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How Do I Know if My Copy Of Windows 7 is a Genuine Retail Copy?

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/3/2010

If you are receiving error messages about Windows 7 or purchased your software from an unreliable source, you may be concerned that it is an illegal copy. Learn how to check if copy of Windows 7 is retail and genuine Microsoft software.

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    Genuine Microsoft Software

    A genuine retail copy of Windows is published, licensed, and fully supported by Microsoft. Using genuine retail Microsoft software ensures that you will receive updates and improvements as they become available. Using pirated software is illegal and hurts software developers, retailers, and ultimately the economy. It may also contain malware, such as viruses or spyware. Learn how to check if copy of Windows 7 is retail and genuine Microsoft software.

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    Activation and Validation

    How to check if copy of Windows 7 is retail: Activation 

    If you are certain that your copy of Windows 7 is retail and genuine Microsoft software but you keep receiving a message that it is not, check to be sure it has been activated. Click the Start button and type System into the Instant Search box. Select System under Control Panel in the results list. Scroll to the bottom of the System window. Under Windows Activation you can see whether your copy of Windows 7 has been activated.

    There will be an Activate Windows Now link if your copy of Windows 7 has not been activated. Provided the product ID is listed or you have the Windows 7 CD with the product key, click the link and choose Activate Windows Online Now. Once the activation is complete, you should no longer receive messages that your copy of Windows 7 is not genuine.

    How to check if copy of Windows 7 is retail: Phone Activation 

    If you do not have the product key and Windows 7 has not been activated, you can do so by phone. Click Start, type slui.exe 4 into the Instant Search box and press Enter. Windows Activation will open. Select the location nearest to you and click Next. Call the phone number provided and follow the phone system instructions to receive an activation key. Enter the key and finish the wizard.

    One way to check your Microsoft software is by reviewing the Certificate of Authenticity. Read Certificate Of Authenticity for Microsoft Word to find out more.

    You can also have your copy of Windows 7 instantly validated to ensure that it is a genuine retail copy. Visit the Genuine Microsoft Software Validation page and click the Validate Windows button. You will learn instantly if your copy of Windows 7 is retail and genuine Microsoft software or not. Even if your copy of Windows 7 is not genuine Microsoft software, you may be able to upgrade to a genuine retail copy.

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    Report Pirated Software

    If you suspect that your copy of Windows 7 is counterfeit, you can report it to Microsoft. You can inform Microsoft about where you purchased your counterfeit software, and you may remain anonymous if you choose. You may also want to upgrade to a genuine retail copy of Windows 7.