows wasn’t valid.
If you get WAT (Windows activation tool) popups saying your copy of windows isn’t valid, the fastest and easiest thing to do is click on the popup and then you’ll be taken to a Microsoft site where you can purchase your ‘Get Genuine Windows’ kit. I tried to find a link to the site, but there’s not one that I can find. This may be because the price is less than buying a full version of Windows. (Of course use caution when you click on a pop-up as it could be a phishing scheme. Verify you are at the Microsoft site by looking at your URL.)
There’s a comprehensive site called Genuine Windows, that gives a lot of information on how to tell if your copy of Windows is genuine or not. From what I’m reading, you won’t be given a link to purchase the Windows Kit unless it’s determined your copy is not valid.
After you place your on-line order and pay, you’ll get an email from Microsoft with instructions and your product key – so keep that email!
While I was going through the install process, I saw one of the screens said that the copy of Windows could not be transferred to another computer, sold or put on a new computer.
If you’d like more in-depth information, here’s a link to one of Microsoft’s support forums that gives more information on the process from a user who had problems.
If you happen to get a bootleg copy of Windows, I hope this helps prepare you for the process. Yes, it’ll cost some money, but not as much as buying a full version. Good luck and let me know your experience with the Get Genuine Kit.
(Originally published on my website on 1-27-12)