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How to resolve the Microsoft Windows operating system error message "Windows is not genuine” or “counterfeit copy of Windows”

Symptom

The installation of software, hardware, BIOS, or drivers on a PC may cause a Microsoft Windows operating system to produce activation error messages similar to the following:

  • "Windows is not genuine."
  • "This copy of Windows is not genuine."
  • "Your computer may be running a counterfeit copy of Windows."
  • "The product key didn't work. Try a different key, or buy a new one."
  • "This product key is already being used on another PC. Try a different key, or buy a new one."

 

Affected configurations

Error messages concerning counterfeit or non-genuine status may occur on any PC with a Microsoft Windows operating system.

Solution: Overview

All Microsoft Windows operating systems sold by Lenovo with a PC are genuine.

Solution: Microsoft Windows 8

Microsoft Windows 8 requires a Digital Product Key (DPK) to activate. Lenovo systems, for Windows 8, has a unique DPK added during manufacturing. Windows 8 is designed to automatically activate. Users can determine if Windows 8 is activated.

Note: A Windows 8 system has a Genuine Microsoft Label (GML). Windows 8 systems do not have a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label.

Solution: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7

Users need to reconfirm the operating system authenticity by entering the product key and then following additional instructions. The product key is printed on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker. This sticker is on every Lenovo PC that came with a Microsoft Windows operating system pre-installed.

Follow these steps to enter the product key:

1. In the following window, select "Type a different product key"
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2. If the window is not open, then open it by choosing Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System and selecting "Change Product Key" from the bottom left corner.
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3. Follow the instructions and enter your product key. If you need help locating the number, select "Where do I find my Windows product key?" (The key is printed on a sticker on your computer. The sticker will likely be on the back of your computer or found under the battery for some mobile computers.)
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Attention! When you enter your product key, it may result in a message that it is still not valid and present you with an option to contact Microsoft using one of three options in a pop up window:

  • Use the automated phone system
  • Buy a new product key online
  • Type a different product key

From these choices choose "Use the automated phone system." Choose your country and a corresponding phone number will be displayed on the web page.

Call the phone number and an automated phone prompter will request that you speak or type the product key numbers from your system. The phone prompter will then produce an additional reactivation key. Entering the new activation key as in the boxes labeled A-H in the following window will authenticate the Windows operating system.

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Additional Lenovo Support Information

 

Additional Microsoft Information