How to check if the Windows Key is Genuine or Legit

A copy of Windows is genuine only if it has been activated using a valid key. When you buy Windows Keys from Microsoft websites or get them from the OEMs, you can be sure that they are genuine. But you need to be careful if you buy them from third-party websites. Questions. So are Windows 10 keys that you buy from another site like Amazon, etc., legit or legal? That depends!

The major problem why many consumers get a license, which is sold at a very low price, later turns out to be invalid is because they may be deactivated product keys or Volume license keys. In this post, we will suggest a couple of ways to check if your Windows Product Licence Key is Genuine or Legit.

How to check if my Windows Key is Genuine

There are different types of keys. Windows 10 keys that consumer buys directly, are usually valid until the life of the machine (Retail and OEM).

There is one more types of key: Volume Licensing (MAK and KMS). Enterprise or big companies buy these keys to activate computers in bulk. I

have seen reports where many third-party sellers have sold these keys to consumers at a cheap price. These keys can be activated on multiple computers or work for a couple of months.

It is best not to purchase a key from someone who is not authorized to sell Windows 10 keys. And if somebody is authorized, and they offering low price, make sure to ask them if the key will work even after reinstallation.

There are two scenarios-

  1. First where you have the key, and you want to check before actually using it.
  2. Second is when you have already used it, but still, want to check.

Let’s take a look at how you can find if your Windows Key is genuine.

Read next: How to buy Windows 10 with a valid or legit license key.

1] Use PID checker tools

How to check if my Windows Key is Genuine

We have two tools here – The Ultimate PID Checker and Microsoft PID Checker – which you can use to find out if the Windows 10 key is legit. While the Ultimate PID checker works for all versions before Windows 10,  the Microsoft PID checker works for Windows 10 and Server 2016 only.

Download Microsoft PID Checker from here or Ultimate PID Checker from here. If the key is not legit or is invalid, the software will give you a response back. It can also be used to check the MAK count.

2] Check Windows Key with Software Licensing User Interface

Windows 10 License Status

Open Command Prompt on elevated privileges.Execute the following command:

slmgr /dli

The “dli” parameter will display current license information with activation status.

The result will also include the type of key (Retail, OEM, MAK, or KMS key). If the License status says “Licensed”, then you do not have a problem. If there is anything else, your key is not valid. Also if you see type as MAK or KMS, and you are a general consumer, you need to connect with the person from whom you bought the key, and get a Retail key.

3] Check Settings & Activation Status

windows activation

There are few quick ways to check if the key you have used in not legit. The first thing you should is open Settings, and see if there is any warning about activation. If that’s not there, go to Update & Security > Activation and check the status. If there is an error and it doesn’t say that Windows is activated, you have a problem. In short the Windows 10 keys not legit or legal.

Let us know if this helped you to figure out if the Windows 10 key is genuine or not.

Now read: What is Windows Activation and How does it work?

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.