Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

How to know if you're Windows/Office system is genuine/legit?

Software piracy has became a wide-spread phenomenon in the last years, especially due to the internet and data on it becoming more and more available to a growing number of computer holders around the globe. Computer technicians and computer stores who want to make or just want to "make a favor for a friend" install pirated software, often without letting the owner of the computer know about it.

It won't be far away from the truth saying that 2 of the most common pirated programs worldwide are the Windows operating system and Office (in all their versions) - both by the huge software company - Microsoft.
Microsoft decided, quite long ago, not to stand still, but to take an active part in the fight against illegal use of its products. They put a critical/mandatory "update" in the Windows Update updates list called "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications". If your system is configured to get updates automatically (this is the default setting), you'll get this update within the next automated updating. Once installed on a pirated Windows system, notifications will appear very frequently, on the Desktop, in the notifications area and during logon (Welcome screen).

Few examples:

Same goes for Office. Once "Office Genuine Advantage Notifications" if installed, the following will appear in the upper section of any Office program.

For example:

Pirated systems of Windows and/or Office will keep having these notifications until they're fully licensed.
Furthermore, No updates - apart from automated critical updates - will be allowed to be installed through Windows Update or Microsoft Download Center.
Moreover, no Desktop background will be shown (only solid black);
On Windows Vista and Windows 7 - Aero themes will be also disabled.

Not sure if your Windows is Genuine? Want to check if your Office is eligible for full updates? Follow these steps to find out:
1. Download Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool from HERE
2. Run the tool.
3. Click Continue.

After few seconds you'll see the results.
If it doesn't say Genuine in Windows tab or in Office tab - your software is NOT legit!

What to do in case you have an illegal software?
The good news is that you don't necessarily need to format/reinstall everything! All you have to do is to purchase a GENUINE copy of your version of Windows and/Office and replace the pirated key with the new one. If you purchased the software but found out that it's pirated, contact your reseller for redress!

To change Windows key on Windows XP:

  1. Download Keyfinder.
  2. Run it.
  3. Click Options.
  4. Select Change Windows Key.
  5. Type in the new key.
  6. Press OK.
  7. Restart your computer to complete the process.

To change Windows key on Windows Vista or 7:
  1. Click the "Windows" button ("Start").
  2. Type in: cmd
  3. Right-click cmd on the list and select Run as Administrator.
  4. Type in: slmgr -ipk xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx (where the "xxxx" stand for the new product key).
  5. Type in: exit.
  6. Restart your computer to complete the process.

To change Office key:
  1. Make sure all Office programs are closed.
  2. Click Start (or the "Windows" button).
  3. Type in: REGEDIT (on Windows XP click Run and then type in).
  4. On 32-bit versions: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\XX.0\Registration. On 64-bit versions: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\XX.0\Registration. XX.0 represents Office version: 10.0 = Office XP; 11.0 = Office 2003; 12.0 = Office 2007; etc.
  5. Delete the following keys: ProductID and DigitalProductID.
  6. Exit the Registry Editor.
  7. Start any Office program. Enter the new key in the dialogue box that will appear on the screen.

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Source: http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/2004/virus.asp

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