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Microsoft says my Windows 7 is pirated; now what am I suppose to do now?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 8, 2013 7:38 AM PST
Question:

Microsoft says my Windows 7 is pirated; now what am I suppose to do?


We have a Windows 7 laptop at our office which has been in use for last couple of years. One fine morning, it started saying that our Windows 7 copy is not valid. We reinstalled Windows 7 using the key provided by the vendor at the bottom, and even tried Microsoft's toll-free number for support, but Microsoft said that it is a pirated version. But that is an OEM version with the sticker intact on that laptop. What are we supposed to do now? Please help.

--Submitted by Vishnu M.
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Microsoft says my Windows 7 is pirated

I have actually had this happen on several of my clients computers, and it seems with so many people using Win7 key generating software, that if someone generated your key and used it to install Win7 on their computer, Microsoft will flag yours as non-genuine.

Try re-registering your Windows, but using the phone registration. You may even have to talk with someone to get it sorted out, but say you have it installed on only 'ONE' computer. If they say your copy is not genuine, you may have purchased an illegal copy of Windows.

If you have a computer that came with Win7 pre-installed and have the Windows key sticker on your computer, be sure to tell the Microsoft agent as such. If Microsoft still says your copy is pirated you will then need to talk with the computer manufacturer.

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Pirated Windows Problem
by Tunfeld / March 9, 2013 2:38 AM PST

try uninstalling the KB update that ends with 1033. This seems to be known for making legit copies of windows turn sour. If you can't do that, try looking for a Windows 7 loader. I find nothing wrong with a loader if you payed for your copy of windows and can't get help from microsoft or the vendor of your pc.

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Updates
by terryblount / March 15, 2013 12:06 PM PDT
This is the best solution, re-install W7, but choose to download and let me choose to install in the automatic updates settings. When updates are available check them all and when you see a KB update ending in 1033 select "hide this update" to make sure it cannot install. This will effectively remove the wat from the registry.
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A shorter work around
by BayushiZero / March 15, 2013 12:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Updates

There is a known registry error occuring with Windows 7 (not sure if it is version specific, or even specific to 64-bit), but Microsoft has provided a fix.

I encountered this error two days ago after one of my roommates accidentally unplugged the modem (not sure how that worked out. Internet goes out, and suddenly Windows is not genuine.

This came on a "budget" AMD-based HP desktop (that I use for media and basic web browsing).

I decided to run a Google search, and this result came up.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/windows-7-build-7601-this-copy-of-windows-is-not/0ab53d5f-4931-4b84-bdf4-05616edcb7ee

I hope this helps.

This is running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 build 7601, so your results may vary.

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Windows authorization tech
by aaw1944 / March 15, 2013 9:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Updates

Install a file called wat2.2.6 to remove WAT

This may help

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not really a fix on buesness computers that install msoffice
by me7654 / March 16, 2013 9:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Updates

There are ms products like office ... that requires you to pass ms genuine check. these software will not install. best to go phone call and fix it right.

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Windows 7
by 1kingpin / March 15, 2013 1:10 PM PDT

You need to delete SP1. If you can.
Then reinstall Win 7.
This should fix the problem.

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It happened to me too.

I don't know what you can do. I had the exact same problem. I called Microsoft and they said I had to deal with the vendor. The vendor accessed my computer remotely and found a place where it said my Windows was genuine and said they couldn't fix it because it wasn't broken. That didn't help and my next computer probably won't be from Velocity Micro despite the good machines and the (usually) great service.

I didn't want to risk it happening again so I chose to take the opportunity to buy a copy of Windows 8 instead. While I was at it, I upgraded to a touch screen (if I had it to do over, I wouldn't do that!) and an SSD. So far the new OS is working ok though I've got a major driver issue trying to use our Gestetner DSC525 copy machine. But that's part of the joy of a new operating system version.

I can't help but wonder if MS hasn't just found a new way to bump their revenue? I hope someone figures out what is causing this. It is a pretty serious kind of failure and neither Microsoft nor Velocity Micro seems to have taken it very seriously.

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If I had that problem, I'd restore from a recent backup.
by wpgwpg / March 8, 2013 9:25 AM PST
In reply to: It happened to me too.

I take you don't have a recent backup. This is just one of dozens of reasons why it behooves you to do it. Three excellent backup programs I'm familiar with and like are Norton Ghost (which I've been using for 8 years without the 1st problem), Easeus Todo Backup Free, which you can download from http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm and Memeo which has a 30 day free trial and you can buy it for $29.99 - you can download it from http://memeo.com . You can get Ghost for next to nothing (like I did) if you watch the sales.
The March 2012 issue of PC World was very high on the FREE program from Easeus and so is CNET. In my experience with a variety of configurations I have to say I'm very impressed. Like Ghost it will back up to a networked drive, and it will create a boot CD for when your PC won't boot. See CNET's review of it at
http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Todo-Backup-Free/3000-2242_4-10964460.html?tag=mncol;1#editorsreview .
-
CNET has a lot of backup program reviews at
http://download.cnet.com/windows/backup-software/?tag=contentBody;sideBar .

Some of these are free (last time I checked there were over 300), some have free trials (over 1000), and some are purchase only (over 200).
-
External hard drives are best for backup. You can get a 500 GB one for around $60 and a 1 TB one for around $70. You can also buy a 32 GB flash drive for under $15. It's the best insurance you can ever buy!

Good luck

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Check your Microsoft account for trusted PC's
by humblejerome / March 8, 2013 1:17 PM PST
In reply to: It happened to me too.

If you sigh in with and Microsoft account it ask you if you want to trust this pc.
If you upgrade to a new os and then want to down grade back, Take the old os off the trusted pc list before re- installing or it will be seen as still being active and show the new install as pirated.! and then they want you to buy a new one. They don't tell you that !

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Don'tBlametheHardwareManufacturerforMicrosoft'sShortcomings
by rschama / March 15, 2013 12:55 PM PDT
In reply to: It happened to me too.

Don't blame the hardware company. It is friggin' Microsoft's fault. I have a genuine OEM copy of windows I run on a Mac via Parallels. Worked fine for a couple years and then I got the same stupid warning about my copy not being valid. I HAVE THE ORIGINAL DISC AND KEY! I reinstalled and still get the same crap! Screw Microsoft! That is why I am a Mac user. I only have Windows to play old PC games and for ONE program unique to Windows.

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Must be nice
by joecool0425 / March 15, 2013 1:43 PM PDT

Luckily for you, you can afford to pay a minimum of $1200 for a laptop. Most people cannot. Unlike Apple, MS makes their money from the software sales, not from hardware, so they have to protect themselves from piracy. With millions of Windows users out there, it is inevitable that a lot of people will have issues. I use and support both Mac and PC and can speak from experience that neither are perfect, each has their own problems and good points. I have seen the Apple Store quote what it would cost to buy a new PC laptop just to put a new hard drive in a Macbook. I have seen Apple's slow down, crash, have hardware failures, just like PC's. They are not bullet proof either.

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I totally agree.
by HercJerk / March 17, 2013 8:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Must be nice

Identical problem as near as I can tell. I bought the OS from Microsoft. Don't blame Apple.

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Copy of Win Pirated? Not

I had a similar problem a couple of years back with my XP. So many problems with system crash, and need to re-install OS that my key was no longer valid. I understand you issue is somewhat different, only paralel. When I called the 800 MS number, they needed to see a proof of purchase receipt before ofering assistance and issuing me a new Key number.

GL. RD, Bronx

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Tell more about that Windows 7. For example.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 8, 2013 9:28 AM PST

If you take some Windows 7 DVD you found and use the OEM version with the sticker for the key, that's the problem. That sticker and key is only good with the Windows 7 that comes from that maker.

Not much of a mystery here.
Bob

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Microsoft declares software non-geniune
by wippernm / March 8, 2013 10:39 AM PST

I have been here with many customers. I have tried to convince MS that it was legal and they will always try to explain that it must be illegal. They claim that it is volume media, a subscription version, installed too many times, and installed on more than one computer.

The first one is a loser. If they claim that it is volume media, your only recourse is to buy new software.

The second one really gripes me. You can buy a program from a legal source but it was branded as for subscription use (MSDN). You will never know if this one hits you until sometimes months after the software is installed and validated at least once. If you get caught with this one, all you can do is contact the company were you purchased the software and complain. Force them to replace the media and key. You must have all of your documentation and it may be time consuming.
What bothers me the most about this is that there is no way to tell the difference with this type of media until it is installed and then later rejected. Microsoft should be required to change the packaging so that a comsumer can easily identify this type of purchase. Some internet stores will buy this type and even they may not know that it is illegal. I had a copy that was sold to a retailer from one of Microsoft distribution companies. They never would fix the problem. The distribution company required me to go back to the retailer and the retailer stood with the answer that the software was legal and not their problem. Be careful where you buy.

If you installed it too many times, sometimes if you stick with the call to Microsoft, they might give you a new install number. If you can prove that you replaced hardware that is causing the conflict with the authorization, it may be authorized.

They will stand with there license restrictions if they feel that you have installed the software on more than one computer.

The good news with Microsoft is that recently, they will allow you to move your software to a new computer. You may find hiccups with this for a while since this is a change in direction for licensing for MS.

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non-genuine windows
by jamescc4 / March 15, 2013 12:59 PM PDT

I have had this happen several times. Unfortunately, I don't remember how I fixed. In the past there have been a couple of updates that have messed up how things function. But believe it or not, Microsoft blocks its own downloads. You should access all of your Windows firewall and antivirus. Add the exception of www.Microsoft.com. I think this was the way I fixed it. A last try is to turn off all of your firewall and antivirus, restart and see if that will work (activate and restart after). Notably this is not a problem with Microsoft licensing. It's a function of you computer
A great resource for this kind of thing is Black Viper (www.blackviper.com). He seems to have a tremendous amount of information for Windows, etc. Hope this helps.

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Enough to give me pause...
by theanimaster / March 15, 2013 2:23 PM PDT

This post just re-ignited a concern I had for Windoze, now that I'm seriously considering buying a copy to use with my macbook pro.

If for example, I decide to just quickly wipe my Bootcamp drive and re-install Windoze, will I have this problem? What should I do before simply 'nuking' my Windoze partition?

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Click Change Key
by humblejerome / March 8, 2013 10:05 PM PST

When you first install Windows 7 with an OEM version , first skip adding key from the start of install and Click Change key when you active with the sticker key after install.

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That's not true.
by sbill / March 15, 2013 12:57 PM PDT

If your computer has a legal OEM Windows 7 license, you most certainly CAN use a generic OEM disk to install. When prompted, you will need to enter the product key from your COA label. It will not work with online activation, but if you dial the 1-800 number, they WILL activate it for you. I do this all the time, when people bring me computers with a crashed hard disk, and no recovery media, but still an intact COA.

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Get it all in writing.

Especially Microsoft's answers.

Then, go back to the vendor. You may have to take your lappy with you--actually, the more I think about it, the better this part sounds.

Then get the vendor to write his/her/its position on some handy paper. And make sure that Microsoft sees that position statement.

The vendor must prove to everybody's satisfaction he/she/it has a valid OEM license from Microsoft. Using KeyGens is theft, pure and simple, and attracts a criminal trial. I'm sure Microsoft would at least help push the prosecution.

Yes, this is time-consuming. But at the end of the day, even if you don't get your W7 back, there is a good chance the vendor won't ever be selling computers again: you can't do that from prison.

Gordon

Negative? Yes. Unfortunately, software piracy attracts many people who think it's a good money-spinner and don't care about your civil rights. So, in the words of JFK, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

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Microsoft windows key

Had to call my self when I had to reinstall windows they ask how many times I have installed the CD told them this was first time since I had to format they walked me thru gave me code and I was back in business, found out the hard way if you call Micorosoft always tell them this is the first time.
Hope all goes well Ellen Pringle

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back up your data and reinstall windows....

You may have to get someone to do this for you. But a properly installed Windows 7 license should pass all validation tests.

Either that, or you would have to sell the laptop to someone who can find good use out of it.

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The real question should be: Who made the laptop?

From my experience, most OEM laptops from Dell, HP, Sony, Lenovo, etc... - they all come with a product key that is unique to that manufacturer. Dell's restore disks do not require the use of a product key as it's already baked into the version preinstalled on the computer. It makes assembly and installation THAT much faster with one less step to hassle with when they're putting your order together. They merely have to restore a DVD image of Windows and the stock preinstalled wares that come with the laptop and they only have to install drivers for the few remaining items that you custom ordered for that machine.

The product key sticker on the bottom of the laptop (or side of the desktop for that matter) is unique and should be protected. BUT... It's not the same product key that is installed on the machine by default.

So if Microsoft is saying the product key is pirated, I have to wonder who made the laptop? Some smaller OEMs without the bulk license agreement that the bigger makers have may have cut corners somehow...

If I were in your shoes, I would likely contact the OEM of that laptop and find out why the hardware you purchased from them is reporting that the copy of Windows 7 you have installed is NOT genuine.

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I had something like this happen.

Is it possible the system is reading the wrong windows file? Is there any kind of network backup that might be confusing the system?

My C drive was dying and lucky for me I was able to start moving files off it. In the middle of a somewhat desperate moving process, I moved my entire windows directory. When I got my new drive and had everything installed (all the updates and such) I took the DVD out of the drive and that was when I got a black screen. The lower right hand corner said the copy I had was not valid and a build number. If I kept the DVD in, Win7 pro would run pretty much as normal
After trying to fix it myself,(Change this setting, check that file, research on the net) I did what most of you did. First I called Microsoft. Three transfers later they told me to call the place I bought it from. I called them and they did the "take over your PC thing" and they could not find a problem. (Guess who they told me to call?) I called Microsoft again and after telling them my story again, they told me I had win7 installed incorrectly and to start over. After which, I was to call them back and they would do their validation thing. Somewhere in there they floated the possibility of having to pay $99 to get a new number or something.

I should also note I looked around the net and saw all the OEM, only able to be installed "X" amount of times, (that one REALLY did not sound right to me) and the brute force number stealing thing.

I called Microsoft again. I'm a nice guy and I don't like to get upset because the people on the phone they are just trying to get by like the rest of us. Not their fault if I or Microsoft mess up something and my computer does not work, right?
But.........
I called Microsoft again and this time I had me some righteous anger and after three more transfers I got a guy and I let him have it with one and a half barrels. Told you I was a nice guy. Happy Fact that he was hard for me to understand did not help either. After some back and forth he figured out that the problem I was having was the system was reading the wrong windows folder. With all the hectic work I was doing moving files and trying to figure out what was wrong before I came to the conclusion that it was the hard drive and not the software. When I changed it to the right drive, it worked like it should. I wish I knew who the guy who helped me was so I could say something good about him. I almost feel bad about how I spoke to him. The I think that if I had gotten upset a week and half earlier, the problem may have been solved then.

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Contact Microsoft and the computer manufacturer.

If it's a laptop then there shouldn't really be an issue. Most laptops are pre-assembled by mainstream manufacturers and so really shouldn't be using pirate keys. If it was a desktop then I could understand as sometimes dodgy computer shops will use pirate copies of Windows on their desktops to undercut computer shops using genuine copies - which really does annoy me 'cos I always install genuine and I've got to compete against these cowboys.

There are a few things to check as well.

You've never lent this laptop to anyone that may have taken it away and copied the number from the bottom have you? If it's used in the office it could be that an employee has maybe had the laptop out of the office, or even just lifted it up and made a note of the Windows 7 key so they can use it on their own home PC and thus invalidated both your copy and his. Or in some cases if you send your laptop in for repair to a non-reputable IT firm they may take note of the key and start using it on other people's computers, or as I found out in one place someone had a new computer built for them and the IT company that built their new computer just used the same key off their old computer and told them they'd be fine as they're licensed to run it on as many computers as they want, it wasn't until they started having a few issues with their old computer that I came in, and discovered that he'd been using one licence on two machines.

Your first check is to make sure that you are not using that code on any other computer anywhere in the office.

If you are then your best bet is to call up Microsoft and buy a second genuine licence so both computers have genuine licences.

If your not accidentally using it on two computers then your next port of call is to call up Microsoft and see if there is anyway they can rectify the situation, explain to them that it is on a laptop and tell them the make, and model number of the laptop and see if they are willing to do anything about it. I'm quite sure if some major laptop brand name is using pirate copies of Windows then they would love to hear from you. Many years ago in the days of Windows 95 and 98 there was a number of well known PC firms that were done by Microsoft for replicating installation codes, but you'd have thought they'd have learned their lesson by now.

If you get nowhere with Microsoft (other than them insisting you need to re-purchase Windows), then contact the manufacturer, or the store where you bought the laptop from. Explain to them what has happened and that they made be breaking trading standards rules by supplying illegal software with the laptop. If you threaten them with legal action if they don't rectify it then they most probably will buckle and offer to sort the problem out, as a court case against a major computer manufacturer for supplying illegal software could be a lot more damaging to their image than just rectifying it by giving you a genuine licence.

If finally you don't get anywhere then your only option is then to go and re-purchase Windows 7. To do this I'd recommend going for an OEM version and buying some small piece of cheap hardware with it - a mouse or something - you don't need to use the hardware it's just part of Microsoft's T&C's. OEM versions are normally about half the price of the commercial package, they're like a "no-frills" version usually in a plain box with just the disc and the code inside (in a position that the code cannot be seen from the outside) and are for system builders (hence the reason you need to purchase a piece of hardware to buy it).

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Microsoft "illegal" copy response
by cheyguy / March 15, 2013 12:42 PM PDT

I have a near-3-year-old Dell 435mt that came with XP (OEM), went to Vista (disc), then Windows 7 Ultimate (upgrade card requiring download). Never had a problem with the "piracy" issue. However, since installing IE10 (Win7 version) about a month ago, about 1 out of 5 times, I get the "you have pirated software" notice when I boot up. I got it maybe twice in Windows 7 prior, and each time I ran MS's verification, it said my copy was NOT pirated. So I did nothing but close the notice. With this new series of notices, I did the same thing, and it says my copy is NOT pirated, yet I still get it occasionally. I have and will continue to ignore it unless it does something. Microsoft will not call me (or you) about it. If your computer continues to work, my experience says to simply close the notice and ignore it. I believe it's a glitch. When I close IE10, I get a notice that IE is not working properly, which quickly becomes "do you want to close the program". I comes every time I close a window (even with other tabs open), and a year ago when I had the same problem, MS told me to uninstall IE 9 and reinstall it: it will ask if you wish to retain your settings and data, and I said yes. Took about 25 minutes, but worked. Haven't yet tried it with IE10, but these continuing issues (piracy, closing IE) indicate to me that MS is not as sharp as it used to be, spending their time on pushing Windows 8 (which has been a problem on my HP dv6t laptop even though MS and HP said I could upgrade to Win8 with existing hardware/software). So now I expect issues to pop up periodically, and do what I can. So far, nothing has totally stopped, sent me a nasty letter, etc. And yes, I do still get the calls from India that my computer has an issue and they need to take it over. I just hang up now (sadly with and unaccustomed curse word if I'm in the middle of something important). Hope this might help a little. cheyguy

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Re: MS illegal...................
by Glenn51 / March 17, 2013 9:50 PM PDT

Only replying to the part about the India calls. The India calls ARE TOTALLY BOGUS and a scam!! See link:

http://forums.cnet.com/7723-6132_102-563986-8/scam-alert-are-you-getting-phone-calls-by-people-claiming-to-be-tech-support/

Mr. Koo started this forum with my original question. This was over a year ago. It appears the "India" economy is so bad they have to resort to scamming people to make some money!! My last call from wherever on 03/06/13 the woman stated "outright" that she WAS from MS Tech Support.

I had contacted MS over a year ago, I searched and got a contact number and called them myself and was told by the MS representative that MS NEVER, repeat NEVER calls you directly!

They use phone number blocking, scammed(?) numbers ( I had one call with a Texas number on the caller ID yet all I could hear were India accents from the caller and the background chatter). They try to convince you they are legit!

Don't fall for this scam!!! Hang up on these clowns! Unable to give advice on the copy issue and apologize for getting slightly off topic!!

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Calls from "MS Support"
by Rxman3844 / March 19, 2013 2:26 AM PDT

I have received many calls from "MS Support" usually from someone with an Indian accent who tells me that I have a virus on my computer, based on their "database". Once I was told that Microsoft actually has a virus built into Windows 7. Yeah, right. I played along with them, keeping them on the phone for as long as possible, asking for a supervisor, etc., asking where they get their database, how could they possibly know what's on my computer without hacking it, telling them that I don't even own a computer.

That is not the reason that I came about this post. I actually did receive a message that my copy of windows was not genuine. I purchased the Win 7 Ultimate upgrade directly from Microsoft. After spending a hour with my IT people, all I had to do was re-enter the key. My questions is HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

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I had this happen with XP and found a solution online...

I had a Compaq computer with XP on it. Obviously, this wasn't a case of a small vendor installing too many copies of XP for their license. I had to re-install on a clean drive when mine started to die. It turned out that one of the updates didn't install correctly, so the Windows validation program decided that my copy was illegal. Microsoft was of no help -- they even claimed it was an illegal installation (computer purchased directly from the Compaq web site) when I called! I ended up installing XP, reboot, SP 1, reboot, then SP2, reboot, then SP 3 -- even though Microsoft claimed that all I had to do was use their Update and it would take care of everything for me following the initial XP install. I found that hint from some other frustrated user on the web and it worked! I had to wander around the MS web site to find the individual SP's to download and install instead of using Microsoft Update single mass update.

It wouldn't surprise me that one or more "Important" updates either weren't installed, didn't install properly, or have been damaged by another program or disk failure, so the latest version of Win 7 checker thinks that you now have a pirated version. Check the Windows Update log to see if you're missing anything; I'd consider also installing most, if not all, of the optional MS updates as well, just in case. If you have to re-install Win 7, I'd use Update to install a few updates at time (mimicking their usual update process, going by dates) instead of a mass update of everything, just to make sure there isn't a hiccup in the process.

Best of Luck to you!

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