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"This copy of Windows not genuine." How do I fix this?

May 30, 2014 7:20AM PDT

"This copy of Windows not genuine." How do I fix this?

I've successfully used an authentic Windows 7 Home Premium program for over 3 years. Yet, in the last year or so, my desktop screen has gone black, with the icons still visible, and a small message in white appears in right hand corner of black screen that states "Windows 7 Build 7601 This copy of Windows not genuine".

It then gives me a chance to show that I have a valid program by asking for my product key. I insert it. And it still says "Windows not genuine". I try again. Same answer. And we go through the dance over and over.

The last Windows update in May 2014 created this scenario again. It takes me several hours to overcome this glitch. Is this is a common problem? Do you know what causes it and is there anything I can do to fix it?

Thanks for your help.

--Submitted by: Marty J.

Discussion is locked

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Frequently, It's Malware But...
May 30, 2014 9:47AM PDT

It's not that uncommon, so check the steps below for fixes..

First, follow the instructions in the link below for such an error:

There are a couple of Youtube videos regarding the issue as well. See below:

Try the following:

If not, try this:

Next, if you can actually boot the computer,for issues regarding malware, follow the instructions in the link below to scan and remove any malware, spyware and adware.;msg5518840

Next, remember that if you had a computer shop install your operating system, it's entirely possible they didn't install a fully legal version, even though they said they did. In such cases, through the passing of time and Microsoft's updates to their methods for checking authenticity, truth finally catches up to your version legality. Contact the repair shop if that's the case and ask for a legal version.

In a few cases, simply checking the activation status at Start-Computer- (RIGHT click on Computer, choose "Properties"), then look to the Activation Status area at the bottom of the screen, then closing the window and restarting the machine will fix the issue. If it's not activated, do so using the legal certificate of authenticity number online, or by callingl Microsoft.

Of course, if you're in a hurry, you're sure you've got a legal version of the OS, and you've got all your backups, then you're best bet is to wipe the hard drive, unplug all external USB hard drives from the computer, and reinstall everything back to its factory state using recovery discs, partitions, and backups. Sometimes its simpler and quicker to start over from scratch.

Unfortunately, there are a number of different things that can cause the "Windows not genuine" issue and the quickest and most effective remedy is to restore everything back to it's original condition.

Hope this helps.


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Windows not genuine
Jun 6, 2014 12:16PM PDT

I had this problem, too, and it happened after I doubled my memory. I tried the link to verify that I had a valid copy (mine was 3 years old, too) but it never worked. I ran Malware Bytes several times, but it did not find anything. I finally had to take it to a shop and the guy there told me it was malware. I left my computer with him and it took a couple of days and $100 but, he fixed it and I no longer get that message.

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Jun 6, 2014 12:29PM PDT

Activation is for a given set of hardware. New memory? You just changed the hardware configuration. You have to call them to explain that. New processor? Same thing. They want to make sure that, once you've installed windows on a piece of hardware, you are NOT trying to install it on a seperate machine.

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Well, Not Usually With Memory....
Jun 6, 2014 1:38PM PDT

Changing memory only should not require a new activation, even on a brand name computer. Generally, it's a large, or significant hardware change that might cause a re-activation, but even then, it's a "maybe".. Sometimes it happens.. Sometimes it doesn't.. See Microsoft's write-up regarding that question: "Do I need to activate Windows after making a hardware change?"

And besides, the original poster mentioned nothing about a hardware change.. The issue at hand, is those "not genuine" notices that simply happen "out of the blue", such as after a Windows Update, etc..

Hope this helps.


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I had this once with a truely genuine version...
Jun 6, 2014 5:29PM PDT

After I explained who I got it from and that I examined the installation disk to make sure it was COA compatible, etc. I called Microsoft - I never saw so much work to get something done in my life - I bet those poor technicians worked on it for four hours before they fixed the problem! They were US technicians as I was on the phone with them as they worked! I figured Microsoft deserved to lose money on the proposition, because if they can't code their DRM properly they deserve to suffer the consequences! Angry

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RAM change should not be a factor
Jun 8, 2014 2:30AM PDT

That WGA does not differentiate 'twixt mainboard and RAM upgrades, in terms of importance, means to me that the WGA needs revision. That MS does not see it this way is just them being greedy. RAM is THE most likely thing to change on a valid system, aside from blown HDDs. A change of RAM should NEVER be the deciding factor in WGA opening its virtual mouth. Cases where the user is abusing licensing will probably see the boxes having identical hardware, anyway.

What SHOULD trigger WGA, if MS wants to not be @$$es abt this? Motherboard and/or CPU. Period.

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What SHOULD trigger WGA?
Jun 8, 2014 2:38AM PDT

That question is on the web but it's not just one thing. You can change a network card, HDD but change video and ram and WGA may fire off. I won't duplicate the web here but WGA is a non-issue for legit licenses.

HOWEVER folk that have some HP and change the motherboard often get BURNED as they discover the license dies with the motherboard. How many times have you hear that owner scream they bought the OS? (no they didn't)

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never had this
Jul 11, 2014 3:21AM PDT

I've changed all the hardware on my system except mobo and never had this happen.

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It Depends
Jul 11, 2014 7:20AM PDT

It depends on what type of Windows you have. If you are using an OEM version (came already installed) on the PC or a volume licensed version, then maybe this won't happen. If you bought the CD in the store, then it usually does. Plus, it is not exactly straight-forward. It really depends on what you change and in conjunction with other changes So, if you added more memory at the same time you swapped out the HD or the processor, you may see this. Did you swap out the HDD? Did you have to activate Windows at the beginning in order to use it for more than a few days?

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What if?
Jun 6, 2014 7:09PM PDT

Luckily for me this has never happened with Win7. However, I downloaded an Office2013 from a vendor site and was given all types of keys and steps to get it going. WHAT IF -- my computer crashed and I lost Office 2013? And the company I downloaded from went out of business? Where/how would I get those keys? According to the company I would have to verify through them but there's no guarantee they will be in business. In fact, I'm thinking of buying a newer computer next year and will need to transfer the Offc2013 to that new computer.
See -- this is why I don't like downloading MS products and prefer having a hard disk.

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And Did You Copy The Downloaded Office To A CD?
Jun 7, 2014 1:16AM PDT

Previously, I was given the option to download Microsoft Office versions using their Tech subscription and from the Microsoft store. After downloading the file, I immediately copied the file to a CD, wrote the authentication key on the CD face, and this allowed me to use the disc at a later time without dealing with downloading. I believe the MS Store still allows you to do such.

Hope this helps.


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I've Never Tried to Transfer a License
Jul 11, 2014 7:23AM PDT

So I can't tell you much about that. I know the purpose is so you don't go out and buy ONE copy of the software and load it on ten machines or build 50-60 machines for people and load the same copy on each and try to activate all of them.

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It Still Only Activates According To The License
Jul 11, 2014 8:23AM PDT

I was responding to the poster above me and making a copy of a downloaded Office program, or Windows operating system, is allowed BUT it's still not allowed to use on multiple machines. The copy should only be used when a "reinstall" is required, or when a new installation is allowed per the license. The activation should only occur if the parameters of the license are adhered to. In other words, if you try to use the copy to install the program on ten machines, they won't activate, or at least, they shouldn't.

Hope this helps.


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Windows Activation Technology
May 30, 2014 10:27AM PDT

Hi Marty, open "Control Panel" , select view - large icons; click on Administrative Tools; double click on Services; expand the name field to be able to read full names; press "w" ; select Windows Activation Technologies Service; right click;select properties; in the field "Startup type", click the arrow, select Disabled; click Apply - wait till rotating blue disk stops - click OK; close window and restart.
If you are still having problems, visit a site called " My Digital Life " for more information.

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Still not working...
Jun 7, 2014 10:44AM PDT

I have the same problem too! I tried the above workaround, but it still
doesn't work... I DO have authentic Windows 7 installed, but a year ago I
got a virus and getting rid of it took out the a Win. authentication key
section... When I go to Windows activation status, it says "Status not
available" and "Product ID not available." I was on the phone with
Windows tech support and they couldn't figure out what to do, so they
told me to do a re-install of Windows... I can't get the Windows
updates (I receive an error code "C0000022"). My problem is I've got MANY, MANY programs installed from downloads and I don't have or don't remember product ID info... So...
#1, any other suggestions on how to correct this Windows product key dilemma?
if a re-install is the only way to go, is there a way to copy, clone my
programs so I wouldn't have to re-install everything?


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Depends On Your Specific Computer, Brand, etc.
Jun 8, 2014 12:22PM PDT

Since the programs could have been infected when the virus did its nefarious job, even if you could, making copy of them now is a bad idea. Still, you should be OK..

For example: If you're using a brand name computer, most of them have the option to use their Recovery Partition or a Recovery Disk. In addition, even if you don't have a brand name computer, Windows 7 already has an option to create a "System Image" and "System Repair Disc". As long as you created those items sometime BEFORE the problem occurred, use those to take the system back to its original state..

Hope this helps.


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Calling can help as well.
May 30, 2014 12:12PM PDT

Usually Windows offers phone activation as well, where you can select your area, then call a number to talk to a Microsoft rep. and prove that your copy is indeed genuine. They usually give you the phone Activation Code, or sometimes a replacement Product Key instead.

Read this article for more information:


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Re: Calling can help as well
May 31, 2014 1:11AM PDT

A few weeks ago I had the same issue with a brand-new copy of Windows 7 I'd installed six months ago.
Following the Phone Activation method, I got a live person to speak with. We got my win7 activated and working again, and the phone rep told me that this had become a common issue, but nobody was certain exactly how it happens. In any case, calling the Phone Activation number was for me the quickest way to solve the problem.

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Calling Microsoft May Be the Only Solution
Jun 6, 2014 11:51AM PDT

I bought my Windows 7 Professional Upgrade Directly from Microsoft. I can tell you I am on my fourth (4th) Product Code to activate Windows. I paid Microsoft for help getting the Windows XP Mode Integration Features working. After about 100 hours connected to my computer on numerous occasions over the course of about a month Microsoft gave up. I bought a new hard drive and installed my copy of Windows 7 Pro and turned the computer over to Microsoft. After 2 hours of trying to activate Windows they obtained the latest activation code, as I said before, the fourth. So, I think your easiest fix is by Microsoft themselves and maybe a new activation code.

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Possible changes caused by updates
Jun 9, 2014 10:53PM PDT

I don't know how Microsoft trains techs on updates, but I have seldom found them capable of fixing some of the many issues caused by "updates". I have had updates change print selections in Publisher (that one the tech did figure out but only because I was insistent that everything was fine until the update) cause XP to hide my networked files, and do many other things besides "fix" security issues. I have written code so I understand that this can happen. It is just that they do not test the updates sufficiently before releasing them. I now have my settings so that I am notified before any update can download. Then I know if that has caused the issue and it does help the techs to narrow in on the problem. Just for future reference.

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Did you call Microsoft?
Jun 6, 2014 7:11PM PDT

Was the call with Microsoft direct or the Computer vendor? In the past, trying to get MS on the phone or by email was a biga** headache and never happened because of the hassle.

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I've Had Good Luck
Jun 16, 2014 4:45AM PDT

But that was with Windows Activation. Otherwise, they want you to pay.

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Windows 7 message
Jun 7, 2014 8:51AM PDT

I have had this message pop up from time to time on my laptop running Windows 7. After checking for the usual suspects, malware, spyware, virus, valid copy of W-7, etc, and finding nothing that shouldn't be on the there, I ignore it.

It goes away after each downloaded update from Microsoft. Then it comes back in weeks or a few months. This message doesn't prevent me from doing anything on the laptop.

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Calling Microsoft helped me.
Jun 13, 2014 11:01AM PDT

I am almost always doing some tweeking or changing things with my gaming rig. I also got the same issue after 3 years of using my "Genuine" Win 7 Ultimate. I called Massivesoft. The girl gave an activation key to use. Problem solved. No question asked.

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they will help you but at 2 hours who wants to.
Jun 11, 2014 9:12AM PDT

I have two 3paks of windows 7 upgrade I know we have to many computers at home. But I have had the same thing happen from genuine upgrades. I got to talk to someone in India for a while til he figured out there was nothing he could do. Then I came back to the US. I have the codes and the new codes that the computer makes. Microsoft did give me some new codes she had. This computer is is my bedroom so it does not get much use.About 6 months later it just decided that it was not genuine again. I have not changed anything period, I thought maybe I had changed a hard-drive or memory or something last time but this time I have not even opened the box. I have just been putting up with the NOT GENUINE I just do not have 2 hrs to kill again. By the way I have had another one tell me that it is NOT GENUINE too.
way to much fun.

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If you fail other methods and attempts
May 30, 2014 2:25PM PDT

you either shell out yet more money for a retail copy, or put in a "former windows user" friendly copy of some Linux distro. Some product keys get hacked and then passed around and if it was your valid key, doesn't matter, MS then kills it. A few years ago a lot lost use of their keys by posting Belarc results which exposed their valid product keys and then hackers picked up on it and eventually the original owners lost use of their own product key.

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My Windows 7 Computer S/w copy is not genuine
May 30, 2014 10:05PM PDT

I am not sure what you mean by when I insert it, but I had the same problem and I fixed it.
My problem was happening every day because I reinstalled windows 7. So I literally typed in the product key code and it worked. It is a 16 digit or 20 digit code that you have to type in blocks of 4.

Hoped that worked.

Joe DiBenedetto

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genuine windows message remover
May 30, 2014 10:07PM PDT

Use genuine windows message remover.Sure it will work.

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Incomprehensible solution
Jun 6, 2014 12:29PM PDT

This message about 'genuine windows message remover' may be meant as a joke or something, but the poster has missed the point of the original query: the people with the problem are not just getting a message. They are losing the functionality of their operating system.

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I hope this isn't the case...
Jun 6, 2014 6:32AM PDT

but I say this video on Youtube a while back:

If you bought a Windows 7 Premium disc you may want to check yours to make sure it isn't a fake.

Eventhough you may have been running it for 3 years it not until now that serial number was caught on by Microsoft as a pirated one. Hopefully that's not the case here.

If bought the computer with Win 7 installed from a major manufacture, like Dell, HP, etc, then this is likely not a problem, but if you bought the system from a computer shop as Grif mentioned in his post earlier, it's always possible the version installed wasn't a fully legal one. Give Microsoft a call and they will give you the low down truth about your Windows 7 legitimacy. And if your serial number is legit, they will get it straightened out with you.

Good luck,